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Peeps (Peeps Series #1)

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Overview

Cal Thompson is a carrier of a parasite that causes vampirism, and must hunt down all of the girlfriends he has unknowingly infected.\
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Overview

Cal Thompson is a carrier of a parasite that causes vampirism, and must hunt down all of the girlfriends he has unknowingly infected.\
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As with So Yesterday, Westerfeld creates an engaging conspiracy set in New York City, filling his novel with provocative facts, this time about parasites. Right after Cal Thompson moves from Texas to New York for college, he loses his virginity and become infected with the parasite that causes vampirism. Fortunately, Cal is "partly immune," so while he is parasite-positive, or a peep, he only experiences some effects, such as night vision. The 19-year-old works for Night Watch, the city's ancient peep-hunting organization. As Cal begins to track Morgan, the woman who infected him after a drunken one-night stand, he stumbles upon a mystery that eventually makes him question the very organization for which he works. He also finds a love interest in the strong-willed journalism student now living in Morgan's old building, but because of the disease he cannot act on his feelings. While they may have trouble making sense of all the pieces, readers will enjoy the scientific reasoning behind vampirism, and will likely get sucked into the conspiracy with Cal. The book brims with great details (Cal can make himself fake I.D. cards and, like other government workers, spends a lot of his time filling in forms), and he faces off against other victims and encounters plenty of rats. Alternate chapters about parasites provide compelling (and appropriately disgusting) details about their small but powerful world. This is definitely a story to get the brain working. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.\
KLIATT
One pictures a high school science teacher looking out at a bored class and thinking, "Hmm . . . how can I make the theory of evolution interesting? I know. I'll write a novel about vampires!" This author, however, has a long list of SF novels behind him and found his author calling in infancy, so the potential use of this book to teach Darwinian theory is perhaps a happy coincidence. "Peeps" is short for parasite positive, the "preferred" term for modern vampires because, yes, vampirism is the result of parasitic infection, with which the world abounds (as Westerfeld happily details in quirky but factual even-numbered chapters). The super powers (strength, the ability to leap tall buildings—but no flying, come on!—the uncanny sense of smell, the desire to eat meat, the horniness, the hatred of mirror reflections) are only resulting symptoms. Nineteen-year-old Cal arrives in New York City to attend college, but is seduced by too many Bahamalama Dingdongs into sex with a black-haired stranger and becomes a carrier of the parasite, making him the perfect vampire hunter because, like Typhoid Mary, his condition is rare. It may be hard to imagine from this plot summary how the novel demonstrates the theory of evolution, but it does, and entertainingly. Even non-vampire fans will like this one. Readers know they are not in standard vampire country when Cal makes his first capture by pasting pictures of Elvis on every door and window to prevent escape. KLIATT Codes: S*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students. 2005, Penguin, Razorbill, 320p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Myrna Marler\
Children's Literature
This is an odd book. Fans of vampire novels will like it, of course, but it has an extra kick to it. "Peeps" is short for "parasite-positive," and the parasite in this case is vampirism. "Parasite" is the operative word here. You may think you know how parasites work—how they infect and kill their host species, how they get carried around by another species that will transmit them without being infected themselves—but Westerfeld tells us way more than we ever wanted to know, about more parasites than we ever thought existed. Cal Thompson, the narrator, is a carrier; he can transmit the parasite but is not a full-fledged vampire himself. He has many of the physical attributes of vampires. His senses of smell and taste and hearing are enhanced. He is also constantly horny, which means that when he walks down the street he has to look at the pavement rather than all the beautiful women. Cal is also a member of the Night Watch. This group of (questionable) police officers are trying to track down Peeps, and Cal needs to find the woman who infected him and the woman he infected. Are you confused yet? Just wait until cats get involved. Yes, both feral and domestic cats can carry the parasite. They can even be vampires. And there is Something living under the sewers, an evil Something that is just waiting for the right time so that it can take over. The Night Watch, the Peeps, and some "normals" form an alliance to defeat their ancient enemy. Very readable. Recommended for fans of the genre. 2005, Penguin Young Readers, Ages 12 up.
—Judy Silverman\
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Vampire stories are a staple of the publishing industry. They are usually romantic and sexy, steeped in a dreamy magic. Peeps is none of those-well, maybe a little sexy. Nineteen-year-old Cal, a Texas transplant, lost his virginity-and a lot more-when he first arrived in New York City. He became a parasite-positive, or "peep"-he prefers not to use the "v-word." Now he works for the Night Watch, a secret branch of city government dedicated to tracking others of his kind. Unlike the rare natural carriers like Cal, who has acquired night vision, superhuman strength, and a craving for lots of protein, most peeps are insane cannibals lurking in darkness. But now the teen has found the young woman who infected him-and learns that something worse than peeps is threatening the city, and he is on the front lines. Cal's voice is genuine-he's a little geeky, as evidenced by the intermittent discussions on parasites, and he laces a dry humor through this immensely reasonable biological vampire story. The evocation of NYC is exactly right, so that even the most fantastic elements of the plot feel believable. Much of the story is concerned with Cal's detective work and growing relationship with Lace, his "Major Revelation Incident" (he tells her his secret); toward the end, the action picks up in a race to reveal the horrors to come. This innovative and original vampire story, full of engaging characters and just enough horror without any gore, will appeal to a wide audience.-Karyn N. Silverman, Elizabeth Irwin High School, New York City Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
Both medical thriller and science fiction, this fast-paced, captivating modern vampire story is enriched with biology and history. Nineteen-year-old Cal is a hunter. He works for the Night Watch, New York City's clandestine organization to capture "peeps," "parasite positive" people infected with an ancient disease that causes vampirism. They're cannibalistic, violent and wildly strong. Cal tracks his line of contagion: an ex-girlfriend, whom he unwittingly infected, and then his progenitor, the girl who gave it to him. Yes, Cal has the parasite, but he's a carrier rather than a full-blown peep. Forced into secrecy and celibacy but possessing peep-like superhuman senses and strength, Cal simmers with adrenaline. He succeeds at his job in the dank, oppressive urban undergrounds, but he discloses secrets to an unauthorized, uninfected girl his age who becomes inextricably involved. Conspiracy issues arise; the parasite's centuries-long history holds a profound revelation. Westerfeld intersperses relevant chapters on how various real-life parasites operate in nature. Entrancing throughout-but squeamish readers beware. (afterword, bibliography) (Science fiction. YA)\
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595140838
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 9/7/2006
  • Series: Peeps Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 166,044
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Interviews & Essays

An interview with Scott Westerfeld

\ \ What made you decide to write a vampire novel? Was there a particular story or event that sparked your interest?

\ \ Whenever I see a movie with no fantasy elements, I always imagine what it would be like if they threw some vampires in. And in pretty much every case, I think it would be better.

\ \ When it came to writing my own book, M.T. Anderson's Thirsty was a real eye-opener. The kid who's turning into a vamp has such an interesting and different point of view, it made me want to borrow some of Anderson's ideas about what it's like to be . . . thirsty.

\ \ But the real inspiration was the non-fiction research I was doing about parasites and rats. The natural world is so fascinating and icky . . . real life predators and parasites are really much scarier and more disturbing than any vampires in fiction. So I kind of wanted to bring back the icky.

\ \ How much research was required before you could begin writing?

\ \ Not too much before I started-I usually do my research while I write. It's more exciting to be discovering the subject at the same time as your characters. Mostly, I was reading Carl Zimmer's Parasite Rex, which is a book about how a single species of parasite can manipulate an entire ecosystem to support themselves.

\ \ Parasites are like the puppet-masters of biology. Once they get into your head (so to speak) it's easy to see the whole natural world as a bunch of robots doing their bidding. That got me thinking about what it would be like if all of humanity was just a cog in that kind of system, and we didn't even know it . . .

\ \ There is an equal balance of humor and horror in Peeps. Was this difficult to achieve? Was this balance necessary to make the story work?

\ \ I think that horror and humor go together naturally. Comedy is one of the ways that humans let ourselves relax when we're anxious or scared or grossed out, so it's pretty easy to get someone to laugh once you've made them uncomfortable. That's the trick: Start with the scary, then let them off the hook with a joke.

\ \ I've noticed that almost every horror movie has funny moments, and if the filmmakers aren't smart enough to put them in, the audience just decides that the movie is funny (by deciding that it's lame). So rather than have my readers laugh at me, I figured it was a good idea to go for comedy, so they can laugh with me.

\ \ Rats, parasite positives, maggots... there are pages that absolutely make your skin crawl, especially if you live in New York City. As a resident were you freaked out by what you learned about rats?

\ \ As I wrote Peeps, I was also reading Robert Sullivan's book called Rats, which is a history of rats in New York City. I wound up going to some of the spots mentioned in the book, small alleyways that seethe with tiny scurrying forms. That was definitely creepy.

\ \ But the fact of rats doesn't bother me. They've been hanging around humans since Egyptian times (that's why they had cat statues in their temples). And I think it's kind of cool that there's a whole other world under our feet here in this city, with abandoned tunnels and ruins and even buried graveyards. And of course, that world has its own inhabitants who have adapted to it. That's the way nature works.

\ \ But when I moved to New York, I did bring my cat, just so that that world and mine wouldn't, you know, collide too much.

\ \ What adjectives would you use to describe your latest book?

\ \ "Icky." "Intense." "Fast-paced." And whatever adjective describes that feeling you get when someone is talking about bugs, and then you feel imaginary ones on your skin. (Oh, yeah, that's "icky" again.)

\ \ What's on your iPod?

\ \ The Kills, Imogen Heap, King Sunny Ade, Shonen Knife, Dave Brubeck, DJ Shadow, Morcheeba, PM Dawn, PJ Harvey, Jimmy Little, Metric.

\ \ Of course, it's an iShuffle, so next time it might be different.

\ \ What are you reading now?

\ \ I recently finished a non-fiction book, The Emperor of Scent, which is about scientists figuring out how smell works. Much more interesting than it sounds, and very useful for writing. It's hard to describe smells, but if you can, it's a great way to put your reader into a place and mood.

\ \ At this very moment I'm reading page proofs for Magic Lessons, my wife's next book and the sequel to Magic or Madness. Six months ago, I read it as a first draft, but I haven't seen it since. It's changed a lot in all that time, and I'm really enjoying seeing how all those rewrites, edits, and new stuff makes the book stronger and deeper. (Yay, Justine!)

\ \ Next I'll read Dreamhunter, by New Zealander Elizabeth Knox, which everyone says is great.

\ \ What would be if you weren't a writer?

\ \ Probably a game designer. I used to design software for kids, and my favorite part was making up games. Maybe one day I'll take all my money and start a game company.

\ \ Either that or a rock star, of course.

\ \ Have you started working on your next book? Can you give us a sneak peak?

\ \ Right now I'm writing Specials, the last book in the Uglies trilogy. I'm at the point where it's driving me crazy, so no sneak peeks. Well, maybe the first sentence: "The six hoverboards slipped among the trees with the lightning grace of playing cards thrown flat and spinning." I like that sentence.

\ \ The next book I'll be starting on is going to take place in the Peeps universe, but with different characters. It's also set in New York City, but in the music scene. I used to compose music, and I've been wanting to write something about a band for a while.

\ \ Writing about music is like writing about smells: It's hard, but if you can pull it off, it really sets a great mood. Plus, it gives me an excuse to go to some clubs, which will probably be more fun than all those rat-infested alleys.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 222 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(135)

4 Star

(47)

3 Star

(22)

2 Star

(12)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 222 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 25, 2011

    vamparasites - a fun new direction

    Peeps. Thus far, it is the only work of Vampire Fiction I've been able to find that approaches the phenomenon from a scientific perspective. And really, that's something I'm aching for; in this last decade, where vampires have broken out like a plague and spawned hundreds of thousands of novels (starting out with that-which-shall-not-be-named which features terribly bland heroines and sparkly vampires), and each and every one of them centering around some cobbled-together cheesy romance, there hasn't been the imagination nor the interest in a more realistic view to the blood-suckers.

    I happen to liken this book to the Zombie Survival Guide, by Max Brooks - giving life and realism to another part of the horror genre. Bringing it down to actual factual possibilities (while, of course, keeping it engrossed in the world of fiction) and branching a story from that starting point.

    There are only a few problems that I have with Peeps, and none of them are very large; the token female says 'Dude' so much you actually hope you'll get a nickel every time she says it (by the end of the book, you'd be filthy-stinkin' rich); the great big evil at the end is kind of a let down (giant worms, anybody? C'mon.); the whole done-before secret agency (for VAMPIRES. ooh, spooky.);and the main character himself was kinda boring ('what's he like?' 'well, he's from Texas.' 'anything else?' 'not a d**m thing.').

    The positives, however, largely outweigh the negatives: the plot is fascinating, the vamparasitic explanations amazingly real, the pace is well-done, style beautiful, wit is just sly enough to be charming. The parasite-filler-chapters are just icing on an already very tasty cake. The way Westerfeld weaves together biology, historic illnesses, and myths dating all the way back to the Egyptians in order to bring his vampires to life is nothing short of astounding.

    Five out of five, definately a keeper.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 11, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    pretty good

    Peeps was a very interesting book. It takes place in New York City which is the perfect setting due to the fact that rats are a major part of this book. The rats are infected with a parasite which can infect people, and New York City is full of people. Cal, the protagonist goes through a series of problems that he must solve in order to save the human race from being 100% infected. Scott Westerfeld did a great job connecting the problems of the characters to real life dilemmas.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Made me interested in Science!

    I finished this book in about 2 days and it was pretty good. At first its kind of hard to keep up but once you get the hang of it you will love it. It was really interesting and surprising because well here's 2 things about me 1- I hate Science and 2- I hate rats, but this book actually got me interested in Science (rats are another story)! I know weird right, but it is pretty interesting. This gives you a new perpective about vampires (a more believable one). I actually found this a very good book even when at first you know I was disgusted by the details about parasites and skin mites etc. But then you know I found it very interesting and could actually see this happening I mean it's not like I'm entertained by the end of the world or diseases but this made me realize how exposed to disaster our society is. I really recomend this book even when it will gross you out at first but then you understand the cycles explained here and you are actually entertained by the weird situations. I saw lots of similarities with twilight (and I'm not talking about how they're both about vampires)- the inner conflict between Cal and himself is similar to the one Edward has and also how Cal wishes he were normal so he could be good enough for Lacey is how Edward feels about himself. But even non vampire fans will like this one cause it very different from other books (more believable). Makes you think if there really could be a disease like this going around.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    My Favorite Book

    This book is so amazing. It kept me interested the whole way through. Scott Westerfeld has a way of writing so nothing is boring. The chapters about parasites, which I thought would leave me bored, only left me wanting to know more. I only wish he would write a book fully of parasites. Not to say the story its self is not amazing. The characters are very lovable. I love this book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 29, 2011

    Amazing Book! :)

    Peeps is a great fiction book for any reader, especially the vampire fans. Scott Westerfeld does a great job at making a descriptive plot for the readers. He also does a good job of explaining to the readers the history of vampires and the parasite that started it all. Westerfeld has written many great books but this is my favorite. It got me interested in science, in general. Cal Thompson moves to New York for college. Within the first few weeks, he gets infected by a parasite known by many names, one of which is vampirism, if that gives you a clue. Cal is recruited to work for an unknown group of psych specialists, called the Night Watch, which hunt down vampires. In the process of finding and putting an end to Morgan, Cal's infector, he meets a girl that he really likes but can't do anything about, because if he "messes around" with a girl... You'll just have to read it to find out. Westerfeld makes it seem like vampires are real by giving a few scientific explanations for the beginning of the parasite, and he goes all out to explain it in an understandable manner. I think that the book meets the purpose of entertainment, but you would have to read it to find out for yourself. Peeps is a great book for any reader, but mostly vampire fans. Westerfeld is an amazing writer and makes all of his books good ones. I would recommend this book to anyone really. It is mostly directed at ages 12 and up, though. I hope that you will love this book as much as I did. It has an interesting story, and can really get you thinking.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    This makes into my top and also one of THE most unforgettable books I've read!!!

    This book is UNFORGETABLE!!! It makes me laugh cuz I sorta have a thing for freeky, shiver when its like 90 degrees and laugh at the irony tht I find the book funny. PLUS, Westerfeld is one of my favorite arthors and the narrative was INCREDIBLE and sarcastic and funny and real to life and he seems like someone I would LOVE to meet in real life!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Peeps: Scott Westerfeld

    I chose the book, Peeps by Scott Westerfeld, because my best friend read it for her English class, and she told me it was very interesting. I also like a few of Scott Westerfeld¿s other books, so I thought I¿d see what this one was about. Peeps is basically about a guy named Cal who was infected with a parasite that makes its host somewhat cannibal-like. Since Cal is only a carrier of the disease he doesn¿t go around killing people, but he has to capture the ones who do. I liked this book because it has humor, keeps the reader interested, and I learned some interesting facts about different parasites. <BR/> What I really noticed about Peeps was the structure of its chapters. It was almost like when you watch a movie on TV; there¿s the actual movie and every once in a while it cuts to a commercial. In the book the main story was in segments, and there were brief chapters in between in which Cal, the narrator, tells about some particular parasite. These brief little chapters were good because they tell you things about parasites that you may not have known before, and they can help your mind settle down after a dramatic event in the story. Overall this was a pretty good book and Scott Westerfeld wrote a sequel to it that I have yet to read. I would recommend this book to anyone who has any interest in science fiction or parasitology, and who would like to have something to read just for the enjoyment of reading.<BR/><BR/> -Jasmine E.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2014

    Sweet Death

    Hey! You st<_>ole my "useless info" joke!...And that wasn't even useless! XD<p>Put in Sweet Death. Her bio is at one of the st res, at the book "St. Raven" by Jo Beverly, under the heading "TOO MANY PONY BIOS!...Just tap this, okay?" Bear in mind that Sweetie is half dragon, though she's definitely on the ponies' side.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2014

    Dawn

    (Jhony wants to aplly too both of our bios is at fgv res 2 I think or 3.) I might have a rivelry with RD since we are both really fast.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2014

    The Stolen Prophecey part 1

    ((0kay. Here is some non-usefull infomation. This is sorta like a mlp Pacific Rim crossover but instead of Kaju, its different dragons. Told u it was useless.)) -__--_-__--_- Mayor Mare looked over the ruins, half way to tears. Rainbow Dash tried to stick togeather a split in half, scorched Daring Do book back togeather and sat down to try to read it but it fell in half again. Twilight lay stunned over by a nearby scorch mark that almost hit her. The monsters. They destroy. They kill. They steal. They finnaly came to us. It had to be Equestria. It had to be Ponyville. My home. Destroyed.((three character apps and i continue))

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2014

    Nitro

    "I CALL BEING A PILOT THAT MANS ONE OF THOSE GIGANTIC ROBOTS THAT KICK BUTT!!!!!"

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2014

    Ryan

    Social Studies!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I lovvvveeeee

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2014

    BrightM&hearts&hearts n Orphanage

    B

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2014

    Amber

    She flys in boredly.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

     I've read other Scott Westerfeld books and out of the ones I've

     I've read other Scott Westerfeld books and out of the ones I've read this is the worst by far. I had to force myself to read this book because he tires to tie in too much in the story. For example, he makes the character mentioned that the vampire was an ex on various occasions to the point where it was completely unnecessary. also Mr. Westerfeld attempted to make this book interesting but utterly failed by trying to add in too many factors. Such as trying to tie in rats in relation to the vampires. I love to read books but this book gave me various headaches until i made the decision to pause mid-book. If you are looking for a outstanding book about vampires try Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead,I really hope this helps and stops anyone from reading this book.

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  • Posted December 26, 2013

    So what to say about this one? Its a little different than some

    So what to say about this one? Its a little different than some of the vampire series I read. I try to read more but there are some hit or miss. This one was good, weird but good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2013

    Treasurehunt pinkgirilla

    Gorilla res ten

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2013

    Westerfeld does it again

    Every Scott Westerfeld book is amazing in its own right, but the way he writes Peeps is unique and exciting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2013

    Good

    Amaz ballz such a fantstballz bookMUST READ

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2013

    I'm not one to read books but when my mom came home from the lib

    I'm not one to read books but when my mom came home from the library and handed me this book (Peeps), I fell in love. I'm not big on vampires but I can't stop reading the book. I'm close to the end of the book and I don't want to finish it. I love how the author tells the story one chapter and then in the next chapter explains a parasite so that when you continue you get a good understanding to what the parasite is doing. GREAT book :)

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