Tag Archives: Ethical research

Farrugia, Nathan: The Chimera Vector (The Fifth Column) (2012)

The Chimera Vector
Cover design by Keerati Sarakun and Patrick Naoum
Cover typography by Andrei Stefan-Cosmin
Edited by Nicola O’Shea

The Chimera Vector portrait

The Chimera Vector set me into research mode. I started looking into “chimera vector” and discovered quite a few articles on the research into this type of transportation on the net. I have included four of them below. Chimera: a DNA molecule with sequences derived from two or more different organisms, formed by laboratory manipulation.

According to Psychology Today a psychopath is a person who exhibits a long list of character traits. One needs to show a lack of empathy (cold-heartedness, an inability to feel deeply); show a lack of shame, guilt, fear or embarrassment at ones actions; a tendency to blame others for their own failures, or no shame if confronted; show a strong ability to remain focused on a task; appear charming yet have a tendency toward pathological lying, and they seem comfortable even when found out; incredibly overconfident, as if they cannot fail; impulsive; incredibly selfish and parasitic; lack realistic long-term goals; and finally be prone to violence.

In The Chimera Vector we get to meet several people who fit the bill of a psychopath. The whole concept of psychopathy or sociopathy is extremely fascinating. It is one of those terms that we bandy about as if being a psychopath was a common thing. Looking at the list above, I see many of them that could fit myself and most other people I know. But when I take a closer look at the people I meet, I think I can say that there is probably only one one person that I could definitely call a psychopath. Long-term planning was no problem for him at all and holding power is something he has definitely been concerned with. Power behind the throne, not the apparent one that is more image than real.

Power is what The Chimera Vector is all about. The lengths people are willing to go in their hunger for power. We see people playing power games every day – within families, at work and at play. But seldom do we see power games taken to the extreme that The Chimera Vector shows. But we wouldn’t, would we. That is the whole point of The Fifth Column. People must not see the games the leaders of The Fifth Column play, for their real power lies in their secrecy. To them all the death and mayhem they deal is part of the games.

Programming soldiers like Sofia, Jay and Damien into becoming unquestioning killer robots is fun. Killing innocent people to keep the world going their way is fun. Watching countries erupt into cauldrons of fire is fun. Power is fun. Fun and addictive.

I see all this and I believe it. The Chimera Vector is believable. If some scientist manages to discover how to create weapons like The Fifth Column use, soldiers like this will be developed. Perhaps I have too cynical a view of the world, but this is what I believe. History has shown us time and again that once a power-hungry leader gains control of research and development gruesome consequences evolve. In fact, history has shown us (and shows us) that in their grasp for power the world itself becomes expendable to the power-players.

And yes, I did enjoy The Chimera Factor. A great deal, in fact.

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Reviews:

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I was given this novel by the author. Whether that affected my review is difficult to say. I’ve tried to be as objective as possible.

Dolphins are victims of Australia’s most environmentally controversial project at Gladstone

Flipper is in trouble yet again. Will their rights be able to survive this time? Unlikely, when it is big corporations against environment. Once again it seems corruption is rearing its ugly head. I wonder if humans are genetically unable to plan for long-term consequences.

Craig Hill Training Services

Australia’s most environmentally controversial project, the $33 billion expansion of Gladstone port in Queensland, is under investigation after being accused of breaching strict federal government audit conditions on harbour dredging and dumping of spoils in a World Heritage area.

Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke confirmed a review was under way into whether the project had breached its conditions by failing to get an independent assessment of its work.

The Gladstone port expansion has been plagued by controversy since the discovery of widespread fish disease in the harbour in 2011, which has been blamed both on record floods and the impact of dredging.

Allegations of audit failure, raised by environmental group Australians for Animals, came as long-term monitoring of humpback dolphins in Gladstone Harbour showed a population reduction of 40 per cent since dredging began. Researcher Daniele Cagnazzi said he would undertake a new survey in April to establish whether…

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Fredsti, Dana: Plague Town (Ashley Parker) (2012)

Plague town

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p style=”text-align:center;”>Wonderful coverart by Amazing15.com

Mwahahah. Zoooooombies. Funny in a really gross way. Let me give you an example:

“She fell often, the lack of connective tissue around her left knee making balance a problem. Her feet were bare and the flesh was torn, but she felt no pain, not even when she landed face first in a bush and a broken branch punctured an eyeball. It snapped off with the force of her fall, leaving Maggie with a stick jutting out of her ruined eye socket, vitreous egg-white oozing from the puncture and sliding down her cheek like thickened tears.”

I am NOT a zombie person, but the descriptions in Plague Town were wonderfully zombieish. Absolutely perfect for a novel that seems to want to be tense yet kind of funny. I think authors must love it when they get to hand us gory descriptions. Dana Fredsti seems to fall into that group of authors and I love her for it. I am still not a zombie person, but Dana has made a really good case for this category.

Plague Town does have a serious side – be careful what you release into society. There are some excellent fighting scenes and a couple of hot ones between Ashley and … You’ll guess it in two seconds, but you ought to have those two seconds. Plague Town also manages to be kind of twisty – in a good way. Yeah! I think I will wholeheartedly recommend this zombie novel.