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BOOK REVIEW: 'Against Nature' eBook Thriller Depicts a Dystopian America That's All Too Possible
That's the premise of an eBook thriller -- think "1984", "Animal Farm", "The Road," the Russian sci-fi novel "We" or the movie "Brazil" -- by John G. Nelson called "Against Nature" (Wild Child Publishing.com, Culver City, CA., 317 pages, $6.95, available as a Kindle eBook from amazon.com, or in other eBook formats from www.wildchildpublishing.com).
You want dystopia? Nelson provides it in spades in "Against Nature." In addition to Vice President Birch (as in John Birch?), there's a Mad Man type named Vince Captionis who channels George Creel, President Woodrow Wilson's Goebbels, who organized a brilliant campaign to drag the pacifist U.S. into the European war of 1914-18. It's a brilliant touch by author Nelson, to have an ad man who admires Creel (1876-1953), who headed the deceptively named United States Committee on Public Information. Creel, who began his career as a journalist in Kansas City, Mo, said of himself that "an open mind is not part of my inheritance. I took in prejudices with mother's milk and was weaned on partisanship."
Hardly an dispassionate, objective journalist, but just the kind of guy the devious Wilson (who campaigned with the slogan "He Kept Us Out of War" in his re-election race in 1916) needed to drag America kicking and screaming into WWI, then known as the Great War.
The use of Creel, an active Democrat who ran against the novelist Upton Sinclair ("The Jungle") in the 1934 primary election for governor of California -- Sinclair won and was defeated by Republican incumbent Frank Merriam in the fall general election -- is a brilliant touch. In his last years Creel was a fervent anti-Communist, working with Sen. Joe McCarthy, R-WI and Rep. Richard Nixon, R-CA during the Red Scare of the late 1940s.
Countering the bad guys in "Against Nature" is a good guy team assembled by Assistant Director of the CDC Dr. Danielle Santos that includes the beautiful so-called "Black Widow" scientist Dr. (both an M.D. and a PhD) Serena Salus, who quickly determines that crazed Islamic scientists in Pakistan haven't developed the virus, that it developed from an extraterrestrial dust mite brought to earth by a shuttle astronaut. The evidence is backed up when the shuttle's team of American, Finnish, Israeli and Japanese astronauts die within days of returning to earth.
When Serena Salus' treatment plan cures her journalist friend Adam Spinoza, who has friends in high places in Latin America, the powers in Washington, DC go after those who don't buy into the "official" explanation, including Dr. Santos, forcing Salus and Spinoza go on the lam. The novel is fast paced in the extreme: I read it in one sitting from a print-out provided by Nelson.
The author makes the interesting and to me believable point that Giant Pharma isn't interested in curing anything, just treating it. There's nothing like repeat business! If you groove on thrillers by Robin Cook or the late, great Michael Crichton (think "The Andromeda Strain") "Against Nature" is for you. Given the paranoia of the past decade (Nelson said he was inspired to write the book by the Bush Administration's actions), nothing seems impossible any more.
About the Author
John G. Nelson is a retired Air Force Master Sergeant and former Special Ops Medic--Air Commando. He works as Director of Quality and Risk Management and Infection Control at a community hospital in Utah. His novel Against Nature was released by Wild Child Publishing in April 2011. He is currently working on his next novel Grey Suits, a conspiracy thriller. You can find him on the World Wide Web at: http://johngnelson.blogspot.com/