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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The assignment for this coming Friday, May 29, is to read Chapters 36-47. In this section, we start to get to some revelations about what is really going on with Garrett's plan, as well as a few more twists and turns, and we meet a character important to Locke. After you've read this section, you might want to check out the links below.

What are your thoughts about Garrett's plan? I've had a few editors say they thought the villain's plot was too unbelievable. As my response to that, I have to say they've never heard of this group: http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/uncategorized/two-members-of-russian-doomsday-sect-die-in-cave_10036093.html

Here's more about the MOP, developed by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which is obviously a real entity: http://www.defenseindustrydaily.com/mopping-up-the-usas-30000-pound-bomb-03172/

And for those who want to know about prions and their deadly effect: http://www.mad-cow.org/~tom/prionSP.html

Here's a nice overhead map of Orcas Island: http://www.nwplaces.com/orcas.html If you look closely on the main map, you can see Massacre Bay (great name, especially for a thriller story) at the north end of West Sound. I thought about putting Garrett's lair on Skull Island (a real island in Massacre Bay), but I thought that was getting a little too close to Dr. Evil territory.
 

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Okay. It took me this long to catch up. I'm surprised to be the first one responding! But I think that others started the book and couldn't put it down! I'm lucky that this book klub has progressed at a rate that I could still take part in some of these discussions.

Wow! What a ride these last few chapters have been! I love the direction the 'Noah's Ark' has taken. I only wish that there was a more literal way to translate...like 'flood' referred to the way the disease overwhelmed the people, or the ancient Hebrew word for flood also could be interpreted as 'pestilence' or something cool like that. I love the way specific versions of the Bible are quoted.

I wish there was a more descriptive way that the scientists were able to engineer the prion to only be infectious to humans. With the (lack of) knowledge that we have about prions, I think this technology would be a long way off. Or I could take it to mean that Garrett just has that much money and devotion to put into the research involved in the development of his humanity eliminator. Chilling.

I disagree with anyone who thinks the villain's plot is not believable. IMHO all it takes is one person with enough money and will to fulfill their crazy ideas. The really creepy thing about is that some of the things Garrett says I agree with: the potential of nuclear war, humanity being on the path to destroying all other life. We are all too lax in our vigilance against destroying the world that sustains us.

About prions: prion diseases are known to be very slow acting. I love it when authors use lesser known agents, which also helps inform or generate interest in something of which people would otherwise not be aware. I am hoping that later the story will explain how this particular prion is able to act so quickly. Maybe it is linked to why these prions degrade so fast. Also, people with certain genetics are more susceptible to prion diseases, and I would think that there would be a part of the population that would naturally be immune, as with other pathogenic organisms. I'm interested to see if this comes up in later in the book, although I would like it if Locke can stop everything in time so that this is a nonissue.

Cadherins--I'm very impressed with the use of this term. It wasn't even in my medical dictionary. I had to look it up in my Animal Cell Culture textbook to find out more about them. A section of my book says, "Epithelial cells are generally more resistant to disaggregation, as they tend to have tighter junctional complexes...holding them together, while mesenchymal cells, which are more dependent on matrix interactions for intercellular bonding, are more easily dissociated." This would mean that the people would dissolve from the inside out and would be a big sack of jelly before their skin would start to come apart, too. Yuck.

I love how well this book is written! I'm really glad that I bought all of your books, Boyd. I hope that you grow into a huge celebrity author, and I can tell people that I knew of you when...

Good times. I can't wait to read some more, but it is waaay past my bedtime and the dryer is beeping at me to fold some clothes! Until next week, all.

PS--I'm totally going to Orcas Island for my next vacation!

EDIT: I hope that I am not coming across as too critical of a great work of fiction. I am just putting the things that are going through my head at the time of me reading the book out there. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hi Frojazz,

You're not being too critical at all. This is exactly the kind of discussion I wanted to generate.

I tried to strike a balance in the scientific explanations. I wanted enough scientific detail to make the effects of the prion disease believable without boring the reader with pages and pages of information that didn't drive the story forward. And of course, this kind of prion disease doesn't actually exist, but I don't think anything I included was actually impossible. I think Garrett was just far ahead of the curve in understanding prion diseases, and instead of using that knowledge to help save lives, he had a more twisted vision.

The other problem an author has is that the more information I give about a fake technology, the easier it is to see the holes in how it would work. Not to mention that I'm neither a prion specialist nor a biologist. So I don't really know how Garrett made the prion act so quickly. Something about speeding up the protein folding sequence, I'm guessing. But I just thought it would be cool if there was a disease that could make people literally dissolve, and this was my attempt to make it plausible. Plus, it seemed to fit the Flood story well, so it was a two-fer.

I felt that what makes Garrett so scary is that he thinks he's doing the right thing. He's so convinced of his righteousness that he can't be reasoned with. He thinks he is the good guy, and that Locke is dooming humanity for trying to stop him, because of the reasons you mentioned.

Thanks for reading with us! I'm so grateful for how supportive everyone on Kindleboards has been, and I can't wait to share my next book.
 

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boydm said:
I tried to strike a balance in the scientific explanations. I wanted enough scientific detail to make the effects of the prion disease believable without boring the reader with pages and pages of information that didn't drive the story forward.

The other problem an author has is that the more information I give about a fake technology, the easier it is to see the holes in how it would work. [...] Plus, it seemed to fit the Flood story well, so it was a two-fer.
I didn't think about that. The more info, the easier it would be to see holes in your theories, and it would slow down the story. You've done well.

boydm said:
I felt that what makes Garrett so scary is that he thinks he's doing the right thing. He's so convinced of his righteousness that he can't be reasoned with. He thinks he is the good guy, and that Locke is dooming humanity for trying to stop him, because of the reasons you mentioned.
I like how you worded this. You hit the nail on the head for me.
 
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