Thirteen Generations by James Bambury

Published: August 2012 in AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review that is still available to read at the website

Genre: Science fiction

Length: 4 pages

Setting: a researcher’s lab, any time in the future

Interest: It is included in the 2014 annual Campbellian Anthology that was available back in January.

Summary: A researcher is trying to teach an organism (probably a protozoa) to run a maze and respond to light with recognized movement. Each generation passes on its knowledge to the following generation so the maze is faster and speech is more recognizable. The organism’s life is shortened as well, until the 12th generation individual barely has time to eat before laying an egg and dying. The 13th generation seems to slow down a bit, though.

Final thoughts: Eh, nothing too exciting. An interesting biological principle – what information can get passed on from generation to generation? There is some evidence that experience can get passed on. The idea that your life is sped up as you are born with more starting knowledge is also interesting, but I was confused about the 13th generation. Did it regress? Was it slower again? It seemed to have less verbal ability. I needed just a bit more story, I guess, to be completely satisfied.

Reading challenges fulfilled: none since this was a short story


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