Science, Meet Urban Fantasy with Anne Lippin and W*n a Book

Today, please help me extend a warm welcome to author (and my agency mate) Anne Lippin. Anne has stopped by today to talk about how easy it would be for us humans to morph into something altogether different. I’d like to morph into a woman who didn’t have to work a day job–LOL. Seriously, though, I love Anne’s post–you’d never know she’s a guest-blogging newbie! [Okay, she got me with the bit about ovaries, eggs and Neil Diamond’s young wife.] And I’m so turning lupine….

Anne is a Minnesota musician, wife, mother, and collector of roadkill taxidermy. She lives in the Twin Cities with four males – two human, two canine. In past iterations, she worked as a tuxedo salesgirl, a temp, a lifeguard, a nursing assistant, a camp counselor, and a family physician. Not all at once. Anne writes young adult and new adult fiction, stories about smart feisty young women. And love. Always love. You can find Anne at her website and on Facebook
And now, let’s hear from Anne…
I started thinking about this post in August, not because I’m some Goddess of Organization but because I FREAKED OUT.  What if they don’t like me?  What if their lycan noses sense that I’m other?  What if they can tell I’m a guest bloggin’ VIRGIN?

I got over it and began to ponder what it would take for me to transform into a Minnesota timber wolf and trot on down to Suzanne Johnson’s place in New Orleans to deliver my pages in personby hand myself.

When I was a child – heck, up until about the second year of med school – I thought adult human bodies were pretty structurally static.  We’re stuck with our predestined amount of bone, skin, organs, brain, and then we die.  As it turns out, we’re growing and dying all the time.  Your femur doesn’t just sit there, fully formed, until you keel over. Teensy Pac-Man cells called osteoclasts continually munch away at your leg while osteoblasts regurgitate the ingredients for new bone.  Your spleen eats a steady diet of decrepit red blood cells while your bone marrow churns out a constant supply of O positive.  Cerebral cortex aside, the oldest cells in my body are the few remaining eggs in my ovaries.  Those girls heard Neil Diamond live at a stadium that no longer exists on a night when Neil’s current wife was still in diapers.

Frankly, given the constant state of flux, it’s mildly shocking that more of us haven’t morphed into alternate mammals.  Just for kicks, here are four hypothetical (and admittedly preposterous) ways that I could turn into a wolf:

1)Accelerated evolution: Picture a marathon runner. Her body cells adapt and change. She builds lean muscle mass, loses adipose, learns how to conserve water and ignore pain. She’s adding brain tissue in her hippocampus devoted to remembering her route and the exact locations of obstacles (dog poop, road construction, stalkers). Now put me in the woods around Lake Superior, trash my cell phone, and take away my clothes. I must adapt or die. If we speed up the evolutionary process, my snout will elongate to help me locate food, I’ll grow claws and fangs, and gladly develop a lovely furry coat.

2)Genetic Mutation: Our cells contain a multi-volume genetic instruction manual written in the language of DNA and organized in separate chromosome books. If you compare the library in a chimpanzee’s cells with your own library, you’ll find that around 98% of the information is EXACTLY THE SAME. A mouse and a human share something in the low 90s while your neighbor and his pug share somewhere in the mid 90s. Why? Because we all breathe, eat, pee, have the capacity to reproduce, and the ability to hear Slaid Cleaves blasting from Suzanne’s speakers. {SJ: Hey! Stay away from my speakers!}
Assuming the genetic text of people and wolves is around 95% identical, a few well-placed mutations and I’m ripping into the next deer that wanders into my backyard.

3)Incomplete Penetrance: A lot of us carry genes for bad stuff – cancer, Parkinson’s disease, the

proclivity to accumulate Precious Moments figurines. Penetrance describes the percentage of people who carry the gene and manifest the bad thing. Not everyone who carries the genes for Parkinson’s develops the disease – incomplete penetrance. We already know we’re mostly wolf, at least genetically speaking. Perhaps it’s merely a matter of allowing our wolfy genes complete penetrance.

4)Suppressor genes: Part of the reason for incomplete penetrance is the presence of suppressor genes. If we go back to the library analogy, suppressor genes are the censors, preventing deleterious information from leaking out. The suppressor gene says, “No! Don’t follow those instructions for a DIY tumor!” 

Or we could think of the suppressor as a muzzle on the canine.  Take off the muzzle by knocking out the suppressor genes, and I’m howling at the moon.

Well, I’ve exhausted my creativity for one day, my paws are tired, and I need to brush my fangs.  Thanks for the fun. Please come visit me at my website.  Recipes for venison stew, ragout, roast,

tenderloin, burger, steak, and casserole are much appreciated. 

Musical Moment: Moon Over Bourbon Street

Thanks, Anne! Oh, there are so many story ideas there….
If you’d like to be entered for a chance to win a mystery selection (or two) from my continually growing TBR stack, leave a comment.  How closely related do you feel to a wolf, bear, chimp or other creature?  Which method do you think sounds most likely? 

18 thoughts on “Science, Meet Urban Fantasy with Anne Lippin and W*n a Book

  1. perhpas my loyalty tendency come from teh wolves^^ i guess the more likely would be genetic mutation or teh suppressor genes ( though not sure if my dog would love to see me getting into his territories^^)

  2. I was born on the year of the monkey and especially in childhood excelled with climbing, swinging on climbing structures in the playground and enjoyed being rather flexible. As I grew older I became a dancer and continued dancing for a couple of years after college. Love the idea that perhaps in an alternate realm, I could be a shifter and the human talents that I have are an extension of my other form. Genetic mutation sounds most likely but think accelerated evolution would be really neat.

  3. I’d have to agree with the mutation theory. hecks… there’s enough modern pollution, I could see it happening. Thanks for sharing and congrats to Anne on the new release! Definitely going on my TBR list 🙂

  4. I think everyone has a bit of an animal side in one way or another. For me it would be my protectiveness fro my kids.
    I think genetic mutation would be the most likely scenario. Our genes can do so many amazing things, from giving people amazing abilities to terrible diseases. I don’t see why it couldn’t allow for transformations.

  5. They do say that the most dangerous creature in the wild is a Mother protecting it’s young. As a Mother I can see myself becoming a beast under those circumstances. Genetic mutation sounds most likely to me.

  6. I’m still having a hard time that Big Foot is an prehistoric bear and a modern bear. How many bear can walk on two legs? I can see how we human came from the ape and then again this concept reminds me of Planet of the Apes.

  7. I think that Evolution would be more likely! Nature has a funny way of making things survive.
    As for the animal I feel closely related to, hmmm. I never really thought about it but Wolves are my favourite animal so maybe them!

  8. Haha, this was really entertaining to read! 🙂 Though I’m thinking the Accelerated evolution sounds the most likely…

  9. THANK YOU SUZANNE for letting me crash the urban fantasy party! And many thanks to everyone for reading and commenting – warms my heart on this snowy day.