The Science of The X-Files cover
The Science of The X-Files

The Science of The X-Files; by Jeanne Cavelos;
Berkley/Boulevard (Penguin Putnam Inc.); NYC; November, 1998; 256 pp.; trade paperback; $12.00 U.S. $17.00 Can.
ISBN 0-425-16711-9
This book was not authorized, prepared, approved, licensed, or endorsed
by any entity involved in creating or producing The X-Files ® television series or films.

Back Cover:

By pushing science to its furthest, most marvelous extremes, The X-Files has captivated us with stories more strange and surreal than we'd ever dreamed possible. But are they as far-fetched as they seem? With the help of leading experts, scientist Jeanne Cavelos explores the scientific theories--and supporting research--that shed light on some of the series' most bizarre and compelling episodes.

  • Could a man cause fungi to destroy everything he touched?
  • What sort of nutrition could be derived from a diet of human livers?
  • Would a man made entirely of cancer cells have the ability to grow back his decapitated head?
  • Could bees be genetically altered to sting a person with smallpox?
  • How would alien and human DNA be combined to create a hybrid?
  • How could a salamander hand grow on a man's body?
  • Could concentrated human pheromones really make Scully do "the wild thing" with a stranger?

Delve into the truth behind The X-Files --and the wonders of science will never look the same again...

Jeanne Cavelos is a writer, editor, scientist, and teacher. She began her professional life as an astrophysicist and mathematician, and worked for NASA at the Johnson Space Center before embarking upon a career in publishing. She has since served as an editor for several bestselling science and science fiction authors, and also teaches a summer workshop for writers of science fiction, fantasy, and horror at New Hampshire College.


"Crisp, conversational. . . intelligent. . . one of the more valuable spin-offs of the popular TV series. Though billed as 'the book that Scully herself might have written,' this volume is both more objective and more genial than that, taking seriously--but also having fun with--the show's steady diet of throat-piercing fungi, implanted microchips, black oil organisms, toads from the sky, bizarre mutations and purported alien machinations. Each of the seven chapters begins with a gripping, middle-of-the-action scene from an X-Files episode, then steps back to ask:    How real is this? . . . Brisk and engaging."

    --Publishers Weekly

"Highly readable. . . . Cavelos conveys considerable food for thought spiced with personal elan (even her iguana Igmoe is brought into the discussion of pheromones), insight, and humor as she delves into the freaky phenomena. Anyone interested in cutting-edge science, bizarre facts, or just really gross stuff--even if they don't know Scully from Mulder--is sure to savor The Science of The X-Files."

    --Dark Echo

"Lively and entertaining."

    --The Telegraph

"Surprisingly good."

    --The Denver Post

"Great stuff."

    --The Milford Cabinet

"Clever. . . breezy."

    --The Star Tribune

"A treasure-trove of gross science facts you'll enjoy even if you've never seen the show. Disturbing birth defects, parasitic worms that come out of your eyes, killer fungi, cockroaches in serried ranks--whatever makes you go "Ewww," it's probably in here. Besides these monster-of-the-week topics, Cavelos gives a scientific background to the X-Files mythology: the web of aliens (gray, black oil, shape-shifting, whatever), hybrids, abductions, government cover-ups, and the looming figure of the Cigarette-Smoking Man. Whether you are a wide-eyed, broad-minded (gullible?) Mulder or a skeptical, rationalist, cold-water-throwing Scully, this book has an insight, a silly story, or a good quote for you."

"Jeanne Cavelos--who wrote perhaps the best TV tie-in novel ever with Babylon 5: The Shadow Within--now offers X-Philiacs The Science of the X-Files. . . . Witty, accessible to the average reader and positively infectious in [its] love of the workings of the universe. . . . The Captain was glued to this book. Cavelos' clear, witty prose calms the waters of technophobia and opens the cosmos--even to those who can't program their VCRs."

    --Captain Comics, The Sunday Telegraph

"Fascinating. . . . An entertaining primer for anyone who likes science but hated dry high school texts. Cavelos writes in a conversational style and explains tricky concepts with straightforward prose that isn't dumbed down."


"Thorough and accurate."

    --New York Times

More: Contents, Excerpts, and parts cut for length.

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