I Already Said That
The very first novel I ever wrote sucked so badly it has been permanently relegated to a trunk under the bed. The main problem -- aside from more cliches than you could shake a stick at -- was that there wasn't really enough plot to sustain an entire novel. It was about the next flu pandemic, but I guess I just couldn't find enough of a story in it. Lots of people die; doctors are helpless; yeah? So?
As bad as it was overall, though, I did come up with some nifty lines, including this (talking about flu vaccine):
Each year a committee met at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta and, using statistics so advanced they scarcely differed from guesswork, determined which three antigens were the most likely to be the major players in the next flu season. If they guessed wrong there was nothing they could do about it.That was from my novel. Here's an excerpt from one of several news stories making the rounds:
...This winter is likely to be one of the few times that public health experts lose the bet they make each year when they devise the formula for the flu vaccine — eight months before the virus starts circulating in the fall. Experts must decide on the formulation then because of the time it takes to produce mass quantities of the vaccine.
"Most years, the prediction is very good," said Joseph Bresee, an influenza epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "In 16 of the last 19 years, we have had a well-matched vaccine."
But probably not this time.
I called it.