This is the year of novellas, and it been so good to us. Novellas give us more time to see a world and characters than a short story does (a short story often delivering specifically on a point, or a twist) and yet a novella still has to get there quicker than a novel, with more focus and zero time wasted.
In this novella we have the creepy paranoia and stuff that feeds conspiracy theories. As all best conspiracy theories are, it’s based in fact. In this case, a fungus that takes over the host with full control and a demand to spread as quickly and painfully as possible. Though this novella has a narrator that’s far more swear-y than Sir David Attenborough on Planet Earth, introducing us to these things. Here, we have an alcoholic Government agent known as The Signalman who has to meet with another Government agent woman – Immacolata – supposedly from different agencies – to compare notes and track this. Both are as creepy as hell.
Told through random time order, jumping back and forth and showing us some of those infected and compared as a cult we have a horror book that’s delivered effortlessly and with such lovely, crazy prose.
I’m pretty sure this is my first taste of Kiernan’s work, but I know for a fact it won’t be the last.