Contreras on Science Fiction and the Law: A New Wigmorian Bibliography @sjquinney @DeanKronkWarner

Jorge L. Contreras, University of Utah College of Law, has published Science Fiction and the Law: A New Wigmorian Bibliography. Here is the abstract.

In 1908, Dean John Henry Wigmore compiled a list of novels that no lawyer could “afford to ignore”. Wigmore’s list, taken up by Professor Richard Weisberg in the 1970s, catalogs one hundred novels, stories and dramatic works from Antigone to The Merchant of Venice to Native Son, each of which portrays or offers insight into the legal system or the practice of law. Weisberg’s updated list also includes a compilation of critical studies in the then-emerging law and literature movement. This article undertakes a similar bibliographic exercise with respect to law and the literature of science fiction. While science fiction, as a literary genre, has its detractors, it cannot be denied that science fiction stories – whether in books, short stories, films or television shows – reach a vast audience and, for better or worse, influence popular perceptions and understanding of science and technology issues. Likewise, science fiction narratives that portray legal regimes directed at new and unsolved problems (prescribing relations between alien races, governing sentient machines, regulating human genetic modification) can help judges, lawyers and policy makers to consider the hypothetical effects of such regulations in the real world. Accordingly, this article offers a list of fifty science fiction works that address legal issues, classified according to doctrinal themes, as well as a compilation of academic literature addressing issues of law in science fiction. It is hoped that the materials compiled here will serve as a useful resource for legal practitioners, policy makers and educators as they grapple with ever increasing legal challenges brought about by the rapid evolution of science and technology.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.