By Dan Telfer
I'm done with my helping of violence, thank you. Early in my life I witnessed my quota. I'd like us to remember that it is better to create, and not destroy. Throwing extra appendages on a person counts as creation.
Remember when you first had your dreams haunted by some writer's mutant? I'm not pretending it was pleasant for everyone. But think way back. I'm talking about that moment where, at 10 years old, you peeled open your dad's weird magazine and images seared into your brain a sentient blob, a talking 300 pound lemur, or a cackling giant with super strength. Fictional mankind had made a horrible mistake and pushed the limits of science too far. But it was fake science. A reclusive man with crippled social skills and a dead tooth thought science would do us in. Back then it was definitely gross. You thought your dad and his magazine were gross. You thought those monsters were true horror.
Then you grew up! Surprise! True horror, it turns out, is how real people blow each other to smithereens without fanfare. You walk down the street, and suddenly you are dust. Mankind is trapped in that chapter of Stephen King's The Stand where everyone has a fever, a rifle, and a game show. The ending of mankind's first era is in sight and we're being real big dicks about it. And for those of us who wanted to like The Stand but found it overly simplistic and a little predictable, growing up is a bloody drag.
Perhaps we should just let people have their guns. Perhaps we should give them a new, more unpredictable target. The only way you'll ever get me to fire off a bullet is if we start gene-sewing narwhals onto bears.
We're going to cross the Rubicon of violent inhumanity any day now, why be so pedestrian as to do it with a gun or a bomb?
We need to immediately lift all restrictions on genetic experimentation.
Now, we start this gambit off earnestly. "No more gun control if you stop regulating biological experimentation." We'd promise to only try to cure diseases. And boy, we'd cure a bunch. We'd learn to regrow limbs and live for 200 years. We'd just have to breed a few nightmares that would stalk the landscape first.
Let's be honest, the film adaptation of The Watchmen got that unfilmable ending wrong. Spoilers ahoy- that story can only end with a quivering genetic mountain, pink and bisected like a raw tomato. Its massive slouching form incapable of mobility, its mere existence fills the populace with visions of a dimension they dare not speak of. That's what Ozymandius wanted. He didn't want to make us scared. He wanted us to go more than too far. Ozymandius didn't care about violence. He wanted a serrated suction cup to rip from a massive tentacle, hurtle through the air, and land in a Brooklyn hipster's egg drop soup. A space squid wakes humanity up from its violent malaise. Monsters would be our glory and our salvation.
We don't make the monsters on purpose, mind you. Don't rush the monsters. The first three cancer vaccines will turn humans into man-sharks. Let that happen organically. Contain the mutants. Give them their own gated communities. Try to reason with them. Let them start it.
Unless we choose to make this mistake soon, it will never happen. We're about 8 minutes from peeling ourselves off the face of the planet and we haven't even created apocalypse beasts to fight our wars yet. We're not even interesting.
But if we hurry up and start creating abominable amalgams of man and monster, we might light a fire under our asses. We'd have real enemies, not just laughable zombies, but giant with the bacteria-soaked and needled maws of a komodo dragon. You want conservatives to invest in NASA? Tell them leviathans made of whale and luchador will rise from the sea and wrestle Miami condo complexes from their foundation. Tell them Florida's alligators will soon evolve into beasts resembling Jörmungandr, the serpent sons of Loki, and we only have 60 years before their great tails encircle the Earth and crush it. We'll be on Europa within a week.
And shouldn't that be the common interest? To have somewhere to go? We're done here. We've made it clear this planet will be unfit for our grandchildren. We may as well give our grandchildren lobster carapaces before we make a break for it.