Gengineers extraordinaire! The intrepid duo of Joy (Prof. Williams) and George (Prof. Martinez) tackle challenges ranging from invasive pyromaniac knapweed to pretty poisonous pet Puppysaurs. A lighthearted romp through the future of genetic engineering.
These stories are set in a future roughly 60 years from now (approximately 2080). All of the stories feature organisms with unusual genetics. These organisms were either created intentionally for various reasons (“Sofia’s Seed Weevils”, “The Great Knapweed Round-up”, “Grandma’s Kittens”, and “Please Don’t Feed the Wildlife”) or were discovered in the wild (“Terroctopus Paxarbolis”, “The Squirrels of Snohomish County”, and “Gigantanthropus Canadensis”).
In each story, George and Joy face a genetic or environmental challenge. The challenge may be invasive plants (“Sofia’s Seed Weevils” and “The Great Knapweed Round-up”), identification or protection of rare or challenged species (“Terroctopus Paxarbolis”, “The Squirrels of Snohomish County”, and “Gigantanthropus Canadensis”), or dealing with the consequence of poorly managed genetic constructs which have escaped into the wilderness (“Grandma’s Kittens”, and “Please Don’t Feed the Wildlife”).
In each story, Joy and George are successful in resolving the issues, typically through some combination of cleverness, scientific acumen, and more than their fair share of good luck.
The stories are lighthearted and optimistic, George and Joy (and their students) have a lot of fun along the way, but nonetheless each story is grounded in real and factual challenges facing the wilderness of the future.
For the reader interested in the underlying scientific details, an Appendix is provided which clarifies the science versus the fiction in each story.
I won’t lie, I was sucked in when I heard the word “puppysaurs” and was instantly intrigued by this collection. Through the stories in this collection we follow two scientists (Joy and George) as they face different genetic dilemmas. They are often called on to identify mysterious animals or flora. The banter an friendship between the two of them is one of the best things in the collection, and really carries over from story to story.
One thing to keep in mind is that there is a lot of scientific language and sometimes the explanations are very technical, so if do not enjoy that type of writing this may not appeal to you. I absolutely ate it up since it is something I enjoy, and I loved the talk about genetic splicing as well as examination of what some of the consequences of messing with genes may be.
I really enjoyed this collection and it was wonderful to follow Joy and George through their adventures. Thanks so much to the author for reaching out to me and offering me a copy of this book!