Bio-Tech Bombshells
Biological warfare, manipulation and engineering


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The Andromeda Strain
by Michael Crichton (1969)


The army gets the idea to mine extraterrestrial biological agents after scientists successfully set up a decontamination program. When a 'Scoop' satellite crashes into an Arizona desert a team of scientists is sent to clean up the mess. Crichton's first and possibly best remains popular thanks largely to a riveting film version.





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The Ship Who Sang
by Anne McCaffrey (1969)


Written during a particularly troubled period in McCaffrey's personal life, The Ship Who Sang is a collection of stories about a highly intelligent but physically handicapped girl (Helva) who becomes the brain of a spaceship. Through Helva's adventures the stories explore the relationship between 'shell people' and the 'brawns' they are teamed with. Emotionally engaging sci-fi.





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Blood Music
by Greg Bear (1985)


Bear is usually categorised as a hard sci-fi writer, but he is also closely associated with the cyberpunks. Brilliantly unorthodox researcher Vergil Ulam creates bio-computer microbes and - in classic mad scientist fashion - injects himself with them. As a result, an uplifting plague is unleashed which changes the course of history.





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Jurassic Park
by Michael Crichton (1990)


While certainly no masterpiece, most readers will be pleasantly surprised with this thriller on which the hit feature film is based. A theme park featuring bio-engineered dinosaurs cops some industrial espionage and things get out of hand. Crichton's best since The Andromeda Strain and a mega-bestseller in its day. Worth a look.





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Hominids
by Robert J Sawyer (2002)


On a parallel Earth where Neanderthals top the primate evolutionary scale a scientist's experiment goes wrong and he ends up in our world. He then has trouble coming to grips with our societal ills while, back at home, his partner is under suspicion of his murder. Another solid outing from topnotch Canadian writer Robert J Sawyer.





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Oryx and Crake
by Margaret Atwood (2003)


Atwood spins another near-future cautionary tale… this time taking aim at genetic engineering and the inherent peril of global warming. Snowman (known as Jimmy before the plague) may be the last human alive. While overseeing a group of innocuous bioengineered humans, his flashbacks unravel the story of society's demise. Atwood's dry humour breaks up the doom and gloom.





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Accelerando
by Charles Stross (2005)


Brilliant stand-alone novel constructed from some cutting-edge stories originally published in Asimov's. Beginning in the near-future it is the generational story of the Macx family and molecular nanotechnology. When Manfred Macx peddles some intelligence amplification technology he sets in motion a train of events that eventually leads to a systematic dismantling of the solar system.





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The Windup Girl
by Paolo Bacigalupi (2009)


Multi-award winning biopunk tale of corporate profits, terrorism and post-human evolution. Anderson Lake is a "Calorie Man" working undercover for AgriGen, leaving no stone unturned searching Bangkok's street markets for foodstuffs that may already be extinct. There he meets Emiko, one of the bioengineered New People who has been abandoned by her former masters. A great read.


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