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Sci-fi Themes *Spoilers Likely* > cybernetic & genetic modifications

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message 1: by Meghan (new)

 Meghan (mm_reads) | 168 comments Mod
Can I just say, this theme is near & dear to my heart in personal way?

In real life, it's many years away, but a gene therapy for an autoimmune disease (the arthritis I have is autoimmune) is being worked on. In the meantime, there are biologic drugs that are helpful, but not a cure. And for those who have permanent joint or tissue damage, it would be awesome to have cybernetic replacements. They just have to get the surgery tools more refined, speed up the healing process, etc etc etc One of my friends broke his neck when he was 17 and barely survived, but he's quadriplegic. If they could regrow nerves in the body, from inside the body, that would be so amazing!


message 2: by Angel (new)

Angel Martinez (angelmartinez) | 226 comments Ah, one of my favorite topics - and genetic modification is here. we're doing it. Just not on humans so much yet aside from a little gene therapy here and there. But ti's something I find myself turning to again and again in my own work.

What could you change? What could you "fix"? What might the consequences be and how far can you go before human is no longer human?


message 3: by Meghan (new)

 Meghan (mm_reads) | 168 comments Mod
Angel wrote: "Ah, one of my favorite topics - and genetic modification is here. we're doing it. Just not on humans so much yet aside from a little gene therapy here and there. But ti's something I find myself tu..."

The most recent book I read that really incorporated both types of mods was Steel Sleet. Though that story had to do with non-human genes mixed/blended with human genes. I know genetic modification is here in the form of "round-up" corn and other food sources have been modified as well. That's pretty scary in the "Now" sort of way.


message 4: by Oco (new)

Oco (ocotillo) | 107 comments Gah, you remind me that I've back-burnered a story that does this--both cyber and genetic. Which, sounds like an author's ad, but no, because if I don't get more time, I'll never get back to it, and I think it's a pretty cool story. Lots of potential for fun, uplifting, dystopic, and downright creepy stories in there... *ahem* mine's dystopic of course (because I seem to be missing the 'uplifting' gene).


message 5: by Charming, Order theorist (new)

Charming (charming_euphemism) | 787 comments Mod
Oco wrote: "Gah, you remind me that I've back-burnered a story that does this--both cyber and genetic. Which, sounds like an author's ad, but no, because if I don't get more time, I'll never get back to it, an..."

If you give us a reasonably happy or even hopeful ending, I'll read it. I like my clouds with a silver lining.

Has anyone read Angel 1089? Really a cyberpunk book, except a little too cheerful for that. :-)


message 6: by Meghan (new)

 Meghan (mm_reads) | 168 comments Mod
Charming wrote: "...If you give us a reasonably happy or even hopeful ending, I'll read it. I like my clouds with a silver lining.

Has anyone read Angel 1089? Really a cyberpunk book, except a little too cheerful for that. :-) ..."


Fluffy is kinda nice on occaision :) Angel 1089 has the kind of huge faceless overlord vibe going and at the same time a fluffy ending.

But Oco so far I really like exploring your dystopic thoughts, I mean stories hee hee


message 7: by Angel (new)

Angel Martinez (angelmartinez) | 226 comments Dystopic can be really interesting. I can't read too, too many dark books a year (just finished Mockingjay, so no more for a bit) but I do enjoy them sometimes.

I haven't seen too many cybernetic/ genetic mod stories in GLBT fiction yet, though Damon Suede's "Grown Men" is full of biotech and gen mod stuff - all part of the society and very well done. Grown Men

My SF stuff has a lot of gen mod/ bio-eng stuff going on, from custom built peeps to less than ethical tampering. :)


message 8: by Oco (last edited Feb 23, 2012 08:42AM) (new)

Oco (ocotillo) | 107 comments I don't write fluff, really; I don't even read it much. It bores me--like, I see nothing to explore, no conflict. And yes, I know fluff can have conflict, just somehow it isn't strong enough or the right 'type' to qualify in my 'personal tastes' column.

Having said that, I haven't yet written a story that wasn't at least HFN. :) No worries on that account. As the trite saying goes, I've seen enough tragedy in my RL, don't want to swim in it in fiction.

I do however, LOVE overcoming adversity as a theme, and dystopic settings. God knows why, but I love them. Just the protags have to prevail somehow, even if only in their little corner. I'm not a depressing person, honest. But I've been told several times that my fiction borders on dark. Maybe my fic is just where I go to express stuff that I don't otherwise.

I can't easily think of others of these, either. Yes, Steel Sleet, but then I draw a blank. Maybe later when I have more time I'll look through my own shelves to see if something comes up. Probably not, though. Haven't read much m/m scifi.


message 9: by Anne (new)

Anne Tenino (annetenino) | 197 comments Meghan (mm_reads) wrote: "Can I just say, this theme is near & dear to my heart in personal way?

In real life, it's many years away, but a gene therapy for an autoimmune disease (the arthritis I have is autoimmune) is b..."


I've been looking into this—do you know how close medical science is? It's amazing, could be as few as 20 years (maybe less).

Also, I've been meaning to PM you—I totally sympathize. I have Lyme (mostly over it) and the joint stuff was killing me. It was the first thing to resolve itself, I got lucky. IDK what I would do if I still had it. I can't imagine living with that everyday. I admire you for your perseverence. :)


message 10: by Anne (new)

Anne Tenino (annetenino) | 197 comments Angel wrote: "Ah, one of my favorite topics - and genetic modification is here. we're doing it. Just not on humans so much yet aside from a little gene therapy here and there. But ti's something I find myself tu..."

Me too—turning to it. I have a couple of ideas floating around. This is one of my favorite areas of sci-fi right now. Has anyone read Stardoc? I've had it in my TBR pile forever. It's not gay sci-fi, but it looks fascinating.


message 11: by Meghan (new)

 Meghan (mm_reads) | 168 comments Mod
Oco wrote: "I don't write fluff, really; I don't even read it much. It bores me--like, I see nothing to explore, no conflict..."

Now I remember- duh! A Chip in His Shoulder has the vampire who's gone and excessively modified himself with cybernetic enhancements and his old ex-boyfriend is under house arrest because of a chip in his shoulder".

The other book that came out in the last year or so is 18% Gray. They use cybernetic implants in the fascist society to monitor the undesirables. It seems like the good guys (sorry for the vagueness, it's been a little while) have nanobots that disable the chips. Oh gosh might be remembering that wrong.

We didn't really distinguish it, but wouldn't nanotechnology fit in the cybernetic genre? I can't think of any gay sci-fi that heavily uses nanotech. Really the ONLY book I can think of right now is The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson. He uses it extensively in a few of the different cultural enclaves in that book.


message 12: by Oco (new)

Oco (ocotillo) | 107 comments Oh. Duh. 18%. I thought of that, but I think Anne's book was mentioned in another thread about the cyber implants (probably during shelf organization) so my head was thinking it'd been mentioned. *waves* Hi Anne. Wasn't diss'ing. :)


message 13: by Anne (new)

Anne Tenino (annetenino) | 197 comments No problemo, Oco, you know that. :)

I think nanotech isn't well understood. It's sort of a vague classification. I don't understand it beyond the very basics, and I used it.


message 14: by Oco (last edited Feb 23, 2012 10:21AM) (new)

Oco (ocotillo) | 107 comments I think the definition of nanotech means it's vague. Nano just means hyper-small, basically, so technically, that can encompass everything from nano-fibers to nanobots. Working to build things on the molecular scale, basically, which leaves a lot of room for interpretation. "Nano" is simply a numerical prefix that means times ten to the negative ninth (or, one one-billionth).

@Lou: Pretty sure you're referring to Lilith's Brood. (Eta, a collection of three smaller books, so you may remember it as one of the individual titles).


message 15: by Charming, Order theorist (new)

Charming (charming_euphemism) | 787 comments Mod
This is just the crowd to appreciate this picture of an iPod pico. Invisible to the naked eye!




message 16: by Charming, Order theorist (new)

Charming (charming_euphemism) | 787 comments Mod
Lou wrote: "That reminds me! JCP's Zero Hour has nanotech and genetic stuff."

Now, that world was grim. I don't think I'll even be rereading it. Esperanza was cheerful by comparison.


message 17: by Ravon, 500 celebration able assistant (new)

Ravon Silvius | 85 comments Mod
I LOVE cybernetics and human enhancement stories in M/M fiction. Explorations of what makes someone human, or the myriad ways human potential can be realized or twisted to fulfill a specific purpose... I can't get enough of those stories. Unfortunately, I don't find a lot of them in the M/M genre. I'll have to check out Steel Sleet and the other recommendations here :)

I do have books on the subject that I've written, so insert author advertisement: - Alpha deals with the rich getting mental enhancements that leads to a class divide, and The Perils of Forgotten Pain: Part 1 has a cyborg soldier as the main character.


message 18: by Oco (last edited Feb 23, 2012 12:06PM) (new)

Oco (ocotillo) | 107 comments Charming wrote: "Lou wrote: "That reminds me! JCP's Zero Hour has nanotech and genetic stuff."

Now, that world was grim. I don't think I'll even be rereading it. Esperanza was cheerful by comparison."


I'm like Lou. In fact, the entire book just didn't work for me on those grounds (ETA, clarify: enjoyed the book fine (tho IMO she's done better), but not as a dystopic SF read.). Just a little too happy. Which sounds weird, I guess. Just there was a lightheartedness about things, with the humor and the fact that they left the environment pretty quickly. I honestly might've enjoyed the book more if I'd seen more suffering within the dystopic environment.

Gah. Can't believe I said that. Swear am not a sadist.


message 19: by Casey (new)

Casey Cox (caseykcox) | 41 comments I can think of two in particular that I've enjoyed recently, both by one author with a different co-author.

Break and Enter is futuristis dystopia. There are high tech enhancements and thinking controlled apps, actually all stuff that is around already in research labs.

The other is Dark Edge of Honor. It's off planet military sci-fi with good examples of medical repair technology.

I didn't get on with Angel 1089. Didn't get past the 2nd chapter. Had high hopes for it too, loved the blurb. It's weird how that happens sometimes.

As for how far we are along - much sooner than 20yrs. They were already trialling nerve regeneration before Christopher Reeve died. He was hoping to be one of the human trials for the specific nerve damage he had.

There has also been some sucess with partial limb regrowth in human trials and growing of new organs from adult stem cells taken from tissue samples. Unfortunatley, for some reason the push is still towards harvesting embryonic stemcells and even creating hybrid zygots to create an abundance of harvestable cells for reasearch. It just depends who backs the research.

I personally think meditech companies would prefer to grow 'blanks' and have a stock pile of organs rather than custom grow them to order - hence the ongoing push for cloning and hybrid stem cells.

In 20 yrs - if the funding and tech is made available for public research into adult stem cells - we should be able to pop in for a cheek swab and go back a week later to have the new liver they've grown from the cells transplanted.


message 20: by Casey (last edited Feb 23, 2012 12:28PM) (new)

Casey Cox (caseykcox) | 41 comments I also meant to say that I've just finished and subbed a story based around genetical modified humans for space travel. It's a topic that has fascinated me for the last decade or so.

The first in a trilogy - at least it will be if I get on with writing the next one lol


message 21: by Anne (new)

Anne Tenino (annetenino) | 197 comments Oco wrote: "I think the definition of nanotech means it's vague. Nano just means hyper-small, basically, so technically, that can encompass everything from nano-fibers to nanobots. Working to build things on t..."

Exactly. But handy as hell, every sci-fi writer should have nanotech in their toolkit. LOL


message 22: by Anne (new)

Anne Tenino (annetenino) | 197 comments Ravon wrote: "I LOVE cybernetics and human enhancement stories in M/M fiction. Explorations of what makes someone human, or the myriad ways human potential can be realized or twisted to fulfill a specific purpos..."

My publisher was very specific about sci-fi not traditionally doing well in M/M. IDK why...I wouldn't be surprised if pubs are very careful which ones they take.


message 23: by Ravon, 500 celebration able assistant (new)

Ravon Silvius | 85 comments Mod
Anne-Unfortunately, that seems to be true for a lot of publishers. The big sellers seem to be contemporary and paranormal.

I got a rejection once that basically said the work was great, but they didn't want the genre and to come back when I'd written something contemporary. It was very disappointing.

I have some darker M/M SF written too, but I'm not sure if it's worth submitting sometimes. It's so niche.


message 24: by Meghan (new)

 Meghan (mm_reads) | 168 comments Mod
Oco wrote: "...I honestly might've enjoyed the book more if I'd seen more suffering within the dystopic environment.

Gah. Can't believe I said that. Swear am not a sadist. ..."


Oco, you're just dystopic in the inside of your brain. Accept it. lol :)


message 25: by Casey (new)

Casey Cox (caseykcox) | 41 comments I guess I'll get a rejection shortly then.


message 26: by Meghan (new)

 Meghan (mm_reads) | 168 comments Mod
Ravon wrote: "Anne-Unfortunately, that seems to be true for a lot of publishers. The big sellers seem to be contemporary and paranormal.

I got a rejection once that basically said the work was great, but they ..."


Ouch. Well, someone should tell them the audience is smaller but MUCH more dedicated *geeks are geeks* :)


message 27: by Anne (new)

Anne Tenino (annetenino) | 197 comments Ravon wrote: "Anne-Unfortunately, that seems to be true for a lot of publishers. The big sellers seem to be contemporary and paranormal.

I got a rejection once that basically said the work was great, but they ..."


You know, I think it's changing in publishing, though. And I do think there are publishers who will take it. The reason I submitted my sci-fi to Dreamspinner is because I knew they published a fair amount of sci-fi. But I think you need a strong romance element.


message 28: by Anne (new)

Anne Tenino (annetenino) | 197 comments Casey wrote: "I guess I'll get a rejection shortly then."

You never know unless you try. :)


message 29: by Ravon, 500 celebration able assistant (new)

Ravon Silvius | 85 comments Mod
Exactly. I did get my work published eventually, after all :)

Here's to more cyborgs in M/M fiction-if there is a cyborg character, I will read it, no questions asked.


message 30: by Casey (new)

Casey Cox (caseykcox) | 41 comments Yes, we can certainly hope that more MM SciFi is on the way.


message 31: by Bill (last edited Feb 24, 2012 07:28AM) (new)

Bill (kernos) | 88 comments Oco wrote: "I think the definition of nanotech means it's vague. Nano just means hyper-small, basically, so technically, that can encompass everything from nano-fibers to nanobots. Working to build things on t..."

I'm not so sure it's all that vague. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter. A micron or micrometer is a millionth of a meter. A human red blood cell averages 8 microns in largest dimension.

I'd suggest that a biological nanobot would be small enough to circulate in the blood so it would have access to any part of the body, even able to get through capillaries. But, a machine is made of parts, smaller than the whole, thus nano-. At least that's how I think about it.

We aree watching Gene Roddenberry's Earth Final: Conflict for the 1st time. It's not his best work, but I am quite enjoying it and wondering why I ignored it when it was new. And, Majel Barrett is in it. It is full of genetic, cybernetic, biologic and nanotech mods.

One of the best Sci-Fi's I have read recently that considers such things as well a a lot of gender issues is The Audran Sequence by George Effinger

A trope of m/m SF is how to get 2 males to reproduce without using a female surrogate. I can sort of remember a few of the solutions (IIRC):

(view spoiler)

These from memory, other's I have likely forgotten. Any other solutions to m/m reproduction out there?


message 32: by Anne (new)

Anne Tenino (annetenino) | 197 comments Nanotech is interesting because of it's ability to move inside the human body. Scientific American did an article a few years ago about how nanotech machines would power themselves. It was fascinating, something I'd never thought of. The suggestions for battery packs dwared the nanotechnology, soo they were coming up with ways to use the movement of the heart to provide power.

Oh, yeah, but my point was that in pop science, a lot of the "nano" term has moved beyond the actual measurement to just mean, "very, very small". LOL


message 33: by Oco (last edited Feb 24, 2012 10:54AM) (new)

Oco (ocotillo) | 107 comments Kernos wrote: "I'm not so sure it's all that vague. A nanometer is a billionth of a meter. A micron or micrometer is a millionth of a meter. A human red blood cell averages 8 microns in largest dimension.

I'd suggest that a biological nanobot would be small enough to circulate in the blood so it would have access to any part of the body, even able to get through capillaries. But, a machine is made of parts, smaller than the whole, thus nano-. At least that's how I think about it. "


I guess it's in what one calls vague. As scientific definitions go, this is pretty vague. It leaves two to three orders of magnitude in size (volume? area? length?) covered, doesn't specify the base unit (meter? gram?), can range from atomic sizes to cellular sizes, can be biologic, organic, or inorganic. Basically, it's a size definition with some sense that it is 'high tech'. It is a definition that is building as we use it.

What it comes down to is it is a bit like the definitions of a 'shitload'*, if it is so small that it requires high tech to build it (often building it 'blind') then it is nanotech.

* any amount of material that makes one say "shit!", so a shitload of dirt is different from a shitload of diamonds.


Anne said, "Oh, yeah, but my point was that in pop science, a lot of the "nano" term has moved beyond the actual measurement to just mean, "very, very small"."

Not just in pop-sci. I think in practiced science, too. And that's okay, really, words evolve to fill a space that they have need for, we are adding new definitions to words all the time. Besides, nano- is a prefix, so the base can be anything, technically speaking. Maybe its a nanoton, or a nano-A.U., or a nano-light-year. :D

I'm waiting for pico-tech.


message 34: by Casey (new)

Casey Cox (caseykcox) | 41 comments In practised science there is nothing vague about measuerment. It it defined precisely.

There is however some 'wriggle room' in the labelling and naming of products when marketing certain technologies to those outside of disciplines that are not used to defining the very small. This is where vague comes in.

Most people have no concept of ten to the minus 3 let alone ten to the minus nine. In fact we aren't really designed to think in terms of powers of ten.

In marketing and everyday language nano means lots of things. In a practical scientific situation the term would not be used without an accompanying definition which removes all vagueness - otherwise it isn't science - it's guesstimating.


message 35: by Oco (last edited Feb 24, 2012 11:37AM) (new)

Oco (ocotillo) | 107 comments Deleted a defensive comment that I wrote before reading entirety. :)

One of the things to point out here, in addition to what Casey says, is that nanotech is not mostly in the realm of science, but in technology. The two are not the same thing, though we tend to treat them the same, and certainly, they are close cousins. The term nanotech is not only a 'most people' term, but one used in academic circles. In academic circles, it does mean 'very small' basically, and is pretty vague, though not as vague as in the general public, for the reasons Casey said (not understanding scales). Probably someone has come up with a precise definition of nanotech, but I'll bet that it is a definition that has been backed-out, i.e., jury-rigged around a decade or so of imprecise use. Engineering/tech is less concerned with being anal about precise definitions (like scientists tend to be) and more concerned about getting things made and communicating with people doing similar work. So in that sense, to me, 'nanotech', though vague, suits its purpose.

ETA: Which is a boon to SF writing. :)


message 36: by Casey (new)

Casey Cox (caseykcox) | 41 comments Oco wrote: "Which is a boon to SF writing. :) "

I think another one of the beautiful things about SF writing is that it brings many previously unimagined ideas, concepts and proposed technoligies out into the public domain. Hopefully inspiring scientists, engineers and inventors alike to push towards something.

In this arena artisitc license should allow for lots of wriggle room re definitions - it's what makes it fun and fascinating.

And yes - picotech - to send inside our little nanobot friends to fix them. Makes me think of that 80's film Inner Space
:)


message 37: by Anne (new)

Anne Tenino (annetenino) | 197 comments Today on Talk of the Nation an Australian researcher was talking about puttinng transistors on single atoms. It was insane.


message 38: by Oco (new)

Oco (ocotillo) | 107 comments There you go. Picotech. :) Once we get to the nucleus, it can be femtotech. ha-hah!

Insane, indeed. O.o!


message 39: by Oco (new)

Oco (ocotillo) | 107 comments OH!! Speaking of powers of 10. Have you guys seen this? Tres-cool flash animation, fun thing to play with.

http://scaleofuniverse.com/


message 40: by Meghan (new)

 Meghan (mm_reads) | 168 comments Mod
Oco wrote: "OH!! Speaking of powers of 10. Have you guys seen this? Tres-cool flash animation, fun thing to play with.

http://scaleofuniverse.com/"


How cool! And kind of funny in some parts...


message 41: by Meghan (new)

 Meghan (mm_reads) | 168 comments Mod
Does anyone remember something about RNA being used to do simple computing? When I was at UC Santa Cruz in the computer program, a couple of my profs had brought it up. And my adviser was working on the human genome project (too bad I didn't know that til later)


message 42: by Bill (new)

Bill (kernos) | 88 comments Meghan (mm_reads) wrote: "Does anyone remember something about RNA being used to do simple computing?..."

Even 'computing' is a vague term without a context are you talking about doing a sum or running a program or designing a microchip? RNA is a computer program (in assembly language?) and has been to create proteins or polypeptides used therapeutically, diagnostically or scientifically. It can be done in vivo or in vitro.

I understand the vagueness Oco is talking about and think the best thing yet said is "ETA: Which is a boon to SF writing. :)", though I don't know what ETA means.

OTOH, I think more rigorously about what nano or nanotech means, perhaps because I've used it in my work, not on a tech level, but as a measurement specifically and more generally as meaning "atomic or molecular scales".

The 1st use of the term according to the OED (and wikipedia) was at an semiconductor engineering conference:
1974 N. Taniguchi in Proc. Internat. Conf. Production Engin. ii. 18/1 The usual precision finishing technology has aimed to get the preciseness and fineness of 1 μm, i.e. 10^−6m in length, hence it says ‘micro-technology’, not so accurate in meaning. Consequently, in contrast, the finishing technology aimed to get the preciseness and fineness of 1nm would be called ‘Nano-technology’.


Then there is the related term, nanite (or nannite), 1st used in the ST:TNG episode "Evolution" where Wesley's nanites escaped and went on to become sentient. Some critics called it silly. I liked it. Scales were not discussed other than his using a funny looking microscope or nanoscope(?) to look at them.


message 43: by Meghan (new)

 Meghan (mm_reads) | 168 comments Mod
hmm. No this would be the human biological genetic RNA. I'm not sure how complex the programs that they were able to accomplish. Basically there seemed like a few years where biological computing was becoming the next "big thing".

* rambling speculation on*
I wonder what happened with that because it gives cybernetic and genetic modifications a whole new look. Integrating biological computers to augment human capacity? Using genetic modifications on biological computers? Using cybernetic mods to create moere permanent biological mods. And think about what it would take to "hack" those sorts of biological computers. Man-made biological computer viruses could just as easily effect human biology.

In Break and Enter, there's a bit about (view spoiler)


message 44: by Oco (new)

Oco (ocotillo) | 107 comments I remember hearing something about this. I'd speculated at the time that it might be biochemical signals that had been successfully converted into digital data, but that's just me talking out my ass. Sounds reasonable, but I really don't know.


message 45: by Casey (new)

Casey Cox (caseykcox) | 41 comments I do remember talk of moving away from silicon based chips in computing to a biochip. Perhaps this is what you're referring to?

This was already well in hand about five years or so ago. I've no idea what's happened with it since.

ETA means edited to add


message 46: by Meghan (new)

 Meghan (mm_reads) | 168 comments Mod
Casey wrote: "I do remember talk of moving away from silicon based chips in computing to a biochip. Perhaps this is what you're referring to?

This was already well in hand about five years or so ago. I've no i..."


I heard about it in 1995 :) So if you're still hearing about it 5 years ago 'coming' along', either it's still got a long ways to go or they're keeping it closely under wraps.


message 47: by Casey (new)

Casey Cox (caseykcox) | 41 comments I think there are two different elements to it.

Creating or growing an artifical brain like structure that can work as a computer chip does currently - which maybe skirts the realms of AI.

The capability of having an organic/artifical interface that allows humans to be 'mechanicaly modified' or enhanced, whether by replacement prosthesis, extra strength and senses in the form or bionics (think Break and Enter, The SixMillion Dollar Man) or built-in communication and boosted brain function.

They are all seperate projects at varying stages of progress. Things are much further along in the later section.

This was the nearest I came in a search but it isn't organic. It seems researchers are working from both ends of the spectrum. Trying to make current material chips work like brains and growing organic brain like chips that they then struggle to program...

http://www.popsci.com/science/article...


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