I have been writing critiques of science fiction short stories all afternoon. My head is pounding and I need to vent to the world my opinion.
Nanobots are NOT the faeries of the science fiction world.
Nanobots are engineered and programed itty bitty eeensy weensy robots. The technology promises amazing things. Stunning things. And if this technology is properly placed in a science fiction story– I say Bravo!
However, far too often I read the word nanobot in a story and suddenly the nanobots are like science fiction’s own version of magic. They can alter flesh to transform the appearance of a person in a matter of moments, they can alter the emotions and thoughts of characters, they can analyze ancient technologies from a previous era, they can make inoperable machinery operable and somehow power it with no evident source of power, they can rewrite the system program and emotional application for a type of cyborg(?), they can analyze levels of radiation that would fry a human being without a hazard suit, ….
These are all examples of the use of nanobots in stories that I have read THIS afternoon.
I am coming to the conclusion that if I see the word nanobot in a story it means that the author has taken a lazy route and has not thought about or done any research on science or advanced technologies. Further, the inclusion of nanobots automatically creates suspicion in me and it is a much harder sell for the author to convince me of the reality of their story.
There are so many new and exciting things being discovered at this moment in history. So many marvels that could be the basis for science fiction. These authors are missing out on possible opportunities by not reading widely or investigating what might be possible.
Check out the following:
In this one Juan Enriquez goes on a bit about the economy and then touches on fascinating scientific advancements.
In this one David Merrill talks about new blocks that he has developed that are mini computers that interact.
This is just kind of cool.
All of these come from TED talks. There are many more that are really very good and this is just a small sample.
It is a place to start for inspiration while writing science fiction. I say no more Nanobot faery magic.