Sudbury writer Nina Nesseth decodes science behind Orphan Black

You've heard of Fight Club. But do you know about Clone Club?

Official companion to Canadian hit series takes a look at gene therapy, cloning and bioengineering

Nina Nesseth used her biomedical background to co-author 'The Science of Orphan Black' (Markus Schwabe CBC)

You've heard of Fight Club. But do you know about Clone Club?

It's what fans of the Canadian science fiction TV series Orphan Black call themselves.

Sudbury writer Nina Nesseth has co-authored a book with Los Angeles-based PhD student Casey Griffin to unpack some of the science behind the show, which centers on character Sarah Manning, a young woman who discovers that she is a clone after witnessing the suicide of a woman who looks exactly like her.
Nina Nesseth said the project began after being the Clone Club's defacto science writer since the series began. (

Nesseth told CBC's Morning North the book began after a chance meeting at San Diego's Comic-Con with Griffin, another writer and loyal fan.

"We started writing science recaps on the Mary Sue—  a pop culture website—  and we became the resident experts in the fan community," Nesseth said.

"From there we were tapped to write the official science companion to the show."  

Book explains show's brains

Nesseth, who is a self-styled "science nerd," and staff scientist at Sudbury's Science North, said she tried to address any questions fans might have about some of the more cerebral themes in the show. 

"[It's about] science and history of cloning to gene therapy," Nesseth said, "[and] by trying to explain the mysterious disease that affects the clones."

The final season of Orphan Black premieres June 10. "The Science of Orphan Black: The Official Companion" is scheduled for release in August.


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