‘An interesting concept’ – Bio Punk: Stories from the far side of research ed by Ra Page

bprpThis is an interesting concept – short stories about science are analysed by leading figures in the relevant research departments of universities to see what the probability of them coming true are.

This lends a whole different perspective to the stories and changed how I read them. I paid more attention to the scientific details rather than the story, to make sure I understood it enough for the coming analysis.

The analysis sometimes adds an exciting level to the story, as we find out just how close we are to the reality of the idea. Sometimes it’s a relief, as with ‘The Modification of Eugene Berenger’ by Gregory Norminton, to find out that it’s likely that we won’t be subjected to such horrible things! Thank you Dr Nihal Engin Vrana from Harvard MIT.

The stories and analysis cover everything from anthropology to technology, all set within fictional societies. I have to admit I sometimes kipped the analysis as I wanted to keep the story to myself, for example ‘Madswitch’ by Justina Robson. The drama was enough for me and I didn’t feel it was necessary to read on. It depends on how curious you become after each story. The analysis sometimes jars after the eloquence of the prose, being taken to another world, only to be yanked back to this one.

Any Cop?: What I found most interesting about this collection is that the border between what is real and what is fantasy is becoming increasingly thin, and that many of these ideas have an actual basis in our world.

Claire Snook


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