Genre Study - First Do No Harm: Doctors and Medicine in Popular Fiction

Wednesday, November 23, 2022
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Medical science fiction, those books dealing with fictional practitioners of medicine or aspects of human physiology, are among the most compelling titles in the science fiction genre. From the reanimating of dead matter by Dr. Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley's 1818 groundbreaking novel Frankenstein to the unethical harvesting of patient organs in Robin Cook's novel Coma, the power a doctor has to heal or harm will always make them fascinating characters.

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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley's timeless gothic novel presents the epic battle between man and monster at its greatest literary pitch. In trying to create life, the young student Victor Frankenstein unleashes forces beyond his control, setting into motion a long and tragic chain of events that brings Victor to the very brink of madness. How he tries to destroy his creation, as it destroys everything Victor loves, is a powerful story of love, friendship, scientific hubris, and horror.

Harvest by Tess Gerritsen

Medical resident Dr. Abby Matteo is elated when the elite cardiac transplant team at Boston's Bayside Hospital taps her as a potential recruit. But faced with a tormenting life-and-death decision, Abby helps direct a crash victim's harvested heart to a dying teenager -- instead of the wealthy older woman who was supposed to receive it. The repercussions leave Abby shaken and plagued with self-doubt.
Suddenly, a new heart appears, and the woman's transplant is completed. Then Abby makes a terrible discovery. The donor records have been falsified -- the new heart has not come through the proper channels. Defying the hospital's demands for silence, she begins her own investigation that reveals a murderous, unthinkable conspiracy. Every move Abby makes spawns a vicious backlash...and on a ship anchored in the waters of Boston harbor, the grisly truth lies waiting.

Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton

From the author of Jurassic Park, Timeline, and Sphere comes a captivating thriller about a deadly extraterrestrial microorganism, which threatens to annihilate human life. Five prominent biophysicists have warned the United States government that sterilization procedures for returning space probes may be inadequate to guarantee uncontaminated re-entry to the atmosphere. Two years later, a probe satellite falls to the earth and lands in a desolate region of northeastern Arizona. Nearby, in the town of Piedmont, bodies lie heaped and flung across the ground, faces locked in frozen surprise. What could cause such shock and fear? The terror has begun, and there is no telling where it will end.

Andromeda Evolution by Daniel H. Wilson

In 1967, an extraterrestrial microbe came crashing down to Earth and nearly ended the human race. Accidental exposure to the particle--designated The Andromeda Strain--killed every resident of the town of Piedmont, Arizona, save for an elderly man and an infant boy. Over the next five days, a team of top scientists assigned to Project Wildfire worked valiantly to save the world from an epidemic of unimaginable proportions. In the moments before a catastrophic nuclear detonation, they succeeded. In the ensuing decades, research on the microparticle continued. And the world thought it was safe... Deep inside Fairchild Air Force Base, Project Eternal Vigilance has continued to watch and wait for the Andromeda Strain to reappear. On the verge of being shut down, the project has registered no activity--until now. A Brazilian terrain-mapping drone has detected a bizarre anomaly of otherworldly matter in the middle of the jungle, and, worse yet, the tell-tale chemical signature of the deadly microparticle. With this shocking discovery, the next-generation Project Wildfire is activated, and a diverse team of experts hailing from all over the world is dispatched to investigate the potentially apocalyptic threat. But the microbe is growing--evolving. And if the Wildfire team can't reach the quarantine zone, enter the anomaly, and figure out how to stop it, this new Andromeda Evolution will annihilate all life as we know it.

Harmful Intent by Robin Cook

It should have been a routine childbirth. But somehow, the mother died in the delivery, the baby was born brain-damaged, and Jeffrey Rhodes, the anesthesiologist, is running for his life. Charged with malpractice, he is found guilty of harmful intent and reckless disregard for human life. To clear his name, Rhodes must follow a fugitive trail into the heart of medical nightmare. A trail that, for some, may end in suicide--and for others, in the most shocking conspiracy of our time.

Healer by Carol Wiley Cassella

Claire Boehning must dust off her long-unused medical expertise and make a living for her family in rural Washington when her husband's biotech venture crashes--taking everything they owned with it.

Mortal Fear by Robin Cook

 

A harrowing medical nightmare on the cutting edge of genetic research, Mortal Fear goes into the controversial future of modern medicine. At a large Boston clinic, a world-class biologist stumbles upon a miraculous discovery, a major scientific breakthrough. Soon, healthy, middle-aged patients are dying of old age. And the ultimate experiment in terror begins.

Lifelines by CJ Lyons

Writing from her own experience as a physician, Lyons delivers a gripping behind-the-scenes drama of four women who face life and death every day. An exciting debut novel.--New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham.

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