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The Clone is a slimy, monstrous entity that served as the titular main antagonist of the novel The Clone (also known as "The Clone: A Science Fiction Novel") by Theodore L. Thomas.
The clone formed in the sewers of Chicago. The clone was accidentally created when muriatic acid was poured down a drain by Henry Pollini in one skyscraper; in another, a cleaning woman poured a bucket of dirty mop water down one. The filthy water contained trisodium phosphate. These wound up in a sewer catch basin where they combined with hamburger meat and silica gel. The warm and nutrient-rich sewer water allowed new life to form.
It started as a microscopic organism but swiftly grew into a huge, formless green blob which which quickly began spreading through the sewers and aqueducts beneath Chicago, soon flowing up into people's homes through their drains. The clone survived by absorbing certain materials both organic and inorganic and converting their cells into its own. In the case of humans, upon being absorbed all that would be left behind (besides certain kinds of clothes) was excess body water. Its method of attack was to emerge from drains in homes and businesses, seeking nourishment. The more it absorbed, the larger it got, soon filling several miles of sewer. Its first victims were Maude and Frank Wendell.
The assimilation process was totally painless and began instantly on contact with bare skin. Once the clone attached part of itself to a victim, the person became an extension of the clone, a part of it, living until they were fully absorbed, whereupon they lost consciousness.
The clone absorbed hundreds of people and even adapted to consume parts of buildings, throwing Chicago into chaos. Heroic efforts were required to prevent it from reaching Lake Michigan where it would've surely grown much larger by feeding on the aquatic life in the lake, before spreading beyond Chicago and dooming the world. Junior pathologist Dr. Mark Kenniston was the one who deduced that iodine killed the clone's tissue.
Once Chicago was evacuated, the National Guard surrounded it. Iodine was sprayed to keep the clone from leaving the city, and the sewers were also blocked off. Eventually, the clone was cut off totally from all available sources of nourishment, and died cannibalizing its own cells trying to stay alive.
- Obviously authors Theodore L. Thomas and Kate Wilhelm's precise definition of "clone" is but vague, even by the standards of biology in the 1960's.
- The Clone shares similarities with another titular slimy monster The Blob.