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Sum, Science


Many of Sum's tales·explain human life as a matter of scientific accident, not the divine will of a god or the cosmos.

In "Seed," for example, God is portrayed as a hapless scientist, who by a mere "stroke of luck" pushed life into action on Earth. He has no control over his creations, and observes humans with the same sense of awe they feel toward the natural world.

We see a similar theme in "Mary," in which God is sad because he cannot control the humans he has created, taking solace in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

In "Narcissus," we discover that humans are nothing more than machines used by so-called Cartographers to collect data about the Earth's surface. Human eyes are actually high-tech cameras, and skin an advanced device for gathering information about temperature and atmosphere.

What other chapters in Sum portray humans as products of scientific experimentation? How does the perception of humans as haphazard or utilitarian inventions alter notions of humans as superior to other life forms on Earth? How does this theme apply to our own work as scientific explorers?


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