Welcome, And What's This All About?

Welcome to the Monkey Trial Jury Room, a place to talk about the subject of The Hot Monkey Love Trial from Water Street Press now available on Amazon.  More broadly, it’s a place to gather and talk about any kind of monkeying with genes, about monkeying with language and story-telling, about humans and animals, and those that think, feel, or believe they’re somewhere in between the two.
What the Novel Is About
In the novel the protagonist Bert Gropes comes to learn, but only after he’s been charged with involuntary manslaughter under lurid circumstances, that before he was born someone monkeyed with his in-vitro fertilization, inserting a unique and powerful gene from a great ape, possibly making him so different that, according to his lawyer anyway, he’s not really a “person” who can be held accountable any more than a socially maladapted stray dog rescued from a kill shelter. A trial is held, à la Scopes Monkey Trial, to decide whether Bert is truly and legally a human being, or something else not fitting into any species box recognized by science, much less our legal system.
What this Blog Is About
While aspiring to be thoughtful and provocative on these emerging questions, The Hot Monkey Love Trial takes a mostly humorous approach to a particular kind of genetically modified organism (GMO), namely, a species whose genome has been modified and combined with that of another species. GMOs that combine the genetic material of one species with another are called “chimera.”
Part human, part animal species, chimera have been the subject of talk since ancient mythology.
 More recently, but long before the genetic revolution in which we now find ourselves, humans have imagined and not so responsibly tried to conceive human-animal hybrids. Chimeric humans, combining Homo sapiens with any other species, have been called “parahumans,” but when the combination is man and chimp, they’ve been called “humanzees,” “chumans,” and “manpanzees” (although I must say the latter sounds a bit more swishy than manly).
The subject of chimera, GMOs, genetic tampering, and intellectual property ownership is growing by the day and taking on new forms. In June 2013 the United States Supreme Court reached the decision that a human gene cannot be “owned” by patent or otherwise. But just because some part of you is not owned by someone else, that doesn't mean you’re free…or in the clear yet. Follow the posts here and – this being all about combinations, recombinations, and the never-before joinder of material, both genetic and written, from diverse beings – feel free to join in.

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