|Image by Danielle Fine|
I've been working on a science fiction romance titled Tethered, a story that sprang on me Christmas Day after a discussion with friends about underused mythical creatures and the potential use in scifi. Yeah, that's a typical conversation for me. :-P I nicknamed Tethered my 'succubi' story, not realizing succubi have in fact been well used in speculative fiction. I hadn't seen or read any, and once the idea jumped me I couldn't leave it alone.
Ten months down the line, and I felt the need for some feedback on the completed draft. I had three issues that I wanted an opinion on, so two willing
I tried researching the subject with mixed results. Some referred to the clone as 'offspring'. Others as the equivalent of an identical twin, albeit with an age gap. I even raised the question in the SFR Brigade group and got a very varied result. Despite the biological implications, the idea that it was the role the original clone took to its younger self that seemed to define some perceptions.
So I looked at how I'd portrayed the society. The council members are referred to as Mother or Father but in a purely honorific fashion, more like a monastic community. They instruct and reprimand the group of clones that they generate. The clones in each batch refer to one another as brother or sister, although never formally or out loud. In Tethered, Tyree has been assigned to take the place of a flawed replica - an identical clone from her batch - and she considers the lost clone as her twin sister. So if they see each other in those roles, then perhaps the actual biology isn't so important?
But what about further relationships? If, for example, council member A cloned themselves and raised clone B as their child, and then clone B produced a clone - C. Would C regard itself as the grandchild of A? A third generation offspring is a grandchild, so would a third generation clone be the same if the roles of parent and child are well established? Or would clone A still be the 'parent' of B and C? In Star Wars - The Clone Wars, entire armies are cloned from one biological source - Jango Fett. And yet he asks for one modified clone that he raises as a son. How does he see all the others? We never find out.
My main problem is that I can't describe the exact situation that's causing the issue in the story without giving a major plot twist away. So it seems the best bet is to go with what my character would think. How she perceives herself in relation to the other clones. Perhaps someone more adept at the science of cloning will be able to put me right on interclone relationships. Perhaps we need a whole new set of terms. :)
What do you think? If you were cloned from someone, how would you see them? As a parent or sibling? How much difference would the age gap make to your perception?