Clones


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Thread: Clones

  1. #1

    Clones

    So I should start this thread by saying that the protagonist of my novel is a clone, and I hope to a handle a trope well that I think usually is - not, to put it lightly.

    Clones have been a fairly common trope since the 50s sci-fi boom. It's usually handled like this: a mad scientist gets his hands on some phlebotinum, throws the hero into a scary chamber with smoke pouring of it, presses a few buttons and presto, a fully-formed copy pops right out with all the hero's memories but is inexplicably evil and driven by a need to kill him because obviously, there can only be one.

    This is really, really stupid. I get that most writers who use the trope that way are trying to explore psychological themes, show the hero's seedy id given flesh, but there are other ways to do it. Use a magical doppelganger, or a demon, or a mind-uploaded AI, something that isn't horrifically unscientific.

    I want to explore some aspects of this trope that are criminally underused. I'm not having Dzesika hand-wring about whether she's "real" or not. What does that even mean? Obviously she's "real", insofar as any of us are. She bleeds, sneezes, gets itchy and hungry like anyone else. Navel-gazing about the nature of the soul is great and all, but ultimately unquantifiable. I think it's far more realistic and interesting for her to essentially face a turbo-charged version of a woman terrified of becoming her mother. There are also the psychological ramifications of literally not having a father (or is her "grandfather" also her father?) and her conception not being brought about by love, but a soulless, profiteering megacorportation. She's also going to suffer from not getting the right hormone treatments in an artificial womb because she didn't get real-time feedback from her "mother".

    Just some thoughts on the trope. There's a lot of potential with reproductive cloning, but it needs to be seperated from the whole magical doppelganger trope and have its own ramifications.
    Current Project: The Huntsmage ​Book 1

  2. #2
    I think it's an interesting area. What often seems unexplored to me is that a clone is going to be, presumably, a lot younger than its (his, her) progenitor. A parent/child relationship may ensure, or an older/younger sibling one. What rivalries may occur? Will the older one try and live vicariously through the younger?


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  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    I think it's an interesting area. What often seems unexplored to me is that a clone is going to be, presumably, a lot younger than its (his, her) progenitor. A parent/child relationship may ensure, or an older/younger sibling one. What rivalries may occur? Will the older one try and live vicariously through the younger?
    Well, in Dzesika's particular case, her progenitor is roughly 30 years older, so it should be a mother/daughter relationship on paper. But since Raena delegated most of the actual mother stuff to machines and lab assistants, Dzesika doesn't really think of it that way. She honestly doesn't know what to make of it, and it really messes her up.

    And that's with her progenitor still being alive! It gets really weird if they're long dead. What did the little Hitler clones think of the Fuhrer in Boys from Brazil? Or what if you clone a baby? Then it's basically just identical twins.

    Lotta weird stuff to explore.
    Current Project: The Huntsmage ​Book 1

  4. #4
    In my current series (finishing the last novel now) several of the main characters are androids. Their mind is created via a simulation that evolves their soul from a unthinking-just reacting brain to a fully self aware being.

    Some humans want to upload themselves into an android body - but in my story that's not actually possible. Their memories are mapped and stored, then once a self aware android is created the human memories are installed. What we end up with is a new person with someone else's memories. These people do make many decisions based on memories (just as we all do), but they remain a different person and may not make the same choices as the human would have.

    The common trope with clones is that they don't have memories of their human seed. If that's the plot you follow, and she knows she's a clone, then I doubt she's have an issue because she doesn't know what she's missing. IMO, her going on and on about 'poor me, I'm a clone' would get tiresome.

    Some studies on twins that were separated at birth suggest they tend to make some of the same choices (other studies refute this however). Perhaps you could have your character enter into the same sort of work as her original did?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by indianroads View Post
    The common trope with clones is that they don't have memories of their human seed. If that's the plot you follow, and she knows she's a clone, then I doubt she's have an issue because she doesn't know what she's missing. IMO, her going on and on about 'poor me, I'm a clone' would get tiresome.

    Some studies on twins that were separated at birth suggest they tend to make some of the same choices (other studies refute this however). Perhaps you could have your character enter into the same sort of work as her original did?
    Actually there are plenty of works where a "clone" has the memories of the progenitor for... some reason, somehow. Dzesika doesn't, of course, and that's a good thing because her progenitor is a sociopathic mad scientist with no regard for life.

    No, she's in a different profession (monster hunter vs biologist), but I suppose there is a strong connection there. Huntsmages are very-well versed in biology - can't kill your bounty if you don't know its weaknesses. And with her possessing the same intelligence and strong drive for control, I suppose it was only natural.

    She struggles with a lot of those negative traits - cold, ruthless, quick to anger, smug superiority - which is why she's so terrified of also becoming a monster. A lot more interesting than "oh geez my belly button is weird am I a people?"
    Current Project: The Huntsmage ​Book 1

  6. #6
    So are your androids similiar to Blade Runner? Sounds close to that movie's replicants.
    Current Project: The Huntsmage ​Book 1

  7. #7
    In genetics not only does it matter whether a person has a gene, it matters whether the gene is turned on, or how often. You can have a clone that has a difference in appearance as well as strengths and weaknesses the original doesn't based on which genes are on. Difference in their environment, nutrition, training and other factors will make them a little different as well. For example, this is why one identical twin can like a certain type of food or get cancer while the other never does.
    K.S. Crooks- Dreamer and Author

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by K.S. Crooks View Post
    In genetics not only does it matter whether a person has a gene, it matters whether the gene is turned on, or how often. You can have a clone that has a difference in appearance as well as strengths and weaknesses the original doesn't based on which genes are on. Difference in their environment, nutrition, training and other factors will make them a little different as well. For example, this is why one identical twin can like a certain type of food or get cancer while the other never does.
    Yep, epigenetics. I pictured Dzesika as having a few inches on her mother because she was grown in an artificial womb with optimal nutrients, while Raena grew up in the slums and had to scavenge for food. Also, being a professional monster killer, she's going to have more muscle mass than her mom who stays in the lab all day.
    Current Project: The Huntsmage ​Book 1

  9. #9
    I've thought the idea of a clone living with the knowledge she was produced by a lab which was working with human traffickers. government intervention allowed her to live a normal life, but there's still that knowledge.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Willmatron View Post
    I've thought the idea of a clone living with the knowledge she was produced by a lab which was working with human traffickers. government intervention allowed her to live a normal life, but there's still that knowledge.
    Ick. Reminds me of the female Replicants from Blade Runner, created to be living sex toys. That's gotta really mess with someone and it's too bad we didn't get inside anyone's head but Roy's.
    Current Project: The Huntsmage ​Book 1

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