Out of Copyright by Charles Sheffield

There is a school of thought that believes it is science fiction’s obligation to explore the social consequences of technology. I don’t think all science fiction fits nicely with that prescription, but it’s a good parameter. Especially for today’s story which deals with the pros and cons of cloning, especially when it comes to brilliant thinkers like Einstein, Tesla, and Oppenheimer.

Out of Copyright by Charles Sheffield was prescient for its time. The story was first published seven years before Dolly the sheep made headlines as the first cloned adult mammal. Our protagonist, Al, is on his way to the draft pick which determines which large companies will get the exclusive rights to clone famous geniuses in order to use their superior intelligence to solve problems. Its pretty telling that the problem Al’s company is currently solving is a completely ridiculous task of launching asteroids at Jupiter’s moon Io. Continue reading…