Dr. Brad Aiken is the medical director for Rehabilitation Medicine at Baptist Hospital, but his latest book, Small Doses of the Future, isn’t a medical textbook, it’s a collection of science fiction stories — tales of tomorrow.
Dr. Aiken’s book signing at Books & Books in Coral Gables on Saturday, Apr. 2, drew a standing-room-only crowd.
“As a writer, what we’re really trying to do is get you interested in the characters,” said Dr. Aiken, a Kendall resident. “That’s what keeps you turning the pages. What makes it interesting enough for you to remember is when you can identify with the character in the story and feel as if you’re going through what the character is going through.”
He pointed out how science fiction has often provided a glimpse of the future, either predicting or often inspiring developing technologies.
“In sickbay on the original Star Trek series above the bed was a flat panel display with a digital readout of all the patient’s vital signs,” Aiken said. “This in the 1960s and we were in an analog world, so this was incredibly futuristic. This was their prediction of the 23rd century. Now here we are just 50 years later and, if you walk into any emergency room or ICU in the country, you see a series of beds and flat panel monitors over them with all the patient’s vital signs. We’re there. This is the kind of thing that motivates me and that I like to think about as I approach these stories.”
Dr. Aiken said he likes to look at the new technologies coming out today and explore the directions they may take, as well as the changes they may bring about in our lives. He discussed robotic surgery, medical ethics, cloning, germ warfare, and how nanotechnology — microscopically small “machines” that can repair damaged cells or deliver medications to targeted areas in the body — may completely replace other medical technologies someday.
A member of the Science Fiction Writers of America, he began writing science fiction during his undergraduate days at Boston University.
His novels have been released by Padwolf Publishing and his short stories have appeared in the prestigious magazine Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Those short stories, and others, are now collected in Small Doses of the Future, published by Springer Books.
When someone in the audience asked if he prefers to write “gloom and doom” stories about the future or ones that are more optimistic, Dr. Aiken had a quick and cheerful response.
“I’m definitely a glass is half full kind of guy,” he said.
Dr. Aiken said that he currently is working on a new Young Adult series of books called The TimeKeeper.
Small Doses of the Future is available at Books & Books or through online booksellers. Information and reviews can be found at bradaiken.com.