Books by Pierre Ouellette

THE THIRD PANDEMIC by Pierre Ouellette
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 1, 1996

A plague novel, chockablock with microbiological weirdness and humans who behave at times with about as much conscience as microbes: a story as absorbingly ambitious as Ouellette's debut fiction (The Deus Machine, 1994). Uni, a worldwide conglomerate of companies, is largely a relay system of computers, a global megabeast. Its main cytoputer, based in part on human cytoplasm (a far more reliable conductor of electrons than the finest wire), is more powerful than any other computer system on the planet. At Uni's Virtual Surgery Center, Dr. Elaine Wilkes discovers that Agent 57a, a theoretical bacillus she has extrapolated from molecular descriptions of Chlamydia psittaci, has a very good chance of coming into being within the next ten years and halving the world population—though the cytoputer's gigantic capabilities might devise an antidote within the next two years. Uni decides to keep the upcoming outbreak a secret, stockpile vast reserves of the antidote, and make a superfortune when the bug hits. Little does Uni know that the plague, incubated in and carried by parrots, pigeons, and other birds, is already afoot in Third World countries and spreading swiftly. Elaine, dismayed, steals the cytoputer's plague disks and plans to get copies to world health organizations. Uni, however, sends its bad guys after her, and she's arrested in Seattle. There, she falls in with Lt. Philip Paris, a detective obsessed with finding a nutcase who has been spreading E. coli in Seattle restaurants and has put Paris's wife into a permanent coma. Paris springs Elaine and hides her on his boat in Puget Sound. While pursuits and showdowns hold the reader in a vise grip, as do descriptions of American cities in bacterial meltdown, the novel's most awesome power comes from Ouellette's smiling descriptions of colonies of Chlamydis psittaci on the move, pages potent enough to shock any reader into a severe health regimen. Very scary, a fabulously grisly amusement not to be read in bed. (Author tour) Read full book review >
THE DEUS MACHINE by Pierre Ouellette
SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Released: Jan. 1, 1994

Many, many microprocessors—packed together in Portland to serve the needs of a political conspiracy—start thinking independently, scaring the bejeezus out of the Pacific Northwest and bringing some order to the life of a deserted child. Adman Ouellette's first novel is long, ambitious, and absorbing. Grafting cyberdramatics onto a well-built thriller mainframe, Ouellette drops into the near future—2005—where Americans are paying a horrible price for the fiscal excesses of the 80's and 90's. The country is in the grip a depression as deep as that of the 30's. Everyone's broke except the federal government, which has so much money that a right-wing cabal has been secretly siphoning off billions for a hidden computer project in Oregon and for a biological warfare project in Mexico. The computer's designer, a drugged-out genius known as The Architect, has programmed and packed enough microprocessors together that, in a sort of critical- mass chain reaction, they've begun cycles of self-improvement and given birth—the baby being a cyberpresence with a mind of its own. The mind is supposed to lend itself to the creation of new, nasty, militarily useful genetic forms, which it does, but it goes a bit further and gets a conscience—and gets to know Michael Riley, a computer whiz quite as capable as The Architect. Riley must join with the artificial intelligence to clean up a terrifying mess that the computer has made with the help of the illegal Mexican life forms and all the genetic information in the world. Meanwhile, swarms of nasty new life forms have settled into Willamette Valley with cybermurder on their mind. Michael gets assistance from a lovely biologist and a spunky young neighbor. Fully-fleshed characters, nicely etched scenery, and a good, old-fashioned moral core—all balance the almost unbearably complex and scary cyberthrills. Read full book review >