Biotech Is Better

Science-fiction works have a tendency to portray Organic Technology as being the bleeding edge of technology or even used by Sufficiently Advanced Aliens. This may stem from the fairly recent advances in biotechnology (granted mostly in agriculture and medicine rather than the fields typically portrayed in these works), the visceral themes, and the appeal of equipment that repairs itself.

Contrast with its near-mirror twin, Artificial Limbs Are Stronger.

Examples

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     Film  

  • In the climax of Iron Man 3 the Extremis super soldiers rip several Iron Man suits to pieces. Killian is only killed by Extremis-enhanced Pepper wearing a gauntlet she ripped off one suit.

     Literature  

  • The Yuuzhan Vong in the New Jedi Order used nothing but organic technology, and they were shown to be devastating against the conventional fleets of the New Republic and Imperial Remnant. The first known encounter with one by Canderous Ordo had him describe it as firing plasma that melted his ship's armor like wax, and then escaping at a speed that was impossible to keep up with. Three thousand years later, when the main force arrived in the galaxy, they would still have a considerable advantage.
    • Though one of the later New Jedi Order novels notes that the Republic and Empire have an easier time replacing their losses as fabrication is still faster than growing ships and weapons.
    • At one point the Vong also run into trouble when their living armor has an allergic reaction to some pollen from a grove of Ithorian trees. It's so severe that many of the Vong troops end up either crushed or suffocated by their own armor.
  • In Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan series the Darwinists' "fabricated beasts" often seem to have the advantage over the Clankers' machines. A couple of times, the titular living airship takes on Clanker planes and zeppelins two-to-one and wins. Of course, it's packed with flechette bats and strafing hawks that can Zerg Rush the Clankers and breed reinforcements for the next battle.
  • In the later Old Man's War novels the CDF starts phasing out the cybernetic BrainPals in favor of completely biotech ones. It's implied that their long-term goal is to introduce the genes to the baseline human population. In addition the Gameras are 100% biotech in contrast to the CDF's normal soldiers that are a mixture of bio- cyber- and nanotech with the objective of eventually making them capable of breeding true and forming a human species that doesn't need to compete with aliens for planets.

     Live Action TV  

  • In Babylon 5 the First Ones use living ships that are vastly superior to most of the younger races' vessels, until they start building new ships that incorporate biotech.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • The ship itself has bio-neural gelpacks that allow the computer to "think" more flexibly and operate faster. (The downside being that they could also be infected with viruses and bacteria.) It's one of the things that marks Voyager out as one of Starfleet's most advanced ships.
    • Species 8472 of has "bioships" which resist Borg assimilation, are vastly superior to Borg cubes, and can destroy a planet by linking together. The Borg started the war with them because they wanted 8472's capabilities so bad.
  • The Cylons in Battlestar Galactica (2003) use a lot of biotech and they appear to be much more advanced than the humans.
  • The Expanse uses this to establish class disparities. After a hauler on the Canterbury loses his arm below the elbow to an ice block, he's told he could go for the biogel that regrows limbs. He admits that he's much likely to be able to afford a prosthetic cyberlimb.
  • Played with in Westworld: The more up-to-date Hosts use Organic Technology down to the bone, instead of just as a facade over a mechanical framework, but Ford claims this was because it's cheaper that way and doesn't see it as an improvement.

     Tabletop Games  

  • In Shadowrun, bioware, first introduced in the 1st edition sourcebook Shadowtech, part of the core rulebook in 4th ed, is presented as being the latest and greatest thing in augmentation. In game rules it is more expensive in terms of cash than traditional cyberware but does less damage to your Essence, making it preferred for mages. In the Everything Is Online world of the latest edition, it also has the advantage of having no wireless capability, meaning it can't be bricked or worse by an enemy decker.
  • In GURPS Transhuman Space biotech is generally preferred when possible, and bioroids are cheaper than sapient androids.
  • Played with in Eclipse Phase. Many of the most powerful morphs are synthetic, and cheaper (in credits, but not build points) than equally strong biomorphs. But biomorphs are easier for transhuman Egos to adjust to and many polities discriminate against synthmorphs.
  • In Hc Svnt Dracones Transcendent Technologies Inc is widely believed to have the most advanced technology in the civilized solar system and they use Organic Technology. However, the second rulebook shows that Applied Sciences and Robotics has some secret projects that involve Reality Warping as well, and the sapient robots known as Cogs can receive Transcendent Implants, albeit illegally as TTI doesn't want that to be known.
  • Trinity: zig-zagged with the availability of many bio-tech devices that can replicate modern appliances, and some of the most sophisticated devices of the setting (like the jump ships) making major use of it. On one hand, they can replicate the appliances' work just as well and Psions can bond with them and get them to work a bit better. On the other hand, they have higher maintenance, are much harder to fix, people are not comfortable using them (the fluff explicitly says that many biotech devices are sold with normal-looking exterior shells), computers are still better as hard tech, and if Psions get attuned to too many biotech devices, they develop junkie-like symptoms.

     Video Games  

  • In Galactic Civilizations II the Dread Lords have ships that look and act like they were alive. Not even the most technologically advanced ships that can be built by the playable races can match them, the only way to beat them is through attrition.
  • In Colobot, at the later stages of the game you finally start finding nests of giant ants you were encountering earlier. In these nests, you can find what can be best described as green, gooey pods that spawn pieces of organic goo. One of the missions concentrates on acquiring one of such pieces and bringing it back to the base, where you can examine it and use it to unlock a new type of robots: robots walking on ant-like legs (which quite literally look like half-robots, half-ants). They are faster and more capable of getting past steep hills than robots driving on wheels or on caterpillar tracks.
  • In EV Nova Polaris ships are Organic Technology grown over an artificial skeleton. Their ships have frankly ridiculous firepower and are well-shielded, but they're quite fragile once the shields go down.

     Web Original  

  • Like so many other sci-fi tropes, Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger has a rebuttal for this one. The strip claims that biotech has so many downsides that it's more trouble than it's worth.

     Western Animation  

  • In G.I. Joe: The Movie, the denizens of Cobra-La are the original dominant species of Earth and exclusively use biotech. Their technology and wildlife are constantly shown to overpower even the most advanced weaponry and vehicles the Joes have to fight back with. They even have a biotech equivalent of WMDs complete with rockets.


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