Sunday, 5 October 2008

Guy N. Smith Book Review - Abomination

The Earnshaw family (Les, Diana and daughter Emma) are a group of organic farmers who live on a farm known as the Dingle in the village of Pen-Y-Cwm. Unfortunately, Pen-Y-Cwm is also home to Roeder Agrochemicals, a laboratory that develops and tests exotic pesticides. Although they claim that the fallout from testing is at safe levels, everything goes pear-shaped with their latest pesticide, which goes too far, crosses the line man was not meant to cross, etc. It operates on the same principle as systemic weed killers, causing the pests to outgrow their food supply and die off. Unfortunately it doesn't quite work according to plan, and the fallout from testing causes local insect-life (and some amphibians) to turn into monstrous freaks. It also gives them a craving for human flesh, for some reason. What will this mean to the residents of Pen-Y-Cwm and the Dingle?

While we are on the subject of dingles, I think the story reaches a peak for me when our furious hero bursts from his front door dressed only in tighty-whiteys and brandishing an axe, in order to confront a congregation of slightly-larger-than-average frogs. That's the level of ridiculousness I hope to get from my Smith books. Now, I don't know if Guy N. Smith has a severe case of ranidaphobia, but let's face it, frogs aren't exactly the most menacing creatures. I don't care how big they are. When Emma is terrified by a giant frog I can buy it, since she's a little girl, but one woman is suffocated to death by a group of giant toads when they stuff themselves into her mouth (which is, as far as I can tell, the only way they could possibly kill her). Even though she is handicapped by a couple of broken legs, it's a pretty pitiful (not to mention unbelievable) way to die.

Aside from the frogs, all other manner of creepy crawlies are inflated to larger-than-life proportions with appetites to match. Snake sized worms gross everyone out at a funeral, a couple of horny teens are dispatched by enormous leeches, a church congregation is menaced by kamikaze stag beetles and an old woman gets extra-large earwigs in her vagina. You know, the usual shenanigans. A couple of nasty school-board administrators are also introduced and dispatched over the course of a chapter and it's a pretty elaborate death too, with vivid descriptions of insects crawling in every available orifice and eating them alive from the inside out. In a classy touch that is pure Smith, one of the victims has an orgasm as the ants eat her alive (love life getting stale? Try flesh-eating insects!)

Yeah, I don't know if it's a side-effect of the chemicals or what, but the insects seem to have a bit of a genital fixation. If you're ever attacked by giant earwigs, cover your scrotum (or labia) because that'll be stop number one on the all-of-you-they-can-eat buffet. Every victim is penetrated (guess where?) and/or says some variation on "Holy crap, they've eaten my genitals". Actually that'd be a great name for this book or indeed many of Guy N. Smith's books. Feel free to use it if you're reading this, Mr. Smith.

Interspersed with the random insect munching is a few brief chapters about the evil Roeder and his two subordinates. They've been lying on their reports, and now the government has caught wind of their situation and is going to shut them down. One has a change of heart but he is eaten alive by insects as he is fantasizing about being a woman (long story), while the other gets in a scuffle with Roeder that ends pretty badly for all involved. The story is wrapped up with little to no human intervention and certainly no action from our (by default) heroes. Let's just say it involves exploding frogs.

This is a pretty terrible book, but it leapt so far over the line of ridiculous that it became enjoyable again. All the Smith trademarks are present and accounted for: paper-thin characters, utterly ridiculous deaths, heroes who are as such simply by virtue of surviving until the final page, and vivid descriptions of gore and sex, usually occurring simultaneously. This is probably one of Smith's most entertaining nature-run-amok books, but he's written about fifty million of them so I can't say for sure. The message is clear though: Screw with nature and it will fuck you up. Seriously. If you want to dip your toe into the ocean of Smith books, this is a pretty good place to start.

No comments: