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This was probably an Analog short story. Plot involved infecting the dregs of society with nanotech that gave them motivation and valuable skills. There was an essential ethical component to this story: if someone is miserable, is it moral to give them a viable path to happiness?

The cure worked. I don't remember the decade, but how long has nanotech been around? My guess would be sometime in the last century.

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    Analog story from what decade? Did the cure work?
    – user14111
    Apr 17, 2016 at 0:41
  • There was an essential ethical question to this story: if someone is miserable, is it moral to give them a viable path to happiness?
    – Porkov
    Apr 17, 2016 at 0:47
  • Yes, the cure worked. I don't remember the decade, but how long has nanotech been around? My guess would be sometime in the last century.
    – Porkov
    Apr 17, 2016 at 0:50
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    Why does this have a downvote? It's not exactly a common plot.
    – Adamant
    Apr 17, 2016 at 0:58
  • I remember a Cory Doctorow short story with this plot, but that was with 3D Printer technology rather than nanotech. If it states "nanotech" specifically, it's post-1974. If it describes the process without calling it that, it could be anytime after Richard Feynman introduced the concept in 1959
    – Vogie
    Apr 21, 2016 at 18:05

1 Answer 1

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Hail, Columbia! by Arlan Andrews. Printed in Analog Science Fiction and Fact, August 1993

In "Hail, Columbia!" (1993) homeless people in a future Washington, D.C. arc given money coated with therapeutic nanodevices. Once absorbed through the skin those devices cure the recipients of any psychiatric or major physical ailments they may have, as well as improve their mental health by eliminating the emotional content of painful past memories.

Using Medicine in Science Fiction: The SF Writer’s Guide to Human Biology

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  • Could you provide some references showing how this fits?
    – Adamant
    Aug 28, 2016 at 9:55
  • @Adamant - I'm still trying to lay my hands on a scanned copy of the magazine, but it seems to fit from the description I found in another book.
    – Valorum
    Aug 28, 2016 at 12:44

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