Nancy Kress, author of Yesterday’s Kin, contributed the SF Signal guest post: “‘DNA Yet Again, Kress?’ or, Why I Write So Much About Genetic Engineering.”
Every once in a while some critic says, “Science fiction is over. The future is here now. Science has caught up with science fiction and there is nothing left to write about.” To these people I say, “Huh? What are you talking about?”
Science is advancing at a dizzying rate, but that produces more to write about, not less. Bi-weekly, Science News dazzles me with fresh discoveries in all fields. So why do I mostly (not exclusively, but very definitely mostly) choose to write about genetic engineering in my fiction? Three reasons.
First, genetic engineering is immediate, affecting everyone’s daily life right now. This is not true of, say, the discovery that a new species of microscopic creature has been found living in Antarctica, or that there may be double black holes at the hearts of many galaxies. If you ate a Danish for breakfast, you partook of a genetically modified crop: the canola oil widely used to make pastries. If you have Type 1 diabetes, your insulin was manufactured by genetically altered bacteria. If you have a genetic disorder that requires ATryn to prevent blood clots, you were given a compound harvested from the milk of genetically modified goats. If you take pretty much any drug for any medical condition, it may have been developed and tested on lab mice genemod for that condition. In one sense, the critics are right: the genetic future has arrived.
Visit SF Signal to discover the other two reasons and a whole lot more from Nancy Kress.
For more info on Yesterday’s Kin, visit the Tachyon page.
Cover by Thomas Canty.