To open the book, we introduce the aims together with supporting ideas from disciplines spanning science and humanities. The overarching aim is to foreground examples from science fiction that can give us glimpses into the possible internal worlds of alien, augmented human, or artificially intelligent beings. The idea of transparent minds originates from narratology, or the study of narrative structure and its influence on the reader response. An adjacent concept is that of neuroaesthetics, part of the cognitive approach to literature studies, which focuses on the mental states evoked in the reader as a way to understand consciousness. We visit more philosophical and neuroscientific approaches to sentience and then introduce the SF genre and the way it works to combine scientific with speculative thought in a number of ways useful to our project.