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Biology in Science Fiction
Cloning, creatures, chemicals and the biology behind the fiction.
Cloning, creatures, chemicals and the biology behind the fiction.


What is your favorite SF story that features cloning or clones? 

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Are you interested in chatting about the science in science fiction?
Do you have a recommendation for a book, movie or TV show with cool science? 
Have you read about an amazing new advance in genetic engineering, cloning, or bioengineering? 

Join the new Biology in Science Fiction community!

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Welcome to the Biology in Science Fiction community!

• Do you have a recommendation for a book or movie with cool science? 
• Is there science in the news that you think could inspire fiction? 
• Where do you think the future of genetic engineering, cloning and biotechnology is heading?

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RIP Nefertiti.  The jumping spider that traveled to the ISS as part of a student microgravity experiment didn't live long in retirement after her long journey.
It is with sadness that we announce the death of Nefertiti, the “Spidernaut.” “Neffi” was introduced to visitors Thursday, Nov. 29, after traveling in space on a 100-day, 42-million-mile expedition en route to and aboard the International Space Station. She was there to take part in a student-initiated experiment on microgravity.

This morning, before museum hours, a member of the Insect Zoo staff discovered Neffi had died of natural causes. Neffi lived for 10 months. The lifespan of the species, Phidippus johnsoni, can typically reach up to 1 year.

The loss of this special animal that inspired so many imaginations will be felt throughout the museum community. The body of Neffi will be added to the museum’s collection of specimens where she will continue to contribute to the understanding of spiders.

Image courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution.

#spidernaut   #internationalspacestation   #nefertiti   #insectphotography  
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Locus Magazine just posted an interview with SF author Ted Kosmatka. He talks about his first novel - The Games - was inspired by working as a teenaged corn-detassler. There probably aren't many SF novels that got their start with corn sex.  

He also talks about his new novel - The Bone Prophet - which is set on an alternate Earth that's only 6,000 years old, and yet has some confounding fossils. 

Both novels are on my reading list.
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The +Los Angeles Times Hero Complex blog interviewed actorDean O'Gormon, who plays the dwarf Fili in the new The Hobbit movie.  He talks about the difficulty playing a role that involves extensive prosthetics: 

“You want to think that as an actor, your character and the character decisions that you make is the main thing, but with this job … a lot of things were physical requirements that had to be first dealt with,” O’Gorman said. “Like how to hold your pipe without dropping it because you’ve got fake hands, or how to use your voice, because your fake ears are changing the sound of your own voice. So all these things you have to work with even before you get to, ‘How do I say this line?’”

Props to actors in science fiction and fantasy movies that pull it off so well that you don't even remember that their face and body isn't quite their own.

+The Hobbit Movies  #hobbitmovie  
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+Double X Science talks to microbiologist Jennifer Canale about growing up a nerdy girl, expressing femininity and flamboyance as a scientist, and science communication. She lives a scientific life:

"My entire life is influenced by, or even revolves around, "Science."  I love science fiction movies, books, comic books, etc.  Any inspiration I get for any of my creative projects always has some root in something "science-related." I also think that my background in science helps make my visions come to life. Even the smallest details like the stemware I chose for my wedding was a Mikasa pattern that resembled a DNA double helix, or a hexagonal candleholder that looked like a benzene ring (at least it did to me!)."
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More free short fantasy fiction you can pre-order for your Kindle:

"This anthology includes short stories from six fierce young adult authors! Inside, you’ll find a futuristic zombie tale from Ann Aguirre, a science fiction thriller from Gennifer Albin, a nautical mermaid story from Elizabeth Fama, a story full of unicorns from Lish McBride, a postapocalyptic story from Caragh O’Brien, and a paranormal alternate future from Marie Rutkowski. This free anthology will give you an exciting taste of the fierceness of these YA authors’ novels. "
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The 2012 short fiction anthology is currently free to preorder for the Kindle at It will include fiction from award winning SF authors, including Charles Stross, Pat Murphy, Michael Swanwick, Gene Wolfe, Elizabeth Bear, Rachel Swirsky and more.

Even better: the download will be DRM free. The publication date is January 1, 2013.
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In September Dr. Ali Khan of the Center for Disease Control's Office of Public Health Preparedness & Response (CDC PHPR) and some of his colleagues attended Dragon*Con in Atlanta. After participating in the Don't Panic! panel discussion (with +Bad Astronomy's +Philip Plait, author +Scott Sigler and astronomer +Pamela Gay) there was a session with CDC and CNN's Chad Myers about emergency preparedness.

They talked a bit about how the CDC interacts with science fiction entertainment:

Dr. Khan: CDC works diligently to influence the science or facts in entertainment today.  Take the movie Contagion for example.  We worked very closely with their writers and producers to ensure the science was accurate.  CDC also partners with Hollywood Health & Society on a numerous other media-related projects like Greys Anatomy, Doc McStuffins, etc.

Chad Myers:  One of the best qualities one can have when thinking about preparedness is to be continually cognizant of “what will happen next” scenarios.  [...snip...]  We are using entertainment as an educational tool today; allowing us to increase the number of people thinking about their own preparedness and improving the forward thinking individuals need to be an effective contributor during a response. 

What do you think: should government agencies use entertainment as an educational tool?

See the article below for the entire Q & A session:
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