Five Things to Consider Before Killing Your Clone by Sarah Gailey - Tor/Forge Blog




Five Things to Consider Before Killing Your Clone by Sarah Gailey

Two interlocking rings over a blue background—it's the cover of The Echo Wife by Sarah GaileyIt’s common knowledge that, when confronted with your clone, the appropriate response is single combat to the death, but don’t get your knives out just yet! Sarah Gailey, author of The Echo Wife (now available in trade paperback!) would have us consider a less combative solution to the clone dilemma. Check out their thoughts here!

By Sarah Gailey

Navigating a relationship with a clone of yourself is a dicey prospect for even the most experienced of diplomats. You might hope to have made a friend — or perhaps to have discovered a distant doppelgänger who you can conveniently ignore! Unfortunately, it’s vital to remember that your clone might not have your best interests in their genetically-identical-to-yours heart. It’s only natural to jump right to murder when you discover that your clone isn’t as convenient as you’d like them to be, but there are a few things to consider first:

  1. Are you sure that’s a clone? There are plenty of things that seem like clones but aren’t, and murder isn’t always the best option for non-clone duplicates of yourself. If you’re dealing with a version of you that got transported into your dimension, you can simply harness some antimatter and send them back without resorting to violence. If a colony of sentient mushrooms has decided to assume human form and wear the face of the person they admire most, just show the mushrooms a video of a celebrity meeting a rescue dog for the first time to induce a transformation. If a wizard has cursed you to split into two halves of the same whole, just employ a private detective to dig up some leverage that will induce the wizard into knitting you back together. Exploring all your options will ensure that you don’t do something you can’t take back!
  2. Will killing your clone actually solve the problem? Please don’t take this as judgment, because it’s truly not. I also jump to murder as the first possible solution to any given conundrum. But in some select circumstances, it turns out that eliminating the source of your frustrations will not, in fact, eliminate the problem itself. You don’t need to erase your clone from this plane of existence just because they make you feel insecure or even threatened. If you’re struggling to accept the existence of someone who is identical to you in every way except the ones that matter most, consider possible alternatives like trapping them in a labyrinth or cryogenically freezing them for future study!
  3. Will killing your clone make people think you’re dead? This can be disadvantageous if you need people to think of you in a way that scientists describe as ‘alive’. Disposing of biowaste isn’t easy, and you’ll have a lot of difficult questions to answer if anyone finds your clone’s remains. That said, a corpse with your DNA and features can come in handy if you’re looking to socially transition into the role of ‘dead person’. Instead of assuming room temperature yourself, stage an appropriately theatrical scene using your clone (consider studying NBC’s Hannibal for tips on making a memorable tableau!).
  4. Are you sure you can’t work things out? Couples counseling isn’t for everyone, but a licensed family therapist can go a long way toward helping you and your clone sort out the communications issues that are making you think it’s time to punch their ticket. Learn to use healthy language around conflict: “It makes me feel uncertain when you try to assume my identity and eliminate me from reality,” or “I know your love language is quality time, but I do not feel appreciated when I find you sleeping under my bed.”
  5. Are you prepared for the aftermath? Fitting your clone for cement shoes might seem like a fairly simple proposition, but the reality is that murder is a complicated business. Do you have the tools and resources to pull off the job? Are you going to be able to dispose of the evidence in a timely and efficient manner? Are you really the right person to be doing the wetwork? There’s no shame in admitting that you aren’t up for the task! Look in your local Dark Yellow Pages for experienced and affordable professionals who can do all the hard parts for you. Just remember to give them plenty of information about their target beyond a physical description — and maybe consider a vacation until you know the coast is clear.

Order The Echo Wife (in Trade Paperback!) Here:

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5 thoughts on “Five Things to Consider Before Killing Your Clone by Sarah Gailey

  1. This post made me laugh, thanks! I’ll take a closer look at this novel.

    BTW I suggest a 1.5: “Are you sure YOU aren’t the clone?” 😉 It may not fit with the book, but. . . .

    1. I didn’t get to “wait, am I the clone?” realization until a couple of options later, oops 🙂

      I do have a clone, sort of, according to 23&me, because this is The Future. Ok, it’s just a sample done a couple years earlier, but it shows up as my twin brother. And it’s got a different male ancestry haplogroup (because the new version of me has measurements for a couple more ancestry-related genes, which gets them a few thousand years more specific, plus they renamed all the male haplogroup tags.) (Intially this showed up as “my IRL brother has a different male ancestry than I do”, but that was because he’s got the earlier measurement version, and his matches my twin’s.)

      So do make sure you’re not killing a BETTER clone. Unless you’re the Evil Twin, and your cloners left out a “Don’t Be Evil” gene, in which case, go for it.

  2. I heartily recommend “The Phantom of Kansas” by Larry Niven. A landscape artist is violently murdered several times (her “backup” is installed in a new (legal) clone body after each murder), but there is no DNA evidence or prints other than her own at any of the murder scenes. Excellent whodunit, w/a satisfying ending.

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