#SciFiMonth Sci-5 Tuesday: Clones
To celebrate science fiction during the month of November, I’ve put together a series of posts I’ll be doing every Tuesday to highlight the sci-fi tropes or themes that I find simply irresistible! I’ve also been fortunate to read some great books in the genre over the last few years, and to give them some extra attention, each week I will also be featuring five titles that I recently enjoyed or thought were pretty special.
To kick things off, today the topic is CLONES because I’ve been reading some pretty good cloning stories recently!
Set in the near future, this story follows protagonist Constance D’Arcy, or simply Con to her friends, a musician who was involved a tragic accident that claimed the lives of her fellow bandmates and left her lover in a coma. Death has also been on her mind a lot lately, for Con’s aunt is Abigail Stickling, the late genius behind Palingenesis, the world’s first and largest manufacturer of clones. The company offers a service to clients that, should they die, would allow for the downloading and transfer of their consciousness along with all memories into a engineered clone. Before her death, Abigail gifted Con with a clone of her own, requiring our protagonist to make regular trips to Palingenesis to have her memories uploaded to the system. If she dies, the company will automatically activate her clone and transfer the latest backup, so it’s a good idea to keep it as fresh as possible. So imagine our protagonist’s surprise when, after a routine memory upload, she wakes up at Palingenesis not in her original body but in that of her clone. Not only is she hit with the horrible realization that this means that the real Con, her old self, must have died, but she is shocked to find out that her last memory upload was actually a year and a half ago. Suddenly, Con finds herself alone in a desperate fight for survival while also trying to piece together her life from the past 18 months. (Read the full review…)
Is Forget Me Not a true clone story? Maybe not, but the premise is interesting nonetheless. The book follows Linda Russell, a young woman whose mentally and emotionally unstable mother who only birthed her and her twin for one very specific purpose—to try and replace another daughter, Madeline, who died years before. Growing up on a rural compound, Linda was raised in isolation and prevented from making any contact with the outside world. Her only companion was her sister, Emmer. The two of them were taught only to act like Madeline, talk like Madeline, become Madeline…until the day her mother finally snapped with the realization that her experiment to recreate her lost daughter was a failure, and that neither Linda or Emmer were true clones that will ever replace her. From that day on, the girls were left to fend for themselves. But eventually, at the age of twelve, Linda finally escapes the compound, only to make headlines and become known as “Clone Girl” when social media catches wind of the incident and her tragic background. With the help of her estranged father and a counselor, Linda is set up in an apartment in Seattle where she can start life afresh with a new identity. All goes well until her old house burns down, once more catapulting Clone Girl into the spotlight and reigniting public interest in her story. (Read the full review…)
The Echo Wife follows Dr. Eveyln Caldwell, a brilliant geneticist who specializes in cloning. At the start of the book, she is receiving an award for her contributions to the field, but while her professional career may be in bloom, her personal life is in tatters. Years of putting her work before everything else has driven an irreversible wedge between Evelyn and her husband and fellow scientist Nathan, and now he’s made it clear she’s not the woman he wants anymore. He’s recently left her for someone else, a new wife who can give him what he’s always wanted: a family. But what really sends Evelyn’s world crashing down is the other woman’s identity, who is soon revealed to be a clone of Evelyn herself. Still, while Martine may be physically identical to Evelyn, her personality is not. Nathan had programmed his new wife to be more compliant, and on top of that, he had also somehow managed to find a way to reverse a clone’s sterility, because Martine is very visibly pregnant when she confronts Evelyn for the first time. That very same night, Evelyn receives a frantic call from Martine, begging her to come over, and when Evelyn arrives, she finds Nathan dead on the floor in a pool of blood. Gradually, the story comes out. Nathan had been violent, resulting in Martine having to defend herself. Now Evelyn has no choice but to help cover up the incident, because even if she didn’t feel slightly responsible for Nathan’s death, any police investigation would lead right back to her work and destroy her reputation and career. (Read the full review…)
How many times have you wished you could clone yourself, to have a double take over your life for a little while just so you can catch a quick breather? In The Mirror Man, the ability to achieve this has become a reality, albeit the technology is highly illegal. Companies that do cloning studies like ViGen Pharmaceuticals have to work under the utmost secrecy, but they believe they have found the perfect subject. Jeremiah Adams is a middle-aged husband and father living a disaffected life, who is also willing to be discreet. For ten million dollars, he agrees to be a part of their top-secret study, which involves being cloned. The catch? Jeremiah will need to be removed from his life for an entire year, while his clone takes over. If the experiment is successful, no one should suspect Jeremiah has been replaced. Behind the scenes, a team of ViGen scientists will also be monitoring the clone’s every move to ensure adherence to expected personality and behavioral patterns. Through these sessions, however, Jeremiah soon realizes that watching his clone live his life from afar isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Though he’ll need the experiment to succeed in order to receive his money, he also can’t help but feel unsettled to see someone else replace him so completely. Then, Jeremiah’s mother dies. Already angry and devastated from being forced to grieve at a distance, our protagonist receives another shock as stumbles upon the dark truth behind the real purpose of ViGen’s cloning technology. (Read the full review…)
A crew of a compromised ship wake up to confusion and murder, with no memory of what came before. The story begins on the Dormire, a generation starship carrying a cargo hold full of sleeping humans to the unspoiled paradise planet of Artemis. Their lives would be safeguarded by IAN, the onboard AI. Six clones also make up the ship’s crew, all of them reformed criminals who are hoping to scrub their pasts clean and start their lives anew. But the opening scene is one of blood and terror when the six of them suddenly find themselves waking up in their cloning vats, with their minds downloaded into their new bodies—something that only happens if a clone’s previous incarnation has died. Indeed, when they have recovered enough to find their bearings, they discover their old bodies floating around the ship in zero-G, all showing signs of violence. IAN has been knocked offline, explaining the lack of artificial gravity as well as the fact their ship is now off-course. To make matters worse, the cloning bay has been sabotaged so that the clones’ most up-to-date mindmaps cannot be accessed, and the food printer has also been reprogrammed to churn out poison. Since all the passengers in the hold are still in stasis, the implications clear: one of the six crew members had killed the others including themselves, and it could be any one of them. (Read the full review…)