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[This is Part 1 of my original short story "Blood Science" - a tongue-in-cheek look at a scientist trying to write Science Fiction and Fantasy from a logical perspective. See the "Coming Soon" tab above for more on the upcoming schedule, including the return to The Lab Rats Guide to the Brain.]
'Hmm, when you think about it, I guess blood really could be the perfect food source.' Bob sat at a computer in his home office staring at a blank word processing screen. 'Sara thinks I'm too much of a scientist to write a vampire story, but I'm going to do it just because of the challenge. I have to come up with a reason though.'
For the past 10 years he had taken time away from family and work to write a few words of science fiction here and there, trying to sell some short stories and work up to that Big Debut Novel. In the previous two years he had corresponded with several SF authors and attended a few conventions in which the emphasis had been on writing, rather than movies, TV and video games. More recently he'd begun corresponding with Sarah, a moderately successful fantasy and science fiction author. Sara believed Bob had talent, but his characters tended to fall too much into the stereotypes of either scientists or Boy Scouts. Bob argued that he had to write what he knew. Twenty five years as a professor and scientist had left its mark, hence Bob's current obsession with trying to write a vampire story based on logic and science.
'Blood carries oxygen, glucose, small proteins and essential nutrients to all of the cells in the body. If I postulate a disease that affects a person's ability to metabolize complex foods, then it could be logical that the creature would turn to human blood to fulfill its nutritional needs.' Bob tapped a few keys, started an internet browser on his computer and pulled up a national database of medical literature. 'Cystic Fibrosis affects the digestion, but our fictional vampire wouldn't last long with the side effects on the lungs. Some form of gastrointestinal parasite? Or maybe a virus that blocks absorption. That way it could be contagious about 1% of the time, accounting for a vampire bite turning the victim into a vampire.'
Bob typed a few notes into his word processor, wrote an introductory paragraph and outlined the next couple paragraphs, but didn't yet know which direction he wanted to take the story. He had a department faculty meeting tomorrow evening and would be late coming home. He'd think about it for a couple of days and perhaps get back to the story next weekend.
It was more than 3 weeks before Bob got back to working on his story. Despite best intentions to get up a little earlier each morning, exercise and spend at least 30 minutes writing, he found himself occupied with work and emails with colleagues later each night. After one extreme evening of grant and manuscript writing, he found himself going to bed as his wife was getting up for an early start at work. As a result, all intentions of early morning activity were lost to catching up on sleep.
It was late afternoon, working on evening. The latest grant application had been submitted and yet another scientific manuscript had been sent off to the editor. With about 45 minutes to call his own, Bob returned to the topic of the vampire story.
'Oh-kay. Blood as a food source to replace essential nourishment. Our fictional vampire is going to want the blood as clean as possible. Iron rich, low cholesterol… hmm, add in a bit of estrogen for the antiaging effects and their natural food source would be young women. Huh. To keep the potential contaminants down, make that "nubile" young women. That's another stereotype down. Now, how to kill a vampire…'
[to be continued...]