Science Fiction Books/Typos corrected


I am looking for the name of the book and author of a book that is probably older than thirty years ago.   Story line is where the main character is a man that ends up being an unknown carrier of a disease that turns people into stone and at first appears to kill them but midway through he discovers there is a process that can be applied to the people involving machines that keep moving the joints and drugs that turn the people into long living individuals.  The main character himself eventually discovers the tiny beginnings of the change on himself and ends up getting saved by this secret group.    

I thought it was heinlein's methuselahs children but not the case.    This guy drove a gas car in a time where everything else was electronic and controlled by the government.   Allowing him to travel off the grid.   

Hopefully I haven't combined a couple books in my memory."


I often find that people sometimes mix up science fiction stories' plots and this may be the case here. I do know of one SF short story, "Syndrome Johnny" by Katherine MacLean:-



The story I mention is all about a man, who is the son of a scientist who invented a plague, called "Johnny" as a nickname. This plague kills many people all over the world, but the children of the survivors  all turn more or less into stone as they incorporate silicon into their bones etc. The result is that they become able to do things such as holding their hands in a candle's flame without feeling any pain and so on. Anyway, this son has been genetically manipulated etc. by his father so that he lives much longer than other humans and has other modifications added so that he is immune to the plague he is himself carrying and he is the prime infective agent of the plague. Anyway, government agents are looking for this guy but fail to find him. One man works out the guy's real identity and admires him for reducing the previous generations' overpopulation which had been devastating the world and for improving mankind with these genetic enhancements driven by the plague. Then he finds out that this guy, "Johnny", is about to unleash a second, final phase of the plague which will kill off many more people and turn their descendants into some form of advanced, enhanced "Homo Superior". Then the man kills "Johnny" as he realises that if this 2nd phase of the plague occurs, then his only daughter, a sickly woman, is likely to die as a result of this plague, and he will not tolerate that.


Science Fiction Books

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts




I have read most of the short stories and books produced by the Top 80-100 authors in the SF field, as well as more obscure authors such as Robert Sheckley, and can answer any queries regarding author, title or theme of a science fiction short story(or novel). I can also answer questions on the history and influence of Science Fiction past to present, as well as on specific SF genres such as Cyberpunk,Golden Age SF, H G Wells-style scientific romances etc. I do not answer questions about books/stories set in the Fantasy genre.


Am currently doing a writing course for writing Science Fiction Books, with the Writer's Bureau in the UK.<

Am considering becoming an amateur writer of Science Fiction. Other than that, no academic credentials, I simply have read a multitude of SF books and stories, with an emphasis on stories from H G Wells to the 1980s.

©2016 All rights reserved.