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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Slime by John Halkin

I’ve been on this kick lately reading what I’ve discovered is called the Eco Terror subgenre of horror novels. They were popular in the seventies and eighties. This is nature run amok as seemingly innocuous creatures turn on the human race and punish us for what we have done to the planet. Previous to Slime I reviewed Night of the Crabs, another British entry into this genre. I had fun with that one, so I have hopes for Slime.

Our lead character is a television actor named Tim. He is the star of a show called Gulliver and while on location he and the crew discover a body. Much to their horror there is a strange jellyfish attached to the body’s face feeding on it! Tim gets caught up in more attacks and eventually when it becomes a national crisis becomes the face of a documentary show explaining to the public why they shouldn’t be afraid. Though they clearly should be as the jellyfish not only take over the ocean but slowly start creeping over the landscape as they move inland searching for food. That food would be people!

This is a decent read. The main character, Tim, isn’t a scientist or heroic character. He is a normal guy that just happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. This means that he is getting dragged thru the story just like the reader. This makes for some fun as we see him make mistakes that puts both himself and others in danger. For example, he spends much of the book with one hand basically useless from a previous attack. The reader also gets to watch as Tim is told things that the public is unaware of. We get to react to the news with our main character. It is a nice way to tell the story and I found myself engaged and interested.

I was a little disappointed in the kills. They aren’t described in too much gory detail and basically become repetitive. Sorry but I want descriptions of digested flesh and eyeballs getting popped out. You know what I mean don’t you? The jellyfish basically slap themselves onto someone and put them to sleep. When the bodies are found the most description we get is that the flesh is gone… Dude tell me about the bones sticking out and the guts falling out on the floor! When I read a book about nature run amok I want it to be bloody! It’s a book so there isn’t an effects budget to worry about. Pile it on.

One more thing that I wanted to mention. Slime isn’t nice to its female characters. Tim is married to Sue, who dumps him early on for Mark. Though right before she takes him to bed for a weekend of the naughty stuff. Because you know ladies do that before breaking up with a fella. Tim also cheats on his wife with the director of his show. She is gay but has sex with him anyway because you know that happens. And there is an assistant who decides to also sleep with him and is then married off to a rich guy in a throwaway line at the end of the book. Then there is a reporter lady that keeps teasing Tim by almost sleeping with him. But it turns out she is just using him to get a better job with the tabloids by writing a gossipy article about Sue and her boyfriend. Does the author hate women? It kind of feels that way.

Like I’ve already said this is a decent read. Not anywhere near as fun as Night of the Crabs but still worth a look if you are interested in mother nature getting her revenge. Halkin has two other books in the Eco Terror genre called Slither and Squelch. One has killer butterflies and the other worms. I’m interested in reading both eventually. Hopefully they are bloodier and have nicer female characters.

© Copyright 2018 John Shatzer

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