The intellectual encounter between the social sciences and science fiction has been rich and varied. This Introduction examines how sf literature, sf criticism, and social science theory and practice have intersected and influenced each other. We suggest a four-part typology, analyzing how the social sciences have employed sf, how sf has dealt with the social, how sf criticism has addressed social theory, and how science fiction has itself emerged as a social science methodology. The interdisciplinary conversation between the social sciences and sf literature and criticism recognizes the deep imbrication of science fiction thinking in late modernity and offers valuable theoretical and methodological resources for opening up important social questions.