Inspiration for Mutation

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My own map of Lough Ree, during the first draft planning.
AMills blog
The closed Atlantic Mills plant, where I originally got the idea for Mutation.

Sadly, the plant closed in 1998. The above picture was taken by me in 2016. This shows the area I was working in back in 1997.


Due to a very busy life on the road, I had given up reading novels for years. But one day I was in Eason’s bookshop in O’Connell Street, Sligo and I came across the late Michael Crichton’s novel Congo. I read the back cover and flipped through the pages. I loved the story line but what really intrigued me was the bibliography at the back. I realised I wanted to do similar. But it was still years later until that seed in my mind became anything other than a dream.

I was in Atlantic Mills in Longford, a real textile plant. We had to lift out aerators at the back of the plant. It was part of the system for cleaning up the effluent from the denim manufacturing plant. I was fascinated to hear from the electrician that they used bacteria to aid the process.

I read up on the subject and the kernel of an idea began to form in my mind. Bacteria were fascinating, I discovered. And when I came across an article about genetic engineering and that scientists were beginning to genetically engineer bacteria to aid in the fight against pollution, I was hooked. From that came Dr. Mae Wan Ho’s book Genetic Engineering, dream or nightmare? The brave new world of bad science and big business:

I found references in other works to the fear of releasing ‘laboratory monsters’ into the ecosystem. I originally names the novel Transmutation, then Dark Waters until I finally settled on Mutation


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