Welcome to this month's Science in Fiction feature! Science in Fiction is a meme I created to showcase the wonderful aspects of science in Young Adult fiction novels. For more information and previous feature, check out the "Science in Fiction" tag!
This month, I'm featuring Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff!
Illuminae is set in the year 2575, over half a century from modern times. Kady and Ezra's home has been invaded, and they are forced to leave their planet. The population that survived the invasion escaped to spaceships, which are being pursued by the invaders. Surviving the invasion was one obstacle - surviving on the ships in space is quite another.
Illuminae is a really cool novel! The story was amazing, but I especially loved the construction and execution of the novel. Written entirely in chat logs, security footage, messages, classified documents, this book is not of the form of a narrative. Which made it all the more interesting!
There are so many science-y aspects of this book. Life in space? Woah! We've sent a man on the moon (in 1969, with Armstrong and Aldrin), but to have craft and humans flying around like in Star Wars? Totally not there! This book reminded me of Star Wars. There are warships, civilian spaceships, piloted ships with teams, machinery that was basically droid-like (in a scarier way though). This aspect of science is so cool - life in space, technology in space.
Another aspect of science in this novel is one of more terror - biological warfare. As is stated in the official synopsis of this book, a plague is spread from ship to ship, and it mutates as it goes. It is deadly and quite scary. Once you contract it, your life is over; you're living, but no one will want to be around any of the infected once they are infected. I don't want to give anything away about the plague, but trust me, it is terrifying just to READ about.
According to Merriam-Webster, biological warfare is defined as
the use of harmful living things (such as germs that cause disease) as weapons in a war.
Which is what happens in Illuminae - the invaders infected a group of the planet's population while invading and whatnot, and some of those people survived the invasion and got on the spacecraft.
Biological warfare is super scary, horrifyingly smart, and very unethical. I say it's smart because if you have no heart or soul, sure, wiping out a population by infecting like, one person, is smart. I suppose. But unethical. Heartless. Cold. Inhuman. I can't even think about this happening for real. And yet, there are always whispers about how 1) the next world war will be over water resources and 2) the next world war will involve lots of nuclear weapons - and biological warfare.
I don't agree with biological warfare (obviously). I wouldn't inflict it on my worst enemy, the "enemy group/country/whatever". There are certain groups that exist today that deserve horrible things, but biological warfare is so wrong. Innocent people are liable to be caught in the crossfire, and that is not okay. But I could see some groups employing this tactic.
Thoughts on biological warfare? Space? Star Wars?