Friday, May 8, 2009

The Third Pandemic

The Third Pandemic by Pierre Ouellette was originally published in 1996. My mass market paperback copy has 403 pages. The Third Pandemic is an excellent example of a book that could easily have been outdated a few years after publication but the author, Ouellette, was prescient enough to write a good book with some staying power. There were a few little facts that dated the book, such as a brief mention that the internet was dependent on the phone system (pg. 302), but certainly not enough to not recommend the book. Obviously, the subject is relevant today, even to the relatively brief mention of the media doing special reports of the outbreak, only for a good reason in this case. The characters weren't especially well developed - there were several of them, including the bacteria, and maybe a little too much jumping from one character to the next at the beginning - but all in all it was an enjoyable book. Recommended

Synopsis from back cover:
The disease starts out like a cold - and soon turns deadly. It is caused by a highly communicable, wildly aggressive bacteria that is immune to all know antibiotics, it will kill sixty percent of the global population within one year... At this point it is just a theory - a brilliant, highly credible bit of research by California scientist Dr. Elaine Wilkes. Then, a world away, a bizarre confluence of events makes it real. As the fatal epidemic races toward America's shores, communications crumble, the dead pile up, and the law of the streets takes over. In the midst of the madness.... a psychopathic genius readies the final, stunning blow.
"The metal detector screeched nastily as Philip Paris passed through the electronic security portal. The last thing he expected was that the power would still be on here." opening

"The tribe went by the name of Salmonella, a form of bacteria legendary for stalking the poultry of the world. But this particular tribe had recently endured a horrific battle against a devious chemical called tetracycline, which crippled, shriveled, and decimated their number." pg. 7

"Some time back, he had made the right connections and worked his way into the Virtual Reality Surgery Center out of Stanford. He knew the jargon, he knew the medicine, and he studied each procedure with great care before he participated." pg. 24

" 'I got a little sick,' she whispered. 'Then I got a little sick again. And again.'
Paris went into full alert. she had that stare, that terrible stare. He'd seen it many times on the street, with gunshot and accident victims." pg. 31

"There's been five more cases since her E. coli. all the same strain. The lab reports are still coming in. The public health people are already on it." pg. 33

"The world had now come out of a pleasant fifty-year slumber, when infectious diseases seemed flat on their backs, and awakened to find them making an insidious comeback." pg. 47

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