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Scorpion

Novel by Michael R Linaker 1980.

Chris Lane is the organiser of the Long Point Protestors, a group fighting against their local nuclear power and research plant. When her boyfriend dies through a animal sting, she is understandably intrigued. But when she meets up with Dr. Allan Brady, a research doctor at the local hospital's Tropical Diseases Research Unit, she finds that many others are dying from similar stings and all the deaths are centred in a small area of coastline. Naturally they investigate...

This is as good a gore novel as you'll find outside the ranks of the absolute classics. Well written, the author shows that he can handle all the inherent ingredients of this sub genre: gore scenes, sex scenes, the later huge mutations and, of course, the neat final solution. What raises this above its numerous rivals is a good line in suspense and some believable dialogue - no early Guy Smith tackiness here. And if the characterisation isn't tremendously in depth, then nobody expected it to be. Also, in a genre where 99% of heroes seem to be reporters or cops, it's refreshing to find a novel that sets us up with the illusion of yet another newspaperman, only to kill him off with short shrift. Research doctors and anti-nuclear activists are not unknown as heroes, but are far less common and cliched. Not quite a classic, but this is up there with Maggots and Worm.

One sequel: Scorpion: Second Generation (1982).


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