Main/Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke – Television …

Posted: January 24, 2015 at 6:45 am

"Biotechnology promises the greatest revolution in human history. By the end of this decade, it will have outdistanced atomic power and computers in its effect on our everyday lives." Once upon a time, superheroes inevitably gained their superpowers from radiation, the latest and most mysterious-yet-powerful fad of the 50s and 60s. Technology Marches On, however, and gene splicing has replaced atom smashing as the most glamorous sciencey stuff: nowadays, many modern remakes of classic superheroes go with Genetic Engineering. Be it a bite from a genetically engineered spider, or exposure to it in a freak accident, genetically engineered origins are the Phlebotinum for the 21st century. Rarely are the effects of "genetic engineering" anything like those portrayed in adventure fiction however, it's a buzzword that everyone knows, and that the average public knows just enough about for it to seem powerful, without any inconvenient actual education getting in the road of the Phlebotinum at work. God only knows what superheroes will be getting their powers from twenty years from now - nanotechnology, perhaps? (It's certainly very fashionable in Cyber Punk these days.) Quantum mechanics is another good excuse - anything can happen because of quantum. Genetic Engineering also lends itself to being weaponized to do exactly the same thing as those ultracool nukes that kill people but leave buildings standing. Now that nuclear apocalypse is substantially less likely (or at least less likely to wipe us all out), and Chemical/Biological weapons just aren't destructive enough in terms of human life, Genetic Weapons make a nice scary (and vague) alternative. It's also interesting to note the other favourite sources of weirdness used by SF writers before the advent of nuclear physics.

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