When Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein in 1818, she probably did not see synthetic biology coming. Shelley’s unorthodox use of galvanism and vivisection may have become computational biology, protein engineering and genome editing, but – many scientists would argue – has lost none of its gothic charm. As a truly interdisciplinary field, synthetic biology has been around – at least in its modern molecular incarnation – since Stanley Cohen and Herbert Boyer genetically engineered the first plasmid in 1973. In Synthetic Biology: A Very Short Introduction, Jamie Davies starts us off on the ‘creation of new living systems by design’ with one of many predictable clashes – between the economic forces who swear by the promise of synthetic biology and the bioethicists whose reservations keep this field at arm’s length. As most books in the Very Short Introduction series, Davies’ pocket-size guide provides readers with a thorough and engaging introduction to the biology and methods of synthetic biology while touring its numerous applications, from saving our oceans to changing the way we produce drugs. Davies does a great job of sketching a field concerned with the deliberate redesigning of life. As with other great introductions, by the end of this book, one cannot help oneself, but wanting to know more.