Wednesday, August 27, 2008

CSFF Blog Tour: Broken Angel Day 3

I suppose it’s ironic that I think what Brouwer has to say about government in Broken Angel will drum up more controversy than the choice of his heroine, namely Caitlyn. Once again, there will be some spoilers here, so consider yourself fairly warned.

Like I said two days ago, Caitlyn is an unusual girl. Thanks to genetic manipulation, performed "Outside," she’s not truly human. She’s a hybrid, human and bird at the same time. At one point, Brouwer comments that this was only possible because no one was "Outside" to object to the morals of experimenting on a human’s DNA.

This is pretty much in line with what Christians teach about genetic manipulation. It’s never considered a good thing to mess with God’s creation in such a way. But that just brings up the question: how much manipulation is bad? Is any amount acceptable?

Obviously giving a girl wings is a bit over the top, so let’s dial back the potential outrage factor a bit. Suppose some day, scientists discover a way to genetically manipulate a fetus to eliminate a horrific condition like Tay Sachs. Would that be acceptable? How about altering a child’s DNA to make sure it has the "correct" eye or hair color? Or to make him smarter or more athletic?

If we oppose genetic manipulation since it changes God’s creation, then does that apply to cosmetic surgery? If we can’t change a child’s appearance before she’s born, why can she change her appearance through breast implants, collagen injections, or botox? Or on a simpler level, what about hair dye or simple make-up? And it’s an issue for men too, with dyes that take away gray hair.

Now maybe I’m being a little ridiculous with that final example, but I went to those lengths to show a great strength of speculative fiction in general. I’ve said this before, but speculative fiction, such as Broken Angel, allows us to dive into uncharted territory and wrestle with issues before they present themselves in reality. Caitlyn, with her wings, makes us ask ourselves, "How far is too far?" Rather than present a knee-jerk reaction, it’s best for us to sit down and genuinely think through the issue. If it’s bad, why is it bad? Where do the lines fall? Through speculative fiction, we can do our best to figure it out.

Go and see what the other tour participants have had to say:

Brandon Barr
Justin Boyer
Keanan Brand
Jackie Castle
Valerie Comer
Karri Compton
CSFF Blog Tour
Stacey Dale
D. G. D. Davidson
Janey DeMeo
Jeff Draper
April Erwin
Karina Fabian
Mark Goodyear
Andrea Graham
Katie Hart
Timothy Hicks
Christopher Hopper
Joleen Howell
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Shannon McNear
Melissa Meeks
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Steve Rice
Ashley Rutherford
Hanna Sandvig
Chawna Schroeder
Mirtika or Mir's Here
Sean Slagle
James Somers
Donna Swanson
Steve Trower
Speculative Faith
Laura Williams


Shannon said...

Great questions, as always!!

sbrouwer said...


thanks for your thoughtful perspectives. as I know you're a pastor, I'd be very interested in your reaction to my new non-fiction, Who Made The Moon?

let me know if you'd like a copy, and I'll make sure one is headed your way.



Rebecca LuElla Miller said...

John, excellent points. I realized after the third day of the tour that I had so much more I would have liked to explore. I'm guessing the genetic engineering subject will come up in his sequel. But there was also the whole issue of the father/daughter relationship.

This book packed a lot in it!