English in the World talk at Saint Louis University addressing the intersections of technology, science fiction, and monsters.
A key question in science fiction specifically and, I think, in our culture at large, concerns the human relationship with the nonhuman. We are concerned about the shapes of these relationships as well as the possibilities of these relationships as such. Buried within these concerns is a more general anxiety about the very boundaries between the human and the nonhuman. Such concerns manifest an ongoing anxiety about the place of the human in the world. Monsters of all shapes and sizes are thus symbols and stand ins for this general anxiety. The human/not-quite-human intersection that forever threatens the very limits of what makes a human a human.