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The Rhesus Factor
Publisher: Double Dragon Publishing | ISBN: 1554042259 | edition 2005 | PDF | 264 pages | 1.64 mb

I bought this book because I really liked the author's Stargate novels. I was expecting something similar but this wasn't science fiction. This was incredibly real, and unbelievably frightening. There's a comment on the jacket cover about events in the novel already happening. The book was published before Hurricane Katrina, and yet there it all is, all spelled out a couple of years before it happened, right down to the failure of state and federal governments to deal with the disaster. This book isn't about New Orleans, though. That's just one paragraph in one chapter. The Rhesus Factor is about the impact of climate change on us as a global society. It charts the systematic breakdown of our health care system, the closure of hospitals, the failure of insurance companies in the light of increasingly devastating weather events, and the subsequent economic crisis that eventually leads to the dispossession of people right across the country. But all of that is just the backdrop. The story itself is about a `stealth virus' that's `quietly become a pandemic', a disease that's inside our DNA. And with well-placed quotes, the author lets us know that the chilling fact is that such viruses actually exist. The story is about the inability of the CDC to deal with the pandemic because of the collapsing US public healthcare system, and it very realistically charts the social, economic and political meltdown that follows. The punch in the stomach comes when you realise that while The Rhesus Factor might be fiction, you only need to pick up a copy of the New York Times or Washington Post and you get a very, very odd feeling that maybe the author had advance copies of these papers before writing the novel. New Orleans is just one example. By the end, you feel like you've been hit with a sledgehammer. This is not just a book I would recommend; it's a book that I think most everyone should read, because we're all on this ride together. I checked out the website, and it seems that even a politician felt the same way. Read this novel, and then try to sleep.

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