The Biopunk Reader


Growing Dread: Biopunk Visions by Timid Pirate Publishing

A few readers might recall several months back, when a post was made regarding the call for biopunk submissions by Timid Pirate Publishing. Well, time has flown by, and the anthology they were compiling is not only completed, but to include a piece by the Biopunk Reader's own Christine Danse. C. Dombrowski, editor of the anthology now titled Growing Dread, has generously provided us a glimpse behind the scenes.

Timid Pirate's website describes the book:

Let eleven visionary authors show you the dangers and wonders of nature 2.0. Harnessing the power of nature, these authors show us biological futures that could be. If the human brain is the best computer in the world, what happens when someone learns how to hack it? A submarine captain, a government employee, a vat-grown sex toy and a world without death await say nothing of the unicorns and timeless beauties. Includes stories by Angel Leigh McCoy, Erik Scott de Bie, Jeremy Zimmerman, Berit K.N. Ellingsen, Michael Hacker, and others.

TBR: Was there any single driving inspiration that lead to the creation of the biopunk anthology?

CD: As an avid reader of Jeff VanderMeer's intelligent mushroom books, a philosopher of science and home pickler/gardener, I spend a lot of time thinking about biology-based science and science fiction. On a walk with Michaela Hutfles, Producer of the Timid Pirate podcast, we hit upon the notion of an anthology of biology-based science fiction. While enjoying steampunk, we wanted to see more recent science get the spotlight sometimes, too! So we began talking up our favorite books we consider to be in that genre, and eventually Nathan Crowder (Publisher at Timid Pirate) thought it was a good idea too.

TBR: So...unicorns?

CD: Frankly, we were shocked at the number of fantasy-type characters authors worked into the stories. Unicorns? Dragons? Surprise vampires? But we vetted each story for scientific basis. They've all got real science somewhere in there to back it up. And the water bear/unicorn story really had us in hysterics ;)

TBR: I've noticed that Timid Pirate has published several works with alternate themes such as superhero fantasies and speculative fiction. Do you believe that biopunk literature has a future place amongst more well-known fiction genres?

CD: Timid Pirate is home to speculative fiction on the fringe, with an emphasis on mythic heroes in a contemporary setting. Biopunk, superheroes and other mini-genres draw readers from across traditional genres like science fiction, horror, fantasy and young adult. Timid Pirate believes those collaborations and crossing of genre boundaries makes for fascinating stories. And it'd be fantastic if biopunk stories were everywhere!

TBR: As a small press, do you envision any further projects that may contain biopunk elements?

CD: Yes. Biology-based science fiction is way too much fun to shelve. What shape will it take? Stay tuned...

TBR: Do you foresee a future in which any of these stories may become a reality?

CD: Certainly. Each of these stories is based on science available today, with various assumptions about how it will develop or be used. Engineered pets, cloned humans and human-animal hybrids seem just over the horizon...

About Timid Pirate Publishing:
Timid Pirate Publishing is a nonprofit based in Seattle, WA. With superhero, biopunk and (soon) Dark Carnival anthologies out in print and a fantastic podcast (, we're making our first year count. Purchase the books at our website (  and look out for more speculative fiction from the fringe.

Thank you, Timid Pirate Publishing!