The Tissue-Culture King

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The Tissue-Culture King (1926 in Cornhill Magazine and in The Yale Review, reprinted 1927 in Amazing Stories and many times afterwards)[1] is a science fiction short story by biologist Julian Huxley.

The story tells of a biologist captured by an African tribe. It incorporates the idea of immortality based on reproduction from a tissue culture and genetic engineering, and an early mention of tin foil hats and their supposed anti-telepathic properties.[2][3][4]


A group of explorers of Africa stumble upon a strange two-headed toad, and that leads them to meet an endocrinologist, Dr. Hascombe. Captured by an African tribe, Dr. Hascombe saves himself by using "magical" powers of modern biology.[5][6][7]

Critical evaluation[edit]

Patrick Parrinder considers the story as an allegory to the servile place of science within a capitalist political world.[8]


  1. ^ "Title: The Tissue-Culture King".
  2. ^ Julian Huxley, The Tissue-Culture King: A Biological Fantasy , Cornhill Magazine vol. 60 (New Series), #358, April 1926, pp. 422-458 (Magazine table of contents)
  3. ^ Huxley, Julian (1925–1926). "The Tissue-Culture King: A Parable of Modern Science". The Yale Review. XV: 479–504.
  4. ^ Huxley, Julian (August 1927). "The Tissue-Culture King". Amazing Stories. Well, we had discovered that metal was relatively impervious to the telepathic effect, and had prepared for ourselves a sort of tin pulpit, behind which we could stand while conducting experiments. This, combined with caps of metal foil, enormously reduced the effects on ourselves.
  5. ^ p.118
  6. ^ p. 190
  7. ^ p. 39
  8. ^ Patrick Parrinder, Scientist in Science Fiction: Enlightenment and After, in: Science Fiction Roots And Branches: Contemporary Critical Approaches, pp. 72-23

External links[edit]