Literature, Film & Genetics

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A web site devoted to novels and films that confront the social, ethical, and cultural implications of genetics. 


Cloud Atlas (2004)
By David Mitchell

Cloud Atlas is composed of a series of interlocking tales, organized around a matryoshka-doll model of time. Beginning in 1850 with Adam Ewing’s Pacific Voyage, where the pious notary details his struggles with a rare brain parasite, his narrative abruptly ends as a series of letters from Robert Frobisher to friend Sixsmith begins. In 1931, Frobisher is fleeing a series of debt collectors, so he works as amanuensis to famous, syphilis-stricken composer Vyvyan Ayres. The narrative jumps to the 1970s, where intrepid reporter Luisa Rey is investigating a tip from elderly atomic engineer Rufus Sixsmith, who has written a report indicating that a new energy compound planned on Swanekke Island is actually an inevitable nuclear disaster...

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