A Strain on Sci-Fi

The Andromeda Strain

The Andromeda Strain, a mind-blowing 1971 sci-fi face-gripper, was the cinematic adaptation of the 1969 best-selling Michael Crichton novel that didn’t have any pictures. This is why I never read it. I flipped through it, however.

Then came the 2008 A&E re-boot. Didn’t see it because I was hanging out downtown. I bought some gum and chewed it on the spot. Can’t remember what flavor.

The Andromeda Strain

An extraterrestrial organism, or possibly a moon virus, finds its way to Earth via the crashing U.S. military satellite Scoop VII, infecting the entire population of Piedmont, New Mexico (nearby small town) and killing 99.9% of everyone by clotting their blood. It also induces insanity, suicide and murder. Talk about an end-all cure-all.

The Andromeda Strain

A team of scientists hole up in a heavily-secured underground bunker (aptly named, Wildfire), trying to find a space-proof bandage for this clot killer. To get to the main science level, one has to strip bare for science, get irradiated, hosed and, um, deep scrubbed in order to become clean enough to work in the stringently sterile and claustrophobic lab.

The Andromeda Strain

Two unlikely survivors – an old drunk (not me this time) and a few month old baby – are brought in to study/probe/scrub. They survived the virus, so clearly there’s a clue. And that clue may very well be alcohol. The old man is an alcoholic. This suggests the baby is an alcoholic, too. This wasn’t in the movie, just my TV-educated theory based on real-life experiences. Hey, you can’t learn everything in a lab.

The Andromeda Strain

Despite what you may think of me and my VALID speculations, The Andromeda Strain is a ridiculously intense science fiction thriller that for once has better dialogue than special effects. So do the scientists find a cure in time to keep the virus from killing everyone on the planet? Who cares?

P.S. Now I remember – it was spearmint!

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