Fiction Reviews


(2001) Stephen King, Hodder & Stoughton, 17.99, hrdbk, 599pp, ISBN 0-340-77071-6

Four buddies out on a hunting trip are, unfortunately for them, around when a UFO crashes in the area. Needless to say a military "containment" team are despatched to begin the usual cover-up, including the slaughter of civilians. One of the buddies, infected by an alien spore, breaks through the cordon around the area and is chased by all and sundry who want to stop him from spreading the contagion...

It's nice that King keeps trying to write SF but, sadly, he makes as much of a dog's dinner out of it as he did with the execrable The Tommyknockers. He borrows tropes from all over the place, including Alien and even Mars Attacks, while trying to turn teenage fart gags into horror, gets bogged down in flashbacks, and generally drags out a chase to novel length in its own right. Bleugh!

Now don't forget, I like King's work (see some of my other reviews), but this book really sucks! I can't help feeling I would have liked it more had he stuck to the original title (Cancer) and dropped the attempts at humour, but I seriously doubt that would have helped. He has as much right to write SF as anybody, but the fact remains that when he tries he usually messes up. Shame. I can't recommend this, but doubt that that will have much effect on sales...

Tony Chester

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