For those of us who found Debra Harry singing “Rapture” with the lines “…and he’ll eat your head” unsettling, then New York Times Best Selling author Scott Sigler’s Pandemic (Crown 2014; the last book in his three-part trilogy, is a must to avoid. But for science fiction fans who can’t get enough of fast paced, well-researched page turners, Pandemic continues a narrative started in Infected, where an ex-linebacker for the University of Michigan struggles against an alien infection that has turned his own mind and body against him.
“The idea came when I read a book by a science writer called Parasite Rex: Inside the Bizarre World of Nature's Most Dangerous Creatures and it started me thinking about what would happen if a parasite could control what we do,” says Sigler.
Sigler had kick started his writing career by recording his books and giving them away, building a fan base which led to more and more book sales. In the process he also started receiving letters from readers who wanted to talk about his books and the subjects they covered and thus when he decided to write about alien infections, he had readers with background in research medicine, genetic consulting and biology to turn to.
“It all seems so real to me,” says Sigler. “By drawing on what’s happening, tend to be afraid because there are natural mutations happening all the time and you also have people doing genetic mutations even at a high school level. I wanted to show what would happen when parasites tell the host you don’t have to go to the hospital’ or ‘yes, you want to kill your best friend, that’s a great idea.’”
Pandemic takes place in Chicago and Sigler uses many of its landmarks and locations as settings in his book.
“That’s why the tour kick-off is in Chicago on the day the book is being released,” he says.
As for Pandemic, Sigler says, “This is a disease that doesn’t just kill you, it turns you into a killer.”