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short story: cloning with binary fission

 
paul wheaton
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My son, Dane, wrote this story that I thought was pretty fantastic. So I put it on the web!

http://www.richsoil.com/dane/cloning.html
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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Yes, this is some good writing!

It's the length of a short story, but he's clearly thinking "novel." A more traditional example of the form would end with David realizing that the pigeons were continuing to divide. What does Dane like to read?
 
paul wheaton
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Lately Dane likes Michael Crichton.

I got him "Prey" for Christmas and he still talks about it all the time.
 
Jason Menard
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That's excellent. Great story, Dane!
 
Max Habibi
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That's really very good . How old is he?

M
 
paul wheaton
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Dane is 13 and in the 7th grade.
 
Ellen Zhao
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Wow, very impressive! Pretty sophisticated story-telling skill as a 13-year-old boy. Slick details, tensions well conceived and well put with clean and sharp words. Is Dane particularly interested in biology?
[ March 28, 2005: Message edited by: Ellen Zhao ]
 
Dane Wheaton
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No, I just thought it would make a good story topic.
 
Marilyn de Queiroz
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I wondered about releasing the pigeons into the wild after their wings were clipped. Otherwise, I really enjoyed reading it.
 
Ernest Friedman-Hill
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Originally posted by Marilyn de Queiroz:
I wondered about releasing the pigeons into the wild after their wings were clipped.


Well, indeed, but that's part of the willful suspension of disbelief. Truth be told, there are laws that would prohibit those animals from being released. Even a company as hell-bent on fast-tracking their product this way wouldn't take that unnecessary legal risk.

Hi Dane! Hit Dad up for this book!
 
Jim Yingst
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Hey, not bad, Dane! Congrats.

[MdQ]: I wondered about releasing the pigeons into the wild after their wings were clipped.

Well, there was one pigeon, and it was cloned. Normally I would think that a clone would have unclipped wings. Except we are told that the clones are equivalent, divided from the same body. Neither is the "original" compared to the other. So which one should have its wings clipped?

Add to that, the clones apparently have full memories. Which have nothing to do with genes, and everything to do with experiences. So evidently this cloning process incorporates data other than just genetics. In which case, OK, maybe both cloned pigeons have clipped wings.

On the other hand, the human clones acquired all sorts of super powers in the process, and the pigeons had clearly gone through improvements. So I imagine the pigeons had little problem growing full wings & feathers after a bit. Of course, D & D didn't know this at the time they released the pigeons into the wild. So, add this to the list of things that D & D didn't think through in advance. Considering the end result, wild pigeons with possibly-still-clipped wings would've been the least of their concerns.

[EFH]: ...that's part of the willful suspension of disbelief

Which is already taxed quite a bit by the basic cloning process in this story, I think. Science fiction stories generally tend to introduce a limited number of elements which defy current understanding, and then explore the consequences with as much adherence to reality as possible (i.e. as long as it doesn't damage the story). Seems like in this case, there are several routes an author could take so that the wing clipping is a non-issue - or even, a plot development. Imagine a character surprised as both of the pigeons flies off: "hey, I thought the wings were clipped!" "They must have grown back..." (insert ominous foreshadowing music here)

---

A few other lines caught my attention:

"We only finished developing the serum yesterday, and the government will only approve it if we successfully test it on a human today."

Ummmm... so the government is now requiring human cloning in some situations? I think the USDA probably would require much more extensive animal testing before any human involvement is allowed. The story might work better if the company were operating without the government's knowledge. E.g. the scientists might be trying to prove the viability of their new idea to a few key investors (who aren't so troubled by legal concerns, but are worried they've been sinking all their money into a worthless project, and are about to pull the plug).

---

"They didn't seem to notice that neither had any clothes on, they were so distracted by each other."

Hmmm, taken out of context this sounds like a different sort of story altogether.

---

And lastly, after reading the pigeon transformation sequence, I feel compelled to point Dane toward this link. To be fair, Dane is hardly the only person in the world who needs this info. But at least he's young enough at this point that we might hope he will be able to turn himself around from a future lifetime of apostrophe abuse.
 
paul wheaton
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Loveen Jain
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Dane! is really great. In case he has originally thought about this concept and story then, this is very good.

Clearly shows he is damn! creative and a good narrator.
 
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