Do you like the way that your face looks? If you had the kind of fine muscle control that Zane has in the novel y1, you’d be able to make some subtle alterations, without the expense or pain of surgery. In fact, you could try out different ideas. One day, a shorter nose. The next day, fuller lips. Keep going until you get the face that you like. How close do you think it would be to the face that you started with?
Zane guesses that there are three types of people in this regard. Those who could care less what their genetic material is and would happily alternate between Brad Pitt and Barack Obama and would throw in a day or two of looking like anyone else that would gain them what ever advantage they could get.
Another group would go for subtle improvement, like a glamor seeker with deep pockets and a cooperative plastic surgeon. “Did you lose weight? You’re looking good these days?” “No, not really. Just a little tanning and working out.” Right.
And then there are the purists, like Zane, who would choose to only alter their appearance when circumstances require it but who day to day would rather look like themselves. Some might say that Zane’s unique appearance altering talents are wasted on him. It raises the question — to what extent is your appearance, for good or bad, an essential part of you?
For more thoughts on “what if” check out my z2 blog post on what if this could last forever? And see my x0 blog post on what if I really do know what you are thinking?
Nature is filled with creatures that challenge our definition of normal and even some that push our definition of possible.
y1 hero Zane Zeitman forms a childhood friendship with a chameleon he names Balthazar. Lest you think a creature that turns bright orange in your hand is make-believe, please check out the video below. Of course, if you are interested in developing a friendship of your own with a chameleon, please consider buying yours from the person who posted this video.
The music may not be to your taste and need to be turned down, and if the informative text at the start of the video does not interest you, just skip ahead to about the half way point to see the chameleon do his thing. It’s very, well, very orange. You would be truly astounded if the neighbor’s cat did this. And probably even more astounded if the neighbor’s kid did.
Click here. Then scroll down and check out the post right below my interview for a fascinating discussion of what women want in science fiction and life in general, complete with a well done Bruce Willis with boobs photo to make the point that, well, gender identity and preferences are complicated. Male science fiction writer Rob Lopez gives thought provoking arguments about women and if you don’t agree with him, he welcomes intelligent comment back. (Yes, I’m working on my response.)
Oh, and when you finish with Bruce, please do scroll back up and check out the short write-up and interview with me that Rob was kind enough to post.
Meet Zane Zeitman, a twenty-four year old who just wants to be himself. Part of Zane’s problem? His true self seems to have an uncanny ability to alter his shape just a little more than the average person. Okay, maybe a fair amount more.
Zane doesn’t believe in magic, and he’s gotten a whole degree in neuroscience just to try to figure out how he does what he does. When science offers few answers, he turns to the animal kingdom. He discovers that octopi, cuttle fish and chameleons don’t believe in magic either, and they all do the very things that he does.
Check out this wonderful TED video on shapeshifters in the real world, and you’ll begin to understand how Zane comes to terms with just being himself.
And starting September 2, you’ll be able to read his entire story.