02-08-2007 11:34 PM - edited 02-08-2007 11:34 PM
“Dr. Metcalf, I know you are a brilliant individual and a gifted and talented scientist. But what in God’s name were you thinking? Do you have any concept of the chaos you are about to unleash on the world? I assume you are familiar with Pandora’s Box – what you have done makes her little box of horrors look like manna from heaven!”
David R. Metcalf, B.S. (Biology), M.S. (Molecular Biology), Ph.D. (Genetics), Ph.D. (Molecular Genetics), Ph.D. (Genetic Engineering), holder of an endowed chair in Genetics at the Harvard Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, and founder of the Avery Institute of Molecular Biology, drew in a deep breath before responding.
“Senator Laurensen, I am, of course, familiar with Pandora’s mythological box. And I am acutely aware of some of the potential impact of my research. I don’t claim to fully understand all of the implications, but I do have some grasp of reality. Which is precisely why I insisted on this appointment with you, the Chairman of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.
But you need to understand something about research science – “pure” science, as some call it. We don’t know going into a project just what we will discover. We are not operating from a set of blueprints, moving directly from point A to discovery B to product C. I did not set out to find a way to lengthen human life. I merely wanted to know what was the function of an odd bit of material at the tag end of the DNA strand. For years, this “junk” DNA has been assumed to be useless, meaningless, without effect on the human genome. I didn’t think Nature would be that wasteful and I wanted to know why it is there. And I’ve found out.”
Dave leaned forward in his chair and an unconscious left index finger pushed his glasses back up his nose. His right hand pushed a shock of brown hair flecked with gray back from his forehead.
“I’ve discovered something momentous – and I don’t want to see society collapse in the aftermath of my discovery. But I cannot and will not try to pretend that my discovery never happened. Which brings us back to why I am here – I am seeking your advice and your help in managing the impacts on society that doubling or trebling the average human life span will cause.”
The senator leaned back in her chair and held her hands over her eyes for a moment.
“Why don’t you ask for something easy – like a billion dollar grant to investigate sun-tanning practices in the South Pacific?”
Message Edited by seekingreader on 02-08-200709:39 PM
02-09-2007 09:24 AM
When I read your first paragraph, my interest in the story was building pretty nicely. The second paragraph slowed me down a bit, though and you risked losing me there. Is there any chance you could provide Metcalf's credentials a little bit later in the intro? Or maybe provide them in a less-detailed way?
Can't wait to see the next installment!
02-09-2007 11:21 AM
I agree with Cluecorner that the 2nd paragraph did scare me a bit, but then it picked right back up. Seems like a good story idea you have there.
02-09-2007 06:21 PM
Take a look at the openings of two or three stories that you like (you want to consider a bunch of them, because stories and story openings differ). What's happening as the story opens? Description, action, dialog -- what are the characters doing? Most of all, what is it about the beginning that makes you want to read the rest of the story? If you can start to answer that question, you'll start to develop a good sense of how to open your own stories.
02-09-2007 08:41 PM
Seeking, I like this. But do be careful of starting a story with expository dialog -- too often, it gives the reader the feeling that the rest of the story will be the same, which might not be too appealing.
Thanks, Marta. I rarely open with dialogue, and I don't know that this excerpt is an opening. I haven't really figured out what, if anything, this story might be, but I had a vision of this conversation taking place and wanted to get it down before it went away.
I certainly wasn't ready to begin writing this story when this club opened up, but I am now trying to determine if there may be a story there I can write. In the meantime, I wanted to get some words on paper, if only to participate fully in the exercises as laid out in the club.
Thanks again for the suggestion. Any and all help is appreciated.
02-09-2007 09:40 PM
02-10-2007 01:10 AM
Gale, this might not be in the SF category but what about "Frankenstein; or, The Mordern Prometheus" by Mary Shelley or "The Strange Case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson? They were the mad scientist type who discovered something revolutionary on their own. No one knew about what they were devolping or discovering untill they told someone. So it could be possible that no one knew about what Dr.Metcalf was up to. But then again those stories are very dated and seekingreader's story has to do with genetics, all I'm saying is it could be possible.
I had a couple of thoughts. I agree that there was drag but, I think you succeeded in giving me a sense of who these characters are. Problem for me is I don't believe they could exist. You have a scientist who has made an amazing discovery, something akin to the fountain of youth. Yet there are only two people that know about it. How could that happen?
02-11-2007 11:36 AM
I was happy to see how you are proceeding with your idea. I think it will be pretty cool.
02-13-2007 04:06 PM