Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Demon In The Freezer Written by: Richard Preston

I'm a little torn on this book, really I am. I loved Richard Preston's previous book I read "The Hot Zone", but this one was missing a lot of the fluidity that the other one told. It jumped around a bunch, and had a lot of people descriptions that seemed to fluff up the book to make it longer. Now, that being said. I did find the topic of the book incredibly fascinating. Or, rather I should says "topics." This book covered both Anthrax and Smallpox, both quite scary, both natural occurrences at one point, and one now "extinct from nature." As I read this book I was trying to piece the two scary agents together, but they did not completely mesh, but where it does latch on proves to be quite terrifying. I am pretty sure now, I would rather die by a gunshot wound, or some other bash, smash, cut, type of death than anything virus related. The author again describes in ghastly detail just exactly how people who suffered from both Anthrax and Small pox died, and Ladies and Gents, it aint pretty. I mean, I cannot believe the world up until the 1970's had such a natural virus that was so common amongst the world over. I remember as a child asking both my grandparents and parents about their odd markings on their arms. Only to later learn they were actually scars from smallpox vaccinations. I remember learning about this virus in school as a kid, but very little on the detail and the war on this virus was ever told. It really is incredible. I also was thinking while reading "Why can't we just get rid of all the viruses in the world? Wouldn't that be nice?" Granted, that's not likely to ever be possible, and just some nice little fantasy, but the book also stated "Viruses are an essential part of nature." Now, I'll let you decide, but if they are an essential part of nature and crowd control then...was it right to wipe out the Pox virus just because humans value their lives more? I don't know. Was it the right things? Did humanity screw something up?

Another thing that terrifies me is I recently heard on the news that again the scientists of the world gathered and decided "To not destroy the remaining existing strands of the Pox Virus" They are afraid other countries even their own countries still have their own stocks and are manufacturing bio-weapons.... Scary, but entirely possible especially when in this book the author quotes a scientist saying. "It disturbed him that he could make such a powerful virus, but he also felt excited." These scientists create viruses to look for cures, they make super viruses and it is legal on certain viruses... yes they're terrified but it seems that they are also enlightened like someone who just cannot look away from the sun even though it is burning their eyes! I felt a chill go down my spine at this scientists reaction. Actually, I felt a body jolt over a lot of this book. The conclusion of this book is something that no horror novelist can ever fully grasp in their stories. Because, at the end of the day most of theirs are just that stories, fiction. This however is quite real. Nature has created these awesome viruses that at the end of the day most of us do not have a prayer with surviving. The world wiped out smallpox in the general population, but Mr. Preston reminds us the dream of total eradication failed. I will not quote his final sentence I will let you decide if you agree with him or not. The book was a good gateway to learn more about these topics and to do your own research, or just enjoy a scary as anything book and then move on. Either way in a twisted way I enjoyed yet again learning from Richard Preston.

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