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Microbial Brains

October 31, 2012

Brain Plague was too ahead of its time in 2000; you can tell from the early reviews, people had trouble understanding microbial brains. Today, Nature Reviews Microbiology reports on the connection between our gut microbes and our own brains. Psychiatric disorders are connected to irritable bowl syndrome and liver disease. Even fecal transplant might help a diseased brain.

It figures–I’ve always known I feel happy when my stomach does. “Please send chocolate!”

And now, a nice review of Brain Plague from SFFIC. “Slonczewski’s world-building is precise, presenting a future urban society so fleshed out you could roleplay in it. From micros to sentient houses to alien art galleries, she describes everything with a guidebook’s level of detail, a careful recreation of a unique culture. She uses her setting and society to explore issues of how humans choose to set the boundaries of sentience (is a micro too small to be sentient?), religion (is it ever right to pretend to divine power, and in how many ways can it be wielded?), happiness (how can any carrier resist giving in to the self-annihilation of dopamine overload?), and loneliness (once you’ve had a civilization in your head, is it possible to survive alone?).”

One Comment
  1. Jasper permalink
    October 31, 2012 11:55 pm

    Thank you for the link and the good words! Reading Brain Plague was a pleasure–I love novels that deal with shifts in identity like the carriers’ shifts from “I” to “we” and from individuals to a community (and I also loved the individual personalities of the microbes and the carriers’ genuine mourning for their favorites). I’ll definitely read more of the Elysium cycle.

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