artrocities

Got a little carried away with this piece but I feel the additional crosses help deliver the feeling I’m attempting. 

A blind spot, scotoma, is an obscuration of the visual field. In this case I feel the blind spot many have is the one that organized religion tries to fill with their views and intolerance and bigotry masked in the “word” of God. Make no mistake, I believe in an after life I just don’t believe in the church.

Created on panel board, charcoal, acrylics, and jewelry.

sorry to offend if I have.

Superior Human-like Species, Caste Systems and “Racial Mixing” to End Violence

A friend and I write a webcomic together; the setting involves a lot of genetic engineering. One of the biggest aspects of this is that scientists have created Optims, a human-derived species designed to be superior to humans. Physically, they look identical to normal humans with the exception of their hair (colored stark white, as opposed to when hair goes white by aging) and eyes (normally a lighter shade of color than baseline humans, due to their vision extending into other spectrums). ‘Under the surface’ so to speak they heal incredibly fast (they even survive their throats being cut), have no chance for congenital defects or disease, and cannot catch normal diseases. As a result they are longer lived than normal humans. On top of this, they also as a whole tend to be incredibly intelligent. They were developed by a team of geneticists (led by an Indian woman whom I will probably ask about at a future date, since) with the dream of having an Optim ‘treatment’ that anyone could get, with Optims just being the next generation. It didn’t work out that way (a significant portion of the world would reject it based on religious principals, and the treatment itself is expensive, and the person in charge didn’t want to be creating ‘a genetic elite’… yes, we do like irony), and the Optims were created anyway to guide the world to an era where it was possible. Things didn’t work out as planned, and the Optims were faced with either taking control of the world quickly or be labeled as nonhumans and hunted down. They chose the former; a limited nuclear war was waged, and the Optims took the reins to the postapocalyptic world directly, and instuted a worldwide caste system: Optims at the top, Plebs (descendants of sympathizers that were in shelters; generally more resistant to disease, but weaker to a mutation virus, another long story) and Irrits (everyone else that was outside, less resistant to disease, but stronger against the mutation virus). Plebs and irrits are both just baseline humans, with their ‘caste’ attributes being quirks of inherited traits and upbringing. Optims at this point aren’t supposed to be a sympathetic bunch; at best with a few exceptions they are condescending elitists and at worst walking human rights violations. Most of the plot involves the main characters on the run from them, but at the same time, them and humans coexisting and eventually hybridizing (one of the central characters is a genetic chimera between a human and optim, previously thought to be impossible) would be the best future for everyone.

Now that all the info is out of the way, is there anything that raises red flags here, or any way we should approach something? I know we can be treading some thin ice on some of the aspects mentioned above such as 'superior humans’ and caste systems, and I want to know how to handle it correctly if we aren’t already.

Okay, so I have to be honest with you and tell you that this concept bothers me for several reasons. With the information at hand, it seems to me to be a story about eugenics and mixed race being the ultimate solution for racial violence. That would be very problematic. Also keep in mind that a story like this has some very weighty and serious subjects which will affect your readers.

The Optims

The genetic engineering to create a super human is a classic example of eugenics which is problematic for so many reasons. It is fine to write about it, as long as you treat the subject with respect. Part of that is not erasing the people who it affects most, which are mostly of marginalized groups. Think about the many disabilities that are eradicated by this treatment (a lot of disabled people aren’t looking for a “cure” and to have people see and treat you like you shouldn’t exist is highly offensive and hurtful). Think of all the traits in people which can be seen as unwanted by an ignorant/hateful majority that get targeted by eugenics/sterilization programs. There’s many artrocities that have happened in the name of eugenics and to me it would simply feel unrealistic if the ableism, racism, etc. would play no role in this situation. I feel like especially with these types of stories, there NEEDS to be representation for the people affected. Write disabled characters. Have mentally ill people in there.

As for their eyes being lighter because they see into different spectrums (than the visual spectrum), it makes me wonder. First, this could make the unfortunate implication that lighter = better. Not only from an ethical standpoint does it raise questions but also from a scientific one. Your story sounds like (light) scifi and takes place in our world. As someone who loves science, I’m curious towards the logic behind lighter eyes meaning better vision. Unless you have a good theory, I think it’s best to not link eye-color to this ability (even if you keep their eyes light and their vision special).

The Plebs and the Irrits

“Plebs and irrits are both just baseline humans, with their 'caste’ attributes being quirks of inherited traits and upbringing.”

If they have the same baseline then where does this resistance to disease come from in the Plebs? What makes this mutation virus so different that it’s so much more virulent than ALL the other viruses (and anything that causes disease), especially when they have been living in bunkers? [sorry I’m a nerd and I love virology]

The main character

Okay, so your main character is a “genetic chimera” between optims and humans. This means that some of her bodily tissue is optim and some is human. Depending on which parts of her body are optim/human, there’d be differences between which “advantages” she’d have from her optim side. This raises some questions for me:

  • Why was it deemed impossible to be a “genetic chimera”?
  • What is so different between Optims and humans, since the Optims were originally humans too, that they cannot mix? Have you made then a completely different species, or even family as an organism? Keep in mind that to “hybridize” them, they need to be the same species (which would make chimerism perfectly possible).
  • How does the chimerism affect your character?

The “let’s make babies to end violence” situation

“Most of the plot involves the main characters on the run from them, but at the same time, them and humans coexisting and eventually hybridizing (one of the central characters is a genetic chimera between a human and optim, previously thought to be impossible) would be the best future for everyone.”

This gives me the feeling that, on purpose or not, you’re implying mixing two groups who’re fighting will solve (part of) their problems, which it does not. 

Mixed people are not the solution to violence! Optims will still oppress humans. There’ll just be another tier in your caste system, if at all. It ignores all the people that have been killed by eugenics and the effects that follow those who survived.

~ Mod Alice