DOASKDOTELL BOOK REVIEW of Pandemic by Daniel Kalla


Author (or Editor): Kalla, Daniel

Title: Pandemic

Fiction? Anthology?  F

Publisher:  Tor

Date:  2005

ISBN:  076535084X

Series Name:

Physical description: paperback, mass market   407 pg

Relevance to DOASKDOTELL:  terrorism


This is a first novel by Canadian emergency room physician Daniel Kalla. It does bring to mind the work of Michael Chrichton, although the narrative style is rather simple and straightforward as an omniscient observer, jumping around among characters and worldwide geographical settings, including Somalia, Egypt, London, and the White House as well as Homeland Security.

The premise is that a superflu breaks out, first in China, and then spreads quickly, first to London, and then to Chicago. We remember the “superflu” of Stephen King’s The Stand. Of course, the obvious reference is to the “bird flu” now in Southeast Asia, which really could cause a Spanish-flu style pandemic. He uses the acronym ARCS (acute respiratory collapse syndrome) where the lung fill with gunk with a galloping pneumonia. He makes medical comparisons to SARS. An important plot point concerns the relative contagiousness of the disease.  Terrorists have spread the disease with a suicide “victim” and then work on increasing its contagiousness with an aerosolized form. In comparison to Ebola, there is little hemorrhaging are organ liquefaction. At one point, the president give in to demands that the United States leave Muslim areas, a reaction that seems unconvincing. What it terrorists could re-engineer HIV to make it more “contagious”? Of it they could create and handle something like Ebola Reston?

ABC  premiered a television film “Fatal Contact: Bird Flu in America" on Tuesday May 9, 2006 at 8 PM EDT. A pandemic starts with a businessman returning from Hong Kong, and he becomes "the index case." Joey Richardson and Stacey Keach star.

(Apparently no relation to the Hallmark film “Pandemic” directed by Armand Mastroianni.)

Related: movies about 9/11 and epidemics; Pandemic film Judith Miller’s Germs   


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