Short Stories About Genetic Engineering or Clones: Biotechnology, Nanotechnology or Eugenics

All the stories on this page include some kind of genetic engineering that augments humans. It also includes stories about clones.

See also:

“Appropriate Love” by Greg Egan

A woman is told that her husband, the victim of a train wreck, is going to survive. However, he will need a new body. There’s too much damage to rebuild. They have insurance that will cover the procedure—growing a new body and keeping the brain alive in the meantime. A recent development in the field is cheaper than the usual procedure. Their policy dictates they’ll only pay for the cheapest option.

This is the third story in the preview of The Best of Greg Egan(49% into Kindle preview)

“Blood Music” by Greg Bear

Edward sees his old friend Virgil Ulam after about two years. He looks better. Genetron Corp., where he worked, had a breakthrough with Medically Applicable Biochips, microscopic circuits that can troubleshoot inside the human body. Virgil was fired over his own side project in that area. He wants Edward to give him a thorough examination.

This novelette can be read in the preview of The Best of the Best: 20 Years of the Year’s Best Science Fiction(20% into preview)

“The Invisible Country” by Paul J. McAuley

Cameron leaves the clinic with his fee and a tab of painkiller. He rented himself out to grow totipotent marrow in his thigh bones. He heads for a building where he used to rent a cubicle from a man who goes by Lost in Space. Cameron buys a better painkiller from him. There’s a messenger from Komarnicki waiting about a job. Cameron gets his gun and heads for Komarnicki’s office.

This story can be read in the preview of the anthology Genometry(20% into preview)

The next four stories are also in Genometry.

“Chaff” by Greg Egan

El Nido is fifty thousand square kilometers of engineered Amazon rainforest, contiguous to the original. It’s under the control of its designers. Getting an accurate map is impossible. Attempts to destroy it with biological weapons or by burning have proved futile. Guillermo Largo, a biochemist, disappears into El Nido with highly classified genetic tools. The narrator receives orders to enter El Nido and bring Largo back alive.

Some of this story can be read in the preview of the collection Luminous(6% into Kindle preview)

“Eugene” by Greg Egan

Dr. Cook guarantees he can make Angela and Bill’s child a genius. His company, Human Potential, bought a piece of Albert Einstein’s brain. They’ve discovered the secret to increased intelligence—glial cells. Angela and Bill have come into money. They’re going to get special treatment.

“Stable Strategies for Middle Management” by Eileen Gunn

A woman wakes up to find that bioengineering has given her a stiletto tongue and a chitinous comb on one hand. Her partner, Greg, has change too. His mouth developed a probe and parts of his skin are hardening into armor. They’ve lost their desire for coffee. At work, the new marketing manager, Harry, lays out the Model 2000 launch. He has developed simian features.

“Written in Blood” by Chris Lawson

A father and his eleven-year-old daughter, Zada, go on a pilgrimage to the Holy Lands to pray. It’s one of the pillars of faith that must be done once in a person’s life. They first hear about the bloodwriting near Damascus. Opinion is divided among the pilgrims. Half think it blasphemous; the other half think it a path to Heaven. Zada’s father is a biologist, so his opinion is valued. He checks it out. The attendant is pleased to explain the science.

“The Kindly Isle” by Frederik Pohl

Mr. Wenwright is on an island to see Mr. Kavilan. He’s looking into the logistics of a hotel building project. Wenright recognizes another man, Professor Michaelis, but he doesn’t let on. The previous builders abandoned it after putting in millions of dollars. There are a lot of obstacles to continuing the project, but the island seems an ideal place. He explores it some more.

“The Era” by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenya

Ben is in school learning about the Long Big War and the Big Quick War. Ben isn’t optimized; he’s a clear-born. His sister, Marlene, is a rarity; her optiselection made her a para-one. She’s highly ambitious. Everyone receives regular helpings of Good at breakfast to function normally. Ben goes to the nurse for more.

“The Era” can be read in the Amazon preview of The Best American Short Stories 2019. (39% into preview)

“Nine Lives” by Ursula K. Le Guin

Martin and Pugh are on the planet Libra, staffing an outpost that looks for mining deposits. It’s only been the two of them for six months, so they’re looking forward to some new company. A craft lands and ten clones emerge—five men and five women, engineers in Planetary Exploitation. They have great team chemistry and thrive in each other’s company.

Some of this novelette can be read in the preview of the anthology Clones(24% into preview)

“The Extra” by Greg Egan

Keeping a stock of Extras—clones of oneself with minimal cortex—is legal, but most people are discreet about it. Not so with Daniel Gray, who houses his Extras near his own home. He goes so far as to parade them in front of his guests at a garden party. He has five batches of them, each batch ten years apart. Daniel has already had several transplants from Extras to keep himself in great shape. Eventually, he plans to have his brain moved into one of the clones.

This story is also in the anthology Clones.

“Out of Copyright” by Charles Sheffield

Al’s trouble-shooting team sits around the table. His brain trust consists of Wolfgang Pauli, Thomas Edison, Enrico Fermi and John von Neumann. Other companies also have trouble-shooting teams of geniuses from the past. They’re pondering a problem of space engineering that involves redirecting enormous asteroids. Al has to leave for Earth within thirty minutes. The draft for the rights to other geniuses begins in less than a day.

This story can be read in the preview of Dancing With Myself(10% into preview)

“Fat Farm” by Orson Scott Card

Mr. Barth, an immensely fat man, enters Anderson’s Fitness Center. The receptionist is surprised to see him back so soon—it’s only been three years since his last visit. Mr. Barth is a man of pleasure. Food is a major one, but his weight is now interfering with some of his other enjoyments. He’s back for his usual procedure, which is illegal, expensive and secretive.

Read “Fat Farm”