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| 28.1.04
'Dibs', by Brian Plante

If I didn't realize it already, I'm now gaining an even greater awareness that it is a real talent to write a good science fiction short story. In just a few pages an author must flesh out believable characters, motives, and settings. Then there is the added ingredient that makes the story SF --a compelling ethical, philosophical, or physical issue that is raised by or solved with science or technology.

I thought Brian Plante did a fine job of using these elements artistically in 'Lavender in Love', which I reviewed last January. That story dealt with robots and artificial intelligence. This time, Plante tackles the ethical issues raised by organ donation --both voluntary and involuntary. If three people's lives would be saved, is it justified for doctors to kill you and harvest your organs to save them? Shouldn't a truly moral person be willing to sacrifice themselves if they know they will do greater good dead than alive? Is it ever morally justified for someone in need to call "dibs" on your heart, liver, skin, or spleen? When do the needs of the many truly outweigh the needs of the few?

Plante imagines a near-future world in which available organs and needy recipients can be matched with computer precision, --and the sick can lay claim on the organs of the healthy under the right circumstances! Told in the first person from the point of view of David Danila, a government employee whose organs are in risk of being involuntarily harvested, we are taken on an emotional and ethical roller coaster ride. David struggles both for survival and with the ethical issues surrounding organ donation --all in just six pages!

Brian Plante is definitely an author to watch, both in the pages of Analog and elsewhere.

PUBLISHER: Analog Science Fiction and Fact (Astounding); Dell Publishers; ISSN: 10592113 (April, 2004)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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A passionate fan for years so I started my own blog :-)

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