I attended a seminar on an SF module, led by my friend Prof Rowlie Wymer. Rowlie was describing a particular SF short story. I forget which story it was, but it had all the virtues that are the hallmarks of good SF, a certain kind of disciplined playfulness. And the thought came to me that ‘science fiction’ is correctly named, not because it necessarily deals with science, but because of a certain similarity between its methodology, its creative strategy, and the scientific method. You take the world as we know it, you manipulate certain variables, you see what happens, you explore the implications. As another professor, Ian Stewart, said at the Clarke award event, science fiction is about ‘what if’.