Friday, November 21, 2008

Aaron's Story Recommendation of the Week :: Glass by Daryl Gregory

illustration by Owen Smith for GlassMy story recommendation of the week is for "Glass" by Daryl Gregory, from the Technology Review, published by MIT (illustration for the story by Owen Smith). (Free registration is required to read the story.)

Daryl Gregory is one of science fiction's rising stars. For a lot more about him, you can read my interview with him, or my review of Pandemonium, his excellent new novel.

Like much of Gregory's work, "Glass" addresses issues of psychology and neurology. Recent research suggests that certain "mirror neurons," activated on observing actions of someone else, are strongly linked to empathy. In "Glass," scientists have developed a drug to stimulate these neurons and are testing it on sociopathic prisoners sorely lacking in emphathy. "Glass" is quite short and tightly written, yet manages to raise interesting practical and ethical issues about the effects of such a drug. Ending on a nice twist that I did not see coming, the story gives the reader its own little jolt of empathy.

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