This article introduces the subject-matter of a symposium on international law and science fiction. The impact of new technologies on human rights, humanitarian issues and indeed on what it means to be human in a technological age, suffers from a paucity of international legal attention. The latter has been attributed to various factors ranging from technophobia and technological illiteracy, inclusive of an instrumentalist view of technology, to the sense that such attention is the domain of science-fiction, not of international law. The article extends an invitation to pay attention to the attention science-fiction has given to the man-machine interaction and its impact on the human condition. Placing this invitation in the context of the 'Law and Literature' movement, the article exemplifies its value with respect to two technologies, one directed at creating life or saving it (cloning and organ donation) and the other at ending life (lethal autonomous robots).