Bioengagement - Summer 2016

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The promise and perils of advances in technology, science, and medicine have long been fertile fodder for creative works in literature and cinema. Consequently, a variety of resources exist exploring the realm of medical humanities as well as those providing in-depth analysis of a given cultural medium or particular artifact. This column seeks to offer a more expansive listing of contemporary expressions of bioethical issues in the popular media (fiction, film, and television)—with minimal commentary—to encompass a wider spectrum of popular culture. It will be of value to educators and others for conversations in the classroom, over a cup of coffee, at a book club, or around the dinner table. Readers are cautioned that these resources represent a wide spectrum of genres and content, and may not be appropriate for all audiences. For more comprehensive databases of the various cultural media, please visit our website at If you have a suggestion for us to include in the future, send us a note at


Isaac Asimov, The Currents of Space

(Reprint edition, Tor Books, 2010).

Memory & Identity, Psychosurgery, Neuroethics.

Isaac Asimov, The Robot Series

  • The Naked Sun (Spectra Books, 1991).
  • The Robots of Dawn (Spectra, 1994).

Artificial Intelligence, Ectogenesis, Emerging Technologies, Human Enhancement, Human-Machine Interaction, Personhood, Reproductive Technology Ethics, Robotics, Robot Ethics.

James Dashner, The Maze Runner Series

  • The Maze Runner (Reprint edition, Delacort Press, 2010).
  • The Scorch Trials (Reprint edition, Delacort Press, 2011).
  • The Death Cure (Delacort Press, 2013).
  • The Kill Order (Reprint edition, Delacort Press, 2014).

Biotechnology, Bioterrorism, Disaster Ethics, Neuroethics, Public Health, Research Ethics.

Mary Pearson, The Jenna Fox Chronicles

  • Fox Inheritance (Reprint edition, Square Fish, 2013).
  • Fox Forever (Reprint edition, Square Fish, 2014).

Artificial Intelligence, Biotechnology, Cognitive Uploading, Human-Animal Hybrids, Neuroethics, Personhood, Radical Life Extension, Robotics.

Ned Vizzini, Be More Chill

(Disney-Hyperion, 2005).

Human Enhancement, Cognitive Enhancement, Neuroethics.

Jeremy Heere is your classic high school student struggling with self-esteem. Enter Rich, someone who used to be just like Jeremy, but is now the epitome of cool. The secret to his transformation is a black market pill (“squip”) that he promises Jeremy will solve all of his problems by means of a little brain boosting.

Bioethics at the Box Office


(2016, PG-13 for intense violence and action, thematic elements, and some partial nudity).

Designer Babies, Disaster Ethics, Emerging Technology, Eugenics, Genetic Engineering, Human Enhancement, Neuroethics, Research Ethics.


(2015, PG-13 for intense violence and action throughout, some sensuality, thematic elements and brief language).

Neuroethics, Research Ethics

Jupiter Ascending

(2015, PG-13 for some violence, sequences of sci-fi action, some suggestive content and partial nudity).

Genetics, Radical Life Extension, Regenerative Medicine.

Primetime Bioethics

Agents of Shield


Genetic Engineering, Human Enhancement, Neuroethics, Research Ethics, Transhumanism.



Bioterrorism, Disaster Ethics, Research Ethics.



Artificial Intelligence, Human-Machine Interactions, Personhood, Robot Ethics.



Cognitive Enhancement, Emerging Technology, Genetic Ethics, Human Enhancement, Neuroethics, Research Ethics, Transhumanism.


(Season 3 & 4, 2012-2013).

Biotechnology, Bioterrorism, Nanotechnology, Neuroethics, Research Ethics

Person of Interest


Artificial Intelligence, Human-Machine Interactions, Personhood, Privacy.