Daily Archives: June 12th, 2008

The Biology of Science Fiction

Biology is one area of science I know very little about. I never blog, comment, use it in my fiction or reference it only in very limited terms, with the possible exception of when I talk about my chronic maladies in passing. Which is probably very ignorant on my part because it would behoove me to be at least somewhat educated on how biology works, especially my own.

Even the type of science fiction I read is influenced by my lack of knowledge in the discipline. My book-shelves are full of space opera, Singularity science, social science and even psychological sci-fi. I do know a little about nano-tech though, but biological nano, not so much.

This is just physical and mental laziness on my part, and according to Peggy of Biology In Science Fiction in a post referencing an interview with writer Peter Watts, it would be a mistake for me to continue to do so:

In April, Åka at Physicality of Words interviewed Peter Watts about the science in science fiction. Asked about a recent Con where the science panel was made up of astronomers and physicists, and whether he “get[s] the feeling that biology and biological ideas get less attention in science fiction than physics and astronomy?” , Watts opined:

Biology is the headline science of the twenty-first century so far, and I think that’s being reflected in the more recent sf to come down the pike (mine, for example). If con panels still emphasise physics and astronomy, perhaps that reflects the “graying of fandom” we keep hearing about; perhaps panels are disproportionately populated by the TwenCen old guard who haven’t caught up with the times yet.

I’ve read Watts’ Blind Sight recently. It is very good and engrossing, I couldn’t put it down until I got too tired to read. And yes, it had a lot of biological science in it. What I liked was that he made the biology parts understandable and credible. But he was good with the tech stuff too I thought. Or maybe I just perceived it that way because I’m a techie anyways.

Okay I’ll admit it, I’m a senile “TwenCen” old fart…er…guard type who’s behind the times too.

So sue me.

It’s no secret that biotech is a fast growing industry, from the genetically modified food corporations to the genetics of stem cell research and now more recently, “gengineering” plants that sequester carbon dioxide, this science is going to be a huge money making machine.

Not so much for the “little people” I’m afraid.

As usual, they (us) get stuck paying the research bills while working our Wally-Mart, Rotten Ronnie jobs and living in our luxurious Tent City condos!

Biology is the headline science of the 21st century