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The Brain Eaters

Novel by Gary Brandner (USA) 1985.

A canister of dye scheduled for dispersion experiments is mysteriously replaced by a chemical warfare canister scheduled for destruction. The resulting pollutant that is released over America contains billions of microscopic creatures, which enter the skin through cuts or scratches and travel up the bloodstream to the brain; where they eat it away, causing intense pain, severe haemorrhaging and resulting finally in violent insanity and inevitable death. Mainland USA is overrun by homicidal maniacs and the proverbial hunt is on to find a cure before the country collapses into complete anarchy.

Forever branded with the unfortunate legend "by the author of The Howling", Brandner's best work lies elsewhere, notably with the South American horror/adventure Quintana Roo and this tackily packaged delight. As with many disaster novels, it's not immensely original, but then originality was never one of Gary Brandner's strong points. He tries to compensate here by injecting believable characters and generally hypnotising the reader with his style. He doesn't altogether succeed, but he's not too far off. Well researched, well executed and well worth the effort.


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