m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

Homo sapiens whedonum

I’ve finally gotten around to reading Blindsight by Peter Watts. More on the book itself will follow, but first I have to link his flash presentation on the creation of Homo sapiens whedonum. Not only is it educational for those of us genetically engineering our own fantasy creatures at home, but it’s also filled with dark corporate humor. I don’t know why, but I had to download a freestanding flash player to get the video to play correctly on my PowerBook.

The notes to the free ebook edition survey the field briefly before getting into the same details the slideshow above provides:

I’m hardly the first author to take a stab at rationalising vampirism in purely biological terms. Richard Matheson did it before I was born, and if the grapevine’s right that damn Butler woman’s latest novel will be all over the same territory before you even read this. I bet I’m the first to come up with the Crucifix Glitch to explain the aversion to crosses, though— and once struck by that bit of inspiration, everything else followed.

The extended notes are also available in a more convenient PDF format. There are plot spoilers in the notes, though not in the video.