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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  527 ratings  ·  50 reviews
In an idyllic Long Island community, paleobiologist Richard Sinclair is one of the first to suspect that the environment has begun to wage bloody, terrifying war on humanity. What initially appear to be random, unrelated events are actually violent eruptions in a worldwide biological chain reaction. Along with a brave group of survivors, Sinclair must learn to understand ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 1st 1999 by Avon Books (first published 1998)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  527 ratings  ·  50 reviews

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May 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Scientist and marine archaeologist Dr Charles Pellegrino turns his hand to this thought provoking eco-horror story. At time it might seem that the author gets bogged down in scientific explanation but to many this will only serve to back up the chilling spiral of events with a plausible reason for the reader to think: Oh, but this could happen... couldn't it?
The insects are disappearing and the ecological repercussions are devastating. A group of scientists provide some of the focus of the book
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
I thought I would never finish this book. And its not because the science could drag the story down while preaching at you at the same time; the 'story' part was just so bad. There was no possible way to feel any thing for any of the characters, they were all one dimensional and tedious. I gave it two stars because the science was pretty scary. It was also cool that all the characters were real people even though the way Pellegrino wrote them they would be insufferable to meet.
Mar 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi
This is one of the few books that I've read twice. Dust is a "what if" tale that is less "what if" and more like a "when" kind of apocalyptic, precognition of how quickly life as we know it could disappear in the advent of an environmental melt-down. In this case it is the disappearance of insects. The author is an underwater archaeologist and scientific "gadfly". His premise that something goes amiss causing the demise of the earth's insect population and the subsequent domino effect if ...more
Jul 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Apocolyptic page turner based on real facts where the arachnids take over the world. Scary!
If you are into science and love a mystery thriller also then this book is for you. Its not for the weak however since it is based in science fact it tends toward the truly chilling side of the spectrum. Yep, global warming and climate change are one thing, but what if all the insects died? What if this story is based on actual fossil record that indicate every 33 million years or so there is an insect die
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked this scenario of one way that the Earth could get rid of us, its pestilent virus. Many reviewers said they did not care for the scientific explanations; I don't know why. They may be the type of reader that thinks this, or something similar, could never happen to human civilization.
I'm fascinated by insects, and admire their role in ecology. Insects are our friends, despite our efforts to eradicate them. This book demonstrates just how much of a treasure we have in the Earth's insects,
David Keaton
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Michael Crichton on steroids, which makes sense considering it was this author's research, not Crichton's (along with a well-timed Omni magazine article), that led to the hugely successful Jurassic Park books and films. This novel has to be the best thriller to combine the collapse of ecosystems with evolution and ant research and DNA sequencing and global politics and comets and the nuclear arms race and vampire bat guano and mass extinctions and a rise in value on commodities markets due to ...more
Jim Vuksic
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Dust provides a unique perspective on the potential biological disaster that could result from modern man's aggressive and ever more effective efforts to destroy bacteria, crop damaging insects, and indoor and outdoor pests.
I did not even know what a paleobiologist was until I read this book.
Now, whenever I instinctively prepare to step on or swat an annoying flying or crawling creature, I remind myself that they are here for a reason and that every action has a consequence - sometimes
Tanya C.
Oct 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book scared me quite a bit. Some of the early "warning signs" that are referenced in this book, are actually already happening in our world. The decline in bee and bat populations, break outs of urban mites...

The author is an incredibly learned scientist and really knows his stuff so most of the book felt perfectly plausible in a lot of ways - which made it even more scary. There were times when the scientific jargon got a bit heavy (in particular when they follow the Darwin probe) but I
This book may not be the best writing on the planet, but it does take a fairly accurate look at what could happen should all the insects disappear - the collapse of ecosystems, food crops, the economy and ultimately civilization. The book is rather interesting, scarey and thought provoking. The author doesn't provide all the answers and the reader needs to pay attention. It does not have zombies! (despite the prions). It does have some unusual voracious, hungry critters. Most of the science ...more
Glen Robinson
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has got to be one of my favorite books of all time. And if you saw the size of my personal library, you would realize that is saying a lot. I am a fan of science fiction, and as the description says, this book is written in the spirit of a Michael Crichton thriller. A environmental disaster is traced back to a collapse of the world's ecosystem, with gaps in the natural order of things leading to horrific results and threatening all mankind. A must read for anyone interested in environmental ...more
Michael Kerwin
This book is absolutely amazing. Charles Pellegrino takes disparate but insanely interesting scientific facts on such diverse topics as DNA sequencing, evolution, ants, nuclear weapons, politics, human nature, vampire bats, species extinction, comets, and interstellar exploration and turns it into a compelling novel, where the science doesn't overwhelm the plot or character development.

This is a must-read for anybody interested in what may happen to our planet if we don't put all of our
General Drachen
Jan 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! I was honestly caught by surprise by this book. I feel like the plot synopsis really does not do all of what happens in this book justice - and even seems to indicate that this book ends on a happy note (spoilers: it does not).

Having just finished another book, "Cold Plague," which was a viral techno-thriller, I was expecting more of the same. But this book went with the unexpected apocalypse route - complete with nuclear warfare.

The basic premise of the book (the cyclical-seeming nature of
Nov 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Scary stuff, because it could really happen. Better think twice before your out in your yard spraying for bugs. We need them more than they need us.
Elizabeth Brown
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of all time
Bryan Brown
Jan 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Thought provoking for sure!
Charles Metzner
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As I understand it, Charles Pellegrino, just as a throw away, provided for Michael Creighton the pivotal concept of prehistoric mosquito crystallized as a fossil in amber, which obviously became used to maximum effect in Creighton's Jurrasic Park -- a book that started as a movie and has now blossomed into a movie with franchise. The research section alone rivaled the size of the book. I was extremely impressed with the concept of this "What if...?" tale, as the author defended its plausibility ...more
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The change began silently, imperceptibly, relentlessly. A cascade of destruction begins, a column of ecological dominos stretching to every corner of the globe toppled by one careless push. Before anyone realizes it, the biosphere has utterly transformed itself -- and the world as we know it is gone.

Paleobiologist Richard Sinclair is one of the first to suspect that Gaia has begun to wage total war on humanity. What initially seem to be random, unrelated events are in fact violent eruptions in a
Todd Martin
Dec 04, 2008 rated it liked it
“Dust” is an apocalyptic science fiction novel brought on by the disappearance of … bugs! Small creatures that we ignore or consider annoying most of the time yet are responsible for the functioning ecosystem on which our lives depend.

A scientist himself, Pellegrino infuses the book with more science than most science fiction novels contain which adds authenticity to the text. He is also very adept with his description of the decline into chaos that occurs with the collapse of civilization …
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I read this book a long time ago, but I still remember the themes vividly, as it was so well-written, well-researched and unique! I love insects and entomology, and it's not every day you get an entomologist for a hero. Also cool is how at the end of the book, he goes into detail about the more amazing of the events and plot points and if they're really true, explains all the science behind it. I think I enjoyed the appendix almost as much as the story.

I almost forgot - I think this is well
May 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: age-adult, 2004, sci-fi
I like books about the end of the world, and this one was no exception. It seemed more like the lack of insects caused major ecological havoc than the strange carnivorous dust... The theory that every so often insects will completely die out, which will then affect the life that eats insects as well as plants that depend on them for pollination, leading to the deaths of animals that eat plants or small insect-eating mammals and in this chain result in mass extinction a la the dinosours, really ...more
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
The premise of the book is interesting, earth coming to the brink of another mass extinction caused by the disappearance of insects. The author is a scientist and the book is an excuse to expound the science. There is little plot and the whole thing reads more like a textbook than science fiction.

In general, scientists do not make the greatest novelists. I will skip this author in the future.
Jan 06, 2017 rated it liked it
Not half bad apocalypse thriller which combines Jurassic Park style dino speculations with inherited extinction-level events and a dash of talk-show psychomania from the alt-right. Quite thrilling in places, and certainly worth a look if you like your Stephen King with a little more science in the mix.
Aug 14, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm not a scientist, so I don't know how realistic this book is. However, it definitely made me think about the delicate balance that our ecosystem exists in. I found it very well-written and interesting, a good story as well as an important warning.
Sep 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Pretty grim and kind of scary. I liked the part where they talked about the rise in value on commodities market followed by the lower of property values that happens just before the collapse of civilization as we know it.

Jonathan Penny
May 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
It’s been years since I read this but it is still timely. It is what I consider to be an important book. Like Crichton, Pellegrino uses real science to make you think. Be prepared to be horrified as Pelligrino confronts you with the prospects of a terrifying and very plausible “what if.”
Anne (w/ an E)
Not a bad story. I thought there was a little too much information that may or may not have been necessary to the story. I also realized that I am not as interested in apocalyptic stories as I thought. I was hoping to find out what happened AFTER "the end"![post-apocalyptic]
Donna Baier
Jan 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone and Everyone
Recommended to Donna by: daughter
One of the most fascinating books I have ever read. It is about our ecology and how the loss of something like a type of bat can affect the whole system. It is a fiction about the end of the world due to our ecological system being destroyed by us. Highly recommend to everyone.
Feb 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was ahead of it's time- a completely different take on the apocalyptic story, before they became so highly mainstream. Charles Pellegrino clearly knows a great deal about many different subjects, and blends that all into a great scientific thriller that leaves you thinking.
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it
This would have been a great book if it had not gotten so bogged down in scientific jargon. I found myself skimming. The back of the book where the author talks about things based on truth is probably the most interesting.
Kelly O.
Sep 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
massive bug extinction points to impending collapse of eco-systems world-wide. there is also an awfully extensive discussion of mounds of bat guano. and finally, a dirigible, that in the end, might save the day. such a movie.
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Charles Pellegrino is a scientist working in paleobiology, astronomy, and various other areas; a designer for projects including rockets and nuclear devices (non-military propulsion systems), composite construction materials, and magnetically levitated transportation systems; and a writer. He has been affiliated with Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand National Observatory, Brookhaven ...more
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“Historically, the Germans had a habit of associating the names of objects with the sounds they made. After bell makers-turned-cannon-makers learned that by closing off the mouth of the cannon before lighting the fuse, the entire cannon could be made to explode, the device they invented became known as the 'bum' (for boom!). In keeping with this tradition, the first one-thousand-pound bomb was dubbed 'ein laussen bum' (meaning, "a loud boom"). After the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, they called the fission device 'ein grossen laussen bum' (or, "a big loud boom"). The next obvious step was the fusion, or H-bomb, which was pronounced 'ein grossen laussen bum all ist kaput!” 0 likes
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