As I mentioned in my writeups, I felt like I spent a lot of Worldcon talking with people about medical SF or the surprising dearth thereof. It’s still on my mind for two reasons.
First, I’m looking at this year’s starred-review books as I begin to build the Best Books of the Year list, and that led to me reading Michael Flynn’s Captive Dreams, a dense and chewy collection of medical SF stories. Some were written many years ago, but the hypothetical medical science is still relevant and really interesting, and Flynn does a wonderful job of looking at the intersection of the scientific and the social, talking about hope as well as horror. I feel like this book landed in my lap at just the right time, so that I can shove it into the hands of anyone who claims that medical SF is too hard to do well or that technology is advancing so quickly as to make speculation obsolete.
Second, I spent last night in the ER with my girlfriend, who was presenting all the symptoms of appendicitis (though fortunately her appendix is fine and the culprit turned out to be something a lot less scary, with no surgery needed). At one point she suggested to the doctor that while he was taking our her appendix, he should implant a GPS tracking device so that I know where she is even when she forgets to charge her phone. ”Don’t joke about that,” the doctor said. “We’re nearly at the point where we can do it for real.” Of course I was immediately reminded of Maureen McHugh’s “Oversite” (in the superb collection Mothers and Other Monsters, which you can download for free), and once again I felt a brief surge of gratitude to the authors who make me think about the ethics and ramifications of medical technology.
So once I’m done reading all these amazing starred books for the Best Books, where should I look for more good medical SF?