A Second Look at the Frankenstein Scenario

 

PROMETHEUS REVISITED

The Doomsday Genie

 

 

In a way you could see The Doomsday Genie as the latest in a series of novels that featured two things: a fear as to where human ingenuity and hubris might be leading us, together with a theme based on the latest scientific knowledge.  Think about Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (the discovery that electricity was central to life), H G Wells The War of the Worlds (the discovery of supposed canals on Mars, and the implication of an older, dying civilisation), Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (human genetic engineering blended with the British class system) and Michael Crichton's The Andromeda Strain (Fred Hoyle's hypothesis of life being seeded from outer space). 

The theme of The Doomsday Genie is the dangers implicit in mankind creating an artificial life form.  Perhaps you view this as an unlikely scenario?  If so, I'm afraid you're being a little naïve.  On January 13 2001, New Scientist revealed how Ron Jackson, working for the wildlife division of Australia's national research agency, set out to make a contraceptive vaccine to control plagues of mice. What he actually ended up with was a deadly mousepox virus that also resisted any attempts at protective vaccination.  Then, hard on the heels of 9/11, somebody sent anthrax spores through the post to journalists and politicians in America.  The truth is that many scientists are currently racing one another to create the first artificial life form - which would introduce our world to its first really alien life form. I quote an article in New Scientist, "If life is all about the ability to evolve and adapt, then living technologies always have the potential to surprise us with unexpected new strategies that can take them

In spite of all this, I have little doubt that most of my readers will enjoy the book purely for its thriller content.  If so, good luck to them.  I have to confess that I enjoyed writing about the bad guys - and there are some very bad guys indeed in this book.  As to the entity itself, I began with something much simpler - but it would have been too easy for the real bad guys to copy it - so I conceived a more interesting monster.  I enjoyed doing this so much that the monstrous entity became one of the most interesting characters in it.

 

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