The Pharyngula Mutating Genre Meme

Here’s an interesting experiment from the mind of Pharyngula, exploring the idea of memes. But more importantly, it’s a fun little game. Here it is …


There is a set of questions below, all of the form , “The best [subgenre] in [genre] is…”.

Copy the questions. Before answering them, you may modify them in a limited way, carrying out no more than two of these operations:

> You can leave them exactly as is.

> You can delete any one question.

> You can mutate either the genre, medium or subgenre of any one question. For instance, you could change “The best timetravel novel in SF/ Fantasy is…” to “The best timetravel novel in Westerns is…” , or ”the best timetravel movie in SF/Fantasy is…, or ”The best Romance novel in SF/Fantasy is…”

> You can add a completely new question of your choice to the end of the list, as long as it is still in the form “The best [subgenre] in [genre] is…”.

> You must have at least one question in your set, or you’ve gone extinct, and you must be able to answer it yourself, or you’re not viable.

Then answer your possibly mutant set of questions.

Please do include a link back to the ‘parent’ blog you got them from, to simplify tracing the ancestry, and include these instructions.

Finally, pass it along to any number of your fellow bloggers.

Remember though: your success as a Darwinian replicator is going to be measured by the propagation of your variants, which is going to be a function of both the interest your well-honed questions generate, and the number of successful attempts at reproducing them.


My great-great-grandparent is Pharyngula.

My great-grandparent is The Flying Trilobite.

My grandparent is Leslie’s Blog.

Papa is The Meming of Life.




Pharyngula says:

  • The best time travel novel in SF/Fantasy is…The Anubis Gates, by Tim Powers.
  • The best romantic movie in historical fiction is…Cold Mountain.
  • The best sexy song in rock is…Gloria, by Patti Smith.


The Flying Trilobite says:

  • The best time travel novel in SF/Fantasy is: Hyperion by Dan Simmons.
  • The best romantic movie in scientific dystopias is: Gattaca (1997)
  • The best sexy song in rock is: #1 Crush by Garbage from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet soundtrack
  • The best cult novel in Canadian fiction is: JPod by Douglas Coupland (2006)


Leslie’s Blog mutated it to:

  • The best timetravel television in SF/Fantasy is: Heroes
  • The best romantic movie in scientific dystopia is: THX 1138
  • The best sexy song in traditional is: “Chan Chan” by the Buena Vista Social Club

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

THE MEMING OF LIFE’s mutation:

  • The best romantic movie in scientific dystopia is: THX 1138
  • The best sexy song in traditional is: “Chan Chan” by the Buena Vista Social Club
  • The best satirical movie in comedy is: Life of Brian

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

And the Friendly Humanist’s contribution:

  • The best romantic novel in scientific dystopia is: The Dispossesed
  • The best sexy attire in traditional is: the codpiece
  • The best satirical movie in comedy is: Life of Brian


Now to propagate it:

I’ll see if the Friendly Atheist picks the meme up from me before he gets it from Meming of Life. (What does sexual competition look like in meme-propagation? Will it matter to Hemant that his blog inspired my blog, right down to the title?)

And in the parenting line, perhaps AgnosticMom would like a go.

Another parent, at A Mindful Life – like me, she probably doesn’t have time for this sort of thing.

A recently out humanist who has recently grappled with creationism, ThinkTooMuch could probably use the time playing with his fellow freethinkers.

Finally, I’ll try to pass on my memes to the top of the critical-thinking food chain: Ben over at Bad Science would probably enjoy this.


4 Responses to “The Pharyngula Mutating Genre Meme”

  1. Hugo Says:

    Oi…. …oi…Two mutations I’m allowed… and two only. I’m going to need them. Romantic novel in scientific dystopia?! I clearly haven’t read widely enough yet…Some time. I’m going to need some time to find a viable mutation. 😉

  2. kathryn Says:

    My head hurts from trying to read this! I appreciate the invitation and if my head doesn’t explode from lack of sleep I may try it. No guarantees, though. 🙂

  3. leslie Says:

    Hi, this is your Grandmother. How come you never call??Seriously, in a non-serious way, Leslie here from Leslie’s Blog. I am so pleased to see that I am not the only person whose reaction to this meme is “my head hurts”.What good fun. I will come back to visit. Just thought I’d say hi!

  4. Hugo Says:

    For the record, there’s an error in the ancestry. Pharyngula is grandfather to The Flying Trilobyte, not father… Metamagician and the Hellfire club was dropped from the genealogy…

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