Biopunk: It’s the hacking life for me…

Apologies for the bad title, but I couldn’t resist…

I’ve been playing about with writing a biopunk romance and when I mentioned it in passing in a chat room, someone asked me what that actually was.  So here’s my take on it.

Biopunk is biological hacking.  There’s no time to wait around for large corporations with vested interests to hand down information.  You want something, or want something done, you do it yourself.

DNA is our source code and having access to the full sequence means the hack can begin.  Link people together, get them working on a problem, using a little money, brains and obsession, and the ability to make the impossible is there.  Anyone want to find out why the naked mole rat lives so long or is immune to cancer?  Their genome has just been sequenced. Have at it!

The chance to play around with DNA, piece it together in new and strange and possibly terrifying ways could be a result. And for me, that’s where the fun is.

To move into fiction, biopunk as a genre in a lot of ways can resemble that other punk: cyberpunk.  A future dysoptia, with the little–often criminal–guy(s) up against the mega-corporations or the all-pervasive state.

Machines in a biopunk world are liable to be organic and living rather than a sentience built by a computer and as in a virtual reality world, anything imagined could be grown. Or pushing it further, where it’s all gone wrong and humans are genetically altered, diseased by virulent super-bug creations, or existing as little more than pets.

Pets.  Yes, I may have used that in a book before…

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