Small Doses of the Future
Reviews
Synopsis
   Like many fields of science, the
future of medicine is frequently
predicted by the science fiction writers
of today, very much as many of today’
s medical advances were presaged
by science fiction stories of the past.
   In this book, physician and science
fiction author Brad Aiken conveys his
own speculations about our medical
future through nine highly
entertaining and thought-provoking
short stories. Touching upon a great
variety of themes, including but not
limited to telemedicine and remote
surgery, vaccination strategies
against unknown deathly pathogens,
nanomedicine to cure diseases and
retard ageing, bionics, cloning and
euthanasia, we get a glimpse of what
might be awaiting humanity.
   Yet, in these stories it is always the
protagonists, humans after all, who
remain at the center stage, not the
new technologies. This provides the
fictional material with a unique blend
of science fiction and social fantasy. It
also warns us to be wary of the pitfalls
of too much reliance on dehumanizing
technology and to make sure it
remains our helper, not our master.
   Last but not least, an extensive
scientific essay investigates the
interplay between science fiction and
both past and current advances in
medical sciences and technology,
making the link to the fictional material
in the book as well as to the relevant
scientific literature.
   Brad Aiken is the Medical Director
for Rehabilitation at Baptist Hospital in
Miami, Florida. He has published
several scientific articles, and has
presented to both professional and
non-professional groups on a variety
of topics. Dr. Aiken has received
numerous science awards, including
the Navy Science Award, as well as
awards from the Army, the Air Force
and NASA. He began writing science
fiction while in college at Boston
University, and published his first
book, Starscape: The Silver Bullet, in
2000. His latest book, Zone of the
Tenth Degree, was published in
August 2012. His short stories have
appeared in Analog Science Fiction
and Fact, Padwolf Presents, and the
vampire anthology New Blood.
   
   Small Doses of the Future is an intriguing
collection of short stories - nine in total – that
presents a vision of where medicine might be
heading in the (at times not-so-distant)
future. Author Brad Aiken is both a
respected medical professional and an
accomplished science-fiction writer: his
stories are well-written and very thought-
provoking which, to my mind, makes them
great as teaching material for higher-level
learners. The themes are varied but are all
highly relevant and include telemedicine and
remote surgery, vaccination strategies
against unknown deadly pathogens,
nanomedicine, cloning, bionics and
euthanasia. You don't have to be a sci-fi fan
to appreciate the relationship of medicine to
science-fiction: some of research being
undertaken in rehabilitation medicine ( the
author's field) seems the stuff of fiction
indeed while much fun can be had listing sci-
fi films and cult TV shows that have
uncannily predicted our future. Gentleman,
we can rebuild him...and all that. This
collection also includes a non-fiction article
'The Invasion of Modern Medicine by
Science Fiction', a version of which appears
on the EALTHY site in ' A Word From...'  
Highly recommended.

      C. Richards
      EALTHY (European Assoc of
      Language Teachers for Healthcare)