This project was made possible by the Gesellschaft für Kanadastudien (GKS) and the Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst (DAAD), both of which provided grants in generous support of my dissertation research at the Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation & Fantasy and York University in Toronto, Canada, between August 2009 and April 2010. Without them, this project might not have been realized.
Some of the chapters presented here are alternative, extended, or edited versions of existing material: The short ‘biopunk’ definition in chapter 2 has been extracted from a longer, earlier draft of that chapter, which has been accepted for publication in SFRA Review as ‘Biopunk 101’ (309 : 31–36). Some of my thoughts on Splice (chapter 4) have been published as ‘Frankenstein’s Offspring: Practicing Science and Parenthood in Natali’s Splice,’ Science Fiction Film & Television (8.3 : 343–69). And lastly, an alternative, shortened version of chapter 5 will be published in the forthcoming The World of Bioshock, an anthology edited by Sven Dwulecki and Krzysztof M. Maj (Facta Ficta, 2016).
Further, I would like to thank my dissertation advisor Martin Klepper of the Humboldt University Berlin, whose support and patience have never dwindled over the course of this project. My gratitude also goes to Susanne Rohr, who has been so kind as to provide a professional home and endless support in questions of career advancement; to Allan Weiss, whose scholarly guidance, support, and feedback have turned into a personal friendship that spans an ocean; to Hans-Harald Müller and Astrid Böger, who have been willing co-conspirators in the inauguration of the Gesellschaft für Fantastikforschung (GFF) and thus are at the center of my network of ‘fantastic’ support, feedback, and critique; to the executive committee and the members of the GFF, who showed me that I was not alone in German academia with this kind of research, especially to Ingrid Tomkowiak, who agreed to be second assessor of (p.viii) this thesis; to the members of the Science Fiction Research Association (SFRA), International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA), Society for Utopian Studies (SUS), and its European sister, the Utopian Studies Society (USS), for granting me the initial feeling of not being a freak when being a nerd at an academic conference.
And of course, my deepest thanks go to all of my colleagues and friends, whom I have pestered first with my ideas and later with chapters of this book to proofread, to cross-examine, and to discuss in many an untimely hour, especially Sherryl Vint, Mark Bould, Jacek Rzeszotnik, Steffen Hantke, Daniel Illger, Pawel Frelik, Ritch Calvin, Georg Hach, and Steven Wosniack.
Finally, the completion of this project would not have been possible without my wife Julia, who not only kept me sane, supported me tirelessly, and helped me untangle the knots in my head, but also provided valuable feedback and many a professional insight, and was always the first and last to read a manuscript.