Thursday, February 20, 2014
Pandemic by Scott Sigler
If you like: platypuses * the creepy-crawlies * extinction events
Pandemic is the third book in the Infected Trilogy. Five years have passed since Margaret Montoya nuked Detroit in order to prevent the spread of the infection. There has been an ongoing search by the US government to locate the fallen Orbital – to ensure it is no longer functional and obtain it before anyone else does. Unbeknownst to the many crews, other countries seek the alien technology, as well. In fact, not everyone believes that the technology was alien, and some think it is a new super weapon created by the US in the hopes of achieving world domination. The Orbital was not destroyed before it was able to prepare one last canister that contains multiple enhancements on the previous designs. Without the fastidious care and understanding of the original investigation crew, there is no question what discovery of the Orbital’s payload could unleash.
The world five years after an alien invasion is very different from the world before. Though there are those who refuse to accept what happened, many are far better attuned to the danger of the world around them. The resources dedicated to the scientific investigation are substantial. Unfortunately, the lack of new data during the period has allowed people to lose any sense of urgency in creating new defenses. The biggest reason for this is the change in Montoya. Though she has always done everything necessary to fight the infection, the consequences of her actions in the last stand of Contagious have gotten to her. She can no longer separate her personal morality from scientific necessity, and is barely functional because of this. Not only does this leave the investigation without its strongest resource, but it means no one who faced the monsters personally is involved. The scientific leadership is not the only area that has seen change in the past five years. Though the White House has experienced turnover, there are still key individuals in place to inform the new regime of what matters most.
The Infected series has always pushed the limits of doing what is needed no matter what the cost, and Pandemic is no different. From the very beginning, there have been individuals who are able to fight the influence of the triangles and other vectors in order to become key assets in the resistance. Though no one can possible compare to the strength and power of Perry Dawsey, it is a relief to see there are others who will take whatever physical measures necessary to stop their personal conversion and make a difference. In Pandemic, several individuals must make decisions that have a direct impact on the survival of the human race. Some make the easy choice and avoid conflict, receding to places they feel are safe. Others know that safety is a thing of the past. Though no one rushes to commit mass murder, some realize that the Converted must be stopped at all costs. Though the high numbers of casualties are startling, it is the personal actions that are the hardest to take. When it is a close friend or loved one that is changed, it is all the harder to be the one who stops them. Knowing that the person you have loved is gone forever in mind but not in body makes it so much harder to eliminate their final essence. When these people take the necessary steps in order to prevent an extinction event, it makes the cowards seem even worse in comparison. Failing to make a decision is as bad or worse than making the wrong decision in a full scale invasion. One can easily see how much would be different if the original leadership of the resistance had survived, but it is hard to know if they would have truly been able to direct the action any better. The most hope is provided when someone who seems to always act in their own best interest makes the unselfish move, and realizes their own survival is nothing compared to the end game of the invasion. In the end, the greatest mistake of the Orbital was seeking to destroy the human race, because nothing brings out the exceptional warriors like facing the end. No one is stronger than when they know they have nothing left to lose.
If you keep trying to fight the feelings that are overtaking you, read Pandemic.
Sigler, Scott. Pandemic. Crown, 2014. Kindle edition.