Ancestor is a thriller / horror novel by American author Scott Sigler. Originally released as a podcast audio book, it was first published in 2007 by Dragon Moon Press as a paperback edition. The novel has since been reworked and was released on 22 June 2010 by Crown Publishing as a hardcover edition. This is the second book by Scott Sigler that was initially distributed through a podcast and then released in print form, the first being his 2000 novel EarthCore.
Ancestor offers a chilling tale of what can happen when hubris, greed, and madness drive scientific experimentation past the brink of reason.
Every five minutes, a transplant candidate dies while waiting for a compatible heart, a liver, a kidney. Imagine a technology that could provide those life-saving transplant organs for a nominal fee ... and imagine what a company would do to monopolize that technology.
On a remote island in the Canadian Arctic, P.J. Colding leads a group of geneticists who have discovered this holy grail of medicine. By reverse-engineering thousands of animal genomes, Colding's team has dialed back the evolutionary clock and re-created the progenitor of all mammals. The method? Illegal. The result? A computer-engineered living creature, an animal whose organs can be implanted in any person, with no chance of transplant rejection.
There's just one problem: these ancestors are not the docile herd animals that Colding's team envisioned. Instead, Colding's work has given birth to something big, something evil…something very, very hungry.
As creators become prey in an ultimate battle for survival, Colding and the woman he loves must fight to survive — even as government agents close in to shut the project down, and the deep-pocketed company backing this research reveals its own cold-blooded agenda.
Genada Corporation Executives
|Danté Paglione||CEO of the Privately owned bio tech company Genada|
|Bobby Valentine||Danté Paglione’s private pilot|
|Magnus Paglione||Head of Security; brother of Dante|
|Dr. Claus Rhumkorrf||Head Geneticist|
|Dr. Liu Jiandan (Jian)||Bioinformatics scientist and genome specialist|
|Dr. Erika Hoel||Geneticist specializing in extinct animals|
|Tim Feely||Assistant scientist|
|Galina Poriskova||Assistant scientist|
Genada Corporation Security
|P.J. Colding||Head of Genada on site security; former CIA agent|
|Andy Crosthwaite||On site security guard; also known as “Andy the Asshole”|
|Gunther Jones||On site security guard|
|Brady Giovani||On site security guard|
Genada C-5 Mobile Lab Flight Crew
|Sara Purinam||Captain & Pilot of the C-5 airplane contracted by Genada|
|Harold Miller||C-5 Crewmember; one half of “The Twins”|
|Andre “Cappy” Capistrano||C-5 Crewmember; other half of “The Twins”|
Black Manitou Locals
|Clayton Detweiler||Manager of the Black Manitou Island facility|
|Gary Detweiler||Clayton’s son|
|Sven Ballantine||Farmer and owner of Mookie the dog|
|Stephanie Harvey||James Harvey's wife|
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Agents
|Murray Longworth||Director of the CIA|
|Colonel Paul Fischer||CIA operative specializing in investigating transgenic companies; direct report to Longworth / Coldings former CIA partner|
|Baby McButter||Genetically created animal|
|Baby Moos-A-Lot||Genetically created animal|
Portrayal of Science
The basis of the plot for Ancestor is the ongoing research to find the ultimate solution for growing animal organs with the intention of replacing failing human organs and supplementing the organ transplant shortage. The process of interspecies tissue transplantation is known as xenotransplantation. Specifically, xenotransplantation is the transplantation of cells, tissues, or organs occurring between species. In contrast, allotransplantation is the transplantation of cells, tissues, and organs between members of the same species.
A great deal of scientific research is currently devoted to xenotransplantation, driven by the worldwide shortage of organs available for transplantation.
Immune rejection remains the biggest challenge for xenotransplantation. The problem exists even for human to human transplants (known as allotransplantation), but is more serious for transplants between different species. Nearly all mammalian cells have markers which enable the immune system to recognize them as being foreign. The more different the genetic code between the donor organ and recipient, the greater the difference between a "self" marker and a "foreign" marker. Some companies are currently developing genetically modified or transgenic animals such as pigs that produce human markers to try and lessen the chance of rejection.
A secondary challenge of xenotransplantation is the potential for infectious disease to spread from the donor animal to the transplant recipient, effectively jumping species. This process is called xenosis or zoonosis. The two major risks with xenosis are:
- Infection in to the transplant recipient
- An infected transplant recipient initiating an epidemic in the human population
The novel revolves around scientists struggling to solve the problem of xenotransplantation. Scientists funded by the biotech firm Genada are able to recreate the ancestor of all mammals thereby getting back to the root of our creation. By achieving this, the corporation hopes to create an animal with human internal organs. However, the breakthrough in discovering the Ancestor doesn’t deliver the small, harmless creature envisioned, but rather a fast-growing evil mammal that nature eradicated 250 million years ago -- an evil now on the loose, and very, very hungry.
Similar to the author’s first book, EarthCore, the book release of Ancestor followed a non-traditional path to print publication. The following timeline details the distribution lifecycle of the novel that culminated with the June 2010 print reboot. The Translations Page also provides a comprehensive listing of languages available for this novel.
|Cover Art||Edition||Publisher||Release Date||Site|
|1st Ed. Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-896944-73-9)||U.S. Dragon Moon Press||April 1, 2007||Amazon.com U.S.|
|e-book Adobe File (.pdf) (ISBN: 978-1-896944-75-2)||U.S. Dragon Moon Press||March 2007||-|
|2st Ed. Hardcover (ISBN: 978-0-307406-33-0)||U.S. Crown Publishng||June 22, 2010||Amazon.com U.S.|
|2nd Ed. Paperback (ISBN: 9781444700947)||U.K. Hodder & Stoughton, Ltd / John Murray||April 1, 2010||BookDepository.com U.K.|
|1st Ed. Paperback (ISBN: 978-3-453-43435-6)||Heyne Verlag/Random House||Nov 09, 2010||Amazon.de|
|Serialized Podcast Audio book||Worldwide (Internet)||Sept 2005||Podshows.com|
|Serialized Broadcast||Sirius Satellite Radio||2006||Podshows.com|
|Serialized Podcast Audio book||Worldwide (Internet)||Aug 2006||Podiobooks.com|
|Serialized Podcast Audio book||Worldwide (Internet)||June 2010||scottsigler.com|
Characters Named for Fans
As with recent previous works, author this novel contains the names of fans appearing as some of the characters. The luckiest of the fans will also have their character die a horrific and untimely and death. The following link references a table dedicated to tracking these fan-named characters with indicators of which characters become victims.
- Ancestor Fan Character page.
Ancestor Book Tour
Following the success previous book tours, author Scott Sigler is taking to the road again to promote the release of the novel Ancestor. The following schedule is the confirmed tour dates and locations.
|2010 June 22||New York, NY||Borders Books & Music|
|2010 June 23||Boston, MA||Pandemonium Books and Games|
|2010 June 24||Washington, D.C||Borders Books & Music|
|2010 June 25||Dallas, TX||Borders|
|2010 June 26||San Antonio, TX||Borders at The Quarry|
|2010 June 27||Phoenix, AZ||Changing Hands Book Store|
|2010 June 28||San Diego, CA||Mysterious Galaxy|
|2010 June 29||Los Angeles, CA||Book Soup|
|2010 June 30||San Francisco, CA||Borders Union Square|
|2010 July 5||Portland, OR||Powell's Books|
|2010 July 6||Seattle, WA||Barnes & Noble University Village|
|2010 July 7||Denver, CO||Tattered Cover Book Store|
|2010 July 8||Minneapolis, MN||Magers & Quinn Booksellers|
|2010 July 9||Chicago, IL||The Bookstall at Chestnut Court|
|2010 July 10||Detroit, MI||Barnes & Noble Royal Oak|
|2010 July 12||Toronto, CAN||World's Biggest Bookstore|
|2010 July 14||Mountain View, CA||Books, Inc.|
|2010 July 15||San Mateo, CA||"M" is for Mystery|
|2010 July 20||Corte Madera, CA||Book Passage|
The 2010 re-released podcast version of Ancestor used the song Forever Infinity by the band In This Moment. For a comprehensive list of music used in the podcast versions of Scott's works, refer to the Theme Music page.
|Episode Number||Download Link||Podcast Date|
|Episode 1||Download||June 6, 2010|
|Episode 2||Download||June 13, 2010|
|Episode 3||Download||June 20, 2010|
|Episode 4||Download||June 22, 2010|
|Episode 5||Download||June 26, 2010|
Differences in Versions
2007 to 2010 Versions
This section catalogs the differences between the intial paperback version of Ancestor and revamped re-released version published in hardcover in 2010.
- Sydney Chapman was renamed to Col. Paul Fischer (USAMRIID)
- General Terry Pearcy renamed to General Evan Curry
- Novozyme Doctor in Greenland renamed from Dr Gunston to Pons Matal
- One of Genada's shell company named "FN Wallace" as a nod to Matt Wallace
- Galina Poriskova was a whistleblower disposed of by Magnus
- Rory & Violet Sherwood renamed to James & Stephanie Harvey
- Sven's dog Pastie was renamed to immortalize Mookie.
- References are made to the nuclear bomb detonated over Detroit, MI which happened at the end of Contagious
- In the previous version, the cows were implanted with 1-3 blastocysts, whereas in the 2010 version, the cows are implanted with only 1 blastocyst
- Clayton helped a grieving Sven when Sven's wife died
- Hidden door to the security room was removed from the 2010 rewrite
- Changes made to P.J. Colding's character:
- Changes made to Guther Jones' character:
- Writes vampire romance novels rather than regular romance novels
- Compares himself to Stephenie Meyer rather than Danielle Steele
- Book names changed from Lost Innocence, Lost Loves, Lost Lust to Hot Dusk, Hot Evening, Hot Midnight
- Changes made to Magnus Paglione's character:
- Does not kill all/any of the USAMRIID crew; only uses their arrival to kill the mole.
- Previously had a masochist streak to his personality which involved cutting himself. This aspect of his personality was removed.
- Changes made to Jian's character:
- In the 2010 version, Jian is a psychotic and hallucinating. She was taken from China with their blessings, promising to demonstrate to the world how advanced China was in science. This is different in contrast to the previous version where the investors were all private and Colding had played a large role in sneaking Jian out of China.
- Because of the psychosis, Jian codes the ancestors as predators rather than docile animals, all in a subconscience effort to kill herself.