The Science in After Destiny: Greenberg’s Syndrome

In the book, there’s a character named Brady who is a seventeen year old kid in the body of a six year old. In part, this was just to illustrate that there’s some side effects to having a pregnancy partially out in the wastelands, but there’s an actual rare condition that has occurred that is related.

Brooke Greenberg was diagnosed with something called “Syndrome X” which meant that aged incredibly slowly. It’s a bit of a medical mystery, with only a handful of people developing it worldwide at any given time. Interestingly, their mental states also don’t age, which means it’s not a glandular problem like in some cases, but that they actually aren’t developing at the speed of other people.

I gave Brady a modified version of it. In the universe of After Destiny, there is a treatment for it, though they had a very limited supply of it and it only allowed Brady to age until the point he is now physically. I had plans to do more with it, but it didn’t fit within the context of the revised narrative and, like many other little darlings, the full explanation of Brady’s medical condition was abbreviated and largely cut back.

If you get a chance, though, do read up on Brooke Greenberg and Syndrome X. It’s fascinating and I couldn’t help but draw a little inspiration from it.

The Science in After Destiny: Underground Plants

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t use a lot of science in my stories. When I do use it, I tend to pick and choose between various elements and skim over the rest, usually to keep the text from dragging like crazy while I’m writing. I might have been great at math and science while I was in school, but even I found most of the classes pretty dull.1 That means After Destiny doesn’t have much in the way of long explanations for some of the elements in it.

It also means I definitely made some of the science up and based it off of old propaganda films I remembered from high school or that binge of them I watched a decade ago back when I first wrote the story.

It doesn’t, however, mean that some genuine science didn’t slip in there. I took them to a different place, but they do exist.

The first of these things is the farm downstairs that is entirely underground. While there is mention of these plants being engineered to have different nutrients and tastes to them,2 I added in an interesting bit of research. See, apparently you can grow plants under different coloured lights to create different effects.

It’s cool, right? You grow plants under a different colour and you get a different effect on the plant. Blue will allow plants to grow and red lets them flower, all based on the spectrum the chlorophyll can take in and process. Over the years, the plant leaves may change colour to adjust to their environment.3 Give science a few generations with this technology and who knows what it could eventually be used for.

Well, besides using various spectra to help create a genetically-enhanced, protein-rich apple that tastes like bacon.

Of course, this is not interesting to the people on the Janus Complex, so they don’t really mention it. Those who even understand how it works.4 It was an explanation I couldn’t work into the story and, in the end, it wasn’t that important to leave in. The food was strange colours and there were strange lights on the ceiling to help the genetically modified plants grow. Downstairs was more important as a setting and the food as a background element that the explanation for the lights and the science behind any of it seemed unnecessary.

One of the many darlings I ended up killing. And that’s not the only one.

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  1. Although that’s true of most of my classes back in high school. []
  2. And that would imply that, reasonably, they were also engineered to survive in the climate created in their underground farm []
  3. This was from another article on the process, but I can’t seem to find it now. []
  4. Admit it, you don’t really remember how plants feed themselves anymore. My mother plants a garden every year and she couldn’t tell you about the inner workings of her plants. She can tell you which ones are jerks, though. []

Sites for Writers

It’s time for the inevitable writer’s links post whereby I list a bunch of sites that I like as a writer. I think it’s pretty standard and I should probably get it out of the way now. Let’s get started!

Wikipedia
Great for the first stage of research. If I ever need to look up the basics of something, I usually check Wikipedia first so I can get a good grip on what the subject is before I go out looking for more information that might not be explained so plainly. Also, it usually has good links to more information.

Snopes
Given that I deal with a lot of weird themes, Snopes is a must have for me. It’s a site that lists common urban legends along with verifying them or disproving them as the case may be. It’s actually full of pretty fascinating stuff and lots of story sparks also come from here.

TV Tropes

Be warned, once you start you may fall victim to TV Tropes and be stuck on there all day. Despite it’s name, TV Tropes lists all sorts of tropes used in fiction, as well as examples of where to find them. It’s always nice to get an indexed example of who is using what techniques in storytelling, as well as getting a few ideas of things to try in the future.

Urban Dictionary
Slang can be hard, but it can also be essential to some of your characters. Urban Dictionary is a great source of information on slang terms and how they are supposed to be used.

Seventh Sanctum
My go to random generator site. If I just need something quick, it’s usually got a generator for that.

Baby Names
Names are hard. When I have an idea of what I’m going to name a character, but don’t know what to do with that idea, this one’s a big help.

Nymbler
If I have no idea what to name a character, or if I just need a name quickly and at random, I use this one.