Please write more biopunk

July 23, 2021

We need more stories that tell of the promise and terror of biotechnology. So, Internet, if you could go ahead and get on that, that would be fantastic.

Because who is writing of dystopian futures with ubiquitous molecular surveillance? If you’re trying to create a totalitarian surveillance state from scratch, why install cameras when you can just sequence the DNA of the molecules in every airport, hospital, and hotel? Or better yet, simply install electronic noses with high-throughput molecule sensing. Sure, you can track the location of practically every person on Earth with a cell phone so long as you control the cell towers, but can you tell if that person has cancer?

Where are the stories grappling with how it probably won’t be possible to de-identify DNA, as public databases continue to grow?

Where are the stories about the enterprising underground creating cultures of synthetically engineered cell factories in order to upend the corporate megacompany-dominated industry of monocultured, genetically modified, pesticided-into-oblivion food product?

Who is writing about the STUXNET of biology: a carefully crafted weapon distributed widely but only striking its intended target, in a subtle and deniable way? How do geopolitics and operational security change when we have city-states living in relatively-sealed environments which could be wiped out by bioweapons without threatening the perpetrators?

(If you happen to know of such stories, please send them to

a blog by Rowan Copley about fantasy data systems, unhelpful simulations, echoes from the future, and the strange ways that the digital world manifests in the real