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« Seasonal heat thread | Main | Delayed gratification »

Jun 29, 2012


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Ian McDowell

Yeah, children's TV and other kiddie-oriented forms of pop culture made all kinds of references to evolution without raising a stir, and well before the 70s. It was common in 50s sci-fi like THE NEANDERTHAL MAN and MONSTER ON THE CAMPUS and even I WAS A TEENAGED WEREWOLF (Michael Landon doesn't catch lycanthropy from a wolf bite or a curse in that, but is "regressed" by a Mad Scientist, although at what stage in our evolutionary history we were werewolves is unclear).

Nor does it seem to have been that controversial in science fiction, going back to the 19th century, even when the writers were Christian (like Arthur Conan Doyle) rather than atheist (like Edgar Rice Burroughs). Kipling doesn't seem to have had a problem with it, either.

The only genre novel or film I can recall that presents the concept as shocking or controversial (and possibly untrue) is Robert Florey's 1932 MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE, where Bela Lugosi's insane character is out to "prove" evolution by mixing the blood of prostitutes with that of his pet ape.

Ian McDowell

As a kid, LANCELOT LINK bothered me because I didn't like chimps (I preferred, and still prefer, gorillas, who are less likely to tear your face off), and because "Evolution Revolution" riffs on the misconception that we "evolved from monkeys" and that present day simians are a "lower" form of life, ancestors rather than cousins.

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