Discussion Board

Topic: Molecular Biology is beginning to catch up with you

From: Barb Langer, Ph.D.
Location: Chicago, IL
Date: 11/26/2007

Dear Mr. Bear:

You may be amused to know that several of the premises you postulated regarding the evolutionary role of HERV in the Darwin's Radio and Darwin's Children books have surfaced in "Annals of Science. Darwins Surprise.
Why are evolutionary biologists bringing back extinct deadly viruses?" by Michael Specter December 3, 2007 The New Yorker, http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/12/03/071203fa_fact_specter?printable=true

Every time I reread your "Darwin" books I marvel at your creativity and lament the great researcher science lost so that you could bring us these incomparable stories.

I eagerly await the next installment but doubt whether any film version could do them justice without dumbing them down beyond recognition, the sad fate of Carl Sagan's "Contact". However, I know of no work of literature with greater emotional power than "Darwin's Children." And that IS something the right film might capture.

On rereading the second book, I was struck by features that the "virus children" have in common with "Gaea," the human syncytium that ultimately prevails in Isacc Asimov's Foundation series.

You are a great visionary. I anticipate your books will be read centuries from now when those of your contemporaries have long since been forgotten.

With my admiration and best wishes,
Barb

Re: Molecular Biology is beginning to catch up with you

From: Greg Bear
Date: 12/02/2007

Thanks, Barb! I love to read the current papers, just to learn where I'm right and where I'm wrong--and where I completely fell out of the boat. Thinking stuff up is easy--but proving ideas one way or the other is brave, hard work, and scientists do the heavy lifting.

Epigenetics and gene imprinting are fascinating. I've only lightly touched on those contributions to our inheritance--take a look at THE GHOST IN THE GENE on NOVA--so maybe it's time for another novel?

Re: Molecular Biology is beginning to catch up with you

From: Ruth Gennarelli
Location: USA
Date: 12/02/2007

Did you see this weeks New York Times story? Magazine section? It made me spend the day re-reading Darwin's Radio. I do that a few times a year anyway... I was due.

Re: Molecular Biology is beginning to catch up with you

From: Greg Bear
Date: 12/05/2007

I missed that one. Is it on line?

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