REVIEW BY JIM MCLEOD
Fungi, not just the life and soul of the party, they are an everyday part of our life. From the great to the bad our lives would not be the same without them. For every case of ringworm, there is a great beer to be drunk, for every case of athlete's foot, we have an excellent tangy blue cheese to take our minds off it. Let's face we need fungus way more than they need us.
Which brings us to the brand new novel from Willaim Meikle, Fungoid sees the world as we know as on the brink of being wiped off the face of the earth thanks to the accidental release of a semi-sentient experimental fungal strain. Its spores carried by the wind and the rain are transported across the globe. Grey sludgy rain brings death and despair wherever it lands as the spores burn into flesh and begin to worm their way into the host's brain changing them forever.
Fungoid is a fast paced ecohorror thriller that delivers on all fronts. The large cast of characters combined with Meikle's tight plotting and a keen eye for dialogue bring a real cinematic feel to the narrative. By focusing more on the fast based plot rather than getting bogged down by over characterisation Meikle has created a real page-turner.
This is a story that benefits from the minimalistic character development, let's be honest we only care about what is happening rather than who it is happening to. Having said that the differing viewpoints and stories are handled exceptionally well and give just the right "human angle" to the story. This is an action based story with some great descriptions of the victims being turned into fungal food.
With hints of Harry Adam Knight, John Wyndham and Doomwatch Fungoid is a deeply satisfying "when nature attacks" novel. Where the book excels, above and beyond the sheer entertainment factor is the refreshingly believable use of a fungus as a monster. Yes, the fungus can be described as sentient, but the spread, development and actual process of infection for once is delivered by someone who understands microbiology. There are no cases of someone getting infected then seconds later succumbing to the disease. I'm looking at you Walking Dead, Z-Nation and just about every other zombie book and film.
FUNGOID is a thrilling page-turner that brings a much need fresh perspective on apocalyptic novels. As a side note, long term fans of Meikle's writing will find a few choice nods and winks to some of his earlier books.
When the end came, it wasn’t zombies, asteroids, global warming or nuclear winter. It was something that escaped from a lab. Something small, and very hungry. It starts with deadly rain that delivers death where it falls, but soon the whole planet is under threat as the infection spreads, consuming everything before it. A band of survivors on the Eastern coast of Canada watch as their world falls and crumbles to ruin. The infection seems relentless. More than that, it seems to be learning, adapting and evolving faster than they can fight it. Worse still—it is infecting not just their bodies, but is creeping into their minds, dancing in their dreams. Can they stop it before it takes them? Or must they all join in the final dance of death?