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What do the National Book award, the Locus award, the Hugo award, The Nebula award, the World Fantasy award, and the PEN/Malamud award have in common? All of them (some multiple times) have been awarded to the fiction of author Ursula K. Le Guin. From fantasy and science fiction to non-fiction essay writing, from kids to adults, there are few authors whose work exhibit the kind of universal appeal apparent in Le Guin’s body of work.
What is it?
What’s it about?
SymboGen has pioneered a genetically engineered tapeworm that bolsters the human immune system. Nearly everyone has one. When Sally Mitchell’s gets into a fatal accident (that isn’t an typo, she is brain dead) her SymboGen implant saves her life. Upon waking Sally has no memories. None at all, everything from her family to basic human social interaction is all gone. The novel picks up six years after Sally’s accident and the now six-year-old Sally has struggled heard to relearn what it means to be human and forge new memories and has become what is essentially an entirely new person. Things become increasingly complicated as a rash of people with a “sleeping sickness” begin to pop up all across the country and some even seem particularly interested in Sally herself.
What’s it like?
Parasite is a novel about science gone wrong. It follows in the traditions like Stephen King’s The Stand where the human created Captain Trips nearly eradicates humanity or Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park where human tampering with dinosaurs’ genetic code has disastrous results. In many ways Parasite does for tapeworms what Jurassic Park did for velociraptors.
Who Should Read it?
Fans of science fiction and horror who aren’t overtly disturbed by the idea of parasites. Parasite isn’t overly gory though it does contain some violence.
Ok, parasites do really gross me out. Any other suggestions?
While not particularly scary Ted Kosmatka’s The Games is about genetically modified/created monsters battling it out in an arena; needless to say things don’t go quite as planned. Island 731 by Jeremy Robinson is a horror/science thriller about an expedition trapped on an island formerly used by Japans WWII human-experimentation division Unit 731. Or if action rather than horror is more your thing you might check out Jonathan Maberry’s Joe Ledger series.
This week’s book is Dan Simmons’ The Abominable. The novel, inspired by a story told to the author during his research for 2007’s The Terror, takes place in 1924 as intrepid explorers have begun the race to scale Mt. Everest has been stymied by the mysterious disappearance of two climbers. However, in that same year three explorers set out to explore Everest. While the dangers of the climb itself are known the group of climbers finds themselves pursued and harried by something or someone.
Simmons’ earlier thriller The Terror, following an Arctic exploration, was a significant accomplishment that blended impeccable historic research with the bloody horror of the unknown. I have known doubt that Simmons’ newest will fall into a similar vein as the author quickly establishes his well researched facts about mountain climbing in the 1920s. While The Terror was a novel not without its problems the stark imagery of the landscape combined with the atmosphere of fear made for a compelling and chilling combination. All indications are that The Abominable is set to capture those same elements.
Here is what the publisher Little, Brown and Company has to say:
A thrilling tale of supernatural adventure, set on the snowy peaks of Mount Everest from the bestselling author of The Terror.
It’s 1926, and the desire to summit the world’s highest mountain has reached a fever-pitch among adventurers. Three young friends, eager to take their shot at the top, accept funding from a grieving mother whose son fell to his death on Mt. Everest two years earlier. But she refuses to believe he’s dead, and wants them to bring him back alive.
As they set off toward Everest, the men encounter other hikers who are seeking the boy’s body for their own mysterious reasons. What valuable item could he have been carrying? What is the truth behind the many disappearances on the mountain? As they journey to the top of the world, the three friends face abominable choices, actions–and possibly creatures. A bone-chilling, pulse-pounding story of supernatural suspense, THE ABOMINABLE is Dan Simmons at his best.