This topic contains 6 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  Charles Hannum Jr 8 years, 10 months ago.

A question about Contagious being… (spoiler material…)

  • If they aren’t self replicating, then the OP’s question is not just valid, it completely would invalidate the mechanism of host to host transmission. Although he never came out and said it, it’s really the only thing that makes any sense: the fibers (or fiber generation cells perhaps) behave like any other cell once they’re differentiated. You *might* be able to have a scenario where the little girl (name excaping me at the moment) could produce enough crawlers to create protectors, but without a self replicating mechanism, she would be the only individual who would be able to create protectors and that was shown to not be the case in the story. Further, the only semi-plausible reason why the whole telomere problem could present an obstacle is if massive amounts of cell division is necessary, hence my assumption that they behave as self replicating fiber factories once differentiated.

    So, "realistically", there must some sort of self replicating crawler factory cells or you wouldn’t be able to have second generation host to host transmission via "smoochies". This, of course, is why the immune response should be an issue: crawlers derived from another individual’s cells should without some sort of wonk explanation be attacked. If we’re not talking crawlers derived from another individual’s cells then we’re back the OP’s original confusion of why the discussion of the "telomere problem" since that would still be an issue if not for my assumption of self-replicating crawler fiber factory cells. 

    As for your immune response, I disagree. Our bodies attack most foreign materials, including sometimes those arguably hypoallergenic pins and plates. Basically, anything inside your body that your immune system was not explicitly taught not to attack via the thymus may wind up being attacked by your immune system, and as evidenced by auto-immune disorders, not even necessarily then.

    Of course, there are problems with a lot of Scott’s biology, including the whole apoptosis chain, so I just choose to read his books and not think too much about the plausibility of the science Cool

    Anyhoo, my own abbreviated qualifications: I got my B.S. in molecular biology, worked as the assistant to the genetics professor at Georgetown for a few years, went back to school and got my M.S. in entomology, and up until a bit over a year ago was working doing research with spiders, including genetic analysis of their relatedness. Now, however, I’m a stay at home dad, hence the dormant comment.

    Ok so let me break my response into 2 parts…

     (Not sure if you said you are a molecular biologist or not, good to know if you are as that would up our board total up some more.  Right now I know myself and MuchAdo are for sure. And I suspect there are few more lurking around )


    1. Your theory:  See I don’t remember any point Sigler saying specifically that they were self-replicating or they relied on the machinery to create the new cells via stem cells.  If they were self replicating- then you are right no need to worry about apoptosis.  But considering the crawlers still have to get the building block materials from somewhere, they’d use host cells to begin with and the telomeres would matter big time going back to the apoptosis.  Mind you, obviously we replicate cells all our lives, so our telomeres are just fine for 60-100 years.  Honestly I think his only scientific mistake would be Betty having such bad apoptosis.  But hell we need some good body melting in this story so I’ll let that slide.


    I still though want to know for sure how they convert people.


    2. Ahh now on the immune response… This is a lot more plausible than you think.  You explained it almost in your bone marrow transplant.  I won’t go into great detail but the things you must remember is this… these are ROBOTS.  Small machines.  Remember when people get joint replacements, pins, plates, etc in their body those objects aren’t rejected because they aren’t recognized as foreign by our body.  So it won’t be attacked.  Then the robots use the body’s own cells to create the crawlers, thus making it from "self" so the body would think it is self- thus no immune reaction.

    If you want to read very cool proof of this, check out this story:

    And they are even trying to do it purposely:

    Anyhow, good thoughts…maybe you’re right.  Just wanting to know form the FDO though…

    It just seems confusing as the other people who may have become hosts of the crawlers died because their cells reached the end of the useful replication process. Yet once Chelsea kissed Mommy, her mommy was fine and even Old General Ogden was fine. What is happening to cause this? I mean shouldn’t they break down too??

    Although the "scientific" explanation of older people’s cells being too degraded to successfully undergo transformation into the crawlers/brain mesh cells is not 100% satisfying ("dormant" molecular biologist here, but at least Scott’s explanations worked better than Ancestor Wink), it works well enough for the story. The idea is that the crawlers/brain mesh fibers cells, like most cells, are self replicating and once you have enough of them, you don’t need to resort to transforming the host’s cells into stem cells and then into the hijacked crawler/brain mesh fiber cells. It’s like someone with a compromised immune system receiving a bone marrow transplant: their own body’s marrow cells are too weak/too few to do the job of producing sufficient blood cells, but with an infusion of healthy marrow cells from a donor, *those* cells can produce adequate blood cells for the recipient. You get a mass injection of pristine crawler/brain mesh fiber cells and they just have to replicate to a critical mass and, poof, new protector for the infected.

    Now, why this wouldn’t trigger a massive immune response resulting in the protectors dying in all manner of horrible ways since "Mr. I’m So Smart I Thought Of This Really Great Way Of Explaining Telomeres" conveniently ignores the inherent complications the immune system would play with his "Instant Zombie Army! Just add water (TM)" mechanic, but maybe he just didn’t want to bore us with the details Tongue out

    ARRRGGHHHH!  I’m done.. finished the book just minutes ago… Love it & Hate it and REALLY have no idea where this is going to go now… 

    Damn damn damn….

    The hunt for the right sock continues. My "Have you seen this sock?" posters aren’t having the desired effect.


    You don’t understand. I’M not locked in here with YOU. YOU’RE locked in here with ME. – Rorschach

    And you call yourself a junkie.  A real junkie would take uppers to stay awake and Read the Book.  Hee Hee Kiss  This book will knock your socks off!!!!!

    "Well. I’ll tell you what. You gonna kick it with me. Or I’m gonna kick you out. What you think of that?" Sister Mary Clarence 

    So I finally got my copy of Contagious over here in the UK  and tonight I have stopped at the General Charlie Ogden chapter.  I’m getting tired and need to sleep so I don’t "miss" part of the book by sleep reading part of it  (this is why I prefer Scott’s Audio version, but needmy fix damit!)

    Ok- so unless The FDO is pulling a new literay stunt, he’s seemed to skip over a detail I want…  How the heck is this physically being contagious?

    Yes I understand the "smoochie", what I mean is until this point Sigler has gone into great detail on the transformation of the infection and the host.  But all of the sudden we now have newly infected "Zombies" with no explinaton

    It just seems confusing as the other people who may have become hosts of the crawlers died because their cells reached the end of the useful replication process.  Yet once Chelsea kissed Mommy, her mommy was fine and even Old General Ogden was fine.  What is happening to cause this?  I mean shouldn’t they break down too??

    Now maybe I’ll get that answer later in the book…  I may just be too impatient.  Obviously I prefer to hear from the great one himself for the answer- but anyone who has read the book- if the answer is in later chapters just say so.  I don’t need that spoiled…

    But if it’s not and the FDO’s editors made him cut that info out…  Tell thoses stupid SOB’s to back off!  That’s NEEDED info to keep this story as grounded as possible!  

    And to the FDO.. can you answer me (again only if it’s not in the book)…

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