Posts Tagged ‘Genetic Impulse’

This would be a great headline if I wrote Jurassic Park. And what interesting timing with a new movie coming out, but scientists really did find 75 million year old dinosaur blood.

Check it out: Scientists find dinosaur blood

75 million years old or not, just finding organic matter from any dinosaur era is spectacular. It’s great that they mention the 2005 discovery by scientist Mary Schweitzer of organic matter in a T-Rex bone. I used her research to start my whole series! In 2005 Mary used a chemical process to remove the fossilized portion of a T-Rex bone. Neatly cradled inside was soft tissue. This was an amazing find. But alas, no Jurassic Park here either. DNA doesn’t survive well after 1 million years, let alone 75 or 100. But it sure is fascinating.

In my first book, Genetic Impulse, Dr. Susan Chang uses the same technique Dr. Schweitzer did, but against pre-human bones. She was able to extract DNA from earlier hominids. We’ve since decoded two earlier human-like species, Neanderthal and Denosovans, but they’re our most recent. Wouldn’t it be interesting if we could go back farther and find out something about ourselves we didn’t know? What if this lead to a discovery about what we’re to become?

It’s great food for a novel. I have not yet released Genetic Impulse, but will certainly do in the near future. You can read the first chapter here…Genetic Impulse

BTW – Free eBook download today! The Carrington Event

Just had to share this story.
My Clark Kent impression of a day job is as a Sr. software engineer in the healthcare industry. A few years ago I was out of town at this huge and fantastic children’s hospital where we were deploying our product. At the time I was eagerly writing as much as I could, pounding away at the keyboard on my way to finishing my first 90K word novel Genetic Impulse.

I was in a Starbuck’s (yeah, inside the hospital – like I said, it was huge), and I overheard one of the executive administrator’s talking to the clerk. The lady behind the counter was asking him if he’d finish writing his book yet.
My ears perked up. Someone else writing? Awesome! I have to eavesdrop on this conversation.
The administrator replied “I haven’t actually finished it yet. Well, I haven’t actually started, but I do have all these ideas. And they’re going to be a smash. I can’t wait to be a successful writer and get out of this place.”
I almost choked from laughing. Really? He hadn’t written a word yet and here he was, ready to rub his colleagues noses in the fact that he was a writing super star. And he hadn’t written one word.

Here I was, scratching out time during the day, during the night, during lunch, wherever I could to continue getting better and more importantly, getting it done.

It is not an easy process. And as I’ve heard and learned, you have to love the process. You have to love writing. You have to love editing. You have to love networking and social media. You have to learn to take the bullets when someone doesn’t like or appreciate your effort. And if you do all that, you will have accomplished something the executive at the Starbuck’s probably never will. You’ll be a writer with a completed manuscript in your back pocket. And no one can take that away.

The takeaway? Don’t be that guy. Don’t be the smart mouth who never finished what he started. Or didn’t start. It’s taken me a while to get my daily groove on and light up the laptop screen with my best effort. So please, find your writing groove and don’t be that guy.

Continuing with the thought about science and technology in thrillers, I will admit that I like to stretch mine just a little bit. Sometimes it may be the basis for a whole new business empire or just touch on something that could be extended and become reality. I am a huge science fiction fan, but I try to steer clear of getting too far out there.
So my book Genetic Impulse (which is not yet published) bends on the subject of something I watched on the Discovery Channel a few years ago. In the show, I watched a scientist run a fossil through a chemical process and actually come away with soft tissue. More incredibly, it was the fossil of a T-Rex!
Check it out: Discovery – Dinosaur DNA

So I thought, this is cool, but where could this research lead us? What can we get from it? Dr. Schweitzer made an incredible discovery, but the part that falls short is the fact that the soft-tissue does not contain DNA. So put away your Jurassic Park annual pass. That won’t be happening any time soon. Still, it was amazing.

What I took from this is the idea that you could perform this type of analysis on other fossils. In fact, why don’t we do this on human fossils? In my book, my fictional Dr. Susan Chang does do this on ancient human fossils and comes away with DNA (simply because it’s not nearly as old as T-Rex. No matter how you slice it, it’d be a one in infinity chance to find DNA that can last more than a million years.) Her discovery maps an interesting path from human ancestors to modern humans. What happens next will be delivered when the book comes out. But see how this one discovery can lead to something more interesting?

I equate it to the Jurassic Park simplification of ideas. Michael Crichton was brilliant with his ideas. Hey, let’s take a mosquito and drape it in amber, then extract it millions of years later and joila! we have dinosaurs! But what made this fun is that for the average person like you and me, it was enough to be believable. And that’s the trick.

I like to make my leaps a little more connected, a little more fact-based. But that’s me. I need to know it could really happen. Now if only I could have the same commercial success as Crichton…

I’ve posted a sample of what I feel is a dramatic scene that demonstrates a bit more of a useable story for fiction writing than the National Geographic article. My idea was, what would it feel like to be this baby Australopithecus aferensis? And you sadly will never know that the early and tragic death you have to endure would open doorways for a species you’ve never seen. The fact the A. aferensis lived on this earth four times longer than any other bipedal human ancestral species on this planet amazed me. So I had to find an angle that made the death of this innocent baby an important to me and my story.
So please read both. The writing in the National Geographic article is superb. The prologue I wrote makes my skin tighten just a little by the time I’ve finished reading it. Maybe it’s because I have kids of my own. I don’t know.
But it’s certainly a good way to put strong fiction into a techno thriller from yet-another-science article about something interesting.
Check out my prologue:
Genetic Impulse Prologue

Okay. So I’ve posted a few science specific articles. Some of you may like them, some may not. Some may be a bit bewildered how I can get so excited over this stuff and how you turn it into writing.
That’s cool. I get that. So I want to show you. I’ve posted a link below to an article I read a dozen times. I love it. So interesting it captures me fully. What I want to do is let you follow the link to National Geographic’s website and check it out. Again, some may find it interesting and some may not.
What I’m going to do is post a prologue I wrote a few years ago for my first novel, Genetic Impulse, and show you how you can use these types of science articles to craft great content for your book.
For the most part, you could probably get away with reading the first paragraph, but there are certainly some details you don’t want to miss. I’ll post the prologue shortly. I want to make a few touches it to it because I wrote this a couple of years ago and my writing is better now. So it’s hard not to do a little editing to save my sanity.
Check out the article:
National Geographic’s article on Dikika