Much Ado About Nanos

Talk about the stories that got the Argeneaus where they are today.

Much Ado About Nanos

Postby TomEC on June 6th, 2011, 7:03 pm

I think I need to say this from the outset. I am not under any illusions that I speak with any authority on this subject. This post is simply speculation on my part and is likely to be wrong in many places. The nanos in the Argeneau novels are Lynsay's invention. She, and she alone, has the final word on what's true and what isn't within the context of these stories. Perhaps I am being a bit presumptuous here. If so, I hope she’ll forgive me.

I know there are other threads I could've put this in. But I thought I'd start a new one and dump everything I have to say on the subject right here.

In The Reluctant Vampire, Lynsay takes the opportunity to give us some more interesting information about the process of being turned; namely why it is that no one is ever turned from other bodily fluids other than blood and the fact that everyone seems to have the same nightmares while turning. These were, no doubt, ideas that occurred to her or were brought up to her that she decided to put to rest here. I believe I speak for many of us when I say that we love it when Lynsay gives us these extra tidbits of information to further flesh out the details of the Argeneau universe. :) These particular details, I believe, all come down to the question of how nanos, those wonderful self-replicating molecular machines at the heart of it all, work.

I see it as my job, as the active male on this forum, to shamelessly speculate about this subject. The rest of you seem far more interested in who's going to be whose life mate and who's related to who; the thrashing out of which are, after all, women's work. (Just kidding)Image

Unfortunately, I doubt that Lynsay knows exactly how nanos work or else she’d have built them by now. There isn't anything you would like to tell us, is there Lynsay? No, she came up with the idea as a way to have science-based vampires without all the supernatural and undead baggage. Thus she was able to take the vampire legend, rework it, and make it uniquely her own. It was a brilliant idea producing a type of vampire with which I am personally far more comfortable than I am with the supernatural variety. To reach that goal, Lynsay chose nanotechnology is her basis and then chose Atlantis as the vehicle with which to place that technology in the ancient past. Since she, no doubt, realized that it was unlikely that scientists would deliberately choose to create vampires, she had her nanos need more blood than the human body can produce and then had them “evolve” the various night-predator characteristics after the fall of Atlantis. An all-around elegant solution, in my opinion. Good work Lynsay! :D

It's funny, though, how one idea can balloon as all the various implications come to you. You come up with all sorts of questions that need answers because you know that the characters in the stories, not being fools, will think of this stuff too. And the more answers you come up with the more questions they spin off. Before you know it, an idea that seemed so simple has become rather complicated. Fortunately because it's fiction you don't have to come up with answers to all the questions but it is fun to speculate. This principle is definitely true when it comes to the nanos. I'm a details person myself, so I'm in my element here.

It seems to me that what Stephanie said about sensing communication between the nanos just serves to confirm what should be obvious. The nanos are in constant communication each other. This makes sense on so many levels. The fact that immortals are telepaths is one piece of evidence. This suggests that the nanos are capable of maintaining a communication link not just with each other but with the human brain itself since immortals can read and control us nano-free mortals.Image Another piece of evidence is the fact that all the immortals with the same generation of nanos “evolved” the same way after the fall of Atlantis. This strongly suggests communication since it couldn't have been a coincidence. This, by the way, seems to me to be the best hope for Edentates like Dani and Stephanie to eventually develop fangs and the ability to have children risk-free; if first-generation nanos somehow learn to communicate better with second-generation nanos. It also makes sense to me that the nanos would not work as a group of autonomous individuals wandering around a person's body looking for something to fix but rather, like the Borg, as a collective.ImageTheir constant communication would allow them to operate like a single entity in perfect coordination.

This brings me to another reason why such constant communication would be important: quality control. Consider, many human diseases are caused by mis-folded proteins.Image Cancer cells come into existence because of damaged DNA. Normally these cells are programmed to self-destruct unless, of course, that feature also fails in which case our immune system takes care of them. If they evade our immune system we may get cancer. There would have to be some sort of mechanism in the nanos to prevent them from going wrong. You can't tell me that in all the thousands of years that Lucian has lived with nanos, by the billions, constantly replicating in his body that not once has one mis-replicated. They, like our cells, are probably programmed to self-destruct in that event but if that fails the fact that all the nanos are linked together in a collective would allow them to instantly destroy the errant nano. This seems to me to be the only way they could maintain such flawless perfection over such a long time.Image

This communication and connection they seem to have with the human brain as well as their unity in a collective may explain something else about the nanos that should be obvious: perception and intelligence which is to say they seem to perceive their surroundings and respond with logic. Image Why do I say that? Well consider the changes the nanos made to their hosts after the fall of Atlantis. How could they possibly have done that if they somehow hadn't perceived the situation applied some sort of reasoning to it in order to adapt their hosts the circumstances? This is also apparent in the nanos unerring ability to identify life mates.

Another thing about the nanos that I've pondered is the fact that there seems to be the need for a minimum number of them in order to initiate the turn.Image Why could we not just start with a single nano self-replicating until enough were present in the body to start the turn? I can think of a number of reasons for this. Perhaps a certain number of them are needed in order to overcome the body's immune system. Maybe this was a built-in failsafe in order to prevent the nanos from becoming contagious like a virus. Or maybe it's because all the data that the nanos need in order to function is not contained within a single nano but only when enough nanos are present to have the complete data set can them they then proceed with the turn. This makes sense to me as a nano would have to be small enough to enter the nucleus of a human cell in order to repair DNA. How much data could you possibly store in a package that small?Image Of course, you can never say never.

I find it interesting that the nanos will not correct genetic flaws. This makes sense since they would use their host’s DNA is the basic blueprint from which to operate. Though as referenced in TRV they would also have a complete blueprint of the human body in their basic programming with instructions, for example, not to repair the hymen. :oops: Does this mean, then, that if persons had a genetic disease like say cystic fibrosis that they would be doomed to suffer from it? Actually I don't think so. After all the enhanced strength and speed, night vision, and fangs are not found in our DNA. I think, rather, the nanos don't correct DNA errors but they do compensate for them. Think about it, the only genetic flaws that showed up so far have been ones that have directly impacted on needs unique to immortals such as Victor and Vincent's condition. I think the nano's have certain baselines that they bring their hosts up to and then compensate for their flaws probably using more blood to do so. This may be why someone like Marguerite doesn't seem to need as much blood as many others do. Her DNA may be particularly free of flaws.

I thought it interesting that Beth managed somehow, even though she was a new turn, to survive for two weeks on animal blood. ImageI know she was emaciated and in bad shape and probably wouldn't have lasted much longer but the blood must've done some good for you would think she'd be dead by then. I'd always assumed that the reason they didn't feed on animal blood was because the nanos were keyed to human DNA and any other type of blood would be useless. I still think that since if they could have lived on animal blood they certainly would have, all things considered. Still, this makes me think that animal blood might help keep an immortal alive for a short time if there is no other alternative.

As I mentioned earlier, I found it noteworthy that in the conversations before Tiny’s turn the references made to the fact that everyone who turned seem to have the same nightmares. Of course if you'd read AQB you would recognize that nightmare as the one Greg had. I guess Lynsay decided that coming up with new and interesting nightmares was just not something she was interested in. It was speculated that this might have something to do with the way that the nanos affected the brain during the turn, a bit like the seeming universality of the ‘going to the light’ experience that people have when coming very close to dying. That could be the case. Another idea occurred to me, though. It's a bit out there. What if it were a bit of leftover programming from when the nanos were being developed. What if it was an immersive 3-D experience that had been put in by one of the nanos’ developers to test their data storage capabilities and had accidentally been left in.Image Maybe it was a nightmare he had had? (or she, as the case may be.) Just a thought.

Nanos are such a wonderful thing to speculate about and talk about because they represent wish fulfillment. The armchair philosophers can blather on all they want about not wanting to live on indefinitely but if the opportunity ever comes up you can count me in. Who knows, it might happen.

wren wrote:...there is real scientific and medical research being done about nano-technology, and Lynsay has been told she isn't far off in how she describes what the Atlantis scientists were trying to accomplish...so who knows what the future may bring? Alas, that's the best we can do for an upside at this time! Image While I would love Immortal abilities & peak health, I'd still prefer to have them without needing to drink the current ABB beverage of choice, kwim? :lol:
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Right you are Wren. :) And I would like to include a quote from Andy Dufresne’s letter in the Shawshank Redemption:“Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well.”

I could go on and on, of course, and I can't promise that I won't have more to say on this subject in the future but I think I'll be merciful and stop here. If you manage to get this far without yawning I officially award you a gold star Imageand thank you for your indulgence.
Last edited by TomEC on June 7th, 2011, 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Much Ado About Nanos

Postby Goober on June 7th, 2011, 12:41 pm

Speaking for myself only;
Yeah I tend to look more towards who's with whom, but I do wonder sometimes about the nanos. Like if someone got their arm taken off and they put it back would the nanos reattach it, or if not would the nanos start to try to remake an arm. If so, then how would they be able to do that?
But after reading your post it has brought up more questions for me to think about, while I re-read the books. I would love to have Lynsay give more flesh to those questions, either in here or in the future books. But I've always said I prefer her Immortals, because I can't stand "emo" people. They annoy me too much for one thing, for another it's refreshing to be able to get a different look on things.
Much like your post has done for me. :)
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Re: Much Ado About Nanos

Postby TomEC on June 7th, 2011, 1:11 pm

Goober wrote:Speaking for myself only;
Yeah I tend to look more towards who's with whom, but I do wonder sometimes about the nanos. Like if someone got their arm taken off and they put it back would the nanos reattach it, or if not would the nanos start to try to remake an arm. If so, then how would they be able to do that?
But after reading your post it has brought up more questions for me to think about, while I re-read the books. I would love to have Lynsay give more flesh to those questions, either in here or in the future books. But I've always said I prefer her Immortals, because I can't stand "emo" people. They annoy me too much for one thing, for another it's refreshing to be able to get a different look on things.
Much like your post has done for me. :)


Thanks G. The post took a long time to write so I'm glad you enjoyed it. :D

I couldn't resist taking a stab at your question about the losing an arm. In an earlier post, Lynsay confirmed that an amputated arm would grow back. I don't really remember if she mentioned the reattachment issue. She might have. If I had to guess, I would say that probably an arm would reattach if you put it back quickly enough. I think it would have to be very quick because the nanos work fast and it wouldn't take long to get past the point of no return.

There are so many questions concerning how the nanos as well as the immortals unique abilities work. I don't suppose I even scratched the surface with the post. Because it's fiction we don't need the answers, but isn't speculation fun? Hopefully others will have thoughts on this subject as well and we'll get a chance to hash them out.

I'm really hoping Lindsay all show up and shed some light on these issues for us. I can always hope. :mrgreen:
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Re: Much Ado About Nanos

Postby Goober on June 7th, 2011, 1:24 pm

it was i always like reading your posts, its they're entertaining and make me- God forbid -think about some things in a different way.
As for trying to find all the answers, i look at it this way, we're doing research for the future possibility use of nanos. I'd like to know if I should go ahead and invest in future tattoos or if I should use the money to start a nice little "immortal nest egg". And while I hate BMW on a cellular level I would like the abilitie to own every model of BMW/MINIs and enroll them in a monster truck show to watch them get bummled. :twisted:
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Re: Much Ado About Nanos

Postby TomEC on August 9th, 2011, 2:10 pm

I've been thinking a little bit more about the subject nanos lately and how they work. I was wondering to myself, if the nanos don't always deal with genetic problems, would that mean that an immortal would be stuck with any genetic-based physical deformity here she might have?

If my theory about the human anatomy being programmed in to some degree is right then there should be a baseline to cover that, otherwise immortals would be plagued by all kinds of genetic problems rather than just a few that directly impact their nature such as in the case of Victor and Vincent. I myself have a couple of slightly malformed fingers on each hand (the ring fingers). It's no big deal and causes no difficulties at all, in fact I hardly notice them. I don't know if the problem is genetic-based or was just something that happened in the womb (a far less extreme case of what happened to the thalidomide babies). I suspect, because of the baseline anatomy most likely programmed into them, that even if the problem were genetic the nanos would still fix my fingers. As I said before, my reasoning on this is because though nanos may not fix genetic problems they must surely compensate for them. I could be wrong, but, unless Lynsay straightens me out, that's what I choose to believe. If this were not the case, because none of us are truly genetically pure, deformities of some sort would be a lot more common among immortals then they appear to be.

Lynsay could step in and straighten me out about this anytime she wants but I'm not sure she would be interested. Obsessing over details like this doesn't appear to be everyone’s thing. Maybe I need therapy.
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Re: Much Ado About Nanos

Postby remusgrrrl on October 11th, 2011, 9:12 am

TomEC - I loved reading your post on Nanos. I think about what they can do also and wonder about how life would be if we had them. I always had issues with other "vampire" novels because they didn't make any sense to me.

Why would they have no reflection? Why have issues with crosses and holy water? What if the vampire was Jewish, or a Hindu? (as to the crosses issue) and Garlic???? Come on.

When I first found the Argeneau books (i believe it was with the Rogue Vampire ones) I was ecstatic to finally find an author who addressed the whole vampire issue using science...I was so excited I told everyone about the book and then proceeded to read every one that was out and sit and wait for more.

I hope Lynsay keeps these books a coming.......
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Re: Much Ado About Nanos

Postby terri on October 21st, 2011, 10:16 am

Hi Remusgrrrl,

Nice to see you on the forum remusgrrrl. I agree whole heartedly that the classic vampire as presented was and is something that's hard for me to swallow as well. The #1 redeeming quality about them is that they're always so darn cute... being perfect and all. LOL

I know I'm biased but I do prefer the nano explanation for immortals. It just makes more sense to me.

TomEC,

Lynsay will be back on the forum but in the meantime I can say this about the nanos concerning genetic issues is that it's only if the nanos can recognize the issue that it can be fixed. So if their was a genetic issue that the nanos recognized as normal, as in the case of Vincent and Victor, then it would be left alone. The nanos fix anything that is not representative of keeping the individual in their prime health... disease, injury, ideal weight, sun damage, etc. As for particulars like are there any genetic issues that would be recognized as being an issue that needed repairing, I don't know but it would be a great experiment in immortal biology.
By extensions you'd think that anything that would affect the health of the forming baby would be fixed in the womb (as long as the mother is immortal) but again the nanos have to recognize it as being an issue first. And as was the case with Leigh, just like with mortal Mothers, immortals mothers loose babies as well.

That help? or did that just raise more questions ? :-)

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Re: Much Ado About Nanos

Postby TomEC on October 21st, 2011, 4:11 pm

terri wrote:Hi Remusgrrrl,

Nice to see you on the forum remusgrrrl. I agree whole heartedly that the classic vampire as presented was and is something that's hard for me to swallow as well. The #1 redeeming quality about them is that they're always so darn cute... being perfect and all. LOL

I know I'm biased but I do prefer the nano explanation for immortals. It just makes more sense to me.

TomEC,

Lynsay will be back on the forum but in the meantime I can say this about the nanos concerning genetic issues is that it's only if the nanos can recognize the issue that it can be fixed. So if their was a genetic issue that the nanos recognized as normal, as in the case of Vincent and Victor, then it would be left alone. The nanos fix anything that is not representative of keeping the individual in their prime health... disease, injury, ideal weight, sun damage, etc. As for particulars like are there any genetic issues that would be recognized as being an issue that needed repairing, I don't know but it would be a great experiment in immortal biology.
By extensions you'd think that anything that would affect the health of the forming baby would be fixed in the womb (as long as the mother is immortal) but again the nanos have to recognize it as being an issue first. And as was the case with Leigh, just like with mortal Mothers, immortals mothers loose babies as well.

That help? or did that just raise more questions ? :-)

Terri


That's a good explanation and I think it does cover some of it. But aren't we, in the end, still talking about a baseline? After all, for example, our genes don't know what our ideal weight is. They're just passing on what we inherited. Some of us are genetically predisposed to an unhealthy weight, usually toward the chubbier and of the scale. Through most of human history, a genetic predisposition to pack on the pounds during the good times would've been an advantage. This wouldn't have been the case with immortals because of their ability to live in a liquid diet, but it would've been for the rest of humanity. I see your point about the nanos needing to recognize something as a problem but, in the end, wouldn't they need something more than just our genes to go on if they were going to recognize anything as a problem? Wouldn't there need to be some kind of built-in, for lack of a better word, intelligence?

Still, I like your explanation for the situation with Victor and Vincent. Also, I imagine some sort of genetic predisposition, causing genes and nanos to interact in unusual ways, would explain the unusual abilities possessed by Marguerite and Stephanie.

Maybe I need therapy, but I get a ridiculous amount of fun out of speculating about this stuff.

Hey Remusgrrrl, I couldn't agree more about the scientific explanation for immortals being preferable. Much of the whole supernatural vampire lore never made any sense to me. If they don't give off any reflection, for example, what about their cloths? What if they were holding something, would it disappear in a mirror? If the vampire were wrapping his arms around you, would that cause your reflection to disappear?

Of course, when it comes to supernatural things, a person just has to say that it doesn't need to make any sense, it's magic. Personally, as much as I love fantasy, it feels like cheating if the magic in the story doesn't operate according to a set of discernible rules. If that's the case then whenever your hero gets into trouble all you need is a quick miracle and everything’s all fixed. Where's the fun in that?
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Re: Much Ado About Nanos

Postby TomEC on August 15th, 2012, 1:43 pm

Here's an interesting question I haven't heard asked before. If anyone else thought of that I missed that post.

Back in the old days, how did immortals explain about nanos to their perspective lifemates?

I ask this because it's all well and good, in these modern times, to explain about the scientific basis of their immortality, about how nanos work and how it all originated in the scientific civilization of Atlantis; but what about that time, centuries ago, when the average person had no real concept of science as we know it today. Armand, for example, met and turned his first lifemate, Susanna, in the early 15th century. He couldn't have just sat her down and explained to her about nanos like he could've in modern times. In those days, ordinary people had no concept of natural laws or advanced technology. Everyone just took for granted that it was all magic.

It would be interesting to know even how immortals who had been born centuries after the fall of Atlantis would have viewed what they were. It's true that they had ones around who remembered the scientific, technological civilization of Atlantis who could've explained such concepts to them but they had grown up in a world where such ideas would've sounded like nonsense. What influence would such circumstances have had?

Did they use the word nano back then? When I hear that word, I just naturally assume that it's derived from the term nanotechnology which was coined by the Tokyo Science University Professor Norio Taniguchi in 1974 but the word nano has been around for a lot longer than that. It's a prefix meaning a billionth (hence the terms nanometer and nanosecond, for example) that is derived from the ancient Greek word nános which means dwarf. Hence, it's actually possible that immortals have been using the term nanos for centuries.

However, it would still be interesting to hear how these concepts were expressed to perspective lifemates during a far less scientific age than the one we live in now. I'm guessing, with a great deal of care.
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Re: Much Ado About Nanos

Postby remusgrrrl on August 15th, 2012, 2:11 pm

I have to say, that is a very interesting question. How would they of explained it. I would think they would of had to say magic or something in order for their prospective mate to understand. I mean, explaining nanos in the now is difficult for some people, also difficult for some to understand, and that is with the science we have now.

I also wonder how the nanos would affect a person if they had a mental illness. Would it correct any chemical imbalance someone had? Or would the nanos see this as something natural?
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