Once I wrote a story called 'Telephone Pest' in which a silent phone call will enslave and eventually kill people. It was fiction. About six months later, a rumour spread around an African country to the effect that if you received a silent phone call on your mobile, you would die within 24 hours. I wondered then if someone might have read that story (it was published on the Internet) and thought it funny to scare their friends with the idea. I don't know if there was a connection and I doubt I ever will.
If you picked up a copy of this (download is free) then you'll have read that story, and one called The Imagination Virus. It's fiction too, of course. It couldn't possibly happen. A virus that changes how you see the world? Ridiculous.
Trooper Thompson finds that maybe it's not so ridiculous at all. There is an inoculation against stress under development, virus-based, that will dispel your rage and make you calm and focused.
In other words, it will turn you into an Eloi. No matter what is done to you, you won't get angry or upset about it. Sound good? Really?
When they take your children, you won't mind. When they tell you what you can eat and drink, you won't mind. When they order you to the organ donation slaughterhouse, you won't mind. Even when you find out that Soylent Green is made of people, you won't mind. You can't worry about it. You've been immunised against worry.
I'm sure those who devised this idea and developed it thought they were doing something good. They did it to help the traumatised and the desperate, I'm sure. They did it without considering what the corrupt and evil in government could do with it.
I'm pretty sure that Albert Einstein didn't have nuclear bombs in mind when he first formulated his equations, and nor did Marie Curie when she figured out how radioactivity worked. I don't think Edward Jenner had biological weapons in mind when he worked out to vaccinate people. No, I don't think the scientists in this case have evil intent at all.
The politicians who will control this, however, have nothing but evil intent.
If this new vaccine against rage works, it will be virus borne. It does not necessarily have to be injected.
Futuristic and impossible, I hear you say. Just like face transplants and tiny recorders capable of holding a thousand songs and playing them in high-quality stereo. As impossible as landing a robotic device on Mars and controlling it from Earth. As ridiculous as the idea that you could surf the Internet from a little phone. An insane imagining, like the lunatic proposal that an aeroplane could be made invisible to radar or that a satellite could photograph your house and garden and even the top of your head. The very idea of babies grown in the lab then implanted in women and brought to term is just the babblings of an overactive imagination. Isn't it?
Can't happen, huh? I have, in my little lab, a cure for Clostridium difficile and I am one independent scientist working alone, with no access to the massively sophisticated equipment available to big labs. I've seen that stuff and it would make your eyes pop out. Cloning and DNA manipulation is now a piece of piss with such equipment. It can do thousands of manipulations a day, automatically, and test them all. Someone I know who works with such things complained recently that modern hard drives are not big enough to cope with the rate of data generation from these machines. Just let that sink in for a moment.
Science can clone entire animals and create a virus from bottles of chemicals. Seriously. The first bacteria created from scratch are now being developed. Meddling with things we don't fully understand, unleashing forces we cannot control and tampering with the very fabric of life is what we do. It's in the job description. Some of us are careful about it, others are not.
So could a virus be developed that is designed to latch on to brain tissue and deliver a DNA payload that will integrate into the brain cells and affect their operation?
That part is a doddle.
What it does once it's in there, well now that's where we get to the 'tampering' part...
I'm glad I never drink unboiled water.
Although I wonder if I should maybe stop publishing stories. They seem to be giving some people ideas.