Gattaca has a Problem with Genetic Engineering, but why? by Rich Monetti


Rich Monetti

Gattaca provides a platform to discuss genetic engineering

You ever notice that people who completely dismiss the idea of genetic engineering always have a luscious head of hair? So what would be so wrong if I still had my perfect Beatles hair to shake about. I say nothing. But Gattaca relegates all future male pattern pain to an ivory tower that will always have sufferers such as myself looking up. Thanks a lot.

In the not too distant future, medical science figures out how to siphon off unpleasantries such as heart disease, mental illness and hooked noses. I don’t see a problem, especially since my genetic profile obviously ran afoul of these three specifically. Let me tell you, go try losing your mind, there’s nothing fun about it. The same goes for catching your profile in the mirror as scores of pretty girls look the other way.

Not to worry, the film’s science makes sure society still has an element of surprise. “Believe me, we have enough imperfection built in already,” the fertility specialist ensures Vincent’s parents.

But Vincent (Ethan Hawke) was unfortunately left out in the cold with me. He was conceived the old fashioned way – in the back seat of a car. So at birth his parents know that a number of maladies lay ahead for what society calls “in-valids.”

They, along with valids, are registered in a biometric database, and insurance companies, future schools and employers are not privy. Of course, plenty can be foretold by the saliva found on the envelope of your job application or other readily available methods. “We’ve got discrimination down to a science,” laments Vincent in voiceover.

Vincent’s options are clearly limited, and it’s only fair. Why should an employer invest time and money in a worker who will die or be disabled before providing a reasonable return

Fortunately, the parents are not as irresponsible the second time. They utilize the available science and make sure the act of love applies only to making love not babies. Anton gets dad’s name as reward for his parents seeing the error of their ways.

The disadvantage is never far from Vincent’s disposition, and sibling rivalry is also down to a science. “Our favorite game was called chicken. Each of us would swim out to sea, and the loser would turn back first,” Hawke dismisses the danger.

Predestined so to speak, Vincent always swum for shore first. Being a younger brother, I know how that feels. Imagine Vincent’s pain as the elder, but I’m sure being valid enough in our society probably makes that pretty hard for you.

Nonetheless, it doesn’t keep Vincent from looking up. The stars are his aspiration, and he doesn’t hesitate to go the distance at Gattaca to mask his faulty genes.

Enter Jude Law and his broken back. “There’s no gene for fate,” instructs Vincent and Law exchanges a steady stream of blood and urine for the upkeep it can provide on his lofty ivory.

Sucks turning into an in-valid, and all the more reason science should have stepped up long ago to spare the loss of my mind and the entirety of the 1990s.

No matter, Vincent will not be denied. Quite a task given the continual checks and the omnipresent database that can undo his dream and pigeonhole his genome to a dust bucket.

As Vincent reaches escape velocity, the certainty is that determination is a trait that doesn’t so easily tie to the swab of a Q-tip. I know because surviving was only a symptom of the resolve that continues to drive me when I should probably just give up.

Plus, bald is definitely in now.

About the Author

Rich Monetti has been a fan of Science Fiction since he was a kid growing up watching reruns of Star Trek. So inspired, he hoped he too could be help usher in that type of future by concentrating his school work in Math and Science. He went onto to major in Computer Science at Plattsburgh State in upstate New York but always found himself a bit over matched by the discipline. It finally occurred to him that someone had to actually write Star Trek and other great Science Fiction, and he took up a career as a writer. Monetti has been a freelancer in the suburbs of New York City since 2003 and also dabbles a bit in screenwriting, while working part time in an after school program in Mt. Kisco, New York.

You can find a good sampling of his work at :

Downloadable Copies


Feel free to leave a comment

Previous Story

The Marmalade Continuum by Treesong

Next Story

Shades of Unreality by Cynthia Sally Haggard

Latest from Fact & Opinion