For those who can’t get enough of mad scientist cabals who want to take over the world with the power of genetic engineering. Here’s an excerpt from James Tabor’s new science thriller Frozen Solid, which will be available in book stores today, Tuesday, March 26. This fiction derives from real life mad scientists who have been genetically engineering the genome of the most important form of life on this planet, prochlorococcus. Messing with the genome of Prochlorrococcus and sister Synechococcus which together make up more of life on this planet by many times the rest of us is madness beyond imagination, they have even named their new Frankenstein #9313
They drank, watched the darkness congeal, and no one spoke. Sometimes there was only waiting. Then Gerrin’s phone chimed. He answered, listened, hung up. From the room’s wall safe he retrieved a Globalstar satellite phone. He walked out onto the balcony, adjusted the long antenna, input a string of numbers, waited. Again he listened, very briefly this time, hung up without saying a word.
“The replacement has arrived,” he told the other two.
“Thank God.” Kendall sounded like a man breathing air after surfacing from great depth. He drank, shook his head, looked straight out, away from Gerrin and Belleveau. “We’ve always been honest with each other, haven’t we? So I must tell you that I am afraid, a little anyway, now that we are almost there.”
“No shame in that, Ian, given what we are about,” Gerrin said.
“Galileo was lucky not to be burned at the stake.”
“One wonders how many others were burned, doesn’t one?” Kendall asked.
“Your countryman Edward Jenner,” Belleveau said. “Accused of serving Satan. Cutting children and scraping animal pus into their wounds. His own son. He was fortunate to escape the gallows.”
“Given druthers, some might’ve drawn and quartered poor old Darwin,” Kendall said.
“Still,” Gerrin said, and the others smiled.
“I, for one, am glad that capital punishment is no longer used,” Belleveau said.
“Tell that to Saddam Hussein. And bin Laden,” Kendall said.
“We are not like them.” Gerrin was their firebrand, Belleveau their heart, Kendall their diplomat.
“Of course not. Such a comparison is odious,” Belleveau agreed.“But the point is that their actions would be viewed as mischief compared to Triage.”
“Without Triage, this planet is doomed.”
The real life cabal have been doing their work not in some super secure bio-weapons laboratories, secure so that the deadly new biological life forms they are messing about with cannot escape into the environment to produce rampant ecological and evolutionary change to life on the blue planet. Not these folks, they provide all the safety and security a bunch of our children, students, in their “institute of technology” working on a the shore of a river walking distance from the sea, can provide.
That the people leading this are advocates of an insane notion that the worst thing to ever happen to this planet is mankind seems to their supporters as simply just a curious eccentricity. That there might be the makings of a real life “mad scientist cabal”, nah, that could never happen. That the work has been described by some in the biotech genomics community as the most dangerous expeirment in all of history, no problemo… So what if a cabal of eccentrics sets loose upon the world, by accident or intent, their genetically revised version of the most important and foundational life form on this planet. If it produces a cataclysmic Blue Screen of Death effect and sets back evolution on the planet a billion years, that’s a “good” thing right, at least humans will not be here mucking things up.
So when you read the book, don’t imagine the underlying premise is fiction. It is truth that is very much nearer than you think.
One if by land and two if by sea, and there on the opposite shore will be … you will find them for those willing to see.