Mammals cloned from goo?
How does cloning work? Cloning is the process of making an exact copy of an animal. Basically, the genetic material (DNA) from an animal is extracted from one cell and then placed into a new cell. The DNA in the new cell makes the new cell grow an exact copy of the original animal. Simple, right?
The problem is… it’s really complex. To make a clone, or an exact copy of an animal, a scientist will extract DNA from one single cell of the animal. The DNA is then placed into an ovum (female’s egg cell). But the DNA in the donor mother’s ovum must be removed in order to put the other DNA into it. Once the new DNA is in the donor ovum, the fertilized ovum is placed back into the host mother’s body to grow like a regular new baby. Once the baby is born, it’s an exact copy of the original animal. But there are so many ways in which the cloning process can fail. The DNA must be pure. There can be no DNA left in the original ovum. And the cell must take hold and grow in the mother. (This is a simplification of the process, but you get the idea.) The odds of being successful are extremely low. To date, I believe the most complex animal that has been cloned to date has been a sheep–Dolly. Humans are too complex to be cloned.
So how are people cloned in my Sue books? The Goo! It’s alien! The substance came from an alien species on a dead planet. The doomed beings living on the dying planet specifically engineered it to have all the properties to overcome potential problems and successfully clone an animal when it comes in contact with the DNA from the animal. (Hey, it’s science FICTION.) They then sent the substance to planets all over the galaxy.
Why? The goo contained a message, the memory of the soon-to-be (or newly) extinct species and a warning for the inhabitants of other planets. And… the goo made a few modifications to the clones it created; adaptations that help them survive on a changing or dying planet. What adaptations? To find out more about these adaptations, you’ll have to read my books.
Why do I include science in my Sue books? Well, I’ll tell you…
First and foremost, the Sue books are Earth-based, light sci-fi stories. An alien substance appears on Earth, sometimes in little spherical pods, or just splattered on the ground. What does it do? When a mammal touches the “goo”, an exact copy appears: a clone. And the goo clones humans, also. These humans have no memory or knowledge (or clothes) when they arrive, but they learn quickly. And they have messages to deliver, messages they received when they were cloned by the goo. Of course, these “aliens” are contained by DHS to prevent exposure to the general public. But their overwhelming desire to deliver their message leads to trouble.
So, how does science enter? As you can read about me above, you’ll learn that I am a biochemist. When I started writing the first Sue story, Sue’s Fingerprint, I couldn’t simply have a substance with supernatural properties arrive without explaining what it was made of and how it works (as much as my tale of fiction would allow). So, using my formal training, I introduced the employees of a government contract laboratory to analyze and characterize the goo. They determined the substance was comprised of lipid bi-layers and membrane-bound proteins. They also found very complex DNA. Why did I go to the trouble? The scientist in me couldn’t give exclusive license to the author in me. I had to include a scientific explanation. And I explained the science in such a way that it is easy to understand, but not so complex that I put readers to sleep. I achieved my goal of educating my readers just a bit while entertaining them a lot.
The science doesn’t stop with the “goo”. In future posts, I’ll share the science behind the act of cloning, the DNA testing, and the astronomy behind the extinct alien species who sent the substance to Earth. “Alien species?” you ask. Yep! But you’ll have to come back and read future posts.
(Or you can buy my books and read for yourself! Thanks!)
Starting on 14-January, running for one month, I’ll be offering a giveaway of Sue’s Voice on Goodreads! Enter to win a free paperback copy of the third and final book in the Sue trilogy! Click on the “Enter Giveaway” button in the ad to the right.
I look forward to sharing my latest book with you and hope you will enjoy it. And I’d be thrilled to have your review on either Goodreads or Amazon. Thank you!
If you are a winner and would like to read either of the other books in the trilogy, Sue’s Fingerprint and/or Sue’s Vision, to learn the entire story of Sue and the clones–starting with the arrival of the GOO–please send me an email using the form on my Contact Me page. I’ll be glad to send you a copy of the requested book.
Sue’s Voice, the third book in the Sue trilogy, is now available!
The clones find more clones!
To read the full synopsis, go to the Sue’s Voice page.
Do the GOO!
Sue’s Voice is coming soon!
The third and final book of the Sue trilogy will be released before the end of the year.
Follow the adventures of Sue and the clones as they welcome a new clone, Suzanne Theodora Jackson, the newborn daughter of Donald and Denise. When they all visit California to meet the baby, everyone is amazed at how advanced this new generation of clones is. In fact, she’s so amazing that Ted Stevens wants to test her DNA.
When Brandy posts a video of her new sister online, a clone from the Netherlands sees the video and makes contact. And this is not the only clone outside of the U.S. Brandy learns there are as many as 14 other clones around the world in addition to herself and her friends and family. She tells Sue about the others, and the two decide to email the other clones to find out as much as they can.
Ted learns about the emails exchanged between his clones and the others. Fearing the DHS Committee will discover the messages and consider it a global alien attack, Ted tries to stop Brandy and Sue. He orders them to stop communicating with the other clones.
Despite Ted’s best efforts, the Committee locates the additional “aliens” on the planet. And they uncover the DNA testing Ted requested; DNA testing that can identify a clone. They take matters into their own hands.
Ted quickly finds himself a prisoner along with all of the clones and those that know them, including the others from around the world. But he fights back. He has a plan and needs Sue to help him. The clones also fight back. And they have weapons to use.
I watched Bernie Sanders with Chris Matthews tonight.
Bernie was challenged by Chris and tried to connect his ability to enact his agenda with the youth vote movement. I understood his message, but he, Bernie, isn’t delivering that message effectively. Chris Matthews asked him how Mitch McConnell would allow a vote on Bernie’s agenda. Bernie replied by saying that congress will see the revolution and will react accordingly. Chris challenged him, asking Bernie where is the revolution when voter turnout in the primaries so far are below those from 2008. Bernie stumbled. I was disappointed.
So I’m going to lay out what, in my mind, should be Bernie’s message. Maybe his staff will actually read this and help Bernie change his delivery. So, here goes…
The revolution must impact more than just the presidency. It MUST impact congress.
Unless I’m mistaken, every House of Representative seat is up for election. EVERY SEAT! That’s 435 representatives. And in 2016, 34 Senate seats, one-third of the seats in the Senate are up for election. Now, the only way Bernie Sanders will be elected President is if massive numbers of young adults vote. If Bernie can get out that voting demographic, those voters will be voting for candidates with a progressive agenda. Okay, so here’s where I connect the dots. If Bernie is elected President, he’ll have a democratic congress, or at least a more progressive congress than the current congress.
So Bernie, you need to say this: “Young people, get out and vote. Get. Out. And. Vote. And when you vote, make sure you vote for progressive House candidates and Senate candidates (where applicable). If we vote in more progressive legislators, along with me, Bernie Sanders, we will bring about the revolution to reform the government, fix income inequality, etc…” Draw the connection between the presidential election and the congressional election. Tell the youth of America to vote for you, but also to vote for progressive House and Senate candidates. You, Bernie, cannot get elected without the youth vote and you cannot get elected unless those same voters elect a progressive congress. Get the youth voters to demand change not only for president, but for all levels and branches of government.
That’s what I think.
I reviewed my original character arc and you know what? It still holds true.
When I originally drafted the outline for my YA story, Alone, I made a plot of my protagonist’s character arc. And after two and a half(ish) years of writing, editing, critiquing, more editing, more critiquing, further editing, and tightening, the character arc remains the same. It’s a bit of a surprise that the original story line still applies in the final (or near-final) version considering all the hacking and slashing. I’m pleased.
Now, by the seventh version, the novel starts at #2 when Alex wakes in the hospital after the accident in which his parents died. There is no description of Alex’s pre-accident life with his parents, but the height of point 1, the starting positivity if you will, can be inferred by Alex’s reactions and inner dialogue from point 2 through recovery at 3 to relative normalcy at 4 (and beyond).
The rest of the arc remains as originally mapped. The sudden drop at 5 when Alex is diagnosed with Leukemia reaches the lowest depth in his arc (6). He battles the disease and the treatment with the help of his support team (7), overcoming the pain as the disease is contained and looking forward to his future with his girlfriend and friends, but is then exposed to the negative effects of his resentful aunt that causes anxiety and depression (8–9), and finally lashes out when he challenges Aunt Eve’s beliefs and behavior (10). At the end of the story, when Alex learns of his family’s history and successfully convinces his aunt to change (11), he reaches the same height as before the diagnosis. He never reaches the same height he was at before his parent’s death, and no one should expect him to, but after beating the cancer and his aunt, he achieves a relatively high level of happiness. That’s the best that can be hoped for.
I haven’t written many novels, so the number of points in my personal data set isn’t large, but I would not have guessed the character arc envisioned before the novel was written would survive as is after editing. I’d like to think that it’s the sign of a skilled author and a solid story well executed, but I don’t think I can say that, nor am I probably allowed to. Oh well, I’m still pleased.