Artificial Life

Two men, two woman and the dangerous questions that cross centuries.

Trailer for Artificial Life

Dr. Richard Wiederkehr is at the pinnacle of a stellar career as a biochemist when he creates an organism from synthesized DNA, and so, is the first man to create life. But his discovery forces him to question conclusions long held sacred by the scientific community. His doubts endanger his research, his teaching career, and his marriage to the beautiful but fiery microbiologist, Dr. Sarah Coopersmith.

Because his atomic watch is mysteriously slow, Richard is in the right place at the right time to overhear the story of Michael Sattler, a Benedictine monk who forsook his order, became a hunted outcast, and was burned at the stake as a heretic in 1527. Sattler’s wife, Margaretha, was also executed.

Mired in his own difficulties, Richard is curious to understand how a man so radically changes course. He researches and then becomes obsessed with Sattler, following the heretic’s life through peasant revolts, plague, and reformation. As Sattler’s story unfolds before Richard, so does his own. The ending, a result of both DNA and chance/destiny closes the circle.

Like Ian McEwan’s Black Dogs, this literary novel explores the question of whether there is anything other than physicality. Artificial Life is a novel about faith: faith in God, faith in Science, both dangerous to find, both dangerous to lose.

Comment on the Manuscript

Alison was my student in the MFA writing program at Southern New Hampshire University. She was working on a historical novel that remains one of the more impressive pieces of work I’ve seen in the program.

Her research was scrupulous and thorough. Her narrative skills were considerable in regard to all the important pieces: plot, characterization, setting, voice, etc. And she has not merely a professional’s command of the English language, but an artist’s. She writes with both clarity and beauty.  

       Richard Adams Carey, Assistant Director, MFA in Fiction and Nonfiction, Southern New Hampshire University, and author of Raven’s Children: An Alaskan Culture at Twilight (Houghton Mifflin, 1992); Against the Tide: The Fate of the New England Fisherman (Houghton Mifflin, 1999); and The Philosopher Fish: Sturgeon, Caviar, Geography of Desire (Counterpoint Press, 2005), and In the Evil Day (University Press of New England, 2015).

News & Debate

We have now accomplished the last piece on the list that was required to do what ethicists called “playing God”. What that literally means is the capacity to be a creator       
                                                    – Glenn McGee, Founder of the American Journal of BIoethics

Artificial life breakthrough announced by scientists   BBC News

It’s Alive! Artificial Life Springs From Manmade DNA   Discovery News 

Scientist accused of playing God after creating artificial life by making designer microbe from scratch – but could it wipe out humanity?   UK Daily Mail

This is the quintessential Pandora’s box moment. . .   Reuters