As an Indie Author of Sci-Fi I spend the majority of my time self marketing–then a virus comes along and does the job for me and you discover that not all contagions are equal. Enjoy the FREE Kindle read on Amazon.
“Meme.” Having been a student of Marine Biology, spending countless semesters and personal time focused on physiology of species, animal behavior, genetics, the ecology of biological systems, and so on and so on, I had my light bulb moment—that moment in time where one’s mental capacity jumps up several notches—upon studying the science and observations of Robert Ricklefs (Ecology, etc.) and Richard Dawkins (The Selfish Gene, The Extended Phenotype, etc.). It was as if I had stumbled upon a jumbled pile of puzzle pieces and began to see the image forming before me. That is how much of a light-bulb moment these individuals have had upon my learning and I began to unravel the social behavior of genetics.
Now back to the word, meme. Coined in 1976 by Richard Dawkins (from the Greek word mimeme – imitate). Remember it as this. Gene is to blue eyes as meme is to Santa Claus; both passed from one generation to the next. Ask yourself, why exactly do we intentionally lie to our offspring about the existence of Santa Claus?
So something odd has evolved here: a means to propagate information much faster than genetics. But all may not appear, as it seems. Take one of Richard Dawkins observations in ants, where some ants he observed climbed to the top of a leaf or blade of grass, something that put that ant in a vulnerable situation, exposing itself to predators or grazing animals. What would explain such behavior? Martyrism? Social acceptance? Fecundity? It turns out in that ant example it was the lancet fluke– a virus affecting the ant’s brain, putting the ant on a course of action beneficial to the virus. The virus required a grazing animal to complete its life cycle, securing its ability to pass on its genetics—it couldn’t care less about using the ant to get there.
So… why am I bringing this up? Are you the ant or the lancet fluke? I suppose I am both, for I see posts, propagated, as one’s personal gain. This one included 😉
Case in point:
The alien in my sci-fi novella, November Seed, was based upon the fungi of the genus Ophiocordyceps – which takes control of an ant’s brain, producing an antenna of spores and turning the ant into a zombie for it’s selfish quest.
“Merry Christmas all! And to all a good night……”
It is quite easy for a Sci-Fi author to make their aliens very human-like (guilty of charged– as in my upcoming novel, Silversides); trying to write a story where they are nothing like humans creates a lot more work for the author, even if that alien does not have a speaking part.
Both of my novellas (November Seed & From Europa With Love) have aliens that are not human-like and have no dialogue, so to make these stories credible, the biology has to be right. It helped me immensely that in my former life I was a Marine Biologist–I had been studying alien life forms my entire life it seems and it is not by coincidence that in both my novellas the alien life forms are marine in nature.
But if you are new to writing Sci-Fi and do not have a background in Marine Biology, there are countless videos like this excellent BBC short from the BBC Ideas section to start you on your way.
So where does a new writer of Sci-Fi get started with understanding alien life? Below are some good short video to get you on your way. maybe, just maybe will will find out in our lifetime when we can get a probe below the surface of Europa to explore its thermal vents…. but then again, maybe we do not want to go three. Europa seems to be a focus for NASA and other scientists as a first strike for alien hunting. And why not? t was mine in From Europa With love.
Lately I have noticed the consistent march of mangrove seedpods in the water off the dock–more than normal. These king tides reach higher up into the mangroves, where the pods detach and begin to float vertically in the water, the tides shuttling them to far away places. A soaking of the pod softens the outside shell and it begins to peels away, allowing the seedpod to germinate. The vertical position is by design so when the tide drops the seeds settle upright in the soft muds along the banks, providing the ideal location to spread. I cannot help but think how closely these pods remind me of the seeds of Phragmites, releasing at once, wondering if these mangrove pods are also carrying the alien contagion.
Find out what residents in Ocean City NJ are reading. It starts here.
As a writer of near SciFi, it’s always a great feeling to have written a work and then see a related article sometime after publication. This is what I had in mind when writing, November Seed, except my alien seed a little sexier.
Shuttle Captain Kulcin Black follows a distress signal back to Europa but there is no one there to pick up. On return, he discovers he is not alone.
- Author : Mary E. Pearson
- Year : 2008
- Amazon : click here
- My Review :
This is another great read in the ethical SciFi category. What constitutes “Being Human.” Mary Pearson does a wonderful job at building character. When it comes to painting, what makes one artist better than the others? It is color–color that you know is unique to that artist. The same can be said about Mary Pearson. What I liked so much about this read was that I saw the characters, I felt what they were feeling. This is a story about a young girl awakening from a coma, with little to no memory about her life, other than detailed facts about historical fact. She was in an accident and was not suppose to survive, but as her memories and curiosity return, so does the realization about herself.
- Author : Shumeet Baluja
- Year : 2011
- Amazon : click here
- My Review :
Silicon Jungle : With Google+ on the verge of release, this is a timely read to rethink how important your privacy is. Shumeet Baluja (Phd. @ Google) writes of a great Sci-Fi that is not so much Sci-Fi as it is foresight–Is Shumeet telling us something about Google’s plans of the future? Can all this data-mining undermine our countries security? A great storyline + great technology make for a quick read and one you will not want to put down. This book gives the tech professional some great ideas for creating those web-based apps with MySQL underneath…. If for nothing else, a little more automation for your corporate office. I really liked this book.