Another Sale! Salamanders! Door-Amputations!

I’ve been sitting on the details of this news since December 2nd – but I can finally announce that I’ve sold a second story!

The story, coming out next month in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, is titled “Super Action Excite Team Go!”  It’s a heartwarming story about limb regeneration and a boy who might just be having the worst summer ever.  This story is very close to my heart, and my history.

My career has had a long and winding path (with another turn coming up this week – news post to come!)  But in many ways, I was set on my path at 18 months old, when my right pinky finger was partially amputated in a slamming door.

Thanks to some quick thinking and fast driving on the part of my parents, ER doctors were able to reattach the finger.  But the incident never truly left my mind.  Especially growing up in the late 70’s/early 80’s, when ABC’s Six Millions Dollar Man was all the rage.  For years, my mother referred to my bionic finger.

In college, I majored in BioEngineering, thinking that the highest calling in the world would be to design and develop prosthetic limbs that could respond to the brain’s signals, and feed back sensory input as well – true bionic limbs. My days (and many stress-filled nights) were crammed with courses on Materials Strength, Human Physiology, Applied Physics,Biomechanics, and 4 semesters of P-Chem (the horror!).  But that all changed when I took my first college Biology course not given by the School of Engineering, and I saw this image in my textbook:

LimbRegenTimeLapse

It’s a time lapse series of a newt (Notophthalmus viridescens) regenerating limbs.

From that day on, I realized I didn’t want to bother with man-made artificial limbs that could only imitate the body’s natural processes, and that badly.  No, my truest aim was to find out how newts and salamanders went about regenerating their limbs – and why we mammals didn’t – and then bridge the gap.  If I could figure out how to get humans to regenerate lost limbs, then all would be right with the world.

Readers of Here I Go… will no doubt realize that things didn’t quite go according to that plan.  But the passion has never left me, nor the interest in regeneration as a topic. So in hindsight, it was really no surprise to me that one of the first stories I wrote when I turned my primary attention to writing was one where a little boy lost a limb, and went about getting it regenerated.  In many ways, it’s a story I’ve been writing my whole life.  I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to decide if there’s more of me in Jesse, the boy growing back his arm, or in Dr. Look, the slightly crazy scientist talking about ‘arm seeds’ and ‘super secret special sauce.’  I’m not certain even I know for sure…

I hope you’ll purchase a subscription to InterGalactic Medicine Show, I hope you’ll read my story, and I hope you’ll think of me and enjoy.*

Here I Go,

Matt

*This post would end much more poignantly is I could embed a jpeg of the Polaroid my mother took of the 2 year old me, hand bandaged up to the elbow, standing in the foyer of our New Jersey home.  It would be the perfect capper.  But, alas, I have no scan of the photo and not the faintest idea where the original lies.  So you’ll just have to content yourself with my assurances that I was–truly–very cute.

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About Matthew Shean

Matthew Shean is the author of several forthcoming novels and myriad short stories. He received his Ph.D. from the Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences in New York, NY, and spent 20 years as a research scientist throughout the northeastern United States. He now lives in Long Island (against his will), with his loving family and disdainful cats.
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2 Responses to Another Sale! Salamanders! Door-Amputations!

  1. Pingback: Changes Are Afoot! | Here I Go…

  2. Pingback: Super Action Excite Team Go! | Here I Go…

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