Thursday, November 16, 2006

Genetic Destiny

HarperCollins Publishers is promoting a fake biotech company called Nextgencode (Tag line: “We own the genes. We control your destiny”).

The promotion includes a hyper-integrated online campaign comprising a fake Website, online videos and social networking to generate interest in Michael Crichton’s soon to be released book “Next.”

Given Crichton’s ability to quickly put his finger on the pulse of hot topics in popular science -The Andromeda Strain (about a scary virus), Jurassic Park (genetically engineered dinos) Prey (nanotech gone amuck) State of Fear (global warming = scientific conspiracy) etc, I think this book is likely to generate a great deal of interest in genetic engineering and questions of ethics.

The premise of the book seems to be that biotech companies are allowing us to control not only our genes but also our destiny. The main question that almost always underscores Crichton’s books, of course, is “Who controls whom?”


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