Interview With Jeff Carlson

**Possible Spoilers**

The Plague series by Jeff Carlson is about a nanotech plague that erupts in California and soon takes over the world. Supposedly a cure for cancer, this plague begins to eat away at anything under roughly ten thousand feet. People are forced up into the mountains for fear of dying from the completely debilitating flesh-eating nano. Soon, the global population is hiding on various heights seemingly floating above the invisible sea of computer plague. These books are so real that you begin to find yourself asking, “What if this happened tomorrow?” According to author, Jeff Carlson, it could. What makes him the authority on the realness of the computer plague? He’s been talking to scientists working on similar projects as we speak.

The trilogy has been called ingenious, thrilling, and cutting edge. Here are my thoughts on each of the books:

Plague Year

The first few pages of Plague Year confused me because I am not used to reading a book that jumps so quickly into action. I thought perhaps it would be too "fast-pace thriller" for me to finish. However, Jeff’s ability to make you feel emotion about the characters when you hardly know any back-story on them really amazed me. He did get into their back stories as the novel progressed. There were exciting surprises later on as far as who did what before the plague. These characters are real and once you start reading, you begin to feel like they are your buddies out on that hill. It’s as if you are standing in the huddled masses with them.

This book can scare the crap out of you. Living in Nor Cal, the news reports about what cities the plague takes over as it eats its way across the country seemed too real. Jeff makes you feel like you are watching the news reports on TV. Maybe you’ll be the one making a call to your mom in the hotzone. Maybe you’ll be the one gathering supplies and heading for the hills.

While I was reading Plague Year, I found myself thinking about how long it would take me to pack up my family and flee. My mind would start charting ways to get to Tahoe if the roads were blocked. Then I'd remember it wasn’t really happening and calm down.

As far as all the scientist and military stuff is concerned, I am not an expert. Jeff explained well enough for me to understand what the nano does without making me bored or feel inadequate.

One portion of the book I thought he did particularly well was where one of the characters is in a wheelchair and unable to express himself. The anger and desperation Jeff creates is quite powerful.

While reading the Plague series, you might find yourself taking a few more showers than usual as his descriptions of grime, bugs, sores etc... are excellently detailed.

When I read the first book I thought the end of the book portion where they finally go into a city could have been longer. I felt like I missed out on what they actually did while hiding. Good news! He goes into that more in the sequel.

Overall I was surprised how much this book pulled me in and I would recommend it to anyone wanting to read something no one's ever done before.

Plague War

I was surprised to find that although this sequel was in the same style as the first, it had a different sort of tone. The relationship between the two main characters Ruth and Cam is infectious. They each have their issues and it’s interesting to see how they interact with each other. The sexual tension that Plague War delivers is amazing considering all the characters are grimy, nano-bitten, unwashed, scrappers who will do anything to survive.

This book causes you to feel the desperation of a world that is in constant threat of annihilation. However, the characters have the hope to survive and the power of the human spirit to carry on, no matter what the obstacle.

Some of the untouched mountain people infuse this story with a newness, that by this time you would expect not to exist. The contrast of the beaten down warriors against these innocent, fresh-snow-like individuals is really an excellent contrast in a book that is about fighting for life.

There is a lot of war talk in this book. Military actions, governments colliding, plots foiled, plans carried out. Since I am not a fan of military stories, I was slightly distracted by this. However, the human relationships of the people in those uniforms carried me through those sections of the book. If you are a military enthusiast, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how detailed this book is.

I was happy to see the reappearance of some of the characters from book one that I did not expect. Hernandez was a pleasant returnee. His point of view was intriguing because of his lack of control over the situation that was happening to him. I felt his struggle between what he knew was right and how he was going to survive.

Ulinov, who I disliked the most after book one, was one of the most interesting characters to read about because we get to see his allegiance to his country. It may not be a very popular thing to say, but I think I was actually on his side when the bomb hit.

With the set up of possible resolution in book 2, I am expecting great things from book three, Mind Plague, which comes out Summer 2009.

To find out more about Jeff Carlson, visit his site at: and listen to my podcast interview on the Project Shadow Informant podcast:


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Final Fantasy Swords Seized

Square Enix filed a federal lawsuit in the Central District of California court for infringement of intellectual property. They are suing at least four wholesalers of sword replicas that were not licensed by Square Enix. This was after Customs and Border Patrol seized a crate of counterfeit replica Final Fantasy swords.

This suit follows several smaller cases where they went after various retailers who also infringed on their rights and who had settled with Square Enix.

While this marks an aggressive trend by Square Enix to enforce it's intellectual property rights they assure us that they still

"...appreciates the enthusiasm of its fans, and values its relationship with them.." said Hasegawa.

via (Wired)

P:SI # 19 - "But I can get you some Bunnies!"

P_SI_logo_150_white Building Walkers, Wii and Joost Update, Star Wars Mashups, Ellison threatens Trek, Emo Rangers, and more on Today's Project: Shadow Informant! podsafe music network Theme Song: Immigrant Song by Ann Wilson


  • Mindwebs: Free old science fiction radio plays (via Boing Boing)
  • Use MashUps to Make Your Star Wars Fan Movie (via Star Wars)
  • Fake robot walker is fun (via Boing Boing)
  • Mighty Moshin' Emo Rangers (via Popsucker)


  • ROB ZOMBIE Donates Signed Fender Stratocaster To Southern California Wildfire Relief Auction (via Brave Worlds)
  • BLACKMORE'S NIGHT - Cablevision Special To Begin Airing Next Monday (via Brave Worlds)
  • Nightwish Best-Selling Artist - Scandinavia (via NightWish)
  • NIGHTWISH - BYE BYE BEAUTIFUL VIDEO!!! (via Roadrunner Records)
  • ARCH ENEMY Vocalist Angela Gossow and Lacuna Coil Video Interviews with Metal Sanaz (via Brave Worlds & Metal Sanaz)
  • Abney Park makes Capitol Records really insecure (via Robert's Blog)


  • Wii virtual console releases for this week (via Crave)
    • Volleyball (1987, NES, 500 Wii points)
    • Axelay (1992, Super Nintendo, 800 Wii points)
    • Blue's Journey (1991, NeoGeo, 900 Wii points)


  • Secret Project X, going in Deep, Coming Soon


  • The Big Bang Theory - The Grasshopper Experiment added to Joost (via Joost)



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Overwhelming Support for Marriage Equality in CA

The court case for Marriage Equality in California continues:

According to a statement from the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal, the ACLU and Equality California, some 250 groups were represented in Monday's filing as friends of the court. Among them were non-gay allies, including the NAACP, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and the Asian Pacific American Legal Center (

It is wonderful to see so many people and organizations stand up for Equal Rights, but I have to point out that this should be a moot point:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed a landmark bill on Thursday [September 29, 2005] that would have given same-sex couples in the state the right to marry, and the move angered LGBT rights advocates around the country (

I find it odd that the people spoke through the legislature to legalize marriage to get the matter out of the courts, the governor vetoed it and now the court will have to decide the case after all. The people tried to bring about equality, and now the wing nuts are going to blame the advance of liberty on the courts. They forced it into the courts! One day, may we all be free.