Posts Tagged ‘Michael Crichton’

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…