Saturday, May 16, 2009

Biology in Science Fiction Roundup: May 16 Edition

Some miscellaneous biology-related science fiction links from around the web:


Charlie Jane Anders @ io9: Is "Sense of Wonder" Just a Code for Returning to Childhood? (my answer: no way!)

Nancy Kress: SF is Dead - Again

Ben Bova: Science is so important to us, yet so unappreciated

Written Word

Wired Science lists science fiction novels that feature memory alteration

SF Signal interviews CJ Cherryh about her new novel Regenesis.

Jo Walton @ reviews Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go

From A Sci-Fi Standpoint reviews James E. Gunn's 1962 novel, The Immortals.
Actually the Immortals appear very little in the book, primarily at the beginning, and play a relatively small role. As you read on, you find that the book is really all about issues relating to medicine and its role in society, and especially about its differential availability to those at various economic levels. Indeed, the hunt for the Immortals is really a metaphor of sorts for the privileged status of the ultra-rich who have access to the best, most cutting-edge medical care.

In a BBC interview, author Peter F. Hamilton (Night's Dawn) talked a bit about genetic engineering:

PFH: The genetic technology that hopefully will cure Spina Bifida one day could also be used to create viruses that could just wipe us out completely.

But does that mean you should stop researching genetics? We laugh, we hold politicians and the political process in contempt, but the societal structure of international law and order does actually hold that off.


What do you call a movie that is set in the very near future, explores biotechnology that is almost-but-not-quite-yet possible, but doesn't otherwise use any science fictional tropes? What if it's a bit too speculative to be considered true realism, but too realistic to quite be SF? I don't really have an answer (speculative bioethics?), but there are a couple of recent films that seem to fit the bill: My Sister's Keeper (watch the trailer at Genetics and Health) and The Baby Formula.

According to SciFi Wire, Warner plans to remake the BBC's Primeval as a big-screen movie.
Warner and Goldsman will transplant the action to the United States and ramp up the spectacle.
Because battling dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures clearly just isn't actiony enough. BBC-America will show season 3 of Primeval beginning tonight, and SciFi is currently airing season 1 on Friday nights.

Center for the Study of Science Fiction has video of Forrest J. Ackerman on Mad Scientists in the Movies

Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go is being made into a movie starring Keira Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield. It is being filmed in the UK and there is no word on whether the spectacle is bing

At SciFi Scanner Christine Fall writes about Sleep Dealers and new technological advances that may help allow scientists to translate brain activity into images.

Miriam at The Oyster's Garter compares Vampire ecology in Twilight vs. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. reviews The Gene Generation, recently released on DVD. Bottom line: be very glad you didn't pay to see this movie in the theater.

Live Science: Can You Have Bones Like Wolverine?

ComputerWorld asks "Do sci-fi films get advanced tech right?" including genetic engineering.


Science Not Fiction has a series of posts reviewing the science of each Fringe episode.
Popular Mechanics also has a series of posts reviewing the science of Fringe.

Also at Popular Mechanics: Dollhouse's Memory Science Mixes Fact With Fiction
Annalee Newitz @ io9: Five Brain-Maanipulating Technologies That Prove Dollhouse Exists Right Now

If you are interested in the science of Eleventh Hour, check out the regular Eleventh Hour posts at Science Not Fiction and Genevieve Valentine's posts at
Also Åsa Karlström has an article about the depiction of biophysicist Dr. Jacob Hood at




    Selling Planet Earth in Exchange for a Utopia? What’s the Catch?

    Humans sold planet Earth for peace, but little did they know peace would come at such a high cost.

    A long time ago, Humanity sold planet Earth to a group called the Evers in order to gain peace and a virtual utopia for themselves and for future generations. However, the cost of this paradise turns out to be too much for some to deal with and the humans soon find themselves ruled cruelly by the very beings who offered them salvation and at one point given them so much hope.

    Humans that were originally treated with high regards, made to feels special, are now being treated as animals, some humiliated and shipped away to some unknown fate…each being told what they could or could not do, under the guise of it being in humanities best interest.

    With a feeling of dread, a small group declares war on the more advanced Evers in hopes of returning things to the way they should be…to the way they had been. John and his make-shift crew of humans and hybrids (half human/half Ever) must not only find a way to break free of the mistakes of the past and find out the disturbing secrets that the Evers have hidden away, but they must also deal with their own personal issues and learn to live, grow, and deal with each others’ emotional issues of love, regret and fear.

    Will man give up youth and perfect health to live in the past? And will John take the chance of restoring Earth to its former state even though there’s a good chance his life-threatening disease can return?

    Publisher’s Web site:

    About the Author:
    Myra Evans resides in Walterboro, South Carolina, a small town near Charleston. She is a C.N.A. for a large Veterans nursing home.

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