Are there any stories that treat that theory of evolution correctly?

In my experience, filmed science fiction generally mishandles the theory of evolution. All too often, evolution is spoken of as if it were telelogical, conscious, or random. In the Jurassic Park movie, for instance, Ian Malcolm criticizes the titular park on the grounds that it is arrogant to recreate dinosaurs when nature selected them for extinction; on Star Trek: Voyager, the Doctor was able to correctly postulate what hadrosaurs would look like if they had not gone extinct tens of millions years earlier, without knowing anything about their current environment.

I’m sure there are many more.

Can any of y’all point to examples of the contrary: stories which treat evolution correctly? I expect there will be more text than film/television examples, but I’m open to either.

I haven’t read it yet, but I’m guessing that this probably fits the bill.

“The Bones of the Earth” by Michael Swanwick is about palentologists and has a nice description of how they think - and the dinosaur evolution material seems pretty solid.

“Orphan of Creation” by Roger McBride Allen does fairly accurate things with human evolution.

Greg Egan’s “Teranesia” postulates a souped-up evolution but the reasons behind it and the effects what it happens are not too wild.

This one? No, wait, that can’t be right. How about “Master and Commander” where Paul Bettany collects species of animals on the Galapagos Islands and explains to Russell Crowe about insects disguising themselves so they won’t be eaten by predators?

Good book, I’d recommend it.

I’ll actually give Jurassic Park a pass on this one. Ian Malcom was a mathematician, not a biologist, wasn’t he? And kind of a douchebag, at least if the movie was anything to go by. Entirely in-character for him to assume it justified a ‘meddling in God’s domain’ argument for something he didn’t approve of.

Quibbling aside, the only example I can think of is that sloppy love letter to 80’s SF movies, Doomsday. Scotland is walled off and quarantined after a horrific, fast spreading plague breaks out there. 20 years later, after the cute little girl escapee has had time to grow into the impossibly sexy Rhona Mitra, the plague brakes out again. So, of course she’s sent back to find a cure from the few surviors.

Only there isn’t a cure. The survivors are the rare and lucky ones who were resistant to the plague, and they passed that resistance to their children. And any children who weren’t resistant would have died soon enough. The creepy guy who runs the ‘sustainable technology’ tribe explains this, and I think he got everything right.

They do extract someone at the end, and claim they can synthesize a serum from her. But the guy saying that is a decent bloke who may have just been trying to rescue her. That might even be plausible, I’m not a future-virus-ologist.


It’s a fun movie, if you like that kid of thing. It has fun with all the great 80’s SF tropes, and it avoids all of the ‘she’s tough EVEN THOUGH SHE’S A GIRL!!’ traps that this kind of movie tends to fall into. And everyone involved is clearly having a blast.

Plus, theres a bit where Mitra’s wrists are cuffed over her head while she’s in a wifebeater and all shiny with sweat. So . . . yeah.

Godzilla movies. The original Godzilla of course, not the stupid one, and not the fictional ones only based on the documentaries. Now they only cover a tiny bit of the evolution of giant monsters, but they are spot on in every detail.

The prologue of “Code of the Lifemaker”, by James P. Hogan. (The rest of the book isn’t that great, but the prologue is amazing).

Dragon’s Egg, by Robert L. Forward, contains a description of the evolution of life on a neutron star, correctly portraying natural selection.

Vonnegut’s Galapagos, maybe (I read it along time ago so the details are a bit hazy). The entire human race is wiped out by a plague except for a tiny group stranded on one of the Galapagos islands. Under the selection pressure of the isolated island environment, these eventually evolve into unintelligent seal-like creatures.