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Scott Sigler – Survived 28 Days Later Virus? Get Ready for Contagious

28 Days Later Virus? Get Ready for Contagious” width=”560″/>

Believe it or not, I do have a job other than penning these phenomenally witty columns for y’all. That job is writing books, the latest of which — Contagious — hits stores on December 30. Now, is about the movies, so how do I make this blatantly self-serving marketing effort sound like it’s related to the cinema?

As Bon Scott once said, “If you want blood, you got it.” Click on the picture of the bloody hand, above, to check out the video trailer for the book and tell me this bad boy doesn’t feel right at home on the Horror Hacker blog.

Contagious is the sequel to Infected, which was optioned by Random House Films and Rogue Pictures ( Shaun of the Dead , The Strangers, Doomsday). The Infected screenplay is being written by Eric Bernt, whose experienced hand also penned Virtuosity , Surviving the Game , and The Hitcher. The Infected movie is well on its way to an early-2010 release (though it could be derailed in a heartbeat — a heartbeat like Relativity Media’s takeover of Rogue, which is rumored to have gone through last week).

So, if Infected could become a movie, so could Contagious. And that would make Daddy very, very happy.

What kind of horror flick would Contagious make? Well, if the trailer doesn’t sell you with disturbing images of jittery little girls eating Nestlé Crunch Eskimo Pies, then how about the book-jacket copy?

Across America, a mysterious pathogen transforms ordinary people into raging killers, psychopaths driven by a terrifying, alien agenda. The human race fights back, yet after every battle the disease responds, adapts, using sophisticated strategies and brilliant ruses to fool its pursuers. The only possible explanation: the epidemic is driven not by evolution but by some malevolent intelligence.

That’s “pathogen,” people, not “virus.” No, you haven’t seen this plot in 28 Days Later . Nope, no zombies, either, although that seems to be the undead du jour, along with vampires.

Since I’m on a self-righteous rant, how about we in the world of horror move beyond scientifically implausible viruses and bacteria that are only used because they are called “viruses” and “bacteria”? How about we get some fiction that talks about reengineering the human body, using all of the perfectly good construction materials beneath your skin to make something new and nasty? How about we hear stories of parasites controlling their human hosts through accurate manipulation of hormones and neurotransmitters, through subtle modifications of base instincts? How about we get some real psychotic behavior that goes beyond the butcher knife and the chain saw? Contagious features a tire iron, a monkey wrench, leather wrist restraints, and a really, really sharp scalpel.

Is Contagious sci-fi? Heck yeah — I bet even John Scalzi would say so. Is Contagious horror? You saw the trailer; you tell me. Is Contagious a thriller? If by “thriller” you mean “it has people using guns when guns should be used and is free of secret supernatural talismans,” then, yeah, it’s a thriller.

So there you go: Contagious is a cross-genre free-for-all that is beyond the healing powers of a shot of penicillin, so dive in and get some.

Scott Sigler writes tales of hard-science horror, then gives them away as free audiobooks, at His new novel, Contagious, hit bookstores on December 30. If you don’t agree with what Scott says on this blog, please e-mail him at Include all relevant personal information, such as your address and what times you’re at home, so Scott can visit and show you his world-famous Chicken Scissors.

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