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->''clone, n. ... Biol. The aggregate of individual organisms descended by asexual reproduction from a single sexually produced individual; ...''
-->-- '''Webster's New International Dictionary, Second Ed.'''[[note]]So says the foreword of this book, anyway.[[/note]]

''The Clone: A Science Fiction Novel'' was a [[TheSixties 1965]] science fiction/horror novel written by Theodore L. Thomas and Kate Wilhelm. It is based on an earlier short story of Thomas' by the same name. The year it was published, it was nominated for a NebulaAward, but lost to Frank Herbert's ''{{Dune}}''.

A monstrous entity is accidentally created when four different ingredients - [[LegoGenetics muriatric acid, trisodium phosphate, silica gel and hamburger meat]] - combine in a [[TheWindyCity Chicago]] sewer catch basin. It starts as a microscopic organism but swiftly grows into a huge green blob which Thomas and Wilhelm insist on calling a "[[YouKeepUsingThatWord clone]]."

The "clone" quickly begins spreading through the sewers and aqueducts beneath [[TheWindyCity Chicago]], soon flowing up into people's homes through their drains. It absorbs living and nonliving matter on contact, converting everything into more of its own tissue. At first only a minor threat, it soon grows so huge it threatens the entire city and drastic measures must be taken to stop it from getting into Lake Michigan and spreading further.

The novel is interesting for its borderline omniscient narrative style and lack of a true main character. Instead, the story, when it isn't describing the "clone" attacking and absorbing various people and things in a detached, almost documentary writing style, follows multiple characters and subplots, all with different conclusions (and some with none).

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!!Tropes used in this novel:
* AdaptationExpansion: The novel is essentially an expanded version of an earlier short story of Thomas', also titled ''The Clone''. It has the same structure, but a different ending and many more characters.
* AmputationStopsSpread: Harry cuts off [[spoiler:Agnew's]] arm when the clone begins absorbing his hand, and this saves him. An intern isn't as lucky, since the clone gets sneaky and goes under the skin of his arm ahead of where Harry cuts.
* AntagonistTitle
* AnyoneCanDie: Half the crowded cast ends up dying.
* ApocalypseHow: Only in the original short story. [[spoiler:It ends with Chicago evacuated and the clone still at large, with the authorities uncertain of how to kill it - or prevent it from spreading. It could conceivably take over the entire world.]]
* AssholeVictim: Timothy O'Herlihy.
* AttackOfTheFiftyFootWhatever
* BadassBystander: Several characters, but especially Dory Bernheim, who risks ([[spoiler:and eventually gives]]) his life to rescue a school full of kids.
* BigDamnHeroes: Reporter Buz Kingsley and his news crew, of all people.
* BlobMonster
* BodyHorror: The intern's death has some shades of this.
* BusFullOfInnocents: The clone converts a whole subway train's worth of commuters.
* CassandraTruth: Mark Kenniston, when attempting to convince the cops that an absorbing amorphous blob is behind the disappearances.
* ChildHater: Ms. Shea. She hates kids so much one wonders if she became a teacher just to make them suffer.
* DaChief: Captain Prescott.
* DeathByMaterialism: Charles Hallingford. [[spoiler:He dies desperately attempting to save a suit he likes.]]
* DespairEventHorizon: Happens to a few people, particularly those who witness their friends or family get absorbed.
* DoNotAdjustYourSet: A heroic example. Mark and Ian Sorensen force their way into the television studio at gunpoint to hijack the news and warn people about the clone.
* DomesticAbuse: Timothy O'Herlihy smacks his girlfriend around for ''asking a question.'' Guess what happens to ''him''. [[spoiler:He's clone fodder.]]
* DrivenToSuicide: Twice. One man flings himself into the clone [[spoiler:after losing his entire family to it]]. Ellie Hagen [[spoiler:is involved with a married man and feels guilty over it]], and allows the clone to consume her because she sees it as an "out."
* EmptyPilesOfClothing: What is left behind after the clone gets through absorbing someone since it only eats some types of fabric.
* TheEndOrIsIt: [[spoiler:Although the novel ends with the clone's destruction]], we're warned that similar monstrosities may one day be created if we continue pouring noxious chemicals into our sewers. The original short story ended even more ominously, [[spoiler:with the same warning but the clone still alive.]]
* EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep: The fire chief, despite a sizable supporting role, is only ever called "[[NoNameGiven fire chief]]."
** Also the unnamed Chief Pathologist in the original short story.
* ExtremeOmnivore: The clone eats nonliving matter as well, such as concrete and different types of fabric (except cotton for some reason) and eventually adapts to eating car tires and parts of buildings.
* GasLeakCoverup: Parodied. Mayor Slattery attributes the disappearances and sightings early on to killer snakes from the sewers. Quashed by Mark and Sorensen (see DoNotAdjustYourSet above) and by the clone making itself more public not long after.
* GirlsBehindBars: Part of the climax involves rescuing some inmates from a women's prison. It's a fairly realistic portrayal, with the prisoners written as if they were actual regular female criminals, no different from male ones, and not caricatures like in most depictions of such institutions.
* GreenAesop: The authors believe we ''really'' ought to be more careful about what we pour down our drains.
* GunshipRescue: Albeit with a news chopper, not an actual gunship.
* HeroicSacrifice: Dory Bernheim, a mechanic who [[spoiler:tries to save several schoolchildren from the clone. Especially noble is him trying to comfort a frightened boy as they're being absorbed together.]]
* InfantImmortality: Averted. Many of the clone's victims are children.
* InsistentTerminology: Authors Thomas and Wilhelm's constant use of "clone" to describe the monster, despite this not exactly being the right word for it.
* IntrepidReporter: Buz Kingsley.
* KarmaHoudini: [[spoiler:The rather cruel Ms. Shea not only doesn't die, but spends the rest of the story in a deranged state publicly declaring that children who are absorbed by the clone are actually "turning back into filth," which must cause no end of grief to the dead kids' parents.]]
* UsefulNotes/TheKoreanWar: Commercial airline pilot Pete Laurenz is a veteran of it.
* LifeOrLimbDecision: Happens twice, first to [[spoiler:Dr. Agnew, who survives]], then to [[RedShirt an intern]] who isn't as lucky and gets absorbed from the inside-out after the clone gets sneaky and goes under the skin of his arm.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters
* MeanBoss: Mark's supervisor Dr. Agnew berates and insults him.
* OffWithHisHead: [[spoiler:Chuck Danton]] has his head - and only his head - absorbed by the clone while battling it underwater in the flooded subway.
* ObstructiveBureaucrat: Mayor Slattery.
* [[OurMonstersAreDifferent Our Blob Monsters Are Different]]: The clone does not digest or absorb its victims so much as directly convert them into more of itself on a cellular level. Although, in stark contrast to most BlobMonster stories, the process is completely painless.
* ReasonableAuthorityFigure: Ian Sorensen.
* SadistTeacher: Ms. Shea, who enjoys publicly humiliating her students when they misbehave and has nothing but contempt for her fellow educators.
* ScienceMarchesOn: Thomas and Wilhelm's definition of "clone" is a little vague and uses an older if technically correct meaning, quoted above. The creature ''was'' sort of "cloned" from dead hamburger meat, and ''does'' sort of "clone" itself by turning its victims into more of its own tissue, however this is far and away from the more popular concept wherein a clone is understood to be just an exact duplicate of an individual.
* SecurityBlanket: Harry's meat cleaver. He never puts it down after the diner massacre.
* SceneryPorn
* ShownTheirWork: Thomas and Wilhelm's description of the thing's creation goes a long way towards making it at least ''seem'' scientifically plausible. Also their knowledge of the inner workings of Chicago's infrastructure is staggering.
* SinisterSubway: The clone attacks two subway trains and converts everyone in them. Later, after the subway has flooded, Mark and the fire department's rescue team divers battle the clone down there ''underwater''.
* SkunkStripe: Dr. Agnew has one.
* SleptThroughTheApocalypse: Timothy O'Herlihy and his girlfriend Patricia had their radio turned off while they were at her place, missing most of the news broadcasts about the clone. Doubles as LateToTheTragedy.
* TooDumbToLive: Many, but Charles Hallingford, a shopper at Steinway's, takes the cake. [[spoiler:After going through all the trouble of very, very carefully getting a sample of clone tissue small enough to handle safely with his bare hands, he winds up absorbed by the main mass attempting to save a suit he was thinking about buying.]]
* VillainousBreakdown: Ms. Shea becomes a stark raving loony when she sees three of her students get taken by the clone. She already hates kids and considers them disgusting and filthy, and convinces herself they were not getting absorbed but rather transforming "back into the filth from whence they came."
* TheWindyCity: Chicago is never actually identified, but several landmarks, street names, etc. and the city's proximity to Lake Michigan give it away.
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