America’s first face transplant recipient, Connie Cusp, held a news conference a couple of days ago appearing in the face she received from a deceased donor. Her tragic story is here.
I’m fascinated by medical and/or biological and/or informational transformations in human beings that cut to the very core of issues of identity. And while I understand and respect that these early face transplants are desperate corrections for personal tragedies, I also can’t help but think how – by conventional standards – it might be extremely mind-blowing to look in the mirror and see someone else’s face… In fact, a dead someone’s face. The thought would certainly stir up the imaginations of 19th century writers of gothic horror… In fact, it would probably freak out just about anybody from humanity’s recent past.
Of course, if you’ve been through all that Connie Cusp has been through (her ex-husband basically blew her face away with a gun), you’re just happy to have a face. But I like to daydream about the day when changes in physical form are casual. Gender changes. Trading faces. Alterations in skin pigmentation (which seems very likely by the next decade, give or take a few years), convenient extra limbs … how about biological alterations done merely to be fashionable? Back in 1990, when I asked Deborah Harry if she could think of some biological mutations she would like to have in the future, she replied, "A tale might be nice." That’s what I’m talking about… casual. Actual humans trading faces as easily as one of those nano-morphing Terminator guys.
Are there any SF novels that explore this? If so, I’m not familiar.