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Winter Is Here

Photo by Gretchen Engel

While it’s true that listening to A Dance with Dragons inspired the title, it has nothing to do with this post. Rather it’s Marissa Meyer’s upcoming release Winter that inspired the topic. For those not familiar with the Lunar Chronicles series: Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, and Winter, they’re futuristic retellings of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, the Wicked Stepmother, and Snow White. In this series, the moon has been colonized and earth is beholden to its satellite.

This post isn’t about the series, characters, or story world. It’s about a despicable lunar practice and how modern America is doing something very similar. In the Lunar Chronicles, Earthen society sees cyborgs like Cinder as inferior. Lunars have special gifts and those without them are called shells and are the outcasts and also discriminated against.

Without spoiling plot points, both cyborgs (and other unwanted Earthens) and shells are either killed or used to “better society” through medical research. Often these outcasts are “volunteered” by their own family members. There are hints that the research is ineffective so the subjects suffer and even die in vain. The practices are horrible, and the reader cheers for these outcasts against the societies that do these things.

That brings me to my main point. What does that make you think of here in twenty-first century America? Think about it: a group of unwanted people used for dubious “scientific” research, the purposes are obscured from the public, the test subjects are “volunteered” by a family member, and death is almost certain (survivors are extremely rare). This practice has been going on legally for over 40 years. Where’s the outrage?

Well fortunately a few weeks ago some very important videos went viral. And hopefully they will do some good. I don’t think I need to spell out what this vile practice is, or who is doing it. All that needs to be said is that every human life matters.


About Gretchen E K Engel

Chemical engineer by day, spec fiction writer by night

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