Monday, January 9, 2012

Laurie's Journal

I'm in the heart of The Great 2012 SFR Pitch Tournament at present (check it out!), so this will be a short post to update my Mission Success Journal.

It's a brave New Year--Happy 2012!--so let's explore a brave new future.

Today on the Anderson TV talk show, the guest was a dog owner who cloned her beloved pet. For $50,000!  One of the guests commented that $50,000 would go a long way to helping shelter animals--the statistics are that one is euthanized every second. The clone owner responded that she totally supported helping shelter animals, but this was something personal that she needed to do.

I can totally understand both sides of the argument.

A beloved pet is something you want to hold on to forever, and the death of a friend is tragic and deeply heart-rending for many people. If this were the future and cloning were much more affordable--say $1000 to $1500--I would definitely have cloned Chaco, the beautiful Black Lab that shared our lives for some 16 years. Or Scarlet. Or Schona. Both mini-longhaired Dachshunds. And Silver would definitely be a candidate for cloning, though he's still with us. (Silver is a former Appaloosa show horse we've owned for 26 years.) In a related article, check out the story of the successful cloning of a champion barrel racer called For the Love of a Horse.

But yet there are so many unwanted animals who need good homes and caring people. We adopted Kiva--a lovely yellow Lab--after losing Chaco, and she was very close to being put to sleep before we were alerted to her situation. We also have Jazz, a lovable border collie we adopted from the pound some eleven years ago.

So yes, I could certainly argue a point for both sides of this issue.

These are the sorts of moral dilemmas we'll face as we enter the brave new world of cloning. And we're just talking about pets and livestock here. What happens if/when we ever start cloning people?

Cloning of humans is an area I explored in two of my SFRs. One is a novel you've probably heard mentioned a time or two, last years' Golden Heart finalist--The Outer Planets. In this story I delve into the family complications between an original and a clone who are at odds with each other over a betrayal that left them estranged and alienated. During the course of the story, the original begins to understand his clone's actions through his own experiences by falling into a similar romantic trap. It was a fascinating dynamic to explore especially when it came to getting inside my character's heads and hearts. It would be a bit like disowning yourself, wouldn't it?

The second story is a short WIP where the implications of cloning raises its mind-boggling head in the context of a romance and the confusion, moral dilemmas and heartbreak it raises.

What are your thoughts on cloning animals? How about cloning people? Have you given it any head time or introduced cloning into one of your works of fiction? Even if you're dead-set morally against it, would you still explore the implications in a story?

4 comments:

  1. Oddly, the pitch I've just entered for the Tournament has a clone in it! It's accepted technology for the universe it's set in, but the cloned MC is struggling to imitate the dead version of herself and feels she should instinctively know what her other self was like.
    I think it all depends on the person doing the cloning. I'd baulk at paying out that kind of money to clone a pet simply because even the clone won't be the same animal - it won't have the same memories, or necessarily the same personality. Not when there are so many pets in need of a home that are euthanized every day.
    On cloning yourself as some form of immortality - there will never be another 'me'. The clone will just be a copy. In terms of perpetuating my DNA - I have three kids! I know there's been a lot of talk of cloning in order to provide organs/limbs that won't be rejected because they're completely compatible, but could I create a life like that simply to use as spare parts? No. But in 100 years or more, people might consider that perfectly acceptable as society moves on.

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  2. That's an interesting premise for your clone story. Is that Tethered?

    Yes, I couldn't be on board with cloning humans for spare parts. That just seems barbaric. Now, growing spare parts in labs, that I could buy into. Or finding ways to regenerate limbs or organs like some species can.

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  3. Yes, that's Tethered. It's turning out to be such a weird story that sprang out of nowhere, but the more I write of it the more intrigued I am by the whole idea.

    I agree it seems barbaric, but who knows what society might be like by the time it's really possible and workable. It might be that it's easier to grow a whole human than the parts - after all, you wouldn't need to worry about any kind of life support system for the parts. Urgh.

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  4. I have a CP who wrote a story somewhat along those lines. Very dark. I loved it but I think she back-burnered it.

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