Thursday, October 6, 2011

CONTAGIOUS by Scott Sigler

Again, this isn't my usual thing, but it's so good I had to review it. Contagious is Sigler's sequel to Infected, a book I reviewed earlier, and continues the saga of Scary Perry Dawsey, former footballer turned avenging angel who's teaming up with the government scientists and doctors who are investigating the mysterious disease that's turning people into raving maniacs...and forcing them to participate in the construction of mysterious gates that communicate with another planet.

Where Infected dealt mostly with Dawsey's breakdown, this book steps back a bit and lets us see a bigger picture. We see the military leaders coping with the gates and the creatures trying to come through. We have a President, newly elected, making tough decisions about how to handle the infection. And we have Dawsey, getting himself back together and attempting to find some meaning in life after the events of the last book.

One thing that was pretty cool was how, in the first book, Dawsey was dominated by memories of his abusive father and seemed to take strength from that. However, this time around we get a better picture of how screwed-up Dawsey is as a result of his childhood...and how he actually finds real strength and a bit of peace as he forges an unexpected bond.

We also see more from the bad guys' perspective. There's a satellite orbiting Earth that's a source of the contagion, and we get a glimpse of its purpose and backstory. And there's a child who's infected with a new strain, who becomes a control and nexus for the invaders. She's a great villain, an angelic child who's all selfishness and impulse, only this time having the power and authority to have her every whim catered to.

So there's more psychology of Dawsey here, and also some pretty pointed satire on religion, as under the girl's guidance the infected begin to view things as a crusade, and she progresses from viewing herself as God's messenger to a new God entirely. (I mean, c'mon, give a kid that sort of power, they'd go completely berserk...)

It's quite good stuff, although Sigler admits he had a bitch of a time writing this. (I listened to the audio podcast version, and he does a Q&A in the last episode that's very illuminating.) He's getting the wheels turning on a third novel, Pandemic, and I'm looking forward to that. In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out what to listen to next; Ancestor, Earthcore, or Nocturnal? I've been listening to his "Bloodcast" short audio fiction podcast, which is very fun. He also has a series centered on the "Galactic Football League" that I haven't sampled yet, and I have to admit that it's because I'm not much on football.

But buy 'em, borrow 'em from the library, download 'em to your MP3 player. Sigler's a cool dude and deserves support.

And here's a video promotion for the book...


Icepick said...

If you haven't checked out The Rookie yet, I have to recommend that next. It really is his best work.

Scott Sigler said...

You, sir, are a pimp. A stone-cold pimp. Thanks for plugging CONTAGIOUS, and I'm glad you enjoyed the read.