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The Hot Zone

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by

Zach Lutner

on 12 June 2015

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Transcript of The Hot Zone

Literary Device
The most dominant literary device used throughout the book would be imagery. The author Preston describes in immense detail the different types of strains of viruses and the effects they have on the human body. He takes you through the poverty the people in the villages live in and the hardships of dealing with the virus. The tone is eerie and keeps you on your toes.
Critical Review #2
First–the description of symptoms.Preston himself admits that these were exaggerated. Over and over, he uses words like “dissolving,” “liquefy,” “bleeding out” to describe patient pathology. (If I had been playing a drinking game while reading and did a shot every time Preston uses “liquefy” in the book, I’d be dead right now).

Of a Marburg patient, pseudonymously named Charles Monet, he describes him as

“…holding an airsickness bag over his mouth. He coughs a deep cough and regurgitates something into the bag. The bag swells up….you see that his lips are smeared with something slippery and red, mixed with black specks, as if he has been chewing coffee grounds.

http://scienceblogs.com/aetiology/2014/10/21/the-hot-zone-and-the-mythos-of-ebola/
Critical Review #3
Ebola comes alive with Preston's vivid descriptions of the ability of a microscopic filovirus to wreck havoc on human and animal flesh and there is no question that the author certainly has a flair for capturing and commanding the attention of his audience. However, a more discriminating investigation of Preston's structure and approach reveals that this particular depiction of the Ebola outbreak perhaps does more to perpetuate existing cultural stereotypes and disease stigma than it does to advance the reader's understanding of scientific and socio-political ramifications of this deadly virus.

The effectiveness of Preston's style lies in the author's ability to pinpoint (and subsequently play upon) his reader's fears and apprehensions of disease. As he describes the horrific effects of the virus on the various organs of the body in the following passage, Preston chooses to directly address his readers through the use of the second person:

"...The red spots on the skin grow and spread and merge to become huge, spontaneous bruises, and the skin goes soft and pulpy, and can tear off if it is touched with any kind of pressure."

http://www.haverford.edu/biology/edwards/disease/reviews/jostR.html
This book directly relates to what is going on today in history which is an Ebola outbreak. The whole book has you wanting to read more, but as you can see from the critical reviews the symptoms are exaggerated which leads to people thinking now that's what actually happens. People have used this book as reference to understand Ebola today forgetting that it is a fiction novel. Preston does such a good job at describing every detail making it so believable.
Advice
He is holding an airsickness bag over his mouth. He coughs a deep cough and regurgitates something
into the bag. The bag swells up. Perhaps he glances around, and then you see that his
lips are smeared
with something slippery and red, mixed with black specks
,
as if he has been chewing coffee grounds
. His
eyes are the color of rubies, and his face is an expressionless mass of bruises.
The red spots, which a few
days before had started out as star-like speckles, have expanded and merged into huge, spontaneous
purple shadows
: his whole head is turning black-and-blue.
Critical Review #1
The genre Preston has inherited from the fiction writers draws you in by amassing small, even trivial details, and he is a master at this. But in a science thriller about the realities of AIDS and the threat of future epidemics, one might hope to find the insights of science as well as the ingredients of a thriller. Describing a tense moment when three Army officers arrive at a Virginia gas station to wait for a clandestine hand-off of some dead Reston monkeys for analysis, Preston pauses to tell us, "Nancy went into the gas station and bought Diet Cokes for everyone and a pack of cheddar-cheese crackers for herself, and she bought C.J. some peanut butter crackers.


Read more: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/review-of-the-hot-zone-96325494/#W5yju5ICkCDTjlSh.99
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12! http://bit.ly/1cGUiGv
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The Hot Zone
Reflection/Critical Review
Summary
The book follows an outbreak of the Ebola virus at a monkey facility in Reston, Virginia and Kenya in the late 1980s. Preston gives background about several other viral outbreaks, particularly in Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. The book is a fast-paced scientific thriller that, doesn't have the traditional narrative of a fictional work, is all the more terrifying because it describes factual events. Preston argues that the greater threat lies in viruses like the AIDS virus, whose effect on the human race cannot yet be seen.
Annotated passage
My advice would be to stay awake.
Full transcript