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Plague of Pythons

Frederik Pohl

Book Overview: 

In a post-apocalyptic world where every government in the world has been overrun by its own military machinery, only to see that military machinery self-destruct, people are randomly being affected by a plague that seemingly takes over their brains and forces them to commit heinous crimes. Chandler is one of these unfortunate victims, the perpetrator of rape and murder. He is driven out of his community as a Hoaxer (someone who feigns being a victim of the plague), branded on his forehead with the letter H. But he is not feigning. In his travels, he finds the source of the plague, and it's not what people think. It's up to him to deal with it, and he does. But to what end?

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Evidently someone had been right inside, listening.

A man stared at him. "Stranger, what do you want?" He was short, plump, with an extremely thick and unkempt beard. It did not appear to have been grown for its own sake, for where the facial hair could not be coaxed to grow his skin had the gross pits of old acne.

Chandler said glibly: "Good morning. I'm working my way east. I need something to eat and I'm willing to work for it."

The man withdrew, leaving the upper half of the Dutch door open. As it looked in on only a vestibule it did not tell Chandler much. There was one curious thing—a lath and cardboard sign, shaped like an arc of a rainbow, lettered:

WELCOME TO ORPHALESE

He puzzled over it and dismissed it. The entrance room, apart from the sign, had a knickknack shelf of Japanese carved ivory and an old-fashioned umbrella rack, but that added nothing to his knowledge. He had already. . . Read More