Real science inspires Dennis Meredith's thriller novels

Alien werewolves, blue cats, and rebellious robots might seem just wild sci-fi fantasies. But to novelist Dennis Meredith they’re creative extrapolations of the real science of multidimensional universes, genetic engineering and artificial intelligence. He’s a veteran science communicator who has worked at such renowned research centers as Caltech, MIT, Cornell, and Duke. He also holds degrees in chemistry and science writing.

Meredith with werewolf

So, when Meredith decided to write science fiction, he naturally drew on that real-world experience to spin out his tales. For example, his novel The Cerulean’s Secret imagines a future of genetic engineering in which companies can create and sell amazing, exotic pets, including a gorgeous blue cat. And his novel The Neuromorphs projects a future of artificially intelligent androids that programmers inadvertently give free will. The robots decide to eliminate those pesky, inefficient biological life forms called humans.

His latest novel, Mythicals, might seem to stray far afield from such hard science. Meredith dubs it a scifi/fairy tale that asks questions: “What if all the creatures of myth and legend—like fairies, pixies, werewolves and ogres—were real?” And, “What if they were aliens exiled to the planet for their transgressions?”

“Basically, I came up with this weird notion of real mythical creatures and then decided to put a science fiction spin on it,” said Meredith. “The plot depends on such real physical theories as parallel universes and that evolution could give rise to intelligent species through very different paths. So, in other universes there really could be intelligent werewolves and fairies and such.”

In fact, Meredith is so dedicated to conveying real science that, like all of his works, Mythicals includes a bibliography on his website of articles where readers can find out about the real science behind the book.

Kirkus Reviews has dubbed Mythicals a “wickedly clever adventure” and “a meticulously orchestrated genre mashup with an urgent, heartfelt message.” The novel has also garnered honors, including a medallion award from the Book Readers Appreciation Group, and being named a finalist in the Eric Hoffer Book Awards.

The novel’s environmental message arises from the plot in which the alien “mythicals” decide that the natives of their exile planet are ruining its ecology, and that the “terminal species” must be eradicated. The fairies and pixies are against it; the werewolves are for it; the vampires and ogres are undecided. And a mysterious cabal called the Pilgrims also poses a planetary threat.

“What’s more, there’s a huge plot twist that I won’t reveal, but which almost no readers have seen coming,” says Meredith mysteriously.

Meredith has written seven novels, and he promises more to come. “At last count, I’ve got more than two dozen plot ideas buzzing around in my head, so I’ll be busy for quite a long time,” he declares.