May 28, 2019
This week is exciting as I launch my new novel A.D.A.M. THE BEGINNING OF LIFE. Only another author knows how antsy we get the week of launch. We become this way because we have put our heart and soul into our book and we want people to like it. For them to be able to that, someone has to read it, which means that the novel has to be purchased. It's not easy writing a book much less launching one to the best-seller list. We can't do it alone and that is why we form book launch teams to help us. Will you help me launch A.D.A.M. THE BEGINNING OF LIFE by forwarding this blog and the link to purchase the book to your friends and family after you purchase the book?
ABOUT A.D.A.M. THE BEGINNING OF LIFE
FLIPBOOK A.D.A.M. TRAILER
CINEMATIC BOOK TRAILER
FLASHPOINT A.D.A.M. TRAILER
A BLAST FROM THE PAST
Several years back Jack Curenton and I co-produced a sizzle reel film for A.D.A.M. Gary Sievers was the Director of Photography. Take a look at some of the photographs taken that day that features D.H. Lewis, Jamie Alyson, and Stephen Beal in the roles of Dr. Sandra Bradford, Jessica Parker, and Dr. Peterson respectively. That day was a lot of fun.
THE REAL SCIENCE BEHIND A.D.A.M. THE BEGINNING
Sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. In this case, it is. The inspiration for this fictional novel, A.D.A.M. came from a scientific discovery by Dr. Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow in residence at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California and the research team’s lead scientist who, in 2010, discovered a new life form that thrives off arsenic in the bottom of Mono Lake, California. Her discovery led to an international debate on what defines life.
The majestic and colossal monolith limestone crystals, calcium-carbonate spires and knobs formed by the interaction of freshwater springs and alkaline lake, mark the area called the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve.
Mono Lake, CA – Picture by Ian Parker of Evanescent Light Photography.
Taking up sixty-five square miles, the area looks like an alien world, is over one million years old and is one of the oldest reserves in North America embracing over one thousand plant species, including algae; four hundred recorded vertebrate species, including brine shrimp, alkaline flies, and fourteen different ecological zones within its watershed. It is an astonishing ecosystem where birds in the area can thrive without having to fight fish for food.
In 1872, Mark Twain wrote about his impression of Mono Lake and said, “It lies in a lifeless, treeless, hideous desert,” not being impressed when he traveled to the area. “This solemn, silent, sailless sea—this lonely tenant of the loneliest spot on earth—is little graced with the picturesque.” Like an alien world, the murky waters of the lake crawls with trillions of microbes and life forms. The “venomous waters are nearly pure lye” and twice as salty as seawater complained Twain. “There are no fish in Mono Lake--no frogs, no snakes, no polliwogs--nothing to make life desirable.” In the middle of the lake is an island covered with ash and spitting hot springs, and it is here where A.D.A.M. begins. The findings challenge the definition of life for the scientific community.
There are six basic building blocks of all known forms of life on earth - carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur. When Dr. Wolfe-Simon conducted tests on the microbes from Mono Lake water samples, she discovered the first known microorganism on earth to reproduce and survive using arsenic. Unlike our carbon-based life forms, humans, this microorganism substitutes arsenic for phosphorus. Oddly enough, arsenic lies just below phosphorus on the periodic table. Ed Weiler, NASA’s associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, said, “The definition of life has just expanded. As we pursue our efforts to seek signs of life in the solar system, we need to think more broadly, more diversely, and consider life as we do not know it.”
Let’s ask the question if an extraterrestrial alien came to earth, would it be able to breathe our air and survive? What would be the odds? According to David Catling, a planetary scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle, the answer is that it’s likely they could. How? Catling contends that their species would have evolved to use molecular oxygen for respiratory metabolism. In an interview, Catling said, “There’s wide agreement that life originated without oxygen. But to get complex life – mobile, multi-cellular organisms with specialized differentiated anatomy, you need oxygen.” Therefore, scientifically oxygen is needed for metabolism to occur. Oxygen is the best element on the periodic table to produce abundant amounts of energy, that in turn allows humans, our species, to evolve. In a sense, Darwin’s evolution comes into play. It is this same belief that once oxygen came into the picture, it allowed them to evolve as well – meaning they too would be able to breathe oxygen.
When you research the viability that oxygen and energy creates an environment conducive for evolution, the concept brings us to the arsenic driven microbe discovered on the bottom of Lake Mono in 2010 by Dr. Felisa Simon-Wolfe. If Catling is correct, once a non-oxygenic (or anaerobic) microbe encounters oxygen it can or will evolve to become something significant or more complex.
Victor Thannickal, a Professor of Medicine at the University of Alabama at Birmingham said, “From accumulating geological evidence and biological plausibility, it’s becoming increasingly clear that oxygen sparked speciation and the evolution of more complex earth forms,” that new life dawns. Catling speculates that some six hundred million years ago when Ediacaran organisms first encountered atmospheric levels of oxygen, they evolved most likely by relying upon diffusion of nutrients through their skin because they had no mouth or nose. As they developed, so did our planet’s oxygen levels, and it was only then that oxygen breathing species evolved, including our own. In hindsight, it appears that the writers of the early black and white film era got it right. Aliens and creatures could breathe oxygen on earth.
Dr. Felisa Wolfe-Simon said, “If something here on Earth can do something so unexpected, what else can life do that we have not seen yet?” In A.D.A.M., the scientific discovery by Dr. Felisa Wolfe-Simon propelled into the science fiction arena when the microbe develops from its original microbe state with the ability to morph, transform, and breath oxygen. In essence, a new life form challenging the long-held scientific belief of what constitutes life.
A.D.A.M. is an acronym for Arsenic Driven Astrobiological Microbe. As the life form develops, my fictional protagonist, Dr. Sandra Bradford, builds and establishes a bonding relationship with him. Over seven days, she and Adam, the name she gives to the life form, explore a range of human emotions including love, pain, hate, fear of death, and confront the question of whether there is a God.
A deadly cover-up conspiracy is born when Dr. Bradford becomes caught between one of the most important scientific discoveries and the government’s fear of it. The novel explores the reality of finding an alien life form, and explores what if the microbe developed when introduced to oxygen, what would it become, and what would be the impact on humanity? Are we alone in this universe?