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Year : 2018, Volume : 6, Issue : 3and4
First page : ( 1) Last page : ( 26)
Print ISSN : 2347-2146. Online ISSN : 2347-6869.
Article DOI : 10.5958/2347-6869.2018.00012.2

A New Critical Notice of Robin Cook's Medical Thriller ‘Coma

Fernandez Jasmine1, Dr Upendra C2, Dr Nayak Amarjeet3

1PhD Research Scholar in English, Indian Institute of Technology, Indore, India

2Associate Professor in Philosophy from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Indian Institute of Technology, Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India

3Reader-F (English), from the School of Humanities & Social Sciences at National Institute of Science Education & Research (NISER), Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India

Online published on 7 May, 2019.


This paper is an exploration of the medical thriller Coma often categorized as popular fiction through a grotesque lens. This study enables to delineate how grotesquery sustains and reinforces the relevance of fiction. Giving space to anxious imaginations about medicine and technology, these texts cannot be dismissed altogether as ‘wrong sort of fiction’ as suggested by Catherine Belling in her critique of Coma. Therefore, the paper argues that the creative audacity of grotesque equips it doubly as a reflection of an anxious society and also as a ‘boundary creature’ as opined by Frances S Connelly. Using the idea of grotesque as hybrid creature, that is as one entity which has several incompatible components jumbled together to construe meaning and sense, its emotional effects on the readers are justified. This paper takes Coma as an instance of medical thrillers and examines the various ways grotesque is embedded in the narrative. The paper concludes by suggesting the genre by extension is grotesque. Thus medical thriller becomes a space for new imaginations and inclusivity that can bring possible progress to humanity while still keeping a control over human experimentation ethics that powerful institutions may or may not employ. The idea that pervades this study is that grotesquery is employed as a template to translate meanings and interpretations of medical thrillers. Through multiple responses as elicited by the grotesque, these thrillers engage with readers differently and hence produce varied responses. This enables us to project the importance and usefulness of the medical thriller genre.



Grotesque, Coma, Medical thriller, Popular fiction, Bioethics.


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