Attention Seestras: What We Talk About When We Talk About Clone Club

What We Talk About When We Talk About Clone Club

Orphan Black is one of my favorite shows on television right now. It taps into my fascination with genetics. But how much of it is grounded in reality? According to Gregory E Pence, quite a bit of it!

What We Talk About When We Talk About Clone Club discusses the real science behind the sci-fi drama. It looks at how the genetically identical women can vary in personality, temperament, and sexuality. The book delves into the literary illusions within the show, the history of genetic research and eugenics, the ethics of cloning a human. It also explores personal identity among genetically identical people.

The author is a bioethics expert who does not oppose the cloning of humans. I found his view point interesting. The arguments against it seem to say a lot about humanity. Basically, people suck. Regular made humans would look at clones as experiments, slaves, freaks, if past history is anything to go by. If Orphan Black has shown us anything, it's that clones are people too, and shouldn't be treated as less than human.

The science of Orphan Black is sound, with a few exceptions- human cloning hasn't happened yet, the Neolutionists genetic modification is implausible. It references genetic research's dark history to build plot. Orphan Black is a worst case scenario example of what science can do with cloning.

There is no doubt Dr Pence is a Orphan Black superfan. Talk About Clone Club is fan (non) fiction. He knows this show inside and out. He calls the clone characters "seestras." He even has some suggestions for future episodes.

I found What We Talk About When We Talk About Clone Club to be an easy to understand and interesting book. I did think he could have left out some of his examples the references to famous people as clones. There were a lot of them. "If X were cloned, their clone would be expected to be Y." Also, the whole book is a spoiler for seasons 1 through 3. So, catch up on your viewing before reading it!

I would recommend this to any Orphan Black fan who is interested in the science behind the show.

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy. All opinions are my own.


  1. I feel ashamed that I have not watched any episodes of Orphan Black yet. Even without having seen it, this does sound interesting. I am just curious to read his viewpoint for why human cloning is ethically okay.

    1. I probably can't explain it as well as he can. He thinks people should have all the options available to have children. He's an excellent debater about it. He gives all the sides of the argument and still comes out pro.

  2. Oh fun! I need to catch up on the third season of this show -- I like to binge on it, rather than watching week to week, so I've let myself fall behind.

  3. I haven’t watched this show at all, and I haven’t had any interest to do so. Having said that, I’ve never really bothered to discover what it’s actually about. So I’m REALLY glad you wrote about this book because now I want to watch the show (and read the book). Would you say it’s fairly accessible for people who have no idea about science things?

    1. It's definitely accessible! There's mystery and action. It's funny sometimes too. And Tatiana Maslany is so good!


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