The twenty-first century, it’s often remarked, will transform our knowledge of biology, in the same way that the twentieth century transformed physics. With knowledge of course, comes application. And with the application of all we are learning about genetic engineering come social and ethical questions, some of them knotty.
This is where science fiction enters, stage left. Scientific laboratories are where the new technologies are rehearsed. Science fiction rehearses the implications of those technologies. What might we eventually do with out new-found power? Should we do it? Who should do it? Who will be affected? How? Is that a good thing or not? For whom?
Of the thirteen stories in this book, eight of them are concerned with what might come out of the beakers and test tubes and gene sequencers of microbiology. Not everything in these stories will come to pass. Possibly nothing in them will; fiction is not prediction. But I hope the stories at least raise questions about the world rushing in onus at the speed–not of light–but of thought.