I’m not a microbiologist, nor do I play one on t.v. I do, however, love speculative fiction that comes dangerously close to reality and that is exactly what we have with The Genius Plague – a cli-fi thriller reminiscent of Robin Cook’s Outbreak.
The Genius Plague is, at heart, the story of two brothers, Paul and Neil. Neil is a microbiologist studying fungus in the rainforest. He arrives home with never before discovered spores only after surviving what many thought was a “terrorist attack” during which all others on the boat were killed. However, upon arrival Paul becomes deadly ill with fungal pneumonia. When he awakens from his illness-fed stupor, he is… different… smarter, more focused – a genius. But at what cost and how does his new found brilliance relate to the problems (concerns) that Neil is having at the NSA? What follows is an incredible thrill ride through the South American jungles, the secret rooms of the NSA and the hidden networks of …. mushrooms. While that may seem a little far-fetched, take a moment to think about the deadliest diseases affecting the world as you’re reading this – they all are fungal related. Go out and dig in your garden. Do you see those tiny white filaments that look like spider webs? Fungi. We, humans and our environment, are completely and totally reliant on the fungi that is all around us. What happens when it decides it is smarter than its hosts? These are the questions that “plague” you in “The Genius Plague.”