My first novel, Childless, was published last month, and I’ve been creating a series of short videos to highlight different aspects of the book. In the previous two videos I talked about 1) general features of the novel and 2) how human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) work as a plot device (also go to my website to read a blog post on neoteny and another post where I have links to some scientific articles on HERVs and how they may be able to be resurrected from the human genome).
In this video, I explain what neoteny is (it’s Latin for ”holding youth”) and how is represents the process where childlike traits (both physical and psychological) are ”held” into adulthood (it essentially means ”staying young at heart”).
Just briefly to give you a sense of how this works in the novel, there’s a struggle between two groups: 1) the U.S. government which is seeking to extend adulthood back to just after birth (a process I call ”senteny”), and 2) a crew of neurodiverse individuals trying to genetically engineer a strategy to extend childhood into late adulthood (neoteny).
I won’t tell you who wins out in the end. For that, you’ll have to buy the novel!
Here are several articles (and one excellent PBS video) on neoteny that can help you get further into this wonderful and important concept:
- Neoteny: Why Disney Princesses Look Like Babies (Video) PBS Digital Studios
- A Biological Homage to Mickey Mouse (Dr. Stephen Jay Gould) Natural History Magazine
- Neoteny (Wikipedia)
- Neoteny in Humans (Wikipedia)
- What Scientific Term or Concept Ought to be More Widely Known? Neoteny (Edge.org)
- Being More Infantile May Have Led to Bigger Brains (Scientific American)
Here’s a nine-minute video where I explain further the role of neoteny in my novel.
In my next video I’ll look at how I wrote five neurodiverse individuals into the plot (including characters with autism, schizophrenia, progeria, dwarfism, and Aspergers).