CONCEPT AND CHAPTER STRUCTURE
There have been many stages in the process of compiling this collection of texts concerned with reconstructing the body. It will be obvious that, at the launch of this website, this collection is incomplete; indeed, it may be considered as a ‘work-in-progress’ and / or an encyclopedic collection which will need regular up-dating. I started writing this several years ago, when I did not have a clear idea of where and how it could be published. I had become rather disillusioned with the classical publication of scientific texts through recognized publishers and felt uncomfortable with the idea of pretending that this was a normal textbook but with myself ‘self- publishing’ the material. It was only when Peggy and I started to think seriously about creating this website, in which I could include many poems that had not been published in a regular manner, that we thought this could also be the venue for the ‘reconstructing book’.
I had already taken some of the Covid-empowered working-from-home time to make serious inroads in writing the text, but I was doing this in a disjointed way. It was not a methodical chapter one through to chapter seven process, but adding text, for example, on a particular disease state for which I was collecting evidence and citations, in the most appropriate places, maybe under the section dealing with anatomy, or enabling technology, or clinical details. A few chapters are essentially complete, and a few have substantial text, and these are included as pdf versions of the latest iterations, giving an indication of what is still to come and when it should be expected. Some chapters have too little text to include at this stage.
There are a few introductory sections involving a Preface, a Prologue and the first chapter in which I introduce the concept of the dominions of life and death. The four chapters that are included as pdf versions deal with the human body and mind, describing in some detail what is the ideal body but also what can go wrong, then the societal constraints on reconstruction, including ethical, religious and commercial factors, followed by the enabling technologies and clinical examples. The future chapters, that are as yet incomplete, deal with the causes of tissue injury and malfunction, and summaries of current positions and future possibilities.