Biopunk is a part of science fiction that focuses on the consequences of biotechnology, intended or unintended. Nature’s had a multi-billion-year head start on us on creating all manner of living things, while we’re just starting to figure out how biology really works. And being human, we start screwing around with things long before we understand it.
It’s only a matter of time before kids start finding My Very First Genetics Lab under the Christmas tree and start trading actual home-grown creatures like they were Pokemon.
3D printers are great, but I’m waiting for bioprinters. In 30 years, I expect to be able to download and print a living squirrel. I don’t know what I’d do with it, but by god, I’d have a squirrel.
Table of Contents
- 1. Unwind by Neal Shusterman – 2007
- 2. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld – 2009
- 3. The glass bees by Ernest Junger – 1957
- 4. Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan – 2002
- 5. Ribofunk by Paul Di Filippo – 1996
- 6. Perdido Street Station by China Miéville – 2000
- 7. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – 1818
- 8. Brave new world by Adolous Huxley – 1932
- 9. The ware tetralogy by Rudy Rucker
- 10. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – 2004
1. Unwind by Neal Shusterman – 2007
So if you’re a jerky kid, you better start behaving around the fifty-first trimester.“Gripping, brilliantly imagined futuristic thriller. The issues raised could not be more provocative—the sanctity of life, the meaning of being human—while the delivery could hardly be more engrossing or better aimed to teens.”
-Publishers Weekly (starred review)
2. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld – 2009
“Enhanced by Thompson’s intricate black-and-white illustrations, Westerfeld’s brilliantly constructed imaginary world will capture readers from the first page. Full of nonstop action, this steampunk adventure is sure to become a classic.”
-School Library Journal (starred review)
3. The glass bees by Ernest Junger – 1957
Receiving mixed critical reception when published, Jünger’s riffs on the future of technology, variously interpreted as technophobic allegory or insightful critique into the altered relationship between technology, nature, and the human, have received renewed attention.
4. Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan – 2002
Morgan creates a gritty, noir tale that will please Raymond Chandler fans, an impressive accomplishment in any genre.
5. Ribofunk by Paul Di Filippo – 1996
Personally, I think “biofunk” is a better choice, but if I really want to push that term forward, I’ll have to write a fantastic collection of short stories like Paul Di Filippo did in his book Ribofunk. In all of these eleven stories, biology is the science that drives the engine of life and of story: the Protein Police patrol for renegade gene-splicers; part-human sea creatures live in the Great Lakes and clean up toxic spills; a river has become sentient; there’s a bodyguard who is part wolverine and a thrill-seeker who climbs a skyscraper and gets stuck, literally.“Despite occasional obscurity, Di Filippo’s effervescent prose can provoke both hilarity and haunting reflections on our species’ possible fate.” -Publishers Weekly
6. Perdido Street Station by China Miéville – 2000
Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores.“Miéville’s canvas is so breathtakingly broad that the details of individual subplots and characters sometimes lose their definition. But it is also generous enough to accommodate large dollops of aesthetics, scientific discussion, and quest fantasy in an impressive and ultimately pleasing epic.”
7. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley – 1818
It wasn’t until 1831 that the “popular” version was sold (which is what you’ve read). Shelley edited the book significantly, bowing to pressure to make the book more conservative. Many scholars prefer the 1818 version, claiming it holds true to Shelley’s original spirit.
8. Brave new world by Adolous Huxley – 1932
“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.”
9. The ware tetralogy by Rudy Rucker
From the first novel, Software:
It was Cobb Anderson who built the”boppers”—the first robots with real brains. Now, in 2020, Cobb is just another aged “pheezer” with a bad heart, drinking and grooving to old tunes in Florida retirement hell. His “bops” have come a long way, though, rebelling against their subjugation to set up their own society on the moon. And now they’re offering creator Cobb immortality, but at a stiff price: his body, his soul, and his world.
“Rucker’s four Ware novels–Software (1982), Wetware (1988), Freeware (1997), and Realware (2000)–form an extraordinary cyberweird future history with the heft of an epic fantasy novel and the speed of a quantum computing.”
10. Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell – 2004
“[David] Mitchell is, clearly, a genius. He writes as though at the helm of some perpetual dream machine, can evidently do anything, and his ambition is written in magma across this novel’s every page.”
—The New York Times Book Review
original source: The best sci-fi books