Is it love if I want to be you,
want to inhale DNA rings when we kiss,
when we conjugate?
Am I obsessed if I want you to express yourself
After studying bio-engineering at an undergraduate level, Sharang Biswas became fascinated by how bacteria reproduce and exchange genetic material. This story is a poetical take on bacterial conjugation, a concise explanation of which is found here. Bacteria are capable of rapid growth, but only when the conditions are right. Recently, researchers have found an increase of a protein called FtsZ is the trigger for growth in E. Coli. Several labs are investigating substances that accelerate the breakdown of FtsZ. Hopefully, some of these will be promising candidates for new antibiotics.
//Sharang Biswas’ (@sharangbiswas) two engineering degrees propelled him to attend art school. He is now a game designer, writer and artist based in New York. See his portfolio here. //
Flowers blossomed through what remained of my eye sockets, green-brown skin peeling off like dead leaves. Never jailbreak your chlorophyll implants.
William Shaw wrote this story inspired by the biohacking movement. While the potential benefits of augmenting the human body are potentially immense, he worries about how such technology would interact with a tech world increasingly dominated by proprietary software. Intriguingly, chlorophyll is already a substance of interest to those in the bodymod community. In 2015, grinders tested chlorophyll’s ability to augment night vision. In 2016, the Quimera Rosa collective presented a project called “Transplant“, where chlorophyll was injected in an attempt to create photosynthesising tattoos. Whatever the results, the proprietary dilemmas of body modification are something we should definitely consider.
//William Shaw (@Will_S_7) is a tech writer by day, blogger by night. Find him online at williamshawwriter.wordpress.com//
Did you know that the Vault has a Patreon? I’ve just given our Patron’s exclusive early access to a new blog post! This month, I’m asking if creating dystopias based on possible disaster is worth it. Could it make the reader feel like change is hopeless? Click here to read more: Is Dystopic Sci-Fi Just Suffocating Hot Air?
Alone, I have sailed, sought and found
I am tired
Careening further still into the void, my dream of sleep is dashed
As thrusters wake
For the first time in 37 years, Voyager 1 was roused by the remote re-ignition of its thrusters by NASA to slightly alter its course. In this story, Nathaniel Darbonne re-imagines the awakening of Voyager 1, humanising it for his reader. If you feel your heartstrings pulled, this is not the first time a spaceship has been anthropomorphised – several spacecrafts have now ‘live-tweeted’ their own deaths (with the help of a human media department). What will future generations think of our compassion for inanimate spacecraft?
//Nathaniel Darbonne is a human.//
The district attorney’s histrionics left the audience in tears. Unimpressed, the robot juror considered the facts.
Inspired by research on how artificial intelligence will impact the way we work, writer Justin Short creates a sci-fi legal drama in Story #141. “Robots aren’t scary,” says Justin. “What’s scary is knowing your fate is in the hands of twelve humans easily swayed by emotional closing arguments.” With the launch of IBM Watson’s legal AI application, Outside Counsel Insights (OCI) in 2017, the legal industry is poised on the precipice of fast technological change. Yet, it must be asked – if we use robot’s to enforce the law, can programmers overcome their own unconscious biases to ensure the law is ethically enforced?
//Justin writes horror, sci-fi, and other stuff. Find him online at www.justin-short.com.//
U.S. DECLARES EMERGENCY EXPANSION OF GUEST WORKER PROGRAM
Contracts will be offered to citizens of all Latin American nations to fill pollinator vacancies ahead of the California almond bloom.
As North American honeybee populations decline dramatically, it’s interesting to speculate how the U.S. would continue to feed itself and the rest of the world. California alone provides 80% of the world’s almond supply. China has already begun to utilize humans as crop pollinators. With immigrants supplying over half of the U.S. agricultural workforce, a reassessment of immigration policy could be the future.
//Celina Chiarello (@thecelinas) is a mother of dragons, a writer of things, and an eater of cupcakes. Checkout more of the things she writes at girldoingstuff.com.//
They pull their fist closed as another species drops. Saiga antelopes. Murre. Musk oxen. They swivel in their chair, facing the panorama of beastkind surrounding them. Gnarly fingers point. Who next?
No species may be safe from the mass die-offs stemming from warm, wet or otherwise anomalous weather. Here, D. A. Xiaolin Spires anthropomorphises climate change as a villain searching for its next prey. Her work joins the growing genre of climate fiction and anthologies like Ecopunk!
//D.A. Xiaolin Spires runs, hides and dives—shedding fur to escape Climate Change’s warm, wet, idiosyncratic wrath. Work in Clarkesworld, Analog and Fireside.//
A quick enema and Ed was a new man. Only his wife knew that he was just a steak-and-fries away from a return to prison.
After writing an undergraduate thesis was about faecal microbiota transplantation, Sharang Biswas has done a lot of reading on the intestinal microbiome. Fascinated by research that suggested that your gut’s hitchhikers can affect your personality and behaviour, Biswas gives this research a Clockwork Orange-esque twist in today’s Story Seed. This rather fluid formula for criminal reform is full of possibilities.
//Sharang Biswas’s two engineering degrees propelled him to attend art school. He is now a game designer, writer and artist based in New York.//
Appearances aren’t everything. She caused the seas to tremble, yet was overcome by the eight tiny warriors she nurtured within.
Last April, Palaeontologists discovered part of the skeleton of a 180 million-year-old pregnant ichthyosaur with the remains of 6-8 tiny embryos between its ribs. Inspired by the possibility that a top marine predator of the time was killed by those she was trying to nurture, Brogan Micallef weaves the science into this fantastical fiction. Imagine if Odysseus had access to ichyosaurs….
//Brogan Micallef is a Jane Austen and sci-fi obsessed writer + strategist who helps busy entrepreneurs grow their community + biz with content. Find her at @broganmicallef and broganmicallef.com//