High School Resources

  1. Books - Fiction
  2. Books - Nonfiction
  3. Articles
  4. Films
  5. Documentaries
  6. Short Videos


The Handmaid's Tale
Margaret Atwood 

In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies?
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Oryx and Crake
Margaret Atwood 
The narrator of Atwood's riveting novel calls himself Snowman. When the story opens, he is sleeping in a tree, wearing an old bedsheet, mourning the loss of his beloved Oryx and his best friend Crake, and slowly starving to death. He searches for supplies in a wasteland where insects proliferate, and pigoons and wolvogs ravage the pleeblands where ordinary people once lived, and the Compounds that sheltered the extraordinary. As he tries to piece together what has taken place, the narrative shifts to decades earlier. How did everything fall apart so quickly? Why is he left with nothing but his haunting memories?
Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children 
 Greg Bear 
Ancient diseases encoded in the DNA of humans wait like sleeping dragons to wake and infect again—or so molecular biologist Kaye Lang believes. And now it looks as if her controversial theory is in fact chilling reality. For Christopher Dicken, a "virus hunter" at the Epidemic Intelligence Service, has pursued an elusive flu-like disease that strikes down expectant mothers and their offspring. Then a major discovery high in the Alps—the preserved bodies of a prehistoric family—reveals a shocking link: something that has slept in our genes for millions of years is waking up.

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5 to 1
Holly Bodger

In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, Koyanagar–a country severed from India–now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, and women are an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of wedding their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife. But after fighting so hard for freedom against the old ways of gender selection, these women have become just as deluded as their male predecessors. Sudasa Singh doesn’t want to be a wife and Kiran, a boy competing to be her husband, has other plans as well.
A Number
Caryl Churchill 

This play addresses the subject of human cloning. How might a man feel to discover that he is only one in a number of identical copies. And which one of him is the original? The play opens the Royal Court's autumn season, directed by Caryl Churchill's regular collaborator, Stephen Daldry.



Jurassic Park
Michael Crichton

An astonishing technique for recovering and cloning dinosaur DNA has been discovered. Now humankind’s most thrilling fantasies have come true. Creatures extinct for eons roam Jurassic Park with their awesome presence and profound mystery, and all the world can visit them—for a price. Until something goes wrong. . . .

Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois 
Long before there was Dolly the sheep, there were brilliant science fiction authors speculating on the power and potential, the temptations and the terrors, of cloning. Join them as they explore the ideas, the implications, and the dramatic possibilities in this collection of nine stories by Ursula K. LeGuin, Joe Haldeman, John Varley, Greg Egan, Damon Knight, Ian R. MacLeod, Kate Wilhelm, Pamela Sargent, and Charles Sheffield.


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The House of the Scorpion
Nancy Farmer

Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested. His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium—a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt's first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster—except for El Patrón. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself.


The Birthmark
Nathaniel Hawthorne
The main character is a great scientist and lover of nature with a beautiful wife whom he loves dearly. However, despite the love Aylmer has for his wife, he wonders whether the birthmark she has on her cheek can be removed.

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The Secret
Eva Hoffman 
Iris Surrey has a secret.
Iris Surrey is a secret.

An only child, Iris lives with her mother in a rambling house in a small Midwestern town. Her mother is everything: provider, confidante, friend. But at seventeen, Iris begins to question their nearly symbiotic relationship—and the noticeable lack of others in their sheltered world. Where is Iris’s father? Where are her grandparents? What is her mother keeping from her? When she stumbles upon the explosive truth, Iris begins a monumental journey of self-discovery—one that will throw everything she has ever known into turmoil.
Brave New World 
Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley is rightly considered a prophetic genius and one of the most important literary and philosophical voices of the 20th century, and Brave New World is his masterpiece. From the author of The Doors of Perception, Island, and countless other works of fiction, non-fiction, philosophy, and poetry, comes this powerful work of speculative fiction that has enthralled and terrified readers for generations.

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Never Let Me Go
Kazuo Ishiguro 

Never Let Me Go is a 2005 dystopian science fiction novel by Japanese-born British author Kazuo Ishiguro. It was shortlisted for the 2005 Booker Prize, for the 2006 Arthur C. Clarke Award and for the 2005 National Book Critics Circle Award.

Uninvited Series
Sophie Jordan

When Davy tests positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome, aka “the kill gene,” she loses everything. Once the perfect high school senior, she is uninvited from her prep school and abandoned by her friends and boyfriend. Even her parents are now afraid of her—although she’s never hurt a fly. Davy doesn’t feel any differently, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.


Flowers for Algernon
Daniel Keyes
Flowers for Algernon is the beloved, classic story of a mentally disabled man whose experimental quest for intelligence mirrors that of Algernon, an extraordinary lab mouse. In poignant diary entries, Charlie tells how a brain operation increases his IQ and changes his life. As the experimental procedure takes effect, Charlie's intelligence expands until it surpasses that of the doctors who engineered his metamorphosis. The experiment seems to be a scientific breakthrough of paramount importance—until Algernon begins his sudden, unexpected deterioration. Will the same happen to Charlie?

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Beaker's Dozen 
Nancy Kress 
"Of the thirteen stories in this book, eight of them are concerned with what might come out of the beakers and test tubes and gene sequencers of microbiology. Not everything in these stories will come to pass. Possibly nothing in them will; fiction is not prediction. But I hope the stories at least raise questions about the world rushing in onus at the speed—not of light—but of thought."
Beggars in SpainBeggars Ride, and Beggars and Choosers.
Nancy Kress 
The Beggars trilogy is set in a near future in which genetic engineering has become commonplace. "Genemods" were developed for intelligence, physical features, personality, enhanced sensory perception, and so on, but when Dr. Susan Melling discovered a genemod to alleviate the need for sleep, she changed the face of the world. These so-called "Sleepless" were not only more productive, due to 33% more hours in the day, but less prone to the vagaries of the unconscious mind due to their inability to sleep; they were well-adjusted, cheerful, intelligent, driven, and quickly came to dominate the scientific, economic, intellectual, medical, legal and technological arenas of the world, often at unprecedentedly young ages.

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The First Century After Beatrice
Amin Maalouf
In the 21st century, a drug that guarantees the birth of boys—originally developed to reduce Third World populations—leads to a worldwide shortage of women. The result is an explosion of male violence, wars, and the sale of women on the black market. The narrator is a French entomologist trying to eradicate the drug.
Mendel's Dwarf
Simon Mawer 
Like his great-great-great-uncle, geneticist Gregor Mendel, Dr. Benedict Lambert struggles to unlock the secrets of heredity and genetic determinism. However, Benedict's mission is particularly urgent and particularly personal, for he was born with achondroplasia—he's a dwarf.

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The Maximum Ride Series
James Patterson 
In James Patterson's blockbuster series, fourteen-year-old Maximum Ride, better known as Max, knows what it's like to soar above the world. She and all the members of the "flock"—Fang, Iggy, Nudge, Gasman and Angel—are just like ordinary kids, only they have wings and can fly. It may seem like a dream come true to some, but their lives can morph into a living nightmare at any time...like when Angel, the youngest member of the flock, is kidnapped and taken back to the "School" where she and the others were experimented on by a crew of wack jobs.
My Sister's Keeper: A Novel 
Jodi Picoult 
Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate—a life and a role that she has never questioned… until now.

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Richard Powers
What will happen to life when science identifies the genetic basis of happiness? Who will own the patent? Do we dare revise our own temperaments? Funny, fast, and finally magical, Generosity celebrates both science and the freed imagination. In his most exuberant book yet, Richard Powers asks us to consider the big questions facing humankind as we begin to rewrite our own existence.
Frankenstein: Or, the Modern Prometheus
Mary Shelley
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, is a novel written by English author Mary Shelley about eccentric scientist Victor Frankenstein, who creates a grotesque creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was eighteen, and the novel was published when she was twenty. The first edition was published anonymously in London in 1818. Shelley's name appears on the second edition, published in France in 1823
The Golem
Isaac Bashevis Singer 
From time to time, according to legend, a truly holy man may be empowered to fashion to golem out of clay, inscribe his forehead with the sacred name of God, and send the living effigy forth to save the Jews.
Uglies series
Scott Westerfeld

In Tally Youngblood’s world, looks matter. She lives in a society created to function with perfect-looking people who never have a chance to think for themselves. And she’s tired of it. First as an ugly, then a pretty, and finally a special, Tally takes down the social infrastructure. And then, a generation later, a world obsessed with fame and instant celebrity—and filled with extras—will reap the consequences.


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The Science of Human Perfection
Nathaniel Comfort

Almost daily we hear news stories, advertisements and scientific reports that promise genetic medicine will make us live longer, enable doctors to identify and treat diseases before they start, and individualize our medical care. But surprisingly, a century ago eugenicists were making the same promises. The Science of Human Perfection traces the history of the promises of medical genetics and of the medical dimension of eugenics. The book also considers social and ethical issues that cast troublesome shadows over these fields.


Bioethics: All That Matters
Donna Dickenson

Bioethics: All That Matters, new developments in biotechnology like genetics, stem cell research and artificial reproduction arouse both our greatest hopes and our greatest fears. Many people invest the new biotechnology with all the aspirations and faith once accorded to religious salvation. But does everyone benefit equally from scientific progress? Commercialised modern biomedicine runs the risk of exploiting vulnerable groups, from Indian 'surrogate' mothers to professional guinea pigs in drug research.


The Shape of the Eye: Down Syndrome, Family, and the Stories We Inherit
George Estreich
When Laura Estreich is born, her appearance presents a puzzle: does the shape of her eyes indicate Down syndrome, or the fact that she has a Japanese grandmother? In this powerful memoir, George Estreich, a poet and stay-at-home dad, tells his daughter's story, reflecting on her inheritance —from the literal legacy of her genes, to the family history that precedes her, to the Victorian physician John Langdon Down's diagnostic error of "Mongolian idiocy." Against this backdrop, Laura takes her place in the Estreich family as a unique child, quirky and real, loved for everything ordinary and extraordinary about her.

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Race and Membership in American History: The Eugenics Movement
Facing History and Ourselves
This volume focuses on a time in the early 1900s when many people believed that some "races," classes, and individuals were superior to others. They used a new branch of scientific inquiry known as eugenics to justify their prejudices, and advocated programs and policies aimed at solving the nation's problems by ridding society of "inferior racial traits."
a whisper past
A Whisper Past - Childless After Eugenic Sterilization in Alberta
Leilani Muir
Leilani Muir was severely abused by her mother, who told many lies in order to have her daughter admitted to the Provincial Training School for Mental Defectives in Red Deer at the age of 11 and branded a moron. But Muir never was mentally defective and never should have been in that institution in the first place. Because of a terrible injustice, a normal child became an insider in a mental institution and is now able to convey to us what life was like there in the 1950s. She tells about how she was briefly questioned by the Alberta Eugenics Board and then sterilized by two clumsy physicians under the guise of having her appendix removed. She eventually launched a lawsuit against the Alberta government and won an important judgement that led to compensation being paid to hundreds of other victims. After the trial, she became a public figure and continues to speak against all forms of child abuse and discrimination against the disabled.

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Human Genetic Engineering: A Guide for Activists, Skeptics, and the Very Perplexed
Pete Shanks
The debate over human genetic rngineering is about to go mainstream. Not as a one-day wonder about cloning or a theological disagreement about embryos, but as a major political issue, driven in part by a grassroots movement of opposition. Human Genetic Engineering is a highly readable and entertaining guide. It explains in accessible language for a popular audience the essential questions that will arise in the future debates: What is human GE? Will it work? What perspectives should we remember? Who is doing what, and why?
human genetic engineering
For the Good of Mankind Cover
For the Good of Mankind?: The Shameful History of Human Medical Experimentation
Vicki Oransky Wittenstein
Experiment: A child is deliberately infected with the deadly smallpox disease without his parents' informed consent. Result: The world's first vaccine. Experiment: A slave woman is forced to undergo more than thirty operations without anesthesia. Result: The beginnings of modern gynecology. Incidents like these paved the way for crucial, lifesaving medical discoveries. But they also harmed and humiliated their test subjects, many of whom did not agree to the experiments in the first place. How do doctors balance the need to test new medicines and procedures with their ethical duty to protect the rights of human subjects?
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Rebecca Skloot
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta's cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can't afford health insurance. This phenomenal New York Times bestseller tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew
the immortal life of henrietta lacks


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Gene Doping: Will athletes go for the ultimate high?
Christen Brownlee, Science News
October 30th, 2004

Genetically Modified Humans? Seven Reasons to Say “No”
The Center for Genetics and Society
May 2015

High School Students' Campaign to Spread Awareness of California’s Eugenic History
Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times
February 1st, 2013

Texas High School’s “Issues Day” Takes on Human Genetic Engineering
Jessica Cussins, Biopolitical Times
March 26th, 2014

The Battle to Patent Your Genes
Marcy Darnovsky and Jesse Reynolds, The American Interest

Welcome, Freshmen.  DNA Swabs, Please.
Troy Duster, The Chronicle of Higher Education

Brave New Genome
Eric S. Lander, The New England Journal of Medicine
June 3rd, 2015

Don't Edit the Human Germ Line
Edward Lanphier, Fyodor Urnov, Sarah Ehlen Haecker, Michael Werner & Joanna Smolenski, Nature
March 12th, 2015

Stress Alters Children's Genomes
Jyoti Madhusoodanan, Nature
April 7th, 2014

Should you be able to Clone Your Pet?
Pete Shanks, Junior Scholastic
February 27th, 2012
In a debate with the CEO of a livestock-cloning company, Pete Shanks argues that pet cloning is a cruel deception that should not be allowed.

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Andrew Niccol, 1997
Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin and Jude Law star in this engrossing sci-fi thriller about an all-too-human man who dares to defy a system obsessed with genetic perfection. Hawke stars as Vincent, an "In-Valid" who assumes the identity of a member of the genetic elite to pursue his goal of traveling into space with the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation. However, a week before his mission, a murder marks Vincent as a suspect. With a relentless investigator in pursuit and the colleague he has fallen in love with beginning to suspect his deception, Vincent's dreams steadily unravel.
The Perfect 46
Brett Ryan Bonowicz, 2014
This "science factual" feature film has been lauded by MIT Technology Review, Scientific American, Science, and the London Evening Standard as "a worryingly believable cautionary tale." The Perfect 46 explores the personal, professional, and social consequences that arise when a geneticist creates a website that pairs an individual with their ideal genetic partner for children.  Film Threat says The Perfect 46 is "a fascinating film full of challenging ideas that puts your brain to work.” What if you could have the perfect child? Would you use The Perfect 46?

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The Center for Bioethics and Culture, 2014
Surrogacy is fast becoming one of the major issues of the 21st century—celebrities and everyday people are increasingly using surrogates to build their families. But the practice is fraught with complex implications for women, children, and families. What is the impact on the women who serve as surrogates and on the children who are born from surrogacy? In what ways might money complicate things? What about altruistic surrogacy done for a family member or close friend? Is surrogacy a beautiful, loving act or does it simply degrade pregnancy to a service and a baby to a product? Can we find a middle ground? Should we even look for one?
DNA Dreams
Bregtje van der Haak, 2012
What would happen if the gene was found that IQ determines us? And when people and animals could be easily cloned? Wait there a new world full of perfect people? And we want that world be? In China's Pearl River Delta is that world in the making. On the outskirts of Shenzhen is BGI, recently the largest genetic research world. Working day and night here 4000 young scientists at mapping the DNA of plants, animals and humans.

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Jennifer Lahl, 2010
The infertility industry in the United States has grown to a multi-billion dollar business. What is its main commodity? Human eggs. Young women all over the world are solicited by ads—via college campus bulletin boards, social media, online classifieds—offering up to $100,000 for their “donated” eggs, to “help make someone’s dream come true.” But who is this egg donor? Is she treated justly? What are the short- and long-term risks to her health? The answers to these questions will disturb you.
Regan Brashear, 2014
From bionic limbs and neural implants to prenatal screening, researchers around the world are hard at work developing a myriad of technologies to fix or enhance the human body. FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement takes a close look at the drive to be “better than human” and the radical technological innovations that may take us there.  What does “disabled” mean when a man with no legs can run faster than most people in the world? What does “normal” mean when cosmetic surgery procedures have risen over 450% percent in the last fifteen years and increasing numbers of people turn to “smart drugs” every day to get ahead at school or work? With prenatal screening able to predict hundreds of probable conditions, who should determine what kind of people get to be born? If you could augment your body’s abilities in any way imaginable, would you?

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Google Baby
Zippi Brand Frank, 2009
A journey across three continents telling the story of the up-and-coming baby production industry in the age of globalization.
Made in India
Rebecca Haimowitz & Vaishali Sinha, 2010
Made in India is a feature-length documentary film about the human experiences behind the phenomena of "outsourcing" surrogate mothers to India. The film shows the journey of an infertile American couple, an Indian surrogate and the reproductive outsourcing business that brings them together. Weaving together these personal stories within the context of a growing international industry, Made in India explores a complicated clash of families in crisis, reproductive technology, and choice from a global perspective.
Surviving Eugenics
The Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada, 2015
Surviving Eugenics is a documentary about the history and ongoing significance of eugenics. Anchored by survivor narratives from the province of Alberta in Canada, Surviving Eugenics provides a unique insiders' view of life in institutions for the "feeble-minded," and raises broader questions about disability, human variation, and contemporary social policies.

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About being considered ‘retarded.’
Amanda Baggs

Familial Searching: What's Real?
Rori Rohlfs

Mitochondrial Diseases and 3-Person IVF

Race Under the Microscope: Biological Misunderstandings of Race 
Center for Genetics and Society

Silver Sling

What is Synthetic Biology?: Engineering Life and Livelihoods
ETC Group

Why we need bioethics
Big Think

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