Welcome to The Millennium Girl Series website.
I created this website to support and provide further information about a series of novels about the first girl to live for 1000 years. The first book, Mutation, was published on 8 June 2014. The second book, Retribution, was published on 17 January 2015.
The books, which I would categorise as dystopian science fiction, deal with several issues such as genetic transformation, immortality, technological singularity and transhumanism. I am a scientist. I hold a full professorship at a prestigious British university. I worked as an academic in a School of Neuroscience for ten years so I would like to think that my novels have scientific credibility and are ‘realistic’. But at the end of the day they are novels; works of fiction. The novels are also intended to be an easy read. There is nothing too heavy and they are the sort of books you might enjoy on holiday or on your commute to work.
That said, some of the issues that connect to my stories such as transhumanism and singularity are very real possibilities that are currently being debated by serious scientists in the world.
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Posted in MillenniumGirl, Mutation, Retribution, Transhuman
Tagged dystopian, dystopian science fiction, immortal, MillenniumGirl, sci-fi novel, singularity, Stephen Westland, technological singularity
My series of novels – The Millennium Girl Series – is based on the premise that 99% of the world’s population is wiped out by a modified form of the Ebola virus that was intentionally released upon the masses by an elite few. The first two novels – Mutation and Retribution – deal with the immediate aftermath of the apocalypse. But what next? What would life we like in 50 years? In 500 years? In a thousand years? Could a technological society rebuild itself?
This is the question posed in this lovely thought-experiment article by Lewis Dartnell, a UK Space Agency research fellow at the University of Leicester. One of the problems that Lewis describes is that rebuilding our society without fossil fuels would be extremely difficult. Most of the coal, for example, that is easily accessible – and that drove the first Industrial Revolution – has already been mined. However, Lewis argues that there is a way that we could progress with a different energy source. Read his article at Aeon for the full details.
As you get older, your telomeres – the protective caps that are on the end of chromosomes – get shorter. The telomeres protect chromosomes from getting damage as cells divide and grow. It has long been thought that if we could lengthen telomeres, or find a way to stop them getting shorter, we could halt or reverse ageing. Today it was reported in The Independent that scientists have developed a procedure that allows them to lengthen telomeres. In addition to tackling ageing it is also thought that treatments based on this new procedure could treat diabetes and heart disease.
The breakthrough was made by Helen Blau of Stanford University who said, “Now we have found a way to lengthen human telomeres by as much as 1,000 nucleotides, turning back the internal clock in these cells by the equivalent of many years of human life.”
The idea is that when cells divide, chromosomes are copied, and if not properly protected by the telomere caps, they become damaged. With each division, the telomeres become a little shorter. A study of 143 elderly people in 2003 found that those with the shortest telomeres died on average four or five years earlier than others.
There is already a treatment available – Telomerase activator-65 (TA-65) – which costs about $4,000 for a six-month supply. But according to Joe Schwarcz TA-65 is not a regulated drug. We would be wise to wait a while yet until the research by Blau and others has reached a conclusion.