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Re: SV: Evolution in science fiction

I for one, think there is plenty of room for Fiction that remains true to 
evolutionary science.

Just don't tell me humans are aliens to this world, or special single creations 
of an alien civilization (several iterations, as in artificial selection are 

If you want to tell that story.... set it somewhere other than Earth, with a 
race of people not explicitly human.

What we need to throw out - are Battlestar Galactica type stories where Earth 
is simply a human colony, and humans were transplanted here from somewhere else.

Evolution through artificial selection on primates to produce humans- feasible.
Evolution through successive genetic modification/gene splicing - ok.... as 
long as the experimenters had intermediate forms, which we know as fossils 
today - you could have humans exploring some other world, and notice a 
similarity in some motif within their genetic makeup, similar to something 
found in humans- along with evidence of alien intervention, to suggest this may 
have happened in humans ancestors.

Stargate-like stories are ok, where aliens took primitive humans and seeded 
them on other worlds for manual labor- perhaps with some selective breeding on 
the other planets, producing "super humans" (and it must be recognized that 
speciation had occurred, and these super humans are distinct from, and possibly 
quite hostile to Homo Sapiens.

And then going into a computer games sci-fi plot (pretty good plot considering 
all they really wanted to do is redo some battlestar galactica like search for 
earth) - this game called "Homeworld" had a backstory several dozen pages long 
- In which the protagonists live on some barely habitable planet that is mostly 
desert - they notice all other life on the planet is biochemically very 
different from them, fossils appear to show evolution of other forms of life 
but there are none for the people.
This fed into their religion - the people were special creations of god, they 
were cast down from paradise to their world by the gods as punishment for 
Hubris, Armageddon woul
ther act of Hubris, etc....
Anyway, eventually some satellite detects what they believe to be the ancient 
legendary *first city* out in the desert just below the surface - which turns 
out to be a city built around a wrecked starship, containing a map showing the 
way to a location simply known as "home" in an ancient dialect - confirming 
what biological/evolutionary science suggested, they were aliens to the world 
they lived in.
(So of course they set of into space with this re-discovered technology, 
creating a mothership to establish a colony of over 100,000 on their former 
home, the gods that cast them down to the desert planet were actually an Empire 
that was victorious in a war against these people, re-discovering hyperspace 
travel violated an ancient treaty *an act of Hubris*, the desert planet's 
surface is incinerated as a result, and all that remains of the people is the 
mothership and its fleet, and the people get some good old fashioned revenge as 
the empire degenerates into civil war)

--- On Thu, 7/9/09, Tommy Tyrberg <tommy.tyrberg@norrkoping.mail.telia.com> 

> From: Tommy Tyrberg <tommy.tyrberg@norrkoping.mail.telia.com>
> Subject: SV: Evolution in science fiction
> To: lor@fibertel.com.ar, "'dinosaur'" <dinosaur@usc.edu>
> Date: Thursday, July 9, 2009, 2:22 PM
> I thought I would say a little more
> about Olaf Stapledons "Last and
> First Men" where he traces the human line into the far
> future through (I
> think) fifteen consecutive species, including one winged.
> Rather dated
> scientifically (written in 1930) but pretty impressive
> still.
> A very different SF book with an at least partly
> evolutionary theme is
> Roy Lewis' "What we did to father" (1960), a hilarious
> story about an
> Early Pleistocene African supergenius and paterfamilias who
> chivvies his
> uncomprehending and unwilling family to adopt fire,
> cooking, spears,
> stone tools, living in caves, exogamy etc.
> I agree with Raptorial Talon that most SF books do not
> handle
> evolutionary themes well from a factual
dersons "Winter of the
> World" which is
> set during the next glaciation, when the human species has
> split into
> two, physically very similar, but behaviourally quite
> distinct.
> Larry Niven has also written a number of good stories which
> are
> factually reasonable. For example the short story "Green
> Marauder" which
> gives a rather startling view of the consequences when
> photosynthesis
> evolved on Earth.
> As for evolutionary equivalents of time travel there are a
> number of
> books "where Chicxulub didn't happen", for example Harry
> Harrysons
> "Eden" series, already mentioned.
> Another theme that comes back frequently is the idea that
> alien
> intelligences have visited Earth in the past, and
> interfered with
> evolution. A recent example is S. M. Stirlings "The Sky
> People" and "In
> the Courts of the Crimson Kings" set in a parallel universe
> where
> superintelligences known as "the lords of creation" visited
> the solar
> system during the Jurassic and terraformed Venus and Mars
> (later
> returning to transplant humans as well). Venus is a rather
> standard
> dinosaurs-and-other-giant-beasts scenario, but Mars where
> the wil-life
> is dominated semi-avian evolved theropods and a variety of
> highly
> modified Mesozoic marine organism is quite fascinated, and
> makes me wish
> Stirling had devoted more space to describing the planet. 
> Tommy Tyrberg
> -----Ursprungligt meddelande-----
> Från: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu
> [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu]
> För Luis
> Oscar Romero
> Skickat: den 9 juli 2009 00:00
> Till: dinosaur
> Ämne: Re: Evolution in science fiction
> Many SF books has been written on the future evolution of
> the human race
> or the human mind. The Dune saga, by Frank Herbert, comes
> to mind with
> the breeding schemes of the Bene Gesserit towards a Homo
> superior. Also
> I recall More than Human, by Sturgeon, which focus on the
> development of
> a collective mind, and Sirius, by the same author, about a
> superinteligent dog, capable of sp
> evolution, unless we
> consider SF the saga of the Children of the Earth ( the
> Clan of the Cave
> Bear and its sequels) by Jean Auel, which deals with the
> interaction
> between Neanderthals and sapiens. Dinosaurwise , one of my
> favorites is
> The Planet of the dinosaurs  and its sequel the
> Survivors by Anne
> McCaffrey, that I read in the sixties and already had furry
> pterosaurs,
> but it doesn't dwelve in evolution, but the exploration of
> a planet
> where earth dinosaurs and pterosaurs had been transplanted,
> and have
> survived among the local fauna. 
> And of course, there is Raptor Red... 
> Cheers, 
> Luis Oscar Romero, lor@fibertel.com.ar
> 2009-07-08  
> ----- Receiving the following content -----  
> From: Jeff Hecht  
> Receiver: Dinosaur mailing list  
> Time: 2009-07-08, 13:56:36 
> Subject: Evolution in science fiction 
> 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 know a few science-fiction fans are on the list, and I'm
> curious how
> you'd answer those questions. Stephen Jay Gould's idea that
> trying to
> repeat evolution wouldn't produce the same results comes to
> my mind.
> What comes to yours?  
> --  
> Jeff Hecht, science & technology writer 
> jeff@jeffhecht.com
> or jhecht@nasw.org 
> 525 Auburn St., Auburndale, MA 02466 USA 
> tel. 617-965-3834 http://www.jeffhecht.com