Anthem’s Fall by S.L. Dunn
Above a horrified New York City, genetics and ethics collide as the fallen emperor and a banished exile of the same herculean race ignite into battle over the city’s rooftops. In the streets below, a brilliant young scientist has discovered a technology that can defeat them both, yet might be more terrible than either.
Set both in modern New York City and in the technologically sophisticated yet politically savage world of Anthem, Anthem’s Fall unfurls into a plot where larger than life characters born with the prowess of gods are pitted against the shrewd brilliance of a familiar and unlikely heroine.
I was on a final edit run of Anthem’s Fall when I stumbled upon an article by Craig Venter, a world renowned synthetic biologist. Reading the article, I found out that the “science fiction” I had introduced in Anthem’s Fall was, in fact, a modern reality. In 2009 Craig Venter…created an artificial cell!
Yes. Artificial. Cell. Created in reality. This actually happened.
You can imagine my shock, both as a member of society and as an author polishing up a novel that introduced an artificial cell as science fiction. My science fiction was, in fact, scientific reality. Perhaps in the real world Craig Venter’s cell is not as theatrical and fantastical as the Vatruvian cell (which is the main science fiction aspect of Anthem’s Fall) but it nevertheless forced a rewrite.
After reading the article, I read every book written by Craig Venter and a few other top scientists in the field of synthetic biology. My goal was to fit the foundation of my science fiction into currently established ideas in the industry, and then push those ideas into the realm of fiction. This meant I had to go back and rewrite all of the science aspects of the novel.
It also meant that I learned far more about contemporary synthetic biology than any casual person ever should! Below I’ve included my favorite quote from all the research I did. Mind you, this isn’t the quote of some wacky scientist who pops up with conspiracy theories on SciFi channel documentaries and Bigfoot investigations. This is a quote from the world’s foremost authority on synthetic life, the first scientist to map the human genome, and the founder of three of the biggest genome research companies in the world (including the Human Genome Project).
“If a synthetic genetic material can be designed to catalyze its own reproduction within an artificial membrane, life of a primitive type will have been created in the laboratory. Perhaps these cells will resemble the first forms of life on Earth, from nearly four billion years ago, but more likely they will represent something quite new. Importantly, these early synthetic cells, much like those at the dawn of life, would be brimming with potential: they would be subject to mutation and Darwinian evolution.” Venter, J. Craig (2013-10-17). Life at the Speed of Light: From the Double Helix to the Dawn of Digital Life (p. 134). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.)”
Yeah. Whoa. Add a little sprinkle of imagination to that quote and it’s almost as gargantuan as Lockheed Martin announcing the construction of a Death Star.
About the Author
S.L. Dunn is the debut author of Anthem’s Fall, a novel he wrote amid the wanderings of his mid twenties. He has written while living intermittently in St. John USVI, Boston, Maine and Seattle. Raised on big screen superheroes and pop science fiction, he sought to create a novel that bridged a near-sci-fi thriller with a grand new fantasy. He currently resides in Seattle with his girlfriend Liz and their dog Lucy, and is hard at work completing the next book of the Anthem’s Fall series. Get in touch at www.sldunn.com.
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