Stories from the Far Side of Research
Edited by Ra Page
£9.99 or £8.45 if you buy online now.
OUT THIS MONTH (14 Feb), available to order now!
To order online from outside the UK click here
- Financial Times
Toby Litt's Bio-Punk story 'Call it ''The Bug'' Because I Have No Time to Think of a Better Title' short-listed for the 2013 Sunday Times EFG Private Bank Short Story Award.
More info here
: Jane Feaver, Simon Ings, Annie Kirby, Toby Litt, Sara Maitland, Adam Marek, Gregory Norminton, Sean O’Brien, K.J. Orr, Justina Robson, Jane Rogers, Dilys Rose, Sarah Schofield, and Simon Van Booy.
: Professor Martyn Amos, Dr Melissa Baxter, Dr Jane Calvert, Sarah Gilbert, Dr Jane Haley, Dr Nick Love, Dr Ian McGonigle, Dr Ainsley Newson, Dr Simon Stott, Dr Nihal Engin Vrana, Dr Angharad Watson, and Professor Bruce Whitelaw.
Programmable memories, fatherless reproduction, nano-tech implants, amphibian-powered scar treatment, full body modification, brain-scanning lie-detectors, inter-species reproduction, self-determining synthetic ‘green goo’…
Which of these would you wager is pure science fiction, and which currently being developed in the lab? Such is the speed and excitement of today’s bio-medical research – sprinting from the starting gun that was the Human Genome Project – it’s sometimes hard to tell. In a unique collaboration, fourteen short story writers have been invited to explore the increasingly grey area between the fantastical and that which is already within our reach. Closely collaborating with scientists and ethicists working at the forefronts of their respective fields, each writer has been tasked with predicting some of the potential ‘ethical side-effects’ of this groundbreaking work. Not all progress, after all, is progressive. And dark forces are afoot that threaten to hi-jack what many declared would be ‘the century of biology’.
Supported by the Wellcome Trust.
Dilys Rose's contribution was made possible as part of the European Short Story Network
, with support from Creative Scotland and the
European Cultural Foundation.
Read Adam Marek's story 'An Industrial Evolution' on the Wellcome Trust blog here.
Read Prof. Bruce Whitelaw's afterword to 'An Industrial Evolution' on the Wellcome Trust blog here.
was born in Durham in 1964. After reading English at university she worked at the Pitt Rivers Museum and then in the Poetry Department at Faber and Faber. In 2001 she moved to Devon with her daughter. According to Ruth (2007) was shortlisted for the Author’s Club First novel award and the Dimplex Prize; Love Me Tender (2009) was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. A second novel, An Inventory of Heaven, is out this year from Corsair.
was born in 1965 in Horndean and educated at Churcher’s College, Petersfield and at King’s College London and Birkbeck College, London. His six novels include Hotwire, Headlong, Painkillers and The Weight of Numbers. He is editor of the New Scientist’s new publication, Arc. His short story ‘Zoology’ was specially commissioned for When It Changed (Comma, 2009).
was born and grew up in Dorset, and has been writing stories since she was five years old. Her short stories have been published in various anthologies, including Bracket (Comma, 2004), and adapted for broadcast on national and local radio, and for audio download. Her story, ‘The Wing’ won the 2005 Asham Award. She lives in Portsmouth.
is the author of eight novels – Beatniks: An English Road Movie, Corpsing, Deadkidsongs, Finding Myself, Ghost Story, Hospital, Journey into Space and King Death – as well as three collections of short stories: Adventures in Capitalism, Exhibitionism and I Play the Drums in a Band Called Okay. In 2003 Toby Litt was nominated by Granta magazine as one of the 20 ‘Best of Young British Novelists’. He lives in London and is a member of English PEN. He has previously contributed to Comma’s Lemistry: A Celebration of the Work of Stanislaw Lem.
grew up in Galloway and studied at Oxford University. Her first novel, Daughters of Jerusalem, was published in 1978 and won the Somerset Maugham Award. Novels since have included Three Times Table (1990), Home Truths (1993) and Brittle Joys (1999), and one co-written with Michelene Wandor – Arky Types (1987). Her short story collections include Telling Tales (1983), A Book of Spells (1987) and most recently, On Becoming a Fairy Godmother (2003). She has also contributed stories to The New Uncanny, When It Changed, and Litmus (all Comma) and is currently writing an entire collection of stories for Comma, in collaboration with scientists.
is an award-winning short story writer. He won the 2011 Arts Foundation Short Story Fellowship, and was shortlisted for the inaugural Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award. His first story collection Instruction Manual for Swallowing (Comma, 2007) was nominated for the Frank O’Connor Prize. His stories have appeared in many magazines, including: Prospect and The Sunday Times Magazine, and in many anthologies including Lemistry, Litmus and The New Uncanny from Comma Press, The New Hero from Stoneskin Press, and The Best British Short Stories 2011. His second collection, The Stone Thrower, was published earlier this year. To subscribe to Adam’s blog, Twitter and Facebook updates, visit www.adammarek.co.uk
’s novels include The Ship of Fools (2002), Arts and Wonders (2004), Ghost Portrait (2005) and Serious Things (2008), all published by Sceptre. His work for radio includes dramatisations of The Machine Stops by E.M. Forster and Utz by Bruce Chatwin. He is a regular contributor to The Verb on BBC Radio 3. His stories have appeared on BBC Radio 4, and in Prospect, Resurgence, London Magazine and Zembla. He has also been writer in residence at Magdalene College, Cambridge and he was a featured artist at the 2003 International Writing Program at the University of Iowa.
’s latest collection of poems is November (Picador, 2011), a Poetry Book Society Choice. Its predecessor, The Drowned Book (Picador, 2007) won the T.S. Eliot and Forward Prizes. Previous poetry collections include The Indoor Park (Bloodaxe, 1983), The Frighteners (Bloodaxe, 1987), HMS Glasshouse (OUP, 1991), Ghost Train (OUP, 1995) and Downriver (Picador, 2001). His essays have been collected in The Deregulated Muse and his translations include Dante’s Inferno, Aristophanes’ The Birds and Zamyatin’s We (for radio). His collection of short stories, The Silence Room, was published by Comma in 2008 and his novel Afterlife by Picador in 2009. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.
was born in London. As an undergraduate, she won the Dan Hemingway Prize at the University of St Andrews for a short story later published in the anthology Doris Lumsden’s Heart-Shaped Bed & Other Stories (2004). Her work has also appeared in Cheque Enclosed (2007) and the Bridport Prize collection 2010, and her story ‘The Human Circadian Pacemaker’ was shortlisted for the 2011 BBC National Short Story Prize. She has won awards for both short fiction and plays, and been shortlisted for the London Writers’ Prize, the Asham Award and the Bridport Prize. She is a graduate of the MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia and in 2010 won Arts and Humanities Research Council funding for a collection of short stories, as part of a PhD on the form at the University of Chichester.
attended the Clarion West Writing Workshop and was first published in 1994 in the British small press magazine The Third Alternative, but is best known as a novelist. Her debut novel Silver Screen was shortlisted for both the Arthur C Clarke Award and the BSFA Award in 2000. Her second novel, Mappa Mundi, was also shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Award in 2001. It won the 2000 Amazon.co.uk Writer’s Bursary. In 2004, Natural History, Robson’s third novel, was shortlisted for the BSFA Award, and came second in the John W Campbell Award. Novels since have included Living Next-Door to the God of Love and Keeping It Real. Her short story ‘Carbon’ was specially commissioned for When It Changed (Comma, 2009).
was born in London in 1952 and lived in Birmingham, New York State (Grand Island) and Oxford, before doing an English degree at Cambridge University. She taught English for six years before the publication of her first novel, Separate Tracks. Since then she has written eight novels including Mr Wroe’s Virgins, Island, The Voyage Home and most recently The Testament of Jessie Lamb (Sandstone Press), which was longlisted for the 2011 Man Booker Prize, as well as original and adapted work for television and radio drama. In 1994 she was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and is currently Professor of Writing on the MA course at Sheffield Hallam University. In 2009 her story ‘Hitting Trees With Sticks’ was shortlisted for the BBC National Short Story Prize. Her first collection of short stories was published by Comma this autumn.
lives in Edinburgh and teaches on the Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. She writes mainly poetry and fiction but has also written some drama and, more recently, text for music. Awards she has received include: The Macallan/Scotland on Sunday Short Story Award (1991), Society of Authors’ Travel Award (1998), two Scottish Arts Council Book Awards (1993, 1999), Canongate Prize (2000), UNESCO/City of Literature fellowship (2006), and the McCash prize (2006) Award (1991), Society of Authors’ Travel Award (1998), two Scottish Arts Council Book Awards (1993, 1999), Canongate Prize (2000), UNESCO/City of Literature fellowship (2006), and the McCash prize (2006).
is a new writer whose recent prizes include the Writers Inc Short Story Competition and the Calderdale Short Story Competition. She was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in 2010 and was runner up in The Guardian Travel Writing Competition. Her story ‘Traces Remain’ appeared in Lemistry: A Celebration of the Life of Stanislaw Lem, and ‘All About You’ is to appear in a new Comma showcase, of the same name, in late 2012.
Simon Van Booy
was born in Great Britain and grew up in rural Wales. He is the author of The Secret Lives of People in Love, Love Begins in Winter (winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award) and the novel, Everything Beautiful Began After. His first play, HINDSIGHT, was recently staged in New York City. He teaches at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, and was a finalist for the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise. His work has been translated into thirteen languages. His latest novel, The Illusion of Separateness will be released in the autumn of 2012.
is a Professor of Novel Computation at Manchester Metropolitan University, and the author of Genesis Machines: The New Science of Biocomputing (Atlantic, 2007). His research interests include complexity theory, artificial life, synthetic biology and natural computing.
Dr Melissa Baxter
is a stem cell research scientist at Manchester University. She is currently developing ways to turn stem cells into liver cells for drug testing and safer medicine. Her recent publications include the development of a new, efficient way to grow stem cells. During her PhD (2001 to 2005) she published research showing how adult stem cells age, and was the first to genetically correct diseased stem cells from bone marrow stroma.
Dr Jane Calvert
is a sociologist of science at the University of Edinburgh. She has a background in human sciences (Sussex), philosophy of science (London School of Economics), and science policy (Sussex). She is particularly interested in the social dimensions of synthetic biology, including interdisciplinary interactions in the field, intellectual property and open source, and design and aesthetics.
is Professor of Vaccinology, Jenner Institute, University of Oxford. She studied at the University of East Anglia and University of Hull, and worked for a biotechnology company prior to moving to Oxford University in 1994. She leads the Jenner Institute Influenza vaccine programme and also works on the development of new vaccines to prevent malaria. This entails organising clinical trials with volunteers to test both malaria and influenza vaccines.
Dr Jane Haley
is the Scientific Coordinator for Edinburgh Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh. She has a BSc and a PhD in Pharmacology from UCL and spent 20 years recording the electrical activity of nerve cells trying to understand how chronic pain and memories are formed. Her role is now to bring together researchers to create a vibrant neuroscience community in Edinburgh. As part of these activities, in 2010 she coordinated a series of debates looking at the use of brain imaging technology (and fMRI in particular) outside the medical and research arenas.
Dr Nick Love
is a researcher at the University of Manchester studying the biology of Xenopus tadpole tail regeneration. He is winner of the 2012 Westminster Medal and was shortlisted for the 2011 Guardian/Wellcome Trust Science Writing Prize.
Dr Ian Vincent McGonigle
holds a BA in ‘Biochemistry with Cell Biology’ (Dublin) and a PhD in ‘Molecular Pharmacology’ (Cantab) and has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience, FASEB Journal and Biochemistry. He is currently studying Socio-Cultural Anthropology at the University of Chicago, with research interests in bioethics, epistemology, ethno-pharmacology and medical anthropology.
Dr Ainsley Newson
is Senior Lecturer in Biomedical Ethics at the University of Bristol. Previously (2003-6) she was a Research Fellow in Ethics and Clinical Genetics at Imperial College London. Ainsley works on the ethical aspects of genetics and emerging biotechnologies and has published and lectured widely on these topics. Ainsley has a PhD in Medical Ethics from the University of Melbourne as well as Bachelor degrees in Science and Law. From January 2013 she will be Sesqui Senior Lecturer in Bioethics at the University of Sydney.
Dr Simon Stott
is a research scientist working at the Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair at Cambridge University. His specific area of interest is the molecular mechanisms behind neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. He has a PhD in Neurobiology (Lund University, Sweden) and is also an associate lecturer for the Open University.
Dr Nihal Engin Vrana
is a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard-MIT’s Division of Health Sciences and Technology. He has previously been a postdoctoral researcher at INSERM U977, Strasbourg, France. He has a PhD in Engineering from DCU, Dublin, and an MSc in Biotechnology, and a BSc in Biology from METU, Ankara, Turkey. His research interests include tissue engineering, biomaterials and cell-material interactions. He has published 16 peer reviewed articles in international journals, one book chapter and one patent.
Dr Angharad Watson
read Biochemistry at Oxford. Her studies led to a PhD position at the University of Manchester, where she worked as a postdoctoral research associate, researching complex sugars in the disease Mucopolysaccharidosis. She is now based at Cardiff University, investigating tumour immunotherapy.
Professor Bruce Whitelaw
is Head of Division at The Roslin Institute and Professor of Animal Biotechnology at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies of the University of Edinburgh. He is a molecular geneticist by training and his research focuses on the development of embryo manipulation and gene transfer technology in mammals. Bruce actively seeks to apply this technology in the field of animal biotechnology.
DURHAM LITERATURE FESTIVAL, Sat 27 Oct
With authors Dilys Rose
and Simon Ings
and neuroscientist Dr. Jane Haley
is a novelist and journalist and an editor at New Scientist
is an award-winning writer of fiction and poetry.
Dr Jane Haley
is neuroscience scientific co-ordinator at the University of Edinburgh.
Durham Town Hall, Market Place, Durham, DH1 3NJ.
Part of Durham Book Festival
More info here
Supported by the Wellcome Trust.
Also available in the Science-into-Fiction Series:
Litmus: Short Stories from Modern Science
Selected for The Observer's Best Books of the 2011
'Exquisite... delectable' - New Scientist
BOOK OF THE WEEK: 'Works brilliantly... ingenious... unfailingly interesting.' - The Independent
Listen to author Sarah Hall and editor Ra Page discuss the science-into-fiction project on BBC Radio 4's Front Row on iPLayer
More about Litmus
When It Changed
'Science Into Fiction': NEW EDITION OUT NOW!!
Ed. by Geoff Ryman
A literary 'experiment' in the scientific sense.
*Featuring Sara Maitland's 'Moss Witch' - Runner Up in the BBC National Short Story Prize 2009
- New Scientist
, 5 Dec 09.
More about When It Changed
Return to home page