While taking a break from writing today to have lunch, I chanced upon an interview in the New York Times with David Toomey. He is the author of the book Weird Life in which he explores the scientific search for life that is completely different from what we normally recognise as life:
[based on] DNA, [with] the same 20 or so amino acids and proteins, and a biochemistry that employs the same chemical pathways and uses liquid water as a solvent. These shared features lead biologists to believe that all familiar life is descended from a single common ancestor and may be represented somewhere on a single phylogenetic tree.
This idea of ‘weird life’ is very much at the heart of Sea of Dreams. It is the confrontation with weird life and the implications of that discovery, or supposed discovery, that drive the story.