Post by David Johnston Post by Carl Fink Post by James Nicoll
The Harbors of the Sun (Books of the Raksura, book 5) by Martha Wells
"The catch is, it kills an entire clade, not just one species in a clade.
Point it at Fell and Raksura, and both will die."
All living groups (subspecies up through domain) are parts of some clade
with all other living groups. We all descend from a common single ancestor.
(I'm speaking of Earth life here, of course.)
True, but clearly the weapon targets every descendant of a given common
ancestor...which is what clade means. You just don't set it on
"primordial amoeba" and you're golden.
Sure, but does it somehow mystically know the ancestor by Social Security
number or something? Is it using really-old-Heinlein-story
echoes-in-the-time-dimension to find fork points? Heinlein, in the story
James alludes to, had a weapon that could be tuned to specific protein
mutations, which are a reasonable approximation of common descent. "Clade"
implies it somehow is able to identify the specific common ancestor, which
makes zero sense.
Carl Fink ***@nitpicking.com
Read my blog at blog.nitpicking.com. Reviews! Observations!
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