Blog Tour, Guest Post & Giveaway: Half Life by Lillian Clark
Half Life by Lillian Clark was released yesterday and we are thrilled to be a part of the blog tour. Check out our guest post from the author and be sure to enter the tour-wide giveaway!
Half Lifeby Lillian Clark
Published by: Knopf Books for Young Readers
on June 9, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Bookshop, IndieBound, iTunes, Book Depository, Amazon
An overachiever enrolls in an experimental clone study to prove that two (of her own) heads are better than one in this fast-paced, near-future adventure that's Black Mirror meets Becky Albertalli.
There aren't enough hours in the day for Lucille--perfectionist, overachiever--to do everything she has to do, and there certainly aren't enough hours to hang out with friends, fall in love, get in trouble--all the teenage things she knows she should want to be doing instead of preparing for a flawless future. So when she sees an ad for Life2: Do more. Be more, she's intrigued.
The company is looking for beta testers to enroll in an experimental clone program, and in the aftermath of a series of disappointments, Lucille is feeling reckless enough to jump in. At first, it's perfect: her clone, Lucy, is exactly what she needed to make her life manageable and have time for a social life. But it doesn't take long for Lucy to become more Lucy and less Lucille, and Lucille is forced to stop looking at Lucy as a reflection and start seeing her as a window--a glimpse at someone else living her own life, but better. Lucy does what she really wants to, not what she thinks she should want to, and Lucille is left wondering how much she was even a part of the perfect life she'd constructed for herself. Lucille wanted Lucy to help her relationships with everyone else, but how can she do that without first rectifying her relationship with herself?
What advancement would you want to be real in the near future?
Thank you, BookCrushin, for having me! I absolutely love this prompt, and I’m so excited to be talking about some of the coolest things I learned while researching Half Life, which is near-future sci-fi YA that’s Black Mirror meets Becky Albertalli about an ambitious young woman who signs up to be a beta tester for a company creating custom-order human clones for the rich and powerful.
Probably the technological advancement featured in Half Life that I’m most excited about is 3D bioprinting. The process is incredibly cool. Using adapted 3D printers, scientists can imbue organic material with donor DNA and print organs. It sounds absolutely bonkers because IT IS.
Though not remotely on the scale that it’s used in Half Life, of course, this is happening right now! Skin, cartilage, arteries, heart valves, and even heart tissue, scientists are working to create replacement organs from scratch. As the scientists in Half Life know, the implications are enormous. Not for clones, necessarily (well, I hope not), but for organ transplant and other life-changing medical procedures. Imagine no more concerns about transplant rejection because the replacement organ was made using your own DNA. It could be—or, better, is—a magnificent advancement. When I was in the middle of revising Half Life, scientists printed a rabbit-sized human heart using donor cells. Think of it! No more transplant waiting lists, better treatments for burn victims, and so on. It’s truly incredible.
The other primary bit of real-life science that I took to a fictional next level is the digitization of the connectome. Your connectome is basically what makes you, you. Your brain, brain stem, and all of the information stored within is included under the umbrella term of “connectome.” In the book, Lucille’s connectome is successfully uploaded into Life Squared’s super computer, then successfully downloaded into Lucy’s “wetware” (aka brain). Which is, for now, pure fiction.
But it is based in fact. When I was researching the process for the book, I learned that scientists have been successfully digitizing the connectome of a mouse by using an electron scanner to upload one miniscule slice of brain matter at a time. The same process with humans is still a ways off, in part because the human brain is so complex and filled with information that there isn’t enough computer memory in the entire world to accommodate one human connectome. But research groups busily working on it!
Like within the themes of Half Life, I think there’s a fine balance with technological advancements. They come with a load of ethical questions, about why we’re doing it, for whom, and what the unintended consequences might be. Lucy ends up being so much more than the Life Squared team expects. She’s what she needs, but is she what they wanted?
Win a copy of HALF LIFE and IMMORAL CODE by Lillian Clark (US Only) Ends June 23rd.a Rafflecopter giveaway