Charissa's Reviews > The Hot Zone: The Terrifying True Story of the Origins of the Ebola Virus

The Hot Zone by Richard   Preston
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's review
Oct 22, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fic, apocalypse, dystopia, crack, all-time-faves, a-top-ten
Recommended to Charissa by: Satan
Recommended for: people who don't need to sleep well at night

** spoiler alert ** Holy fuck. This book will make you want to wash your hands... a lot. Also, you may feel compelled to go out and purchase your own HAZMAT suit. Try not to read this book before bed. It may cause some unsettling dreams. Like... dreams about your internal organs liquifying and bleeding out of your eyeballs. I don't know, I found that kind of unsettling. This book has singlehandedly accomplished my vow to never visit Africa. Mostly because Africa is a giant continent filled with monkey pox and malarial insects. Does that make me a big namby pamby puddin head? That's okay. I'm comfortable with that. I'm fine with staying places on the globe where I'm less likely to scrape my hand on bat guano and die a horrible, convulsive, putrifying death 36 hours later. I'm funny that way.

Also, in combination with the book 'The Coming Plague' by Laurie Garrett, with reading this I became convinced that our destruction as a species will come not at the tragedy of nuclear annihilation, which I had feared my entire conscious life... but instead through tiny, virulent microorganisms which will become eternally mutating flesh-eating death machines, ripping through our communities until there's nothing left but rotting jelly. I have felt much more relaxed about life since then.

Pass the echinacea.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
January 1, 2003 – Finished Reading
October 22, 2007 – Shelved
December 19, 2007 – Shelved as: non-fic
December 19, 2007 – Shelved as: apocalypse
December 19, 2007 – Shelved as: dystopia
December 19, 2007 – Shelved as: crack
January 8, 2008 – Shelved as: all-time-faves
December 17, 2013 – Shelved as: a-top-ten

Comments (showing 1-30 of 30) (30 new)

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Michael _Deadly Feasts_ is another winner. After working with viruses for several years, I'm strangely more scared about prions...

message 2: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant Nice one #2 on the same day, you're on a roll Charissa. The science fiction version of "tiny, virulent microorganisms which will become eternally mutating flesh-eating death machines, ripping through our communities until there's nothing left but rotting jelly" is called Blood Music by Greg Bear and is well worth reading. It takes the whole idea to truly insane lengths.

Charissa Ohhh... Michael... prions... yes. I studied them in my science block in my BA program. Wrote a whole paper on BSE. Those things are freaky. But you have to come in direct contact with them. I'm more worried about things that are airborne. :::shudder:::

Paul... ooooo... I'll have to look for that one. Yay, another scary apocalypse book! Who needs to sleep anyway?

Michael We've had two suspected CJD samples come through my lab in the past. Maybe it's only ME that has reason to be scared ... unless any of you hunt elk? ;)

Michael Creutzfeld-Jakob (sp). The guy who died in Colorado a few years back... his sample came through my lab and we stood back and let it go straight to the state health dept. NOT OUR PROBLEM!

David There's also a recent book "The Family that Couldn't Sleep" which covers similar ground.

Though I did like 'Deadly Feasts' better.

Michael Oh, I heard about them on NPR! I'll check it out.

Charissa CJD is a naturally occurring anomaly in mammals. It's only a real problem when cannibalism is added... then the anomaly becomes concentrated. Look up Kuru in New Guinea. :::shudder:::

message 9: by Paul (new)

Paul Bryant The moral I take from the story of the insomniac family is that you should never eat the brains of your deceased family members. I have never eaten any such a thing and I sleep soundly.

Michael Altoid Away!

but watch out for Jell-O jigglers.

David There was a time when 'render' was such an innocuous word. Now, by virtue of its association with such unpleasant words as 'rendering' and 'rendition', this is no longer the case.

Charissa Paul, I think yours is a good policy. I also have never eaten the brains of my dead ancestors, and I have yet to contract a prion wasting disease.

It would also behoove us as a keeper of livestock to stop cannibalizing our cows to each other. There's just no good reason to "render" the offal of our beef into feed which we then re-deliver back to our herbivore friends. Cheap, idiot bastards.

David, I think whales would beg to differ. I'm just sayin.

message 13: by Jenny (last edited Mar 09, 2009 08:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jenny Well do we really know if there are any mad whales around ? Dare I say "beached whales"?....
As far as I know in UK now we are not allowed to feed dead animals to other animals. I dont eat beef or gelatine though as think BSE still in food chain...

Charissa That's good to hear, Jenny. If I lived in Britain I would be extremely careful as well. The scary thing with Mad Cow is that it has a gestation period sometimes for 7-15 years before it shows up. It could take even longer in some cases. So I would say we're not out of the woods until around 2015... for certain closer to 2030.

Jenny I know it is scary. My favourite activity as a teenager was to go to for a Wimpy burger on a Saturday afternoon. And then I used to love MacDonalds cheeseburger. But now I cant face anything like that.

Charissa Do you know anyone who has come down with Mad Cow?

Jenny My mother in law met on holiday the parents of a boy who died in his twenties who died of it.

Charissa I knew someone whose husband had the symptoms in the UK... but his doctors would never come out and say for sure that's what it was. She was a wreck. It dragged on for so long.

Charissa wow... I didn't know that. How terribly sad. God forbid.

message 20: by Seizure Romero (last edited Mar 09, 2009 07:17PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Seizure Romero For a historical perspective on Pestilence & You, see McNeill's Plagues and Peoples and Zinsser's Rats, Lice and History.

And the Band Played On by Randy Shilts is a very frustrating story of ego, ignorance and willful stupidity (on all sides) that allowed AIDS to become a household word.

I read some cheery books. Yup.

Charissa You have about as cheery a disposition as I do, Mister Romero. You should get one of my infamous tours of Northern California featuring the place where Polly Klass's body was dumped and a rock where a Native American women committed suicide. I'm a barrel of laughs.

Vernon Townsend While all of this is scarier than hell~! I m not sure I wouldn't rather roast in hell first~!!
CFJ is to be known by several undeniable truism.
1. For years it was known to infect, in higher percentage, mostly people of Middle East heritage.
2. It's vector was thought to be from the consumption of Sheep's brain matters.
Now today we.. now know it to be called prion, which are the known causes for the disease we commonly know as Mad Cows (in animals) or CFJ (in humans).
3. They have been known to survive thru even the most severe sterilization process. And have been recorded to revive even after a period of 5 yrs.
So, yea..the world is becoming a scary place. Make you think twice before you just stick something in your mouth..:(

Vernon Townsend For what it' worth, these three alone: AIDS, Ebola, or CFJ prion all rank as a dangerous cocktail for mankind. Ask your doctor what treatments are available to the medical group for the treatment, and what are your chances of recovery?

Brittany Any review that starts with, "Holy Fuck." for this book is a winner in my book!

message 25: by Craig (new) - rated it 1 star


message 26: by Man (new) - rated it 5 stars

Man Chaichanok It's an AWESOME book IKR

message 27: by Craig (new) - rated it 1 star

Craig Dawe thy does not know how to review books. (this book sucks!!! this is a terrible review, guyz if u hvnt read this, dont listen who cares if she got 85 likes

message 28: by Craig (new) - rated it 1 star

Craig Dawe guys make sure to like my review coz u all know i hve d best opinions ever plz make extra accounts just to like my review. I wud rly appriciate it if i got say...100,000,000,000 to 900,000,000,000,000 likes would be great if u do that i will try to get u guys something like maybe some used tissue papers?

message 29: by Craig (new) - rated it 1 star

Craig Dawe SOUNDS LIKE A PLAN!!!!!...right?

message 30: by Craig (new) - rated it 1 star

Craig Dawe where da likes at bois?

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