The Andromeda Strain by Michael Crichton is a science fiction book about
the fictional 'first crisis' in the biological field. The book starts out by
pointing out that technology is growing so rapidly, there is bound to be
crises, like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, and how the biological field of
science has never had a major crisis. He also points out that biology is the
youngest of all the fields, and a crisis has been long overdue.
It begins with what is known as Project Scoop, a scientific mission to
find life in the extreme outer limits of the atmosphere. Many satellites are
put into orbit, and most are lost or come back with nothing. Then, with the
seventh satellite, the get something. There is just one problem. The
satellite lands in a very small town in northeast Arizona called Piedmont.
Tracking crews are sent out to find the satellite and find it, and head into
the town, but they find most of the inhabitants of Piedmont lying dead,
clutching their chest, in the middle of the main street.
When the get out of
the vehicle to investigate, they die too, while being monitored by radio.
The person in charge is back at base, listening to them. When, after
the two find all the dead bodies in the town, everything goes silent, he
knows something has gone very wrong, and calls in the problem. The systems
that have been set up to take over in the event that something that like this
happened start to take over, and certain people are contacted. Years before,
a group of biologists proposed to the President that, in case of a unknown
biological agent getting out into the country, an underground secret base
should be set up to study the organism, and...