The Whales Grew Feet

“This is hard SF?” Emily said.

“Yes, now let me finish the story,” James said. “Then the whales grew feet and…”

“That’s a stupid yarn. If he had any knowledge of evolution, he’d know that whales once had feet. How can you grow them if you already have them?”

“That’s the point! They devolved!”

“Jesus Christ! I hate that word, that whole idea! There is no such thing!”

“How do you explain people with gills?”

“Those aren’t gills. They are gill slits. Fish and humans have the same group of genes. In fish, the master control gene makes gill slits. In humans it makes eustachian tubes.”

“Exactly! De-evolution!”

“Wrong! Mutation! The human master gene gets a mutation and the result is gill slits.”

“De-evolution. Going backwards. Using the fish gene.”

“Going backwards would be turning into a fish. We don’t do that. It’s not a ‘fish’ gene. We share it.”

“Then we share all of our genes.”

“In one way or another.”

“Then all life would be the same.”

“We both live in houses and drive cars. Are they the same?”


“You said share, not have all the same. We share genes with fish, with viruses, with trees.”

“Not with trees.”

“Yes, even trees. It’s the changes in the genes that make new things.”



“People with gill slits are new species.”

“Only if they can reproduce and pass on that trait.”

“So Water World got it right.”

“Nope. Gill slits are not gills. Our genes can’t be changed to make gills.”

“How do you enjoy any kind of SF?”

“I make sure the authors have done their research. If they haven’t, I have fun ripping it apart.”

“You’re weird.”

“Hey, you’re my brother. You have the weird gene too.”

Saturday Stream of Consciousness (SoCs) prompt – yarn

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