Author Archives: Stephen Oram

An excess of ears to entertain

With less than a week to go before Biohacked & Begging is released, the interviews have started. One of the recurring questions is about the inspiration behind the collection. There is a long answer, which can be found on a previous post Prodding and poking the possible, but the short answer is, “to entertain.”

The second story in the collection is Mr Enhancement, wonderfully illustrated by Kim Hutson above, and written specifically for the Enfield Literary Festival as part of The Clockhouse London Writers Presents.

I took the inspiration from the performance artist Stelarc, who famously has an ear on his arm. Here’s an extract from his biography: “[…] has visually probed and acoustically amplified his body. He has made three films of the inside of his body. Between 1976-1988 he completed 26 body suspension performances with hooks into the skin. He has used medical instruments, prosthetics, robotics, Virtual Reality systems, the Internet and biotechnology to engineer intimate and involuntary interfaces with the body. He explores Alternate Anatomical Architectures with augmented and extended body constructs.”

As you can imagine, I was really chuffed when Stelarc agreed to read an advance copy of Biohacked & Begging and doubly chuffed when he gave me this quote for the cover:  “Can humans remain ‘more than digital, more than flesh’ with detachable limbs, multiple ears, implants that can be hacked and nanobots that can be ingested? These thoroughly enjoyable and contestable futures explore the personal and political implications of fleshy and messy encounters with contentious technology and the epidemic of algorithms.”

I hope you enjoy the collection as much as Stelarc did.


Biohacked & Begging is published on 12 April, but you can pre-order from Amazon now.

Press release available here and on request.


Art: Mr Enhancement by Kim Hutson @batfacedgirlart

What’s behind the fish?

Naturally, each and every story in my new collection, Biohacked & Begging, has a background story behind it.

The final story (and the one illustrated above) is Placodermi Protection which came from the combination of two threads I was thinking about when I wrote it.

The story started to form after listening to Jaron Lanier, where one of the things he talked about was using virtual reality to experience things that are ‘other’ to the normal. Something different to the tired ‘swimming with dolphins’ type of VR.

Alongside this I’d become interested in zombie neurons, the neurons that are present in the fetus but die at birth because they relate to aspects that evolution has seen the back of, such as wings on sheep mites.

And so, the world of virtual reality for babies and biohacked fish was born.

If you’re in London on 9 April, you can hear the first public reading of this at the near-future fictions event, Boundless Bodies.


Biohacked & Begging is published on 12 April, but you can pre-order from Amazon now.

Press release available here and on request.


Art: Placodermi Protection by Kim Hutson @batfacedgirlart

Prodding and poking the possible

Biohacked & Begging is the second volume in the Nudge the Future series. These are collections of (very) short stories that dig around in our possible futures.

Some of the stories come from collaborations with scientists and others have flown around inside my head all alone before making their way out and on to the page.

Most of the collaborations have come through a project with Dr. Christine Aicardi, who is a Senior Research Fellow from King’s College London. Among other things, her project is looking at: “How good can near-future fiction be at provoking ethical and social reflection on emerging science and technology?” Continue reading