Thursday, November 22, 2012

Sexy Sexual Sex And Meat Bikes


So these Henry notes seem to be going over well with brainy science types. It's funny. I'm always insecure about this kind of stuff, but there's a hell of a lot of leeway allowed when you use science in fiction. As a scientific thinker I may not have much depth, but sometimes breadth can be fun.

(I am now going to go downstairs, drill a hole in my skull, hold the tip of an unbent coat hanger over the stove until it is red-hot, then sear out the part of my brain which holds the phrase, "that's what she said.")

Anyway, click here to read all the Henry stories so far. If you leave a comment, you might win a copy of the finished version, including two new stories and the compiled and revised notes, along with the full run of stories by P.T. Dilloway and Neil Vogler! The more comments, the better your chances.


The science in this sequence with Morrie, which will play out over a few episodes, is the iffiest. It’s a subject I don’t know much about, and I didn’t have a chance to do much research. But it does play off a real-world analog of an oddball science-fiction motif, that of the modular life form.

I recall an episode of the animated Star Trek, and a Retief novel by Keith Laumer that dealt with the idea, and there was an issue of the terrific adventure comic The World Below by Paul Chadwick and Ron Randall. I may have run across it elsewhere. The notion is that there are animals like Legos, whose body parts are symbiotic organisms that can be assembled and disassembled.

Some sea slugs are able to take the nematocysts – the stingers – from jellyfish and sea anemones they eat, and incorporate them into their bodies. And some jellies, like the Portuguese man o’ war, are actually colonial organisms, made up of semi-independent bodies called zooids

Often, ecologically damaged areas of the ocean will become overpopulated with jellyfish. So the idea of targeting jellyfish was a natural.

For the record, this is the third sex scene I’ve written, and the first two involved monsters. But this time around, I tried a really challenging approach – I treated sex as something nice that grownups do together.



During the brief period of time when I made an effort to keep current with paleontology, there was a persistent rumor of a paper that would discuss the discovery of a feathered Tyrannosaurus rex. The rumor specified a yard-long feather…

That paper never surfaced, so far as I know, but the evidence for feathers in tyrannosaurs has mounted. Let’s put it this way. Right now the evidence for feathered tyrannosaurs is about as good as the evidence for hairy cavemen. Somewhere, at some point, there almost certainly was some fuzz.

And as for Klubok, the Thing That Ate Hercules. Hercules was a quiet little East Bay town where they made explosives, and when I was a kid, you could find lumps of sulfur on the beach at Point Pinole. It’s a nice recreational area, and I think it could only be enhanced by a giant monster skeleton.



See, this is the kind of thing that really points out how sloppy I am in these stories. Does the meat bike have a case full of giblets into which you pour syrup? Does it have a dialysis machine? A colostomy bag?

I’ll tell you what, Morrie’s not going to want to ride that thing to school.

Now, my idyllic solution to the issue of meat is to reduce the human population to the point where the environment is actually capable of sustaining us for an indefinite period of time, and then have people hunt for their food as needed. Hey, reducing the population is easy – all you have to do is give women free access to education and opportunities

But that isn’t everyone’s idea of heaven. The idea of cultured meat is making some very interesting inroads, and I suspect it falls into the ‘when, not if,’ category