Over the past year I’ve been an unofficial writer in residence at STIS – the science, technology and innovation studies unit in the University of Edinburgh. Most of the time that I’m there I spend quietly in an office, working on the novel-to-be. But I’ve also been talking to Dr Gill Haddow about her research on heart implants and their emotional impacts upon the people who receive them. These implants are both biological (such as valves from pigs) and mechanical (ICDs; implantable cardiac defibrillators). Do these devices make their recipients ‘cyborgs’? Are we made more or less human by non-human additions to our bodies? As a result, I wrote a short story ‘We would like you to listen to our hearts’ (as well as a commentary on the process of writing the story), and these are now posted on her blog; Animal, Mechanical and Me.
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