>> Thursday, June 24, 2010
There was a time when I thought about pursuing genetic engineering. I was a kid; I didn’t realize how important it was or would become. I just found it fascinating. Well, as usual, my innate lack of practicality won out so I became what I am (dummy). However, I still find it fascinating.
One way I indulge my fascination is with fiction (Haha, you thought I would be talking science again, today, didn’t ya?). I think Dune might have started it with their talk of breeding lines. I did some dabbling with it in the finished novel, what with my “tribe” where only female children can be conceived. It’s fun to play with.
However, in my new novel, it’s more prevalent. I have again a tribe where there are unusual traits. For all members of this group (effectively another tribe), everyone has some sort of psychic power, but some, called the Prime, are also shapeshifters, sometimes involuntarily.
Yes, it’s not pure science fiction. I don’t like to limit myself and shapeshifting is almost as interesting to me though not for scientific reasons. I don’t know why it appeals to me, but it always does. There’s something about the power of changing into something else, different emotions, different strengths. I’ve played with it before, although that character could change into any shape, but, in this case, each of the Prime can only change into one other creature, including a protohuman. When human, they share some of their animal traits (like night vision) or temperament (like hissing for the snake individual and purring for the cat). They are all predatory animals of the fiercer variety and it appealed to me to play with the traits while they were human, too.
What does this have to do with genetics? Well, I added a quirk. Prime can’t mate with prime (or really safely with others of the same tribe) without a good possibility of death, much like a Manx cat is generally bred with a “normal” cat as two Manx genes makes a dead kitten. So, our shapeshifters must find mates from outside a tribe in a world where shapeshifters and psychics are considered demons. Makes it tough to be honest with mates, find love, or breed a new generation. So, yes, I play with sociological stuff, too.
Yep, writing is a “what if” type person’s playground. Any quirk of society, science or fancy that crosses my mind is apt to find itself explored in a novel. I just can’t be trusted with any idea. Heck, I once had a conversation with a friend of mine, talking about that irritating voices they were using in some car that said things like “The door is ajar.” I said, “Could be worse. It could be saying, ‘You drive like an idiot.’” Now I have a story called “Back Seat Driver.”
If I could just figure out a way to work out the mass question, how they can change mass without cheating science, nothing could stop me.
Not that anything can really stop me now. :)