My story concerns an inter-dimensional consciousness that lures children into itself by manifesting as magical wonderlands with wacky characters (think a creepy Sesame Street or Lazy Town).

The real story starts with an adult survivor returning to one of these environments (kind of like It).

They learn that the consciousness gives off ionizing radiation to whoever is inside it.

They do this to young children so that when they're 8 they have developed leukemia and are full of immature white blood cells, which the consciousness feeds on. Basically it takes 8 years to 'prep' its victims or 'fatten them up' for consuming.

My question is, during that 8-year-period, how much ionizing radiation would the child need to take in to develop to that condition?

  • $\begingroup$ Okay. That's dark. I don't exactly understand why you would need a precise amount on that? I mean, it's already grim enough, can't you handwave that? Don't think people are gonna double/triple check the amount of radiation needed for each children in your book/world/stuff... $\endgroup$
    – Nyakouai
    Commented Oct 19, 2021 at 15:23
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ The minimum is of course one radiation particle, hitting the right location in the DNA of the embryo, triggering the Leukemia. What you are asking though is a statistical answer, that would depend on a huge number of variables. Equally it is quite possible to expose a baby to enough radiation to 100% kill it, and yet not develop any cancers much less the one specific type you are looking for. You are asking a set number answer, to a purely statistical scenario $\endgroup$
    – PcMan
    Commented Oct 19, 2021 at 15:50

1 Answer 1


4 Gy

Radiation-induced myeloid leukemia in murine models


That is a reasonable answer to your question. The only use I can see you making of this kind of information is to determine what sort of acute effects that exposure would have on the baby because the baby is going to be acutely ill also. "4 Gy" is going to be meaningless to 99.99% of your readers and the ones who understand will wonder why these kids are only getting leukemia and not any of the other cancers this sort of exposure could cause.

My suspicious is that this is your riff on "It" that is too good not to share and so you have come here to share it. That is ok. It is a pretty good scifi horror scheme. It is ok if you do it without hard numbers.

My tip to your creature: find an adult with chronic leukemia. One of them can feed you for a long time and might do it voluntarily. It could help the adult too. One man's meat is another man's poison.

  • $\begingroup$ For anyone wondering what a Gy is, it's a Gray. To put that 4 Gy dose in perspective Wikipedia state "A whole-body acute exposure to 5 grays or more of high-energy radiation usually leads to death within 14 days", although I that's high-LET, not low-LET (which would still be bad). $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 19, 2021 at 17:03

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