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The Literature of Drones: Ethics and Remote Killing in Ender’s Game

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>24/03/2023
<mark>Journal</mark>Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction
Issue number144
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game (1985) envisages a world in which humans are
removed from the process of warfare, replacing human-piloted aircraft and soldiers on the ground with remotely-controlled spaceships sent to destroy a distant alien foe. In this way, the novel pre-empts and engages with many of the issues we contend with to this day with drone warfare and the ethics of killing targets that have been selected by a machine.

To this end, this paper explores the ethics and practical implications of remote killing in Ender’s Game, drawing on modern-day drone theory to examine key issues of responsibility, accountability and guilt. It also explores the relationship between the human and the machine, asking where we draw the line between the human and the robot, and to what extent the human serves as an alibi for robotic control.