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RE: Evolution in science fiction

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu] On Behalf Of T.
Michael Keesey
Sent: 08 July 2009 20:17
To: Dinosaur Mailing List
Subject: Re: Evolution in science fiction

On Wed, Jul 8, 2009 at 9:56 AM, Jeff Hecht<jeff@jeffhecht.com> wrote:
> I'm going to be moderating a panel this weekend at a science fiction
convention called Readercon in suburban Boston. The title is "Is Darwinism
Too Good for SF?" and it's asking if evolutionary theory "has been _too
good_, too unassailable and too full of explanatory power, to leave the
wiggle room where speculative minds can play" that science fiction writers
need to write memorable stories. Are there evolutionary counterparts of time
travel and faster-than-light?

I'm reminded of Edgar Rice Burroughs Caspak series (The Land That Time
Forgot, etc.), wherein people discover an island where ontogeny
*actually* recapitulates phylogeny. Organisms develop from pond scum,
going the metamorphic stages of being worms, fish, reptiles, mammals,
and finally humans (or humanoids). (Maybe some take a different path
and end up as other organisms -- I can't recall.)

You're quite correct. The highest form of life on Caspak ends up being the
equivalent of Homo sapiens although the other organism you refer to is a
creature called the Wieroo, a grotesque evolutionary offshoot complete with
bat-like wings.
A short trilogy of books but good fun and worth the read.