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GURPS Bio-Tech – Cover

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Bibliography for GURPS Bio-Tech

There are far too many works of fact and fiction to cover in this brief space, so this bibliography concentrates on works especially useful in inspiring adventures and game settings. Dates are for the most recent edition, where possible.


The categories given below are to make research easier – most overlap into several topics. In the case of prolific authors, representative works have been listed.

Altered People and Biotech-Influenced Societies

Banks, Iain M. Consider Phlebas (Orbit, 1992). Space opera featuring agents of the Culture, an activist utopia composed of biotech-enhanced humans and intelligent starships. Numerous sequels; Excession is recommended for its exotic biotech.

Bear, Greg. Queen of Angels (Warner Books, 1994). Police procedural set in a well-conceived future Los Angeles, featuring advanced bio- and nanotech. Sequel Slant.

Blish, James. The Seedling Stars (Roc, 1972). Classic collection of stories about pantropy, the adaptation of humans to alien worlds.

Brin, David. Otherness (Bantam, 1994). Many short stories featuring biotechnology.

Bujold, Lois Mcmaster. Falling Free (Baen, 1988). Details the creation and tribulation of a variant race of zero-g adapted parahumans. Bujold's Ethan of Athos (1986) and her entire Miles Vorskogian series, set in the same universe, also feature genetic engineering, cloning, and other reproductive technologies.

Di Filippo, Paul. Ribofunk (Four Walls Eight Windows, 1996). Transgenic animal-human hybrids are exploited in a society utterly transformed by biotech.

Dixon, Dougal. Man after Man (St. Martins, 1990). A speculative taxonomy of future human sub-species.

Egan, Greg. Axiomatic (Millenium, 1998). Short story collection, many of them with hard-sf biotech or nanotech themes, notably "The Caress" and "The Cutie."

Egan, Greg. Diaspora (Harper-Prism, 1998). A catastrophe strikes a far-future posthuman Earth.

Hansen, Karl. War Games (Berkley, 1983). A very decadent interplanetary society uses modified soldiers and spies to fight a parahuman rebellion. Sequel Dream Games.

Heinlein, Robert. Friday (Del Rey, 1997). Adventures of a genetically-engineered super-agent.

Herbert, Frank. Dune (Ace, 1965). Classic novel about the making of a messiah, also featuring ecology, eugenics, and an anagathic, mind-expanding drug. Sequels contain many other biotech elements, such as exotic variant human races.

Herbert, Frank. Hellstrom's Hive (Bantam, 1986). An underground "human hive" transformed by centuries of eugenic modification is discovered by the government.

Huxley, Aldous. Brave New World (1932). Classic novel of an engineered "scientific utopia" enforced by behavior-modifying drugs and a eugenic caste-system.

Kress, Nancy. Beggars in Spain (Avon, 1993). Upgraded humans are engineered for enhanced intelligence and sleeplessness, and come into conflict with the rest of society (and vice versa). Sequels include Beggars and Choosers and Beggars Ride.

Kingsbury, Donald. Courtship Rite (1982). A complex political story set on Geta, a harsh world whose people practices plural marriage, cannibalism, and eugenics.

Lee, Tanith. Don't Bite the Sun (Starmont, 1987). Teens grow up in a utopian far future where suicide just means returning in a different body. Sequel Drinking Sapphire Wine. (Also available as an omnibus.)

McDonald, Ian. Terminal Café (Bantam, 1985). Nanotech is used to resurrect the dead as slaves, who go to war with the living. A wild post-cyberpunk future Earth.

Miéville, China. Perdido Street Station (Del Rey, 2000). This science-fantasy novel in the New Weird genre features a society where magical biotech is widely practiced.

Niven, Larry. A Gift From Earth (Orbit, 1991). On an interstellar colony, a ruling hospital caste doles out organ transplants that ensure longevity and health, while sentencing ever-increasing numbers of dissidents to the organ banks.

Niven, Larry. The Long ARM of Gil Hamilton (Ballantine, 1991). A telekinetic future cop battles organleggers in a world where scarce transplants guarantee longevity.

Ore, Rebecca. Gaia's Toys (Tor, 1995). A dystopian post-plague near-future in which eco-terrorists use genetically-modified insects to combat the establishment.

Reed, Robert. Marrow (Tom Doherty Associates, 2000). High-biotech near-immortal humans (and others) inhabit and explore a mysterious world-sized starship.

Shirow, Masamune. Appleseed (Dark Horse, 1995). Graphic novel series that coined the term bioroid; adventures of two cops in a bio-cyberpunk utopia threatened by terrorists; Book 3: The Scales of Prometheus has especially strong biotech themes.

Smith, Cordwainer. Norstrilia (Ibooks, 2005). Features a decadent interstellar society, including long-lived aristocrats and bio-engineered uplifted-animal servants, the "underpeople." His short stories (frequently anthologized, and collected in The Best of Cordwainer Smith) often feature biotech themes in the same Instrumentality universe.

Sterling, Bruce. Holy Fire (Bantam-Doubleday-Dell, 1996). The transhuman future of health care; shows the lengths senior citizens may go to secure longevity, and the cost.

Sterling, Bruce. Schismatrix Plus (Ace, 1996). Novel and stories a transhuman solar system torn by conflict between the high-biotech Shapers and cyborg Mechanists.

Stirling, S.M. Drakon (Baen, 1996). A radically genetically-engineered agent from a fascist alternate world arrives on Earth and prepares it for conquests; one of the last in Stirling's Draka series; a good combination of biotech and an infinite worlds setting.

Swann, S. Andrew. Forests of the Night (DAW, 1993). Detective story in a world where human-animal transgenic hybrids are second-class citizens.

VanDermeer, Jeff. Veniss Underground (Prime Books, 2003). Another example of the New Weird science-fantasy genre, set in decadent far-future city where artists are bioengineers and uplifted meerkats and multi-limbed mini-elephants are servants.

Varley, John. The John Varley Reader (Berkley, 2004). Collection of the author's short stories, including several set in the Eight Worlds, a prototype transhuman future with biomods and sex changes as common as body piercing; see also the related novels The Ophiuchi Hotline, Steel Beach, and The Golden Globe.

Varley, John. Titan (Ace, 1987). In the near future, astronauts discover a godlike alien artifact which has created its own ecosystems and variant human races (including "realistic" winged humans and centaurs) inside its "body". Sequels Wizard and Demon feature more exotic bioconstructs such as living guided missiles.

Warren, Adam. Dirty Pair: Biohazards (Dark Horse, 1989). Anime influenced biopunk space opera. Notable sequels include Dangerous Acquaintances, Fatal but Not Serious, and Run from the Future, featuring ever-more exotic bio- and nanotechnology.

Williams, Walter Jon. Voice of the Whirlwind (Tom Doherty Assoc, 1992). Braintaping, bioengineered posthumans, corporate wars, and aliens, and future shock are spotlighted in this interplanetary bio-cyberpunk thriller.

Williamson, Jack. Lifeburst. (Del Rey, 1984) Refugee creatures designed to live in vacuum implore their hosts to let them warn Earth about a planet-devouring race, while oblivious humanity undergoes genetic-economic schism. The author also coined the terms genetic engineering in Dragon's Island and terraforming in Seetee Ship (both 1951).

Bioengineered Constructs, Plants, and Animals

Crichton, Michael. Jurassic Park (Ballantine, 1990). Cloned dinosaurs cause havoc.

Easton, Thomas A. Sparrowhawk (Wildside Press, 2000). A future world filled with bio-constructs and biovehicles.

Martin, George R.R. Tuf Voyaging (Meisha Merlin, 2003). The adventures of an rogue interstellar ecological engineer.

Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus (Pocket, 2004). Originally published in 1818, this is the classic story of a scientist's creation of artificial life and its tragic consequences, and often considered the first science fiction novel.


Bear, Greg. Heads (Tor, 1990). On future Luna, the arrival of a consignment of cryogenically-preserved heads leads to intrigue.

Niven, Larry. A World Out of Time. (Del Rey, 1986). Cryogenics patient wakes up in a radically-changed dystopian future.

Human Cloning

Cherryh, C.J. Cyteen (Aspect, 1995). Set in the Union-Alliance space opera universe, the story focuses on a deliberate attempt to recreate a deceased personality through a combination of cloning and duplication of the original environment and life experiences.

Cherryh, C.J. Serpent's Reach (Mandarin, 1989). Long-lived aristocratic families breed cloned servants and trade with insectoid aliens while feuding amongst one another.

Levin, Ira. The Boys from Brazil (Bloomsbury, 1998). An attempt to both clone Hitler and duplicate his upbringing; makes the nature versus nurture point.

Weaver, Michael D. Mercedes Nights. (St. Martins, 1987). A celebrity is cloned multiple times for sale as a sex toy.

Wolfe, Gene. The Fifth Head of Cerberus (Orb, 1994). A clone family struggles with itself and native dopplegangers for control of a backwater double-planet colony.

Nonhuman Biotechnologies

Butler, Octavia. Xenogenesis (Doubleday, 1989). Seemingly benevolent aliens biologically modify humans to adapt them to their own society.

Harry Harrison. West of Eden (Ibooks, 2000). Struggle between early humans and evolved dinosaurs who have mastered primitive biotechnology.

Williams, Walter Jon. Angel Station (Tor, 1989). Free traders encounter high-biotech aliens in a world where genetic engineering is common.

Bioterrorism, Outbreaks, and Medical Thrillers

Bear, Greg. Blood Music (Ibooks, 2002). Intelligent bioengineered diseases transform the world through nanotechnology; a classic bio-nanotech disaster novel.

Bear, Greg. Darwin's Radio (Del Rey, 2000). Diseases sleeping in the human genome return as the trigger for evolutionary change. Sequel Darwin's Children.

Crichton, Michael. The Andromeda Strain (Avon, 2003). The classic novel of a super plague from space.

Clancy, Tom. Executive Orders (Berkley, 1996). Islamic terrorists engineer a variant of the Ebola virus.

Cook, Robin. Coma (Signet, 2002). Unscrupulous hospital harvests organs from patients; one many medical and biotech thrillers by Cook.

Herbert, Frank. The White Plague (Ace, 1991). A terrorism survivor engineers a plague that kills only women.

Kress, Nancy. Oaths and Miracles (Avon, 1997). The Mafia develop a targeted viral weapon.

Nourse, Alan E. The Bladerunner (Random House, 1974). In a world of black market doctors, the hero is a smuggler specializing in medical supplies. Nourse's Star Surgeon (1959) focuses on an interstellar doctor.

Palmer, Michael. Side Effects (Bantam, 1991). Pathologist investigates a medical conspiracy with its roots in Nazi Germany. One of several medical thrillers by Palmer.

Preston, Richard. The Cobra Event (Ballantine, 1998). Bioterrorism thriller by the author of the non-fiction The Hot Zone.

Shirley, John. Eclipse: Corona (Babbage Press, 2000). In a cyberpunk future, neo-Nazis develop a racially-targeted plague and subhuman slave race.

Tezuka, Osamu. Black Jack (Viz, 1999-Present). Long-running manga series about a two-fisted medical mercenary with almost supernatural surgical gifts. Reprinted from the series begun in the 1970s by Osamu Tezuka, the "god of Japanese comics."

Wilson, Robert Charles. Bios (Millenium, 1999). A research team including a genetically-engineered woman deal with an alien world's ultra-toxic ecosystem. Contains some vivid descriptions of alien diseases.

White, James, Beginning Operations (Orb, 2001). The lengthy Sector General series is a classic of medical science fiction, set in a vast deep space hospital station which treats both human and nonhuman patients. This omnibus edition has the first three novels; other volumes are Alien Emergencies and General Practice.

Uplifted Animals

Brin, David. Startide Rising (Sagebrush, 1999). Upstart humans, dolphins, and chimps versus aliens in a future where a societies' status is measured by its ability to uplift animals into sapience. Many sequels, including The Uplift War and Brightness Reef.

Crowley, John. Otherwise (Harper Perennial, 2001). Omnibus collection that contains the novel Beasts, about uplifted human-animal hybrids living in the wilds.

Gallacci, Steve. Albedo (various publishers, 1979-2005). Graphic novel series about interstellar war and intrigue in a society of genetically-engineered uplifted animals.

Smith, L. Neil. The Probability Broach (Orb Books, 2001). A libertarian utopia in which uplifted dolphins and simians are full citizens.

Wells, H.G. The Island of Dr. Moreau (Penguin Classics, 2005). Classic novel (first published in 1896) of surgical uplift and the horrendous consequences that ensued.

Zelazny, Roger. The Dream Master (Orion, 2006). A surgically-uplifted dog is a major character in this book about dream-interface technology.

Popular Science

Andrews, Lori, and Nelkin, Dorothy. Body Bazaar: The Market for Human Tissue in the Biotechnology Age (Crown, 2001). A discussion of the legal and ethical issues in treating human tissue as a commodity.

Benyas, Janine M. Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature (William Morrow, 1997). Good introduction to biomimetic technology.

DeSalle, Rob and Lindley, David. The Science of Jurassic Park and the Lost World (Basic Books, 1997). One of the better "science of..." books, with a very readable summary of genetic engineering technology (and why the scenario of the novel cannot work as written).

Downer, John. Supersenses: Perception in the Animal World (Random House, 1991). A look at the extraordinary sensory abilities of many animal species.

Drexler, K. Eric, Peterson, Chris, and Pergamit, Gayle. Unbounding the Future: the Nanotechnology Revolution (Quill, 1993). The promises and pitfalls of advanced nanotechnology.

Drlica, Karl. Understanding DNA and Gene Cloning (Wiley, 2003). Good overview of the subject.

Garret, Laurie. The Coming Plague (Penguin, 1995). The spread of infectious diseases and their reservoirs, especially in the Third World.

Gawande, Atul. Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science (H.B. Fenn & Co., 2003): Fascinating case-studies and essays that illuminate the limits and dilemmas faced by doctors, along with interesting detail on several medical conditions.

Gonick, Larry, and Wheelis, Mark. The Cartoon Guide To Genetics (Harper, 1991). Illustrated cartoon-format introduction to the fundamentals of gene theory.

Grace, Eric. Biotechnology Unzipped (Trifolium, 1997). Good overview of the entire biotech industry; slightly out of date, but with lucid explanations.

Nussbaum, Martha A., and Sunnstein, Cass R. Clones and Clones: Facts and Fantasies About Human Cloning (Norton, 1998). Dispels myths and reveals some surprising ethical issues of cloning.

Peters, C.J., and Olshaker, Mark, Virus Hunter (1998). First-person memoir by a leading Centers for Disease Control virologist.

Prentis, Steve. Biotechnology: A New Industrial Revolution (Orbis, 1984). Industrial and economic implications of biotech.

Preston, Richard. The Hot Zone (Anchor, 1995). Graphic story of the Ebola outbreaks, and of the people who study and contain exotic lethal diseases.

Regis, Ed. Great Mambo Chicken and the Transhuman Condition (1990). Irreverent look at some of the personalities in the transhumanist and cryonics movement.

Rifkin, Jeremy. The Biotech Century (Jeremy P. Tarcher, 1999). One of the most influential opponents of biotechnology warns against future developments.

Steen, R. Grant. DNA and Destiny (Plenum, 1996). Good summary of nature versus nurture debate.

Suzuki, David, and Knudtson, Peter. Genethics: The Ethics of Engineering Life (Stoddart, 1988). Ethical issues covering all species, not just humans.

Watson, James. The Double Helix (Touchstone, 2001). Classic (first published in 1969) memoir of the discovery of the genetic code.

Many magazines and web pages have articles on biotech and related technologies.


Chadwick, Frank, Miller, Marc, Brown, Timothy and Smith, Lester. 2300 AD (GDW, 1992). The pentapod alien race is one of the best descriptions of a high-biotech using alien species.

Jones, Stefan. GURPS Uplift (Steve Jackson Games, 1990). Adaptation of David Brin's Uplift novels.

Leker, Andrew, Leker, Amy Kalish, and Teves, Miles. Skyrealms of Jorune (Chessex, 1985). Science fantasy biotech on an alien world.

Pulver, David, "The Medusa Sanction," in GURPS Cyberpunk Adventures, (Steve Jackson Games, 1992). Cyberpunk adventure featuring bioroids and bioterrorism.

Pulver, David, Transhuman Space, (Steve Jackson Games, 2001). A hard sf future set in 2100 whose advanced biotechnology was inspired by concepts introduced in GURPS Bio-Tech. Several supplements in the line feature additional biotech, notably Fifth Wave (eco-niche parahumans), Deep Beyond (space adaptations), In the Well (Martian biotech), and Under Pressure. (underwater biotech).

Sheeley, Craig, "Exotics," Chromebook 2. (R. Talsorian Games, 1992). Surgical biomodification in a cyberpunk world.

Van Hiel, Peter, and Holmgren, Jason. Albedo: Platinum Catalyst (Sanguine Publications, 2004). Adaptation of the Steve Gallacci comic. An earlier version by Paul Kidd was released by Chessex in 1988.

Winters, Edward, and McLaughlin, Judith. Technocracy: Progenitors, (White Wolf, 1993). Magical genetic engineering in the Mage: The Ascension setting.

Wu, Karl. Shadowtech (FASA, 1992). Erudite look at cyberpunk biotechnology in the Shadowrun setting.

Film and Television

Only a few iconic examples of the hundreds of medical and forensic movies and television dramas have been listed.

The Andromeda Strain (Robert Wise, 1971). Scientists struggle to control a deadly alien disease.

Appleseed (Shinji Aramaki, 2004). The most recent animated version of the Shirow manga.

Blade Runner (Ridley Scott, 1982). Bioroid replicants created as servants and warriors attempt to elude police in future Los Angeles.

Crest of the Stars (Yasuchika Nagaoka, 1991): Space opera anime focusing on the Abh, a variant race of humanity, and their conflict with the United Mankind, with fascinating details of Ab aristocratic, high-biotech culture. Based on a series of novels by Morioka Hiroyuki, it provides many details of Ab culture. Sequels Banner of the Stars and Banner of the Stars II.

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (Anthony E. Zuiker, 2000). Iconic police forensic investigation TV drama set in Los Vegas; spinoff series CSI: Miami and CSI: New York.

Dark Angel (James Cameron and Charles H. Eglee, 2002-2004). TV series about a genetically-engineered supersoldier living as a fugitive in cyberpunk Seattle.

E.R. (Michael Crichton, 1994-2009). Massively popular emergency room medical drama.

Fantastic Voyage (Richard Fleischer, 1966). A submarine and its crew are miniaturized and used to perform life-saving surgery; a short-lived TV series was also made.

Gattaca (Andrew Nicol, 1997). A genetically-imperfect man struggles to get ahead in future in which your genome determines your status.

Geneshaft (Kazuki Akane, 2003). Animated TV series in which inhabitants of a genetically-stratified future society (including an uplifted dog) confront an alien artifact.

Gundam Seed (Mitsuo Fukuda, 2002-2003). Anime mecha TV series featuring a conflict between genetically-enhanced space colony-dwelling humans and normals (some enhanced by drugs). Sequel Gundam Seed Destiny (2004-2005).

House, M.D. (David Shore, 2004-2012). TV series which treats clinical diagnostics as detective work. The brilliant but unrelentingly acerbic title character is a model of scientific detachment.

Neon Genesis Evangelion (Hideaki Anno, 1995). Psychologically intense anime TV series in which giant robots and biotechnology bring on the apocalypse.

Outbreak. (Wolfgang Peterson, 1995). An airborne virus threatens to spread from a small town.

Star Trek (Gene Roddenberry) (1966-1969). Doctor McCoy is the archetypal "ship's doctor" in SF and Spock is the classic alien hybrid; the original series and its many spinoffs often deal with medical plots.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (Nicholas Meyer, 1982) features eugenic supermen as its villains.

Tenchi Muyo! (Hiroki Hayashi and Masaki Kajishima, 1992). Fun anime space opera that features an alien culture that makes use of tree and animal bioships (one of which can transform into a cute furry critter).

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