Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Second Nature

Dolphins. The ancient Native American myth of Kokopelli. Francis Crick's theory of the origin of life on Earth. And this is a love story?

“The book’s large amount of exposition—on everything from nanotechnology to cetacean biology—is smoothly integrated into the fast-paced narrative.” --- Kirkus Reviews

When the heart sees more keenly than the eye, beauty is unexpectedly found.

Gen is a teen-age woman. She is also a bio-warfare research project, designed by Col. Jack Eberhard. Born at Redstone Military Laboratories inside a quarantine unit rated Biohazard Level Four, Gen’s body harbors billions of microscopic organisms that have mutated from her genetically altered cells. The tiny entities in Gen’s tissues control life at the molecular level and Eberhard weekly tests their ability to heal the simulated combat wounds he inflicts on her.

When a deadly threat forces Gen to escape the lab, she discovers that her marvelous power to reconstruct living tissue, from proteins to cells to whole organs, enables her to transform herself bodily into any animal whose DNA she collects through a simple touch.

While in the form of a dolphin, Gen saves dolphin researcher Cade Seaborne from drowning. Her heartfelt attraction to him compels her to spontaneously shape-shift back into human form; but the morphing is incomplete and Cade encounters Gen as a woman with her head and face hideously deformed.

As Gen struggles with her dilemma of falling in love with a kind-hearted man who nonetheless regards her as pitifully ugly, the evolving microscopic life-forms inside her compel her to complete a frightening journey to fulfill their mysterious mission. Meanwhile, Eberhard has tracked down Gen and he’s sending in Special Forces to carry out a priority-one Executive Order: capture and destroy his dangerous experiment. When Cade at last recognizes beauty behind the mask of a beast, he’ll give his life to protect the unusual woman he cherishes. And he learns that love has its own transformative power.

Michael Crichton meets Hans Christian Anderson in this romantic thriller with the brains of science fiction and the heart of a fairy tale. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Men's Locker Room Clash

I’m standing naked next to a 50-something dude in the men’s locker room, where two rules always apply: 1) Talk only about sports, 2) Don’t eye each other’s genitals. 

The guy has got an exotic language tattooed on his right shoulder and I read it aloud: “‘Om mani padme hum,’” I say, “In Tibetan.”

“That’s what it says,” he agrees, “but it’s not Tibetan. It’s Sanskrit.”

“The words are Sanskrit,” I say, “but that script on your shoulder is Tibetan.” I flash my left shoulder tattoo at him, to show him a true Sanskrit Om. “The Uchen script in your tattoo was developed in the 7th century, based on an Indic alphabet. That’s why it looks a bit like Sanskrit, but you can see it’s not the same.” I point to my right shoulder, upon which is tattooed the Sanskrit syllable Hrim. “Compare the letter ‘H.’” I point to the Sanskrit “H” on my shoulder and then to the Tibetan “H” in the word Hum on his shoulder. “See?” My pointer finger does not penetrate his zone of personal space, but it hovers dangerously close. 

The guy glares at me. We were supposed to be chatting about football, and now I’ve unintentionally challenged his manhood. Besides, any man as hairy as I am should be incapable of articulating more than bearish grunts. Is it too late to ask, “How ‘bout them Seminoles?”

“My root guru is Avalokiteshvara,” he tells me, in an attempt at one-upmanship.
“The Buddha of Infinite Compassion,” I say, defeating his secret code almost before the words have left his lips. His eyes turn downward. My Kung-Fu is stronger than his. He retreats to the shower. 

I think to shout after him, “The English word ‘clash’ is derived from the same Indo-European root as the Sanskrit word ‘klesha.’” But I keep that information to myself.

It’s a good thing we weren’t talking about football; I don’t know a damned thing about football.