Being human, we identify with things that also act human. Hence, when you talk about animal rights, we identify through the fact that they can feel pain and can experience emotions…which is why when it comes to writing, if you’re writing about something that isn’t human, painting it with human words make it a better picture.
But at some point a Cordyceps came along that was a lot less finicky. It jumped the species barrier, then the genus, family, order and class. It clawed its way to the top of the evolutionary tree, assuming for a moment that evolution is a tree and has a top. Of course, the fungus might have had a helping hand. It might have been grown in a lab, for any number of reasons, coaxed along with gene-splicing and injected RNA. Those were very big jumps. (Carey 54)
Cordyceps – a fungus that used to bond with ants, as a parasite
This I thought was a beautiful paragraph from the book I just finished. Here, it describes the fungus in human-like terms, using phrases like clawing up a tree, jumping the barrier. It puts it in terms simple enough that any reader can grasp, and yet gives the fungus a sort of life-like animation to make it feel like a real enemy we’re working against rather than just some “disease.”
Another strength of this paragraph is the sense of stream of consciousness. The flow is beautiful with the way thoughts stream together, going from jumping to clawing and defining how it got there, that someone could’ve put it there. This reminds me exactly as somebody thinking and brainstorming. It goes from one thought to the next, all in a logical order – at least logical for the person who’s a scientist.
(Notice the words that all relate to biology, because the characters are scientists.)
Carey, M.R. The Girl With All the Gifts. New York, NY: Orbit, 2014. Print.