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Genomics Forum · News

A twistedly clever, frighteningly plausible dystopian glimpse

05.09.2012

Introduction

Intrusion by Ken MacLeod on Wellcome Trust Book Prize 2012 longlist

Story

We are delighted that 'Intrusion' by , former Writer in Residence at the Forum is on the Wellcome Trust Book Prize 2012 longlist.

From the inside flap:Imagine a near-future London where advances in medical science have led to the development of a single-dose pill which, taken when pregnant, eradicates many common genetic defects from an unborn baby.

Hope Morrison, mother of a hyperactive four-year-old, is expecting her second child. She refuses to take The Fix, as the pill is known. Her refusal divides her family and friends and puts her and her husband in danger of imprisonment or worse.

Is Hope's decision a private matter of individual choice, or is it tantamount to willful neglect of her unborn child?

Intrusion is a plausible and original novel with sinister echoes of 1984 and Brave New World.

Quote used for news title, from Iain M. Banks book review - A twistedly clever, frighteningly plausible dystopian glimpse

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Full details of the Wellcome Trust book Prize:

www.wellcomebookprize.org/News/Announcements/WTVM056219.html

The longlist for the £25 000 Wellcome Trust Book Prize is announced today, bringing together a varied range of fiction and non-fiction on the theme of health, illness and medicine. From music to madness and from anatomy to genetic engineering, this eclectic mix of books reflects the extraordinary number of ways in which authors can explore medicine to make it both engaging and accessible.

The longlist includes five novels and nine works of non-fiction:

John Coates - 'The Hour Between Dog and Wolf' (Fourth Estate)Joshua Cody - '[Sic]' (Bloomsbury)Nick Coleman - 'The Train in the Night' (Jonathan Cape)Mohammed Hanif - 'Our Lady of Alice Bhatti' (Jonathan Cape)Peter James - 'Perfect People' (Macmillan)Harry Karlinsky - 'The Evolution of Inanimate Objects' (The Friday Project)Darian Leader - 'What is Madness?' (Hamish Hamilton)Ken Macleod - 'Intrusion' (Orbit)Professor Peter Piot - 'No Time to Lose' (W W Norton & Company)Michael Shermer - 'The Believing Brain' (Constable & Robinson)Tim Spector - 'Identically Different' (Wiedenfeld & Nicolson)Rose Tremain - 'Merivel: A man of his time' (Chatto & Windus)Thomas Wright - 'Circulation' (Chatto & Windus)Paul Zak - 'The Moral Molecule' (Transworld)

Clare Matterson, Director of Medical Humanities and Engagement at the Wellcome Trust, comments: "This is an excellent and extremely diverse selection of books, reflecting the creative ways in which authors use medicine in fiction and non-fiction. These books challenge and entertain the reader in equal measures, but crucially make us reflect on the impact that medicine has on our lives. It will no doubt be a difficult task for our judges to pick one winner out of such a strong list."

Scientific research, human behaviour and genetics are just some of the themes within this year's longlist, which was selected by a panel of judges chaired by Mark Lawson. Many of the books stimulate interesting debates, such as what would happen in a world where we could eradicate genetic defects, whether our beliefs match reality and whether the key to moral behaviour might lie within a single molecule?

Biographies and memoirs also feature in the longlist, ranging from personal experiences of illness to profiles of inspiring individuals such as Peter Piot and William Harvey, who have contributed to scientific progress through their extraordinary work. The list also includes a factitious biography that blurs the boundaries between fact and fiction by retelling Darwinian family history.

Human behaviour is another central theme in the longlist. Topics include a study of madness, economic behaviour and its impact on the global economy, the blurring of nature versus nurture in genetics, a theory of how we form beliefs, and a revolutionary theory of moral behaviour.

Last year, for the first time, a work of fiction won the prize - Alice LaPlante's 'Turn of Mind' - and, once again, a number of novels are in the running for the 2012 prize. Revealing an enduring interest in health and medicine across all literary genres, the longlist includes science fiction, a Peter James thriller, a love story and a work of historical fiction.

The shortlist will be announced on 11 October and the winner of this prestigious prize will be announced at an awards reception at Wellcome Collection, London, on 7 November 2012.

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Intrusion by Ken MacLeod