For this week’s Flashforward Friday post, I’m filling in for a guest-post cancellation. Sometimes I miss doing these, so I don’t mind the chance to fill in!
Flashforward Friday: Cloning!
Despite DNA not being discovered for another twenty years, Brave New World (1932) by Aldous Huxley explored the theme of cloning. Fandoms like Orphan Black, Doctor Who, and Star Wars have leapt into the ethics of cloning.
As a species, we’re obsessed with questions like Who am I and How did life begin, so it makes sense that when faced with the reality of cloning, we stumble. We hesitate. We question.
If we’re able to create life in such a way, are we then gods? What a question to ponder.
Scientists recently stated that they were incredibly close to being able to clone and develop a live woolly mammoth. Let that sink in for a moment.
What if every animal that went extinct could be brought to life? Some animals have gone extinct through our (humanity) own doing, our own mistakes. What if we could rectify that? Would that necessarily be a good thing? Evolution occurs for a reason and survival of the fittest is a part of that. But with cloning, we could make decisions about which creatures survive and which return.
Moving past the cloning and creating of animals, what about humans?
An organ farm could certainly help people who suffer from all manner of ailments and diseases, but would something like that be ethical? Then there’s the clone war scenario that has appeared in both Orphan Black and Star Wars. As a society, we can’t keep ourselves out of wars over money (oil) and religion. If we had a disposable army of clones…well, that could change everything in a not-so-good way.
Of course, with cloning, one could reboot a dead pet (or relative!) with a clone or create the perfect spouse.The possibilities are endless!
While I’d love to have my cat live forever (well, sort of–clones anyway), the idea of rebooting a deceased relative borders on creepy. But isn’t it, in some ways, what we essentially want? Grandma dies and we clone her back?
If the clone has her memories, her mannerisms, etc., she’d essentially be the same, right?
These are the thoughts authors have when they write about new possibilities. They are the ideas authors like Huxley had when thinking up Brave New World (among others).
Of course, cloning brings up the “When does life begin” debate, which is why it’s a difficult topic for most, but science fiction has always been the genre that explored the darker topics and pushed us to questions the bounds of our comfort zones.
I look forward to the future of ethical and moral quandaries addressed in speculative fiction. Where would we be without braving those questions least comfortable?
We might be here but maybe sans submarines, air planes, computers, cell phones…
(Image from Jurassic Park is Copyright Universal Pictures. Image from The Matrix is Copyright Warner Bros. Both images are used under Fair Use for educational purposes.)
Click here to read other Flashforward Friday posts by other authors including Jean Walker, GG Silverman, and more.