The publishing debut of Diego del Alcázar Benjumea (Madrid, 1984) could not be in any other genre than science fiction. His career in the field of business and technological innovation inevitably marks his incipient literary career. Current CEO of the IE University -the educational center that his father founded half a century ago under the name Instituto de Empresa- and promoter of The Global College, Del Alcázar had been working for years on a story titled The genetics of time (Espasa) and shares the highlights table with Arturo Pérez-Reverte, Carmen Mola and Juan Gómez-Jurado in the main bookstore chains in our country.
“Universal literature is full of technological advances that inspired many authors: from the Plato’s Dialogues, where the reflections of a Socrates who refused to succumb to writing to disseminate his knowledge are captured, as he considered this technical advance pernicious; to the most current novels of the 19th and 20th centuries that include names like Julio Verne, Aldous Huxley o Isaac Asimovamong others,” says Del Alcázar. Technology, he insists, allows us to imagine “very literary” worlds, as well as “to delve into the humanity of the characters in the face of accelerated changes.”
Just dive into the first chapters of The genetics of time to realize that it is a novel with the soul of dystopia – or perhaps not so much -, which is born from a questioning of dubious ethics: being able to improve the human species, why not do it? Can we play God? “Genetic manipulation allows us to cure diseases, but also artificially improve human nature. We will all agree to cure a child’s blindness, but We are against designing ‘Aryan’ babies on demand. The problem is that it is not that easy, not everything is black or white, there is a huge range of grays…” explains Del Alcázar.
He also points out that we should consider the potential geopolitical conflicts that genetic editing can generate, such as the creation of an “improved elite” and inequalities in bioethical regulation, more or less lax, depending on the country. “It is precisely these dilemmas that I wanted to convey to the reader in the novel,” he clarifies.
The reference to an “enhanced elite”, which in the book appears as a selected group of adolescents with above-average IQs, arises from the debate around meritocracy in contrast to the “empire of mediocrity.” As a professional who has been in the educational sector for more than a decade, he assures that “the culture of merit has achieved in the last century a social and economic development never seen before, in addition to homogenizing access to opportunities that were previously only limited to a few.” “. Despite understanding the constant criticism of meritocracy, led by Michael Sandel with his book The tyranny of meritbelieves that The privileges of the rich should be correctedfor example, “through technology that is allowing access to quality education to be democratized.”