Brenda Cooper. Biology at the End of the World. (Asimovs September 2015)

asimovs1509Fairly routine scientist fiction, more of an Analog than an Asimovs story to my mind. It sets up a scientific ethical conundrum, and puts some scientists in place to shine a light on the issue, and leaves the reader to come up with their own decision.

The conundrum is this : if genetic modification has wrecked Earth, and there is a zero tolerance policy towards genmod that must be enforced, is there any scenario when a genmod inspector looking for breaches of that policy, might be inclined to stay their hand and not destroy the results of the breaches of that genmod policy, as is required?

It’s a little unsubtle in setting the scene, but at least having journalists pose questions to scientists at the end of the story made it equally unsubtle at the end of the story, balancing it nicely. But compare it to Derek Kunsken’s Pollen from a Future Harvest, from a recent Asimovs, in which Kunsken adds several dimensions of characterisation, background, etc. to his story, that this story lacks.

More from this issue here.

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