the ‘film’s ability to provide an apparently credible account of the operation and personnel of law’. 2
Sciencefiction cinema is quite different in this respect. Sciencefiction is based on worlds, though still following (most of) the natural rules of our universe, which are dramatically altered compared to what we know. As Marco Benatar describes, ‘sciencefiction is replete with scenarios set in the future extrapolating from contemporary knowledge and experience’. 3 He usefully adds ‘not only in the realms of science and technology but also in respect of
, ultimately, the victory of the last two visions. To that extent, it is fairly in line with the majority of contemporary sciencefiction movies in which characters preaching for the right of the strongest species to subdue the less powerful are usually presented in a negative fashion.
This trait of sciencefiction movies might seem surprising for anyone familiar with the (international) legal organization of modern societies, which is mainly speciesist and anthropocentric. 2 It is speciesist in that the right to have rights is usually granted to the individual, first and
sciencefiction level body machine melding’. Wearables range from ‘the
eminently practical’ to the ‘utterly fantastical’. The
functions of these digital technologies are not necessarily novel: paper maps have
existed for centuries; pedometers date back to the eighteenth century; devices
measuring distances cycled or walked, spectacles, prosthetic devices and
wristwatches are further examples of historical wearable technologies ( Carter et al. , 2018
against warp gas?!
Cheetara: When did the mutants ever go by the rules?
Tygra: Rules are only meaningful if people agree to follow them, otherwise they’re just words!
For over a century, the sciencefiction universe has excelled in diversity and creativity, telling tales of contact with extra-terrestrial life, dealings with diabolic artificial intelligence, journeys through black holes and cybernetic dystopias. But beyond the futuristic thrills, the genre has enabled us to reflect upon the major political questions of our era. This should not come as a surprise
(between the Klingons and the Federation in Star Trek ), inter-planetary councils issuing ineffectual edicts, and a continual movement between three classic images of the international diplomatic order: constitutionalism ( Battleship Galactica ), idealism ( Star Trek ) and, again, realism (mostly, the law is cruelly neglected in sciencefiction films (diplomats are shot in the back causing their bodies to dissolve, conventions are torn up …)). In some respects, though, there is a lot of law here. One sometimes gets this impression from Benatar that the Star Trek
-made interpretations, reduced to the role of mere puppets with all-too-visible strings. This is one of the reasons why international law can only with difficulty appear as a main actor in film, because the fact that it is a concept sends it, for logical and dramatic reasons, off-screen.
Merging off-screen and on-screen results in attrition, as shown by sciencefiction movies, a genre in themselves. One may disagree, but I stand by my opinion: on the whole, its image-illustrated conceptualization may be dramatic, filled with film virtuosity and special effects, but intellectually
workshops have thus been established, each one of which could have been the subject of a book on its own: ‘International law, reality or (science) fiction?’; ‘Wars, force and police operations: which law?’; ‘Justice enters the scene’; and ‘Human rights on the screen’. These titles attest to the diversity of analytical possibilities available. As it was suggested earlier, the objective here is not to (try to) exhaust the subject, but rather to attempt to explore what is still, to a very large extent, unchartered waters. In this sense, we have chosen to encourage the
possible, they should be prohibited by law? The United Kingdom sanctions strictly controlled stem cell therapies, ie therapeutic cloning. Most of Europe outlaws cloning altogether.
Legislating on what is permissible is fraught with difficulty. Emotions run high. In 1990 anti-abortion campaigners flooded Parliament with model fetuses. Pro-embryo research lobbies played to the cameras with touching and well-timed stories of the joy brought to previously infertile women by their ‘test-tube’ babies. The scientific possibilities are hard to grasp and science
interests of the embryo.
The Act sought to allay fears of a science-fiction nightmare in which scientists freely create all sorts of clones, hybrids and other monsters. It should be noted that until the enactment of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 embryos in vitro enjoyed no legal protection at all. The wording of abortion legislation prohibiting ‘procurement of miscarriage’ meant that in theory ‘test-tube’ embryos could then be grown and destroyed at will.
Subject to the express prohibitions above, the HFEA was given a