BIMD The Biomedical Imagination

The "medical thriller" has become a recognized sub-genre of literature found in every bookstore.  These books—both fiction (think: Robin Cook, Tess Gerritsen, Michael Crichton) and non-fiction (think: Richard Preston)—typically feature doctors, scientists or medical personnel as the heroes/heroines who are working to solve threatening medical problems and save innocent lives.  Medical thrillers are rarely, if ever, recognized as "literature" and are often considered "formulaic," but they are nonetheless widely popular.  In this one-credit course, we will investigate several medical thrillers and the health controversies at the center of their plots. What ethical violations lie at the hearts of these novels?  Are the "bad guys" people, corporations or microbes, and how does this affect the plot?  What do the fears these novels invoke tell us about the societal expectations we hold for the conduct and purpose of medical and scientific personnel?  Do these stories accurately depict the controversial health topics they portray?  How might such fictional stories impact their readers' actual behaviors and doctor/patient relations?

▲  Return to Top