Conference Paper

The Co-Ordinates of Design Fiction: Extrapolation, Irony, Ambiguity and Magic

Fulltext URI

Document type

Text/Conference Paper

Additional Information



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Association for Computing Machinery


This paper argues that design fiction is a powerful term in part because it is malleable. A wide range of differing design fictions are emerging and we pursue a spatial metaphor to provide a map based on literary approaches. Following Margaret Atwood we trace design fiction back to marvel and wonder tales such as the Arabian Nights through to the science fiction of the nineteenth and twentieth century. We suggest science, magic, ambiguity and irony as the cardinal points of design fiction. We then apply these four different approaches to design fiction to the concept of a divorce app for older people. We argue that currently design fiction is dominated by scientistic and ironic design fiction and suggest that magic and ambiguity are currently under explored.


Blythe, Mark; Encinas, Enrique (2016): The Co-Ordinates of Design Fiction: Extrapolation, Irony, Ambiguity and Magic. Proceedings of the 2016 ACM International Conference on Supporting Group Work. DOI: 10.1145/2957276.2957299. Association for Computing Machinery. pp. 345–354. Sanibel Island, Florida, USA