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On "The Hand You're Dealt"
by Robert J. Sawyer
Copyright © 1998 by Robert J. Sawyer
All Rights Reserved.
On May 29, 1998, I was asked by editor Piotr Gociek
to provide a short introduction for my story
"The Hand You're Dealt", to appear in
the special Hugo nominees edition of the Polish SF
magazine Talisman. Here it is:
Nineteen Ninety-Seven turned out to be the year of genetics,
starting off with the cloning of the sheep Dolly the first
time a mammal had apparently been cloned from an adult cell. And
my two Hugo nominees from that year
both have genetics as their themes: my novel
Frameshift and my short story
"The Hand You're Dealt" both deal with the impact genetics
research will have on all our lives. Of course, books and short
stories published in 1997 were probably written in 1996
Frameshift and "The Hand You're Dealt" certainly were
but I think this just goes to show how near the predictive
horizon now is in SF. It used to be SF writers were predicting
things decades or even centuries in the future; now we're lucky
if we can keep even a few years ahead of the breakneck pace at
which scientific knowledge is advancing.
Like much of my fiction, "The Hand You're Dealt" tries to combine
SF and mystery (in addition to its Hugo nomination, the story was
also a finalist for the Crime Writers of Canada's
Arthur Ellis Award);
Frameshift does that, too, as do my novels
The Terminal Experiment, and
Illegal Alien, plus the one I've
just finished, called Mosaic. I think this makes perfect
sense: science is often detective work, after all puzzling
things out from whatever clues can be gathered. And I suspect
the most interesting mysteries humanity will face in the next few
decades will all be related to what we finally discover about the
secrets locked in our genes.
More Good Reading
The Story "The Hand You're Dealt"
The science in "The Hand You're Dealt"
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