DNA Can Survive Re-entry Into The Atmospere

“DNA can survive re-entry into the atmosphere, raising the possibility of extraterrestrial life molecules arriving on Earth from space, research has shown.
The discovery came as a total surprise to scientists”
The Daily Telegraph 27, November 2014

This was discovered by a mission launched from the European Space Centre at Esrange in Northern Sweden; the TEXUS 49 mission. A ‘total surprise’ is overcooking things. Still, events have conspired to prove / disprove the hypothesis and we have a result. Space Daily (your portal to space) is somewhat less sensational: DNA may survive suborbital spaceflight, re-entry according to a study published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Cora Thiel and Oliver Ullrich from University of Zurich and colleagues. See their article here.
The TEXUS 49 rocket mission was March 2011, nearly  four years back.
ref: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018754

The idea of outer space biological contamination has been in the SF domain for years and in one form or another, it continues to fascinate writers. James White’s Sector General series (a hospital lab in space dealing with human and non-human disease) anticipates the mechanics of managing this. James White wrote his 12 ‘Hospital in Space’ themed books between 1957 and 1999.

Hospital Station by James White
Hospital Station by James White (part of Sector General)

The very first SF book I read Invader from Space (1963) by Patrick Moore had alien microbes as a theme

Dust jacket to Patrick Moore: Invader from Space
as did Michael Crichton’s The Andromeda Strain (1969). In War of the Worlds (1897), H.G. Wells turns this on its head; alien invaders are defeated by Earthly bugs.

In Andre Norton’s works, plague space-ships are a must-avoid. Harry Harrison did Spaceship Medic (1970) – I confess to not having read it. The opening paragraphs of The Boosted Man (1974), see Tully Zetford’s anti-hero, Ryder Hook, escape a frenzied mob, desperate to flee a planet infected with alien disease. Tully Zetford was also know as Kenneth Bulner.

Hook: The Boosted Man by Tully Zetford (aka Ken Bulmer)
Hook The Boosted Man by Tully Zetford (aka Ken Bulmer)

At a macro level, this is what Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle’s The Mote in God’s Eye (1974) deals with – an alien race that expands aggressively to fit the available space, at a high level is similar to fungus in a petri-dish, growing on a damp slice of bread. We all did that experiment in school. There are other variations on this, for example the energy forms in Peter F Hamilton’s The Reality Dysfunction.

Alien bugs coming to Earth is one of the ideas I explored in Guide (plus mutations, energy forms…)


Watch out – thoughts on self promotion!

Yesterday was the last day of my first Kindle promotion. It’s also the day I helped put up Halloween decorations. Of the two, the latter gave more pleasure. It’s not that the former isn’t of value – if you don’t do the work, no-one reads your stuff and you get no feedback.
Let’s get a couple of things straight. The reward for writing can be more than money. Your stuff can be more than a makeover of last year’s fad. Write it right and you open up your thinking to readers, show them different points of view.

Kitten - subsequently named Barbara Streisand (My preference was Napoleon)
Kitten – subsequently named Barbara Streisand (never mind I preferred Napoleon)

We are all strangers, looking across the river of life at others. Seeing difference, seeing something new and maybe interesting. Why a river? Because life builds a unique perspective for each of us. Along the way, we meet, make friends, lose friends, drifting from one set of circumstances to another. Sure, we go for the group think and embrace (or reject) social norms; but underneath, we are born strangers and often as not, die alone.
When you connect with someone, you share. They tell you enough that you see the world through their eyes. What you see is usually different.
If it isn’t you’re in trouble; like as not you’re…

a Replicant… on the run.

Watch out – a Blade Runner

is coming 

Writers inhabit a rarefied atmosphere. They share their visions with others through the power of words. In creating a world they open up an entire universe. The author breathes life into his characters, each with a different take on that world. The act of creation interests me. Selling that vision – like a C19th barrow boy hawking his wares to passers-by – seems crass. But that’s how things are.

Pitching blurb isn’t the moral high ground; I want normality. This means returning to my take on Andre Norton and Phil Dick – The P’Nong – and cranking out the words. And later, weighing up what to do next on other WIP’s.


Science Fiction
· Joe and the Xenophids 4k
· The Adventures of Matter Grabba 5k
· Lucky 21k
· The P’Nong 13k

· Brant, a Fantasy 22k
· A Sending 6k

· The Central Sea 9k

· Alibi 8k
· Without Question 7k
· Harjazes 9k
That’s a lot of loose ends. They’re actually enticements; developed to a state where a publisher can take a view. What view? That’s a publisher’s prerogative. ¹

¹ I’m an accountant; I do big number analysis and market segmentation for a living. I really do get the business angle.