Glorious food food! Five SF approaches to a balanced diet

Finnish scientists are working on An innovative protein source. (In case you didn’t want to click the link: Scientists make protein flour from Co2Other common components are electricity [which could come from solar]and bacteria) this process, if successful and scalable, promises some degree of protection against agricultural disruption due to climate change –

I hope this, or something like that, will eventually replace a lot of modern agriculture, because, according to my math, I think we currently food is the basic need as it is, so it’s no surprise that science fiction authors have schemes based on new forms of nutrition. Do you want to guess the following number of examples?

The food of the gods and how it got to earth by HG Wells (1904)

Visionary chemist Mr. Bensington, in concert with Professor Redwood, introduces a long-suffering scientist with Herakleophorbia IV, a chemical additive that greatly increases animal growth. The couple had very specific applications in mind for their creation — British children were to be like gods, outrunning their elders! —but thanks to flabby containment measures, the benefits of herakleophorbia IV have spread up and down entire food chains. Welcome to the brave new world of giant chickens and tall wasps.

Unintended bug issues aside, Wells takes a strangely pessimistic view of the gap between glorified vision and actual implementation. A society of young giants looks like a 40-foot person in a designed society of six feet would be a challenge, to say the least.

space merchants Written by Frederick Pohl and CM Kornblut (1953)

While Pohl and Kornbluth’s satires focus primarily on a world in which prolific, ad-driven capitalism liberates itself from any kind of caution or reason, Food Production features one memorable sequence. While hiding, fugitive copywriter Mitch Courtenay found himself grazing Little Chicken, “a grey-brown, rubbery hemisphere (of chicken flesh) about fifteen yards in diameter.” Chicken Little is a vital source of protein “for people from Baffinland to Little America.” estate to advance!

Chicken Little was inspired by Dr. Alexis Carroll’s famous chicken heart experiment, in which Carroll had been able to preserve the heart in a vial of his own design for over twenty years. Or at least he said he did. No one has ever been able to replicate his experience. Sad news for all of us who would like a slice of chicken tumor the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.

“ambrosia” by Arthur C Clarke (1964)

Synthetic food freed humans from dependence on agriculture. Scientists have been able to replicate traditional foods, even invent delicious new ones. But if there are ethical reasons not to eat certain foods (take foie gras as an example), is it ethical to eat artificial foie gras? Are there foods considered more taboo? Should there be laws against prohibited industrial foods? (I do my best not to give away any spoilers).

Clarke’s case for synthetic food may seem unconvincing at first glance, but the mathematics in contrast to the invention of Bensington and Redwood (and, really, quite a lot of SF, where the correct reaction to any innovation is to run yell), synthesizers work precisely as semen. The only snag in this particular implementation is a simple marketing issue.

Delicious in the dungeon by Ryōko Kui (2014)

While exploring one of the labyrinthine dungeons dotting his world, Layos and his friends are attacked by a red dragon. They are rescued by Lajos’ sister Valene. Even when she was consumed herself, Valene ferried her brother and friends to safety. Valen could still be saved… if the group could track down the dragon, kill it, and revive Valen before she was completely digested. The sticking point is food, of which the group has very little. Or perhaps they would be surrounded by abundant food, if they could bring themselves to regard the monsters of the dungeon as food.

No matter how disastrous the events are in each volume of this ongoing manga, the author always finds time to detail how meticulously the party cooks their latest variety. To read this fantasy adventure manga, you must be perpetually engrossed.

no food by Sarah Tolme (2015)

Total gastric bypass freed the wealthy from the demands of their digestive systems. They are fed by alternative means and no longer need to consume real food. Is this the end of fine dining? Not if you believe the dreamers behind the exclusive restaurant known as NoFood.

This collection of satirical pieces explores the world of rich people getting what they want even if it isn’t a good idea. Is this not the world we should all work for?


I’m sure there are other works that mention alternative feeding. If you know of any noteworthy examples, please mention them in the comments…as always, below.

In the words of fanfiction author Musty181a four-time Hugo finalist, and a prolific, enduring book reviewer Darwin Prize nominee James Davis Nicole “Looks like a virtual Mi with glasses on.” His work has appeared in Interzone, Publishers Weekly, Romantic Times, as well as on his own websites, James Nicol Reviews (assisted by editor Karen Lofstrom and web person Adrienne L. Travis) and 2021 and 2022 Aurora Prize Final old youth reads sff (assisted by web person Adrienne L. Travis). his patreon They can be found here.

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