Monthly Archives: June 2014

A discussion of clones

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(the best ever clones from TV Show: Orphan Black)

Friends, I would like to discuss a recent pondering of mine, regarding the always controversial, human cloning. There isn’t a lot of news on cloning, but there has been a whole host of futuristic fictions coming to light over the last year on cloning/progressive science. Cloning has always been an interesting, slash embarrassing point for fiction. Usually anti. Think, Brave New World to Never Let Me Go. If you haven’t, read them, or better yet, watch the movie form. (Andrew Garfield makes it worth it. Surely I’m not the only person into that?) Point is, cloning has always been rather shunned.

Meanwhile in Iowa, USA, a company called Trans Ova Genetics have been causing a small controversy over their cloning of livestock. No wait, this is real cute. For all non-scientists out there, Trans is a prefix for a geometric isomer having a pair of identical atoms on opposites, linked by a double bond. Whatever, double. Ova, being egg. And they specialise in cloning? It’s just darling.

Anyway, back to my original point. These guys at Trans Ova Genetics are pumping out a hundred cows a year for eating purposes. They can orchestrate desirable qualities in livestock that best suit the purpose of filling our bellies. From what I can gather, cloned animals aren’t the healthiest of beings, so they can’t be used for breading.  There is an argument that cloning will become inhumane because clones will be used to sustain the rest of us. Treated like meat on the bone, rather than beings themselves.

I get the feeling, this would be harder to do if the clones are human – that nasty habit we have of talking, emoting and relating. Also, I could raise another me and make her study biology instead of drama so I could understand this shit better. Seriously enough with the rebelling, fifteen year old me. Maybe I’m just all for scientific progress, but hot damn, can you not imagine how phenomenally awesome it would be to engineer a human being!

Let’s just say for arguments sake, that human clones wouldn’t be used and abused for harvesting organs and the like. Let’s say we can make them into fully functioning members of society. Then along comes the next argument, of obvious twattery that they will be without souls or being born in a lab will dehumanise them. I know plenty of people who didn’t need to be without a soul to be inhuman. I know plenty of people who probably sold theirs, maybe not to fail their twelfth grade physics test, and seem to be nice enough people without them.

But this is what concerns us? The fear of dehumanisation, of soulless autobots? It’s fairly easy to make such claims, but hey, maybe you ought to practise what you preach.  In my extensive 22 years of life experience on this earth, I can comfortably say that I have never been valued for my soul, or my humanness. In fact, everything I have ever been admired for, what I imagine the majority of people are admired for, is their physical abilities, their intelligence, artistic ability, or beauty. I’ve never gotten a job because someone looked past my CV and said to me, “dayum check out the soul on you. Bet yo parents were human and ev’rythang.” I don’t know why my employer sound African-American right now, but you get my drift.

For all you budding scientists out there, reading my blog at three in the morn, baby steps mon cherie. We will take over this world of hippies and anti-awesome-oldies. There is no way in the next twenty years that they will make human cloning legal, like probably not even a leg on it’s own. Wait till one of those guys debating it loses a leg and his tune will change. For now. We really out to work on creating some hybrid animals, or mythical animals. Seriously, if it isn’t someone’s first instinct to create a Griffin, or a Dragon, I am so done with you people.

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‘Cloud Atlas’ by David Mitchell

★★★★

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(Sonmi~451 and pals from the movie: Cloud Atlas)

Just this past week I finished Cloud Atlas (Now a major motion picture).  Someone prescribed it to me upon hearing I liked to read and pegged it as the greatest piece of literature on twelve legs. The author, David Mitchell, is clearly an unsung genius.  Many successful authors find their voice and their niche and work on becoming the master of that domain. I have never read anything else by David Mitchel, but I can comfortably say he has mastered many.

Cloud Atlas follows six different lives, each character affecting the next, though they are decades, or maybe even centuries apart. The Pacific Journal of Adam Ewing, from what I can gather, is a terrible adventurer and should probably have more trust issues than he does. No spoilers of course. Though I didn’t much care for his story, Mitchel certainly does put previous exploration novels, yes you ‘Gulliver’s Travels of Boredom’, to shame. Though it does give one the same feeling of wanting to take the protagonist by the shoulders and give him a good brain-rattling shake.

Anyway, this Pacific Journal is read by a young music prodigy Zedelgm. He writes to his lover/friend, Sixsmith about his rock and roll lifestyle. Minus the drugs. Also Minus the rock and roll – he is a classical pianist. I do feel all musicians lead similar lives, governed by their art and emotion. This story was probably my favourite, Zedelgm has such a dark witty sense of humour that I want to keep him around. As a pet or something. When his chapter came around again, in silent exaltation, I would devour it in minutes.

As did a certain, seventies journalist: Luisa Rey, the third protagonist. I honestly pictured her in corduroy flair jeans, and I don’t even know if that was a thing. She got a hold of these letters to Sixsmith, a man whose death she was investigating. This was your average 70’s cover-up with dramatic car chase; feisty and fearless, female lead; and emotionally deprived assassins (I think all assassins are, now that I say that. I think it was in the job description the last time I checked SEEK).

Timothy Cavendish, a publisher, read about ‘The Luisa Rey Mystery’ in a novel: Half Lives. Cavendish’s ordeal was a confusing read, mostly because I wasn’t sure if old mate was crazy or there was some evil conspirer against him. At the end of his segments, I mostly felt repulsed at the fact that I was going to age as well, and that this ordeal would become my future. Cue moment of truth and pause reading for a life reflection. Quick google search on how to become a robot who stays young and hot forever. Good distraction, can now get back to reading with lighter soul.

The movie of his ghastly ordeal was watched by clone: Sonmi~451. The greatest couple of chapter’s I could ever possibly read. Sonmi~451 is a clone working at a restaurant franchise, with other clones, bread for the sole purpose of waitressing. Been there Sonmi. The cloning theme is exceptional, and introduces a whole new layer of sub-human ethics. Lately I have been a tad obsessed about DNA manhandling, probably due to my anti-aging research thanks to Cavendish and watching Orphan Black at two AM. So this may be the whole reason I became so fascinated. Also I think I learnt, like five new words every time Sonmi opened her mouth. She was clever without being tacky, in your face obvious clever. If Zedelgm is going to be my pet, Sonmi is totally going to be in my book club. Or maybe a neighbour whom I have tea with every Tuesday.

Sonmi then becomes a god to the post-apocalyptic cave men. Zachry is the protagonist of: Sloosh’s crossin’ an’ ev’rythin’ after. Otherwise known as: the boy who never pro’lly never finished a word. Nothing is more irritating to read than an accent who insists on representing itself on paper. Fair enough if it is Hagrid or something – he’s not in every scene. But this son-of-a-bitch was the narrator for the longest segment in the world and that’s all I have to say about that. I give you, Cloud Atlas, four stars. Taking one away for having to read Zachry’s nonsense. Definitely worth a read though.

★★★★

And so it begins

 

 

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This first post has been a long while coming. I have been instructed, persuaded, lectured, and threatened to start a blog before. All writing students have. Our lecturers all insist it is for practising purposes. But what they mean is: ‘this is the only thing that will keep you writing now that you have chosen this pit of eternal despair as your career path. YOU FOOLS! <mad cackle>’. Didn’t you know all professors of writing are insane?

Back in the ye-olde days, people who were cursed with the writing disease would keep it to themselves and write it in a diary. Or, if they had talent, connections, and the right appendage, would write a book (no matter how boring the content – looking at you Dickens). Now we blog. I don’t know if it is because, at heart, we are all narcissistic, or because we have wisdom to share, or it’s the only way most of us can get published. I think it’s mostly the professor standing outside my window with a shank-pen. A writer’s weapon of choice.

So today. I potted two plants, I got a job rejection phone call, I watched a candle go crazy burny for a minute, and then I decided to start a blog. I’m sure I’ll remember this day… for the rest of the week. Having never written a blog before I’m not entirely sure what to expect, but I get the feeling I will be just darling at it. For now, here is what you can expect:

  • Musings
  • Stories
  • Reviews (of all the things) with little reviewing structure
  • Tangents
  • More than a few swear words (fair warning my fellow readers.)
  • So many brackets. And Hyphens. And other punctuation that has fallen out of fashion.

I shall, however, employ this creative license that I hear so much about when it comes to grammar and punctuation. How else will you know an afterthought when you see it? For now I should probably re-enter the three dimensional world.

Maybe blow out that candle before it catches onto my shelves of literary kindling.

Maybe I’ll write some more.

What the hell. It’s only three.