Blood Music study guide

Blood Music study guide - Blood Music study guide...

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Blood Music study guide Vocabulary terms : noocytes . In Blood Music , genetically engineered cells that function as tiny computers. As Vergil defines them on p.8: “Autonomous organic computers.” They can “continue learning” and transfer their knowledge by producing proteins or RNA and DNA segments that can be read by other cells (Bear 15). Vergil’s company, Genetron, is working on an earlier version of this with their “medically applicable biochips,” which are computer electronics combined with protein molecules (13). But Vergil himself has been doing his own private, unauthorized research with actual mammal cells—in fact, in his last stage, he has been using his own white blood cells, or lymphocytes (17). These are the altered cells he injects back into his own bloodstream. He names them “noocytes” on p.80 after “the Greek word for mind, ‘noos.’” Noosphere 1. Merriam-Webster dictionary: “The sphere of human consciousness and mental activity, especially in regard to its influence on the biosphere and in relation to evolution.” 2. In Blood Music , the thought-world of the intelligent noocytes. Don’t worry too much about the “interphase” or “prophase” terms below. Just understand that they are stages in cell division and replication, and that Bear uses these headings to give us some very broad idea of how far along the noocytes are in their development at different points in the novel. If you are interested, here are the terms in cell division, courtesy of Merriam-Webster: mitosis : “a process that takes place in the nucleus of a dividing cell, involves typically a series of steps consisting of prophase, metaphase, anaphase, and telophase, and results in the formation of two new nuclei each having the same number of chromosomes as the parent nucleus” interphase : “the interval between the end of one mitotic or meiotic division and the beginning of another.” prophase : “the initial stage of mitosis and of the mitotic division of meiosis characterized by the condensation of chromosomes consisting of two chromatids, disappearance of the nucleolus and nuclear membrane, and formation of mitotic spindle.” metaphase : “the stage of mitosis and meiosis in which the chromosomes become arranged in the equatorial plane of the spindle” anaphase : “the stage of mitosis and meiosis in which the chromosomes move toward the poles of the spindle” telophase : “the final stage of mitosis and of the second division of meiosis in which the spindle disappears and the nuclear envelope reforms around each set of chromosomes” In her book How We Became Posthuman , N. Katherine Hayles has a fine discussion of “Mutating Bodies” (252) in this famous cyborg text, which is sometimes associated with the
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genre of early cyberpunk. First, here is her summary of the main character and the symbolism of his name: Vergil Ulam is a brilliant but irresponsible researcher who has found a way to combine human cells with computer chips. His name, [which refers to] Dante’s
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Blood Music study guide - Blood Music study guide...

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