If Dr. Cale was telling the truth about what she’d been able to do –and I had no reason to doubt her, even if Nathan wasn’t quite so sure- I was talking to a tapeworm that had been given full control of its very own human body. And that same tapeworm had been watching me sleep, just in case I had bad dreams.
There is no doubt I’m a fan of Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series. As bored as I am with zombies at this point, those books managed to tap into something special in me. She showed a sense of sincerity and detailed, intellectually intriguing world building that I adored. And was willing to kill off beloved characters like her name was Whedon. Needless to say, I went into Parasite with high expectations. Luckily for me, they were mostly met.
Let’s jump forward a decade in human development, shall we. To a time where most sickness and disease are things of the past. All thanks to one tiny miracle pill you take once every two years. That is actually the seed of a genetically engineered tapeworm. Oh, and they’ve started waking up and wanting their own shot at the reigns. As Tansy put it: “Let’s party.”
I’m going to start with the things I didn’t like, just for a change of pace: The character Tansy is a bit too spot on reminiscent of one from Newsflesh (you’ll see it the moment she opens her mouth). The fox was amusing and all, but I don’t need another one. Similarly, the whole “scientists trying to cure a disease cause the apocalypse” thing has been done already. By her. In the last series she wrote. And the surprise punch at the end only made me angry at the protagonist, given that I had assumed that from almost the beginning. Then the sleepwalkers started acting suspiciously like zombies and I was worried.
Those things need to be said, because they are valid and may well break the experience for some of you. But now, I’m going to gush.
Oh my god. Goopedy goo. Everything that drew me in about Feed initially is just as good here. Mira’s prose flows like a river of lightning. A 500 page hardback can be a tough sell, but I never noticed the length. Her characters are generally well rounded, though there are a few of the one dimensional Vice Presidential Candidate types (the evil corporate butthead coming to mind very quickly). The action, when it gets going, is fairly intense. I like that this operates solely from one point of view, making it much more intimate than the last series. And the whole gets fairly mucky in the realm of morality almost from the get go. I very much en joy that there really is not much of a clear cut path here. Just a series of options that kind of all suck. That kind of ambiguity makes me very curious to see how our intrepid Sal will move onward from here.
Look, if you liked the Newsflesh books, you might be a bit put off by some retreading but you’ll still have fun. If you didn’t like them, you aren’t seeing something radically different here. At least not at this point. I, for one, enjoyed myself tremendously. And I will definitely be buying myself a UV lamp at the nearest opportunity.