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Introduction : contemporary fiction

Cockin, Katharine


Katharine Cockin


Contemporary fiction has to address all manner of uncertainties. Those brought about by scientific developments and related social changes are possibly most acute in novels which experiment with the new science of cloning and reproductive technologies. Here there is often an explicit exploration of what it means to be human. As Eva Sabine Zehelein’s article shows, the capability of science to replace sexual reproduction is explored as a potentially liberating idea by the scientist-author, Carl Djerassi. His novel provides a means of educating the reader about science as well as providing a testing-ground for the ethical issues which face today’s scientists. Notably it is the long-term effects of scientific inventions in reproductive technologies which require hard thinking today. While these concerns will be considered by scientists and legislators, they are certainly being tested in the relative freedom of the novel. Thus Eva Hoffmann’s The Secret demonstrates that, to some extent, it is the clone who exposes what is taken for granted as human. Susan Stuart illustrates here the critical perspective offered by this novel. Whatever scientific interventions and biological crafting are involved in the creation of new life, the complexity of the decisions and actions of the life created provides a rich source of narrative exploration, especially in the bildungsroman form.


Cockin, K. (2008). Introduction : contemporary fiction. Critical Survey, 20(1), 1-2.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Mar 1, 2008
Publication Date Mar 1, 2008
Journal Critical survey
Print ISSN 0011-1570
Electronic ISSN 1752-2293
Publisher Berghahn Journals
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 1
Pages 1-2
Keywords Contemporary fiction
Public URL
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