Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities

An interdisciplinary collaboration between the Faculties of Arts and Medicine & Health at the University of Leeds

“Fiction Writes Back: The 2045 Initiative, Zero K, and the Immortality Industry” by Professor Teresa Heffernan

Please join us for the Centre for Medical Humanities Lecture “Fiction Writes Back: The 2045 Initiative, Zero K, and the Immortality Industry” by Professor Teresa Heffernan (Saint Mary’s University, Canada).

Where: Alumni Room, School of English

When: May 18th, 2:00-3:30


A google search finds countless news headlines about science fiction coming true: ““Sci-fi or real life? Six fictional ideas that are happening now,” “How America’s Leading Science Fiction Authors Are Shaping Your Future,” “8 Sci-Fi Predictions That Are Coming True,” “5 Billionaires Who Are Making Awesome Sci-Fi Come True”–thousands of other similarly-titled articles have become commonplace in the first decades of the twenty-first century. Challenging the idea that fiction serves a predictive function for emerging technologies, I consider contemporary fictions that write back to this technology, exposing the fiction at its heart. In this talk, I will focus on the immortality industry and read the Russian entrepreneur and billionaire Dmitry Itskov’s 2045 Initiative in conjunction with Don DeLillo’s ” novel Zero K.


Teresa Heffernan is Professor of English at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia. She is author of Post-Apocalyptic Culture: Modernism, Postmodernism, and the Twentieth-Century Novel (University of Toronto Press, 2008) and Veiled Figures: Women, Modernity, and the Spectres of Orientalism (University of Toronto Press, 2016). She is co-editor (with Daniel O’Quinn) of a critical edition of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s The Turkish Embassy Letters (Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2012); series editor (with Reina Lewis) of Cultures in Dialogue (http://culturesindialogue.com/main/home); co-editor (with Jill Didur) on a special issue of Cultural Studies entitled “Revisiting the Subaltern in the New Empire” and on a special issue of Cultural Critique (with Jill Didur and Bart Simon) on “Critical Posthumanism.” Her articles have appeared in journals such as Studies in the Novel, Eighteenth-Century Studies, Arab Journal for the Humanities, Subject Matters, Canadian Literature, Twentieth Century Literature, and English Studies in Africa. Her SSHRC-funded project is called: “Where Science Meets Fiction: Social Robots and the Ethical Imagination” (https://socialrobotfutures.com/). She is one of the editors for a new Palgrave Macmillan series on AI and robotics: https://www.palgrave.com/us/campaigns/robotics-and-ai.

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This entry was posted on 17 April, 2018 by in At the centre, Events and tagged , , .

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