| The Science of The X-Files |
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Cancer man "Leonard Betts"; John Barnett from "Young at Heart," whose aging process has been reversed and who has a hybrid salamander hand; the flexible, liver-eating Eugene Victor Tooms; and the beloved Flukeman from "The Host"
How possible are such radical mutations? Could a man made totally of cancer survive and regenerate his decapitated head? Could a salamander hand grow on a human? Can liver make you more flexible? Could radiation spawn a mutant hybrid creature?
The camouflage creatures in "Detour"; pituitary-sucking Samuel Aboah and his fellow "Teliko"; fungus- riddled Eladio Buente (a.k.a. El Chupacabra) and his brother Soledad from "El Mundo Gira"; the dysfunctional Peacock family in "Home"; conjoined twins Lanny and Leonard from "Humbug"
Could humans hundreds of years old acquire camouflage pigmentation? Could a man without a pituitary gland survive by sucking the pituitaries out of others? Could a man carry a fungus that kills others? Could three men be the father of one baby? Could conjoined twins separate at will?
Scully's nasopharyngeal cancer; mind-altering ergot derivatives in "Unusual Suspects," "Blood," and "Never Again"; Clyde Bruckman's prediction that Mulder will die of autoerotic asphyxiation in "Clyde Bruckman's Final Repose"; the pheromone-pumping, gender-hopping Kindred in "Genderbender"
Could a tattoo drive someone to murder? Could an inhaled drug make Mulder see aliens? Could the removal of a tiny implant cause cancer? Could aliens release pheromones so powerful that they are sexually irresistible? Might Mulder die of autoerotic asphyxiation?
A cockroach invasion in "War of the Coprophages"; frog extinctions and a prehistoric "big blue" monster in "Quagmire"; arctic worms in "Ice"; pustule-popping insects in "F. Emasculata"; throat-piercing fungi in "Firewalker"; and a rain of toads in "Die Hand die Verletzt"
Do cockroaches go on murderous rampages? Might animals thought long extinct live among us? Can parasitic worms drive us to paranoia? Could life exist in the fierce heat of a volcano, or in the extreme cold of arctic ice?
Alien fungi from a meteorite in "El Mundo Gira"; the Black Cancer from the "Tunguska" meteorite; the life cycle of the Black Cancer in "Tunguska," "Terma," "The Red and the Black," and "Patient X"; the black oil organism in "Piper Maru," "Apocrypha," and the movie; the Russian vaccine
Can alien invaders fall from the skies? And if they can, what would be the nature of these invaders? Could an extraterrestrial parasite take over our bodies, controlling our actions and even accessing our knowledge and memories? Could alien worms coagulate out of a puddle of oil and then revert to a puddle when their work is done? Could a parasite release huge doses of ionizing radiation without killing its hosts? And what defense could we possibly mount against such alien invaders?
Gray aliens as shown in "Little Green Men," "The Erlenmeyer Flask," and other episodes; contacting aliens through SETI as in "Little Green Men"; alien/human hybrids, as possibly shown in many episodes; shapeshifters in "Talitha Cumi," "Herrenvolk," "Patient X"; drones and clones in "Herrenvolk"; Scully's child "Emily"; the nature of UFOs as shown in many episodes; altered states during abduction as in "Duane Barry" and their connection to the God module from "The End"
Are the grays really intelligent aliens from another planet? Could alien/human hybrids be created? How? What might be the effect of introducing alien DNA into humans? Could humans subjected to disease and radiation look like gray aliens? What might power the fast-moving UFOs? How could the government fool people into thinking they've been abducted by aliens?
Rampaging roachbots in "War of the Coprophages"; ominous implants as shown in many episodes; ill- tempered artificial intelligences as in "The Ghost in the Machine" and "Kill Switch"; Dr. Polidori's experiments and the great Mutato in "Post-Modern Prometheus"; smallpox-carrying bees in "Zero Sum"; the larger role of smallpox in The X-Files
Could tiny robots imitate insects? Could artificial intelligences go out of control and kill? Could we all be catalogued with our smallpox vaccinations? Could implants record our thoughts and control our actions? Could insects by engineered to carry bioweapons?
If you'd like an idea of what the book is like, read an excerpt on the Penguin Putnam Publishers site and play THE X-FILES SCIENCE CHALLENGE!
If you've read the book and want more scientific exploration of THE X-FILES, or if you've read the excerpt and are hungry for more, read one of the following exclusive discussions, which were cut for length reasons from THE SCIENCE OF THE X-FILES. Although I decided that these weren't critical to the book, I thought you might find them of interest. The best way to read these is along with the book, as you read the section from which they were cut. Please be aware that if you read them out of context you may be missing some scientific explanations as well as a reminder of the relevant events in the episodes.
THIS IS GOING TO HURT ME MORE THAN IT HURTS YOU
The alien retrovirus. It almost kills Mulder; it does kill Agent Weiss. What does it do to the human body?
THE BAD SEED
In "Eve," the government has created supersoldiers, the Adams and Eves, with extra copies of five chromosomes. Would such a technique create superior soldiers?
"YOU CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT A LIVER"
In "Tooms" and "Squeeze," one of our favorite X-Files oddities displays incredible flexibility and longevity. Could these abilities arise from him having a "superliver" of some kind?
WOULDN'T A TEMPORARY TATTOO BE EASIER?
In "Never Again," Ed Jerse receives a tattoo that drives him to murder. The tattoo artist is a Russian. A brief discussion of tattoos in Russia.
ANGRY AS A MOUSE
In "Ice," Scully theorizes that the worm stimulates production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine in its human hosts, causing paranoia and violence. But is acetylcholine the neurotransmitter most closely connected to violence?
A brief discussion of one aspect of Scully's cancer treatment, as shown in "Redux II."
AN ALIEN MADE ME DO IT
In episodes like "Piper Maru," "Apocrypha," and "The Red and the Black" the black oil seems able to control the behavior of its hosts. This tidbit discusses one real-world example of an organism that can affect the behavior of its human hosts.
COULD THE BLACK OIL CURE CANCER?
In "Piper Maru" and "Apocrypha," the black oil has the ability to release radiation as a weapon. One interesting possibility is raised here.
THE EYES HAVE IT
Since the black oil/black cancer seems to have an affinity for the eye, might we fight it by delivering medicine directly to the eye?
WASH AND WAX
"Nisei" shows technicians spraying a recovered UFO with something very cold like liquid nitrogen. Why? Are they trying to protect themselves from the radiation that seems associated with UFOs?
WHO NEEDS NEEDLES?
Scully's cancer goes into remission after a government microprocessor is implanted. How might an implant affect cancer? This is a short discussion of one implanted device in development.
THE GOVERNMENT MADE ME DO IT
Many episodes feature implants, electronic devices that seem intimately connected to our biological systems. How can electronic and biological systems work together?
THE EVOLUTION OF INTELLIGENCE
In "Kill Switch," we're told the AI evolved intelligence on the Internet. A discussion of the most likely method by which an AI might really evolve.
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Except where noted, Content © 1998 Jeanne Cavelos
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Updated Jun 5, 2003