Posts Tagged ‘science’

I found this interesting article, This blood test can tell you every virus you’ve ever had.

Very interesting advancement for the health industry. Although this test won’t help you out of any current issue, it’s interesting to note that it can help you look at your virus history. Antibodies build up as a defense against them. Since they remain in the body, its like a log or history of any one of the 206 known viruses to affect humans.

But here’s the writing twist. How can you make this latest news a story?

What if the test discovered a new antibody, not attached to any known virus. And every other human has it? Is this a pending disaster? What could trigger an outbreak? Is it deadly? What if your loved one had it and you did not?

Oh, you could really twist a great deal of conflicts and motivations behind something like this. And you know what I like about it? It’s REAL. It’s not just science fiction. The science behind it is real. The threat is imagined, but I really like illuminating science news with a little drama. It makes it interesting. When I read articles like this my head spins with story ideas. I would love to see more authors do this.

We use a lot of investigative science to solve crimes. Why not science that creates problems?

James Rollins does some nice work. I’m certainly a big fan of his use of science. Not bad for a former vet. With the unbelievable rate of advances in the scientific community, I’m a little surprised I don’t see more. This fascinates me and we can write it correctly, I’d bet we could fascinate others.

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…

The rapid world of evolving science and technology has made great fuel for us as mystery and thriller writers. We’ve bridged the gap between what was once considered far reaching science fiction and good thriller fiction. Science and technology can help us produce new bad guys, new bad events and intricate ways to put our heroes and heroines in danger. As well as unique ways to get them out. All it takes is a little digging and some creative thought.

I was watching an episode of Castle the other night (yeah, a little soft on the thriller side of things, but hey, Stana Katic is uh, nice to watch), and they blend in some great little technical gifts that make the week’s premise fun. In this episode, the bad guy was using pictures of house keys to go back and ‘print’ them using a 3-D printer. Ingenious… I loved it. I’m sure criminals have already done this and the idea made its way to the show, but for the average joe, it makes the episode interesting. (At some point we’ll probably all have key fobs and chips like cars do to defend against such a tactic, but for now it is a little scary…)

But the point is, I find this kind of science or technology, and it’s not science fiction – it’s science fact, in a great many shows and movies today. I think it really helps open up the challenges our characters will face in their adventures.
What kind of tech trend can you use as a nefarious device in your book?

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

I need share with you another side of me. I’m a closet nerd. Well, maybe not closet anymore. I write about science and technology and I’m a senior software engineer in the healthcare industry. So another one of the categories I’ve created to write under is the ‘Science and Technology’ list.
This news caught my eye. Quick aside – when people ask me about what I do when I have writer’s block, I scoff. Writer’s block? With so many new and fantastic scientific discoveries taking place daily, there’s so much to write about, how can you be stifled?
I read about the discovery of the Majorana Particle. This is a particle that is matter and it’s also its own antimatter. How neat is that? The implications are staggering. Like neutrino’s, they barely interact with matter. Neutrino’s pass through the earth all the time because they can. But something that is a little more in between can be controllable. Which is something we humans like.
The Majorana Particle may help in finalizing the quantum computing puzzle. Partly because we could potentially control it.
Yeah, I’m a little scattered in this post because I’m just too excited about this.
Think of possible stories you could build around the discovery, or better yet, if you were the scientist who figured out how to control them. Would you quickly be surrounded by good guys or bad guys? Or a little of both?

But read the article first. Get your own takeaway from what it says.
And most of all, love the science! If we don’t embrace it, the bad guys will….
Check it out:
The Majorana Particle