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Dust by Charles R. Pellegrino

Dust (edition 1999)

by Charles R. Pellegrino

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207756,585 (3.67)4
Authors:Charles R. Pellegrino
Info:Avon (1999), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 464 pages
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Dust by Charles R. Pellegrino


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My reaction to reading this novel in 1998. Spoilers follow.

This is the second Pellegrino novel I’ve read, and I really liked this disaster tale though I thought the ending of resurrecting old insects to save humanity was improbably cheerful. The premise that insects might have a millions of years death cycle – and that this death cycle preceded, and perhaps caused, the decline of the dinosaur (which were finished off by an asteroid impact) was novel and speculation based on science according to the Afterword in which Pellegrino outlines the historical and scientific facts behind his tale. (I like that feature of his novels.)

The effects of insects dying off – lethal swarms of dust mites, plagues of fungus, the death of higher level insectivores, a lack of plant pollinators – were horrifying and fascinating – exactly what a sf disaster novel should offer. Pellegrino is a fascinating writer not only for the hard science details but for including his scientist friends as characters. (He’s a working scientist in several fields including biology, archaeology, paleontology, and starship engineering.) . Here entomologist E. O. Wilson meets his death at the jaws of dust mites. I also liked the bits with the berserk missileman.

If the novel has any flaws, one lies with Pellegrino’s penchant for quotes. Sometimes they’re interesting and relevant; sometimes they aren’t. (I also am surprised to see Pellegrino repeat the oh-too-ironic story about Charles Drew, the inventor of organized American blood banks, bled to death after being denied a blood transfusion because he was black. The other flaw was the villain Jerry Sigmond. I appreciate that Pellegrino was attempting to show how socially destructive sociopaths (i.e. demagogues in some cases) are not obviously different. Still, Sigmond seemed a bit implausible though I appreciate that anti-intellectual and science rhetoric is on the rise. ( )
  RandyStafford | Aug 13, 2013 |
I enjoyed this but there was little character development. The science was fun, especially with the afterword that gives the bases for the disasters referred to or encountered in the story. I had to wonder, though, whether the prospect of surviving extraterrestrially was based on an assumption that whatever caused the die-off wouldn't occur or wouldn't be germane in space or on another planetary body. Seems to me that unless they had an insect-free ecology, any extraterrestrial solution would be vulnerable to the same problem. While we're at it, if "dust lanes" are the cause of at least part of the problem, wouldn't cloned insects also be vulnerable? Just a thought. These seem like the work of poor editing rather than poor writing per se. ( )
  OshoOsho | Mar 30, 2013 |
So disappointing. This book too suffers from an excess of ideas, and the text often gets bogged down in explaining some of the details. There are a LOT of details. It’s not often that evolutionary biologists and ecologists get to be the stars of a disaster epic, though, so it was worth a read just for plain entertainment value.

Full review here: http://membracid.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/book-review-thripz-and-dust/ ( )
  bug_girl | May 31, 2011 |
Scientist and marine archaeologist Dr Charles Pellegrino turns his hand to this thought provoking eco-horror story. At time it might seem that the author gets bogged down in scientific explanation but to many this will only serve to back up the chilling spiral of events with a plausible reason for the reader to think: Oh, but this could happen... couldn't it?
The insects are disappearing and the ecological repercussions are devastating. A group of scientists provide some of the focus of the book as they desperately race to find a solution to global events that could lead to the extinction of the human race. ( )
  Finxy | Jul 7, 2009 |
Dust tells the story of the end of life, as we know it, on Earth. It all begins with the seemingly sudden mass extinction of insects, which quickly works its way up the food chain to doom the existence of humans. The first 50 pages of this book were awesome. I was hooked. Then the author just went all over the map with scientific hypotheses and underdeveloped characters galore. There were too many story lines to keep track of and loose ends all over the place which were never explained to my satisfaction. The author noted in the acknowledgments that he was a hyperactive child. His writing style reflects a hyperactive adult as well! My sense is that the author is probably a brilliant scientist, but a natural born storyteller, he is not. ( )
1 vote cranmergirl | Nov 7, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380787423, Paperback)

In an idyllic Long Island community, paleobiologist Richard Sinclair is one of the first to suspect that the environment has begun to wage bloody, terrifying war on humanity. What initially appear to be random, unrelated events are actually violent eruptions in a worldwide biological chain reaction. Along with a brave group of survivors, Sinclair must learn to understand the catastophe while it roils around them, slowly crumbling a panicked world and threatening apocalypse. The survival of humankind depends on finding an answer immediately--or else they will face the final, tragic dentiny of their species.In an idyllic Long Island community, paleobiologist Richard Sinclair is one of the first to suspect that the environment has begun to wage bloody, terrifying war on humanity.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:01:10 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Paleobiologist Richard Sinclair is one of the first to suspect that the environment has begun to wage a terrifying war on humanity in a worldwide biological chain reaction. He must learn to understand the catastrophe as it is happening, because the survival of humankind depends on finding the answer--or else all is dust.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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