When I was in college, I was reading the university paper while eating lunch one day, when I saw an article on human cloning. Too many years have gone by and I no longer remember what it was about, but I do remember the article struck a serious nerve with me. My mind buzzed as I walked to my chemistry class, where I would spend the next hour furiously scribbling out a response instead of taking notes. Human cloning was wrong and I outlined several reasons why, including a new breed of “racism,” the degradation of the value of human life, the impossibility of cloning the soul, and the difficulties even the possibility of cloning would have on criminal prosecution relying on DNA evidence.
Later that day, after fine tuning my draft, I emailed my response to the newspaper. I felt better having said my piece and went on with school.
I found out later that they published my letter, and it was a moment of pride for me. I’d felt so strongly that cloning humans was wrong that I needed my voice to be heard. It seems an odd twist of fate that over a decade later, I’d meet Anne and become her editor for Elysian Fields, a book that explores many of the same ethical dilemmas I’d taken issue with.
Being a big fan of dystopian literature, there are a lot of fictional worlds out there that can scare and inspire us, but the ones that tie back to our own beliefs are the ones that affect us the most. Anne’s book presents one such situation to me personally. While people such as myself may believe that human cloning is inherently wrong, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
Nor does it mean we won’t have to deal with all the effects I outlined in my letter all those years ago. Let’s just hope societies such as that of Elysian Fields remain happily in the realm of fiction for just a bit longer.