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I must have inherited something of my father’s love for pigs.  While looking for pictures of swine for a recent blog posting, I cam across pictures of Pennywell Miniatures, a breed of tiny pigs destined for pet sales.  (You can see the painfully cute pictures of them here.)  They are, of course, one of thousands of designer animal breeds made by selective breeding, genetic engineering, and magic.

Good old-fashioned magic.

I’m sorry, but that is the only way you could make a pig that cute.

In the book 1491, Charles C. Mann theorizes that ancient Mesoamerican tribes aggressively bred inedible precursors to maize into the edible species of corn that now grow throughout North and South America.  He cites geneticist Nina V. Fedoroff in saying that it was “arguably man’s first, and perhaps his greatest, feat of genetic engineering.”  I’m fascinated by that idea that people were “genetically engineering” things over 500 years ago.  I would love to find out that platypus was actually a lab experiment by the aboriginals that got left on the Bunsen burner for too long.  It would explain so much!

What if the Victorians got a hold of advanced genetic technology?  If their medical and psychiatric experimentation was any indication, they would have no qualms whatsoever with making superhuman species, or subhuman species, or mega-ultrahuman species.  I bet they would cross dogs and trees just to see if they could make an animal that felt compelled to pee on its own leg.


The two men leapt from the roof.

Emily, despite herself, rushed to the other side of her hiding place to see where they had landed.  It was a twenty feet to the ground, and that ground was uneven stone.  She was sure that’s he would see two writhing, injured figures below.

Instead, she saw the two men calmly waiting for the dark-haired man and the neat-looking woman to exit the front door of her old house.  Their clothes didn’t even look disturbed from the jump.  Emily felt her mouth go dry.

“They scared me, Sofia.”  Emily looked down into the wavering depths of her tea.  She told Sofia about the two men leaping from the roof.

“Ah, security force,” Sofia said.  “I’ve heard of them, rightly.  Heard some stories out of the Administration when they first started showing up, people I’ve known that told me all kinds of things about these fellows.  You be careful if you see them again, lass.  They’re a strange lot, and I don’t know for sure what they may or may not do.”

“What are they?” Emily asked, her mind now filling with thoughts of demons and monsters guised as humans.

“They’re people, right as I can tell anyway.  I suspect they started as people just like us.  But they’re made different, somehow.”  Sofia chewed on her words for a moment.  “They’ve been… altered.”