with Organic Technology
, usually centered around genetic engineering
. Expect to see a lot of Organic Technology
, sculpted physiques
and Petting Zoo People
walking around... or hopping, swimming, flying, slithering, etc. Many buildings and ships
will be grown, and a general Womb Level
aesthetic will usually prevail. Issues examined may include Designer Babies
, What Measure Is a Non-Human?
, what is
human, various aspects of ecology and effects of modified crops/animals/bacteria. And you'll see Aesops
(particularly Green Aesops
about creating what you can't control), both real and Fantastic
It should be noted that the line between Bio Punk and cyberpunk
is very thin, and many cyberpunk stories will contain Bio Punk elements.
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Anime & Manga
- The comic book series Elephantmen deals with human-animal hybrids created in a war between Africa and China, and their struggle to reintegrate into society being essentially former child soldiers.
- The X-Men series and its spinoffs trade pretty heavily in biopunk themes.
- Finder fits into this very well, being set in an After the End scenario where a biotech-based civilisation collapsed, but many of its products, being self-reproducing living things, are still around.
- In SCI-Spy apparently genetic modification with animals/aliens whatever is so mainstream that being a normal Joe attracts prejudice.
- Jurassic Park is perhaps the Trope Codifier for modern audiences and was a huge box office success. The story focuses heavily on the themes of scientific ethics, man's hubris and the force of nature being beyond our control.
- Much of David Cronenberg's work, particularly:
- Shivers, where a scientist accidentally creates a sexually-transmitted Puppeteer Parasite, causing in turn a Zombie Apocalypse of rape zombies.
- Rabid, where an experimental skin graft creates a sort of Bio Punk vampire, whose victims all become rabid zombies and attack Montreal.
- The Brood, where a revolutionary psychiatric method results in hideous bodily mutations.
- Scanners, where a pharmacological error creates a Bizarre Baby Boom of socially-maladjusted, creepy psychics.
- Videodrome, where warring ideologies use communications technology to mutate viewers into monstrous pawns.
- Naked Lunch is Bio Punk via The Beat Generation, with sentient typewriters, giant bugs, and monsters who give you tremendous creativity in exchange for blowjobs.
- eXistenZ, where genetically-engined amphibians are used to create Organic Technology video game hardware.
- The Fly, where a failed teleportation experiment fuses Jeff Goldblum and... well, a fly.
- Repo! The Genetic Opera plays this with a healthy helping of Cyber Punk and Gorn.
- Ćon Flux (based on the animated show)
- The Island
- Tokyo Gore Police
- The Island of Doctor Moreau, the 1996 version, which was a departure from book.
- Proteus, based off of the novel Slimer.
- Monster Blood Tattoo seems to cross this genre with Steam Punk and a healthy dose of nightmares.
- Night's Dawn, a trilogy of well-researched Space Opera novels by Peter F. Hamilton.
- In the Courts of the Crimson Kings, a sci-fi novel by S.M. Stirling set on John Carter of Mars-type world made plausible with Bio Punk technology given to the Martians by Ancient Astronauts.
- Jeff VanderMeer's Ambergris stories, especially the newest novel Finch are Urban Fantasy Bio Punk, or perhaps Spore Punk, with the Graycaps' fungus-based high technology that almost passes for magic, as far as the humans are concerned.
- Hell, in Finch we even get fungus-cyborgs in the form of the Partials.
- China Miéville's Bas-Lag Cycle, though closer to Dungeon Punk, has elements of this with the ReMade: bio-thaumaturges can warp flesh, bone and biology to heal, remake a being as something new, or (far, far more often) to punish.
- The books Oryx and Crake and The Dry Flood by Margaret Atwood are set in the near future, and features many many bio-engineered animals, most notably pigs who can grow human organs for use in transplants.
- The Maximum Ride series skirt this genre, with the protagonists being genetically engineered bird people that were created by immoral scientists in order to find the secrets of immortality.
- S. Andrew Swann's Moreau Series is a perfect example. The protagonist is Nohar Rajasthan; a Half Tiger/Half Human Private Investigator in a world where hybrid "Moreaus" (As in "The Island of Doctor Moreau") are confined to ghettos as second class citizens. The series also has genetically improved humans, called "Franks" as in Frankenstein, and aliens.
- Beggars in Spain by Nancy Kress, along with the attendant novels in the trilogy.
- The Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld has fabricated Beasties created after Darwin discovered the "Threads Of Life". Also uses LEGO Genetics.
- The foundations of biopunk were arguably laid down as early as 1818, with the release of Shelley's Frankenstein — which means that biopunk was among the first science fiction ever published.
- Another proto-biopunk tale that significantly predates the discovery of DNA is The Island of Doctor Moreau.
- The West of Eden series by Harry Harrison is set in an Alternate History where dinosaurs never went extinct and the Earth is dominated by the reptilian Yilanč, who use specially bred creatures as everything from microscopes to submarines.
- Brave New World centers around cloning, genetic manipulation and their impact on society. Arguably the Trope Codifier.
- Eve and Adam is about a girl (Eve) who tries to genetically engineer the perfect boy (Adam). Said boy comes to life about halfway through the novel. Also, Eve herself is genetically engineered, to have healing powers.
- Vladimir Vasilyev's Wolfish Nature duology takes place in an Alternate History where humans evolved from dogs instead of apes. For unexplained reasons, dog-humans became masters of genetic engineering and focused all scientific efforts on this area instead of developing "dead" technology. By the 20th century, all devices, buildings, and even common things like paper are grown instead of manufactured and require regular sustenance (when was the last time you fed your house or computer?). All our familiar dog breeds are still there, despite a good number of them being the result of human breeding programs in Real Life. This is also explained by the early days of genetic engineering, when plenty of Mad Scientists hid in their castles (yes, this happened in the Middle Ages) and tried to mess with dog-human DNA to improve their clans. "Dead" technology is a fairly recent development, as some inventions are better at their job than their "selectoid" (i.e. grown devices) counterparts, computers being the most obvious example. One of the greatest triumphs of genetic engineering is the so-called Bio-Correction, which took place hundreds of years ago and removed the "wolf gene" from every dog-human, removing their ability to kill without remorse. Anyone who even manages to kill another person is either insane or will go crazy and/or commit suicide. The Bio-Correction (which is a big lie of the Clap Your Hands If You Believe variety) results in a world with no wars, where murder is an extreme rarity, but where espionage has been elevated to an art form, and spies are the only ones specifically trained to kill without going crazy afterwards. Interestingly, the author chooses to focus on the "espionage" part, simply using the Bio Punk as a setting.
- Slimer, which involves genetically turning a great white shark into a shapeshifting unstoppable killing machine.
- Gene Wars covers the life of a guy named Evan from making genetically engineered amoebas when he was eight, to dying as essentially the last ordinary human.
- Mira Grant's Literature/Parasitology revolves around a genetically engineered tapeworm designed to keep people healthy that winds up integrating itself into people's brains and setting off a Zombie Apocalypse. Her Newsflesh trilogy, about what civilization would be like after a Zombie Apocalypse if it didn't collapse also counts.
- Shit Narnia in John Dies at the End, which is an alternate Earth where technology branched off into this in the mid 19th century. It's also where Eldritch Abomination and Big Bad Korrok was born.
- Genetic augmentations are abundant in The Nexus Series, for both combat and cosmetic purposes. Just don't go around using them in the US...
- Nikko in Linda Nagata's The Bohr Maker is genetically engineered to survive in the vacuum of space. Likewise the police dogs of the Commonwealth are a mixture of bio-engineering and cybernetic augmentation.
- The Relic, which is about a Tragic Monster that Was Once a Man going on a rampage in a museum.
- The Windup Girl is set in a future, post-peak oil Thailand where calories are the most important resource and genetically-engineered organisms, including man-made plagues, are common.
- Bel Dame Apocrypha by Kameron Hurley, is set in the far future on a planet where descendants of Muslim colonists have schismed into two warring countries. Since this world is arid, water intensive animal husbandry isn't used. Instead insects have been engineered to be the main source of protein and the level of genetic engineering is so advanced, the insects have become replacements for electronic equipment. Also there are humans who have evolved on this world with the ability to control these insects via pheromones. The war between the two countries also makes extensive use of biological warfare, it's reached a point where the population has to regularly be checked and operated on for cancerous growths.
Live Action TV
- In Babylon 5, Bio-Tech is the purview of the most advanced races. The Vorlon and Shadow ships are stated to be bio-ships, and it's hinted through their aesthetics, similar to those of the Vorlons and Shadows, that so are the other First One ships. To raise the tech level of their client races (Minbari for the Vorlons and Drakh for the Shadow) they grant them bio-tech (mostly ships armor). It's also heavily implied in the last episode of season 4 that bio-tech is also the future of human technology as a human from AD 1000000 is shown boarding a bio-ship right before the Sun goes Nova.
- Dollhouse is all about messing with the human brain.
- Farscape features heaps of organic technology (from the Translator Microbes to the Living Ships), and quite a few plots revolve around genetic manipulation.
- Dungeons & Dragons: The Lords of Madness source book includes a "Fleshwarper" prestige class, designed for creating this sort of thing in a Heroic Fantasy setting.
- Shadowrun offers Bioware, genetically modified cultured tissue that can be implanted in characters to provide many of the same benefits of the more traditional Cyberware.
- The GURPS supplement "Bio-Tech" is all about Biopunk.
- The Transhuman Space setting has Bio Punk elements, including bioroids (biological androids), bioshells (biological bodies controlled by AIs or ghosts), parahumans and genetically-engineered oddities such as pharm goats (goats that produce drugs in their milk). 4th Edition Bio-Tech is heavily informed by Transhuman Space, which in turn was based on the vignettes in 3rd Edition Bio-Tech.
- Eclipse Phase is Post Cyber Punk, but most of the modifications available are biological in nature, and bio-morphs (bodies which are fundamentally organic— but still often weird) are culturally preferred over Synth-Morphs (robot bodies— derogatorily called the "Clanking Masses") or Pods (half-synth, half-biological bodies, the name comes from the derogatory "Pod-People," a riff on how the biological parts of the bodies are grown). For an example of the sort of bio-mods you can get in this game, see the Sex Switch— which switches your sex at will— or the Skinflex— which allows you to make major cosmetic alterations to yourself in around ten minutes.
- Also, the bio-engineered space-whales that live in the corona of the sun.
- Mortasheen combines this with Mons.
- The aesthetic of the Simic Combine is something reminiscent of this, although not to the same extent as some of the other examples on the page. They are, in essence, to Bio Punk what their cousins, the Izzet League is to Steam Punk.
- The Chronicles Of Taras combines this with Diesel Punk. 50's style noir technology, Action Girl and Wrench Wench Characters, every killing tool is an Improvised Weapon, and horrifying Biotech creations.
- Genocide Man: Open-source biotechnology enabled terrorists to create tailored plagues and genetic "deviants" designed as human weapons. In response the UN formed the Genocide Project whose augmented geneticist-soldiers are sanctioned to exterminate deviancies and holders of hazardous ideas, down to the last man, woman, and child.
- Ćon Flux inhabits a world where self-modification is the new makeup.
- Batman Beyond has strong elements of this with the splicers and Kobra cult who are heavily into genetic manipulation.
- Not really a huge concern as of yet, but western cultures are well on the precipice of this being an actual thing.
- Already, cloning is being carried out with animals on small levels, and plastic surgery does touch on some of this.
- Looking forward, nanotechnology has gotten a huge boost by integrating with microscopic organisms, and there have been other breakthroughs, like a prototypical memory storage device utilizing salmon DNA.
- A company named Monsanto is working hard to make this a reality.
- One can say it is Older Than Dirt because agriculture uses artificial species. This is especially true for modern day agriculture.
- Today a set of substances (insulin for example) are fabricated using genetically engineered organisms, usually bacteria.