Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Let's Get Scientifical #4: Immortal or...What?

Welcome to Unwritten's February blog event! Of course, this is the month of love, so I wanted to celebrate that theme as I've done in year's past. But this year, I've decided to add a scientific spin to it. All month long, talented authors from several genres will write about some aspect of love from their books as it relates to science. It could be social, psychological, biological, or anything in between. Our blog event is sponsored by "HMC by Kate", a fabulous independent jewelry crafter. Kate's giving away one of her very beautiful necklaces that I think fits our theme perfectly. She's also offering everyone who stops in a 10% discount on any item from her Etsy store. Be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post and check out her lovely offerings! Without further ado, please welcome our guest author:

Immortal or...What?
Mysti Parker

Earth is full of strange creatures, and from our human perspective, some of them can live for an extraordinarily long time. Take the giant tortoise, for instance. Harriet, the Galapagos Island gal known as "Darwin's Tortoise", lived to be the ripe old age of 176 before she ascended to the big veggie tray in the sky at the Australia Zoo in Queensland.

There are even stories of a Japanese koi goldfish named Hanako who lived to be 226. Another sea critter, Ming the deep sea clam, lived to be 507, but met an untimely end when scientists accidentally dug him up and froze him. Oops. Who knows how long that guy might have lived, or how tough he would be in clam chowder...

But is anything truly immortal? As a fantasy romance writer who is smitten with all things Legolas, I had to give that some thought, especially when it came to elven nookie and reproduction.

We all know elves are usually depicted as immortal beings ever since Galadriel appeared on the pages of Tolkien's classics. Personally, I found that a little lofty of an ambition for the elves of Tallenmere. So, I decided to give pure-blood elves the nice long lifespan of exactly one thousand years, barring death from illness or injury. If a lucky elf happened to reach his/her 1000 year birthday, er...deathday, instead of mourning, the family had a nice big celebration, even a parade if they could afford it. You'll see a depiction of one such party in Hearts in Exile

Then there still existed the problem of how elves of Tallenmere might reproduce. In a thousand years, if lady elves were to ovulate every month like us human females, there might be an overpopulation of little pointy-eared brats running amok in Leogard's streets. Entirely too messy and loud. 

I could have resorted to the tactics of Turritopsis dohrnii, also known as the Immortal Jellyfish, now regarded as the only truly immortal creature on Earth. Once it reaches maturity and reproduces, so long as it doesn't end up in the belly of a fish, it reverts back to it's polyp (or baby) stage on the ocean floor and starts its life cycle all over again. Theoretically, this could go on for the luckiest of jellies for eternity.

But for elves...that's just weird, plus they could still theoretically keep reproducing forever too, thus still adding to the surplus pointy-eared population. Therefore, I chose a more logical path for my elven couples. Female elves in Tallenmere can have only three children during their 1000 years. Should one or all children die in war, etc, well sorry, but that's all they get. This makes it especially important for a good match to be made, and you can be certain there is plenty of political and personal scheming in that arena.

What about the male elves, you ask? There is no limit to their reproductive abilities, so you can imagine there is more than one little bastard elf running about Tallenmere. Figures, doesn't it? Men are so lucky. 

Mysti Parker is a wife, mother, and shameless chocoholic. While her first love is romance, including an award-winning historical soon to be published, she enjoys writing flash fiction (the weirder the better) and children's stories. She resides in Buckner, KY with her husband, three children and too many pets.

Social Links:

Grab a copy of A Ranger's Tale, first book in the Tallenmere series: (FREE at all links)


This beautiful handmade necklace from HMC by KATE

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I like the idea of needing a good match and only getting 3 children in 1000 years. Hmmm, how long do those terrible two's and the teenage years last?

    1. Thankfully not long, in elven perspective :) . They're adolescents by 20 and grown by 30 or so.

  2. Got the three down, but think I'll need to see the light before negotiating the 1,000.


***NOTICE*** Thanks to a spam bot infestation, every comment must now be subjected to a full-body search. If you pass, you can skip the anal probing...maybe.