Literature / Infected

Failed quarterback Perry Dawsey wakes up one day to a really bad case of the itch. And then triangle scabs begin to show up. Then voices begin to appear...

And at the same time, the U.S. government rushes to investigate what's behind a bizarre murder wave which causes its victims to liquefy after their deaths, only to find that it's caused by a parasite...

An official publication of Scott Sigler's podcast.
This novel provides examples of:
  • Abusive Parents - Perry's dad was a drunk who frequently beat him and his mother. It's where he gets his temper and own drinking problems from, but ironically is the very same thing that made him such a fiend on the football field.
  • Accidental Misnaming
    • Murray calling Dew Phillips by the name of Top, his old Vietnam War name.
    • Dew Phillips getting back at Murray by calling him L.T., his old Vietnam war name.
  • Alien Invasion - The aliens sent an Orbital to hover over the Earth, watch us, make calculations on our behavior and then drop out pods that release spores into the atmosphere which, if they land on your skin and are able to get a good 'footing' so to speak, they then mutate, bury in, slip into your bloodstream, change your DNA and eventually take control of your mind. In addition to this, they also form little triangles, or Hatchlings that will bust out of you, leave you for dead, and then continue on to build a construct to try and open a portal to bring their entire race through to Earth, which will then try and colonize us and use us as slaves.
  • Anti-Hero -
    • While Perry is able to beat back the Infection, in the sequel, he constantly kills Infected who could give the agents information and is a prick. He fully believes in his abusive father, too.
    • Commander Paulius Klimas in Pandemic. During the mission to rescue Cooper Mitchell he kills two Chicago police officers to prevent them from revealing the location of the SEAL team.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking - Two of the brainwashed soldiers in Ogden's platoon come to a stop on a bridge in their hummer, step out of the vehicle, fire their weapons into unsuspecting civilians, dip their heads back in the humvee to finish off some fries and milkshakes, then start to complain about the 'asshole' behind them driving an SUV.
  • Badass - Perry, and in the sequel Dew Phillips officially earns this title after he beats Perry, the hulking 200+ pound 26 year old so badly he ends up lying in the fetal position begging for it to stop...with a table leg. Did we mention Dew is a Vietnam Vet in his later fifties?
  • Badass Normal - Perry, even without the triangles. And Dew.
  • Bait-and-Switch Tyrant - President Sandra Blackmon initially seems like nothing more than an incompetent Bible thumper but once the chips are down she proves to be extremely capable at making tough choices and leading the nation during mankind's darkest hour. Too bad she doesn't survive.
  • Balls of Steel - Perry.
    • Although technically averted due to the fact that he cuts off his own dick and balls to end the life of a triangle parasite.
  • Barrier Maiden: Cooper Mitchell in Pandemic is a male version. His blood has the ability to kill infected victims on contact and without him the world's doomed.
  • Body Horror - Infected love to mutilate themselves. And then each other. That doesn't even begin to cover what the infection does to the human body. If a human being is infected but their body can't handle the conversion process then it begins to decompose while they're still alive.
  • Berserk Button - The Triangles seem to implant these in their hosts.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy - Anyone who succumbs to the triangles ultimately becomes this.
  • Broken Pedestal: President Gutierrez to Vanessa Colburn, his chief of staff. Over the course of Contagious she has to watch him slowly compromise their shared beliefs that got him elected.
  • Catchphrase - You've got to have DISCIPLINE.
  • Chekhov's Gun - The fact that the Triangles tried to use Perry as an incubator, but failed. This, in turn, makes it possible for Perry to find infected everywhere and find their gates in book two.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • Averted at first with Perry in the second book. He'll use anything he can get his hands on to kill infected...except guns. Not without reason considering he fears the lingering effects of the Triangles will try to get him to commit suicide. Dew Phillips helps him get over it.
    • Dew Phillips as well. Comes from being a veteran of Vietnam and CIA wetwork. As Margaret puts it: Perry knows how to fight. Dew knows how to kill or be killed.
  • Cool Boat: The USS Coronado in Pandemic. The Other Wiki has an article about it.
  • Despair Event Horizon:
    • Margaret Montoya crosses it over the course of Contagious. Having repeatedly failing to save infected victims, losing her best friend, and being ultimately responsible for Detroit getting nuked she's all but used up emotionally. The third book in the series opens with her having lost the will to live.
    • Murray Longworth and the rest of the government officials in the Situation Room cross it during the world-wide outbreak. Once the number of infected reaches over sixty million world-wide it appears the human race is doomed. Luckily Cooper Mitchell is still alive
  • Determinator: Good GOD, Perry.
  • Detroit Is A Battlefield - Detroit, quite frankly, goes to shit quite quickly in the sequel after Chelsea has Colonel Ogden infected brain washed. Ogden was in charge of THREE Army battalions that were supposed to be fighting off the aliens. It takes about two days for Ogden and Corporal Cope to infect his division before setting them loose in the city.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Everyone involved with Project Tangram to one extent or another. When you're trying to prevent a Zombie Apocalypse Alien Invasion you don't really have time for niceties.
  • Good Is Not Soft: President Gutierrez reluctantly becomes this when he gives orders preventing Dr. Montoya from saving an Triangle-infested woman so that the CIA can finally capture living Triangles.
  • Grand Theft Me - The objective of the Triangles is to use the bodies to construct a transportation gate. Insanity and killing people is only a side effect.
  • The Ghost: The Orbital's alien masters.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Perry and Bill. At least...for a while.
    • Perry and Dew Phillips in Contagious. But only after Dew beats Perry to within an inch of his life.
  • Hive Mind - The Triangles, at first only between parasites in a host, then to other parasites in other hosts.
  • Honesty Is the Best Policy - Played with throughout the series. At some points the extreme secrecy surrounding the infection helps the government contain outbreaks without causing major panics. At other times, letting the public know what was going on would have helped.
    • After Detroit gets nuked at the end of Contagious President Gutierrez reveals the existence of the infection to the public and provides proof. His reward was to be voted out of office in a landslide. His successor, President Blackmon, suffers a similar problem later on when anti-vaccination citizens don't believe her when she says the infection is back. For the most part, however, the footage of infected destroying the Navy task force is enough to convince most of the nation to take the yeast vaccine.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick - Murray Longworth has been this to at least seven different presidents. Eight after President Blackmon is killed
  • I Coulda Been a Contender! - Dawsey had to forfeit any chance of going pro, because of a busted kneecap that was treated by shitty doctors. Becomes part of the problem. He no longer trusts doctors due to this, and decides not to go to the hospital for treatment - something that could have ended Dawsey's infection.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted.
  • It's the Only Way to Be Sure: In Contagious, Detroit is vaporized for this reason.
  • Jerk Ass: Perry comes off as one in the second book. Especially when he dumps a bucket of ice over Dew's head for being woken up out of a black out at 8AM. Needless to say, Dew was NOT happy with him.
  • Jerk With A Heartof Gold: Murray Longworth. He's extremely rude and dismissive but also determined to protect the U.S. and the human race at large from the invasion. He even gets some pretty sympathetic moments in the third book.
  • Just Following Orders - Technically the Orbital is just doing what it was programmed to do: find potential interstellar colonies for its creators and enslave the local population. When that doesn't work it prepares to wipe out the human race before they can travel to the stars and hunt down its origin point. At no point does it display anything but single-minded determination to complete its goals.
  • Kill It with Fire - After the Navy task force that had been searching for the remains of the Orbital becomes overrun with infected, Murray Longworth has it sunk with a massive firebomb to prevent the infection from spreading to the mainland. It doesn't work.
  • Made of Iron - Perry.
  • Mind Rape - The Triangles being able to read your mind whenever they want and cause a mindscream when their rage or fear takes over.
  • Mission Control - Murray Longworth.
  • Near Villain Victory: The Orbital comes very close to achieving its goal of exterminating the human race. It kills at the very least a billion people, destroys numerous major cities, and sets parts of the world back to the Dark Ages.
  • Nuke 'em - In the second book the infected hosts band together and change the design of the triangles, creating boils that explode, releasing millions of spores into the air. The spores then go onto to infect others. The hosts leader causes one of the others to swell up into one giant pus-ball of spore and make her pop. This is the only option to prevent the spores from becoming airborne and infecting the whole goddamn world.
    • The Russians and Chinese start hurling nukes at each in the third book. It's never made clear whether the orders came from the legitimate government of China or from infected who got their hands on the nuclear button.
  • Only Sane Man - Surprisingly enough, Murray. After President Blackmon is killed on Air Force One he becomes the only person in the Situation Room who doesn't immediately want to start nuking China to prevent them from nuking the U.S. or Russia. He even manages to talk down the Russian president from forcing the U.S. into launching a first strike.
  • Precision F-Strike: When President Gutierrez tells his chief of staff to shut the fuck up and leave the Oval Office so he can speak with Murray.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Presidents Gutierrez and Blackmon play this straight.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections! - Murray again. When you're running an operation that's supported by the president himself, fuck it.
  • Sequel Hook - Contagious ends with the Orbital being shot down and turned into a million little pieces. However, we soon find out that the last remaining pod the Orbital had was able to float to the bottom of a harbor, intact and unharmed. This is just after the Orbital was able to make one last calculation that would, apparently, be the one to Kill All Humans. Now confirmed with the release of Pandemic.
  • The Dragon - Chelsea Jewell in book two: Contagious.
    • Although she eventually becomes the BigBad after the Orbital is shot down.
  • Took A Levelin Badass - Dr. Tim Feely starts out as a cowardly, selfish jerkass blatantly trying to get in Margaret's pants in front of her husband. Then the infection hits the Navy task force. While escaping from the sinking biohazard ship, he helps perform battlefield surgery on a wounded Navy SEAL. Then, during the mission to Chicago, he beats an infected to death to save Cooper Mitchell]. He ends the book as the new director of Special Threats [[spoiler: after Murray Longworth retires.
  • Vice President Who - Vice President Kenneth Albertson was put on the presidential ticket to help carry California during the election. When Air Force One is downed by infected he becomes the next president and it becomes quickly clear to Murray Longworth that he isn't up to the job.
  • Was It Really Worth It? - All the main characters when they get the order from the president to let the Triangles hatch out of a woman, letting her die in the process, to let Perry talk to the Triangles and find out where their new gate is being made.
    • Also when the president has to make the decision to drop the nuke on Detroit, destroying any possibilities of the spores spreading throughout America, and inevitably, the world.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Despite being treated as nothing more than a Psycho for Hire, Perry doesn't cause any harm to Tad when he comes across him in the beginning of the second book. Tad's little infected brother, however...
    • Averted with Chelsea. Perry doesn't hesitate to shoot her in the face when he gets the chance. Of course by that point the infection has already developed and warped her mind to the point that she's no longer really a child.
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