Monday, June 15, 2015

Slither by Edward Lee

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Released: November 2006

I grabbed Slither from my bookshelf with high hopes of indulging in splatterpunk. This is the first novel I've ever read by Edward Lee, and I'm happy to say I loved it, and I'm looking forward to reading The Golem and Infernal Angel --  both of which are already on standby at Mt. TBR.

Though Slither is plenty violent and terrifying, I was hoping it would be a bit more splatterpunky than it was. But the novel's ending is wholly satisfying and justifies everything...I can't wait to read more of Edward Lee's backlist.

Horny worms

Slither opens with a woman who discovers a pair of bugs attached to her nipples. Literally. The first sentence of this novel is, "When Carol noticed the two ticks attached to her nipples, she very understandably screamed." Turns out that Carol is one of four college kids partying for the weekend on a small deserted island reserved for military testing somewhere off the coast of Florida. But instead of having to worry about alligators and other creatures prevalent throughout the Florida region, the partygoers have to worry about fending off horny bugs and enormous, sexually invasive worms.

At around the same time, another foursome arrive at the island by helicopter to do research on native bugs and worms. Included in the foursome are two nerdy polychaetologists (worm scientists), a busty blonde National Geographic reporter, and a military escort. Hours after that, a threesome of repulsive white-trash delinquents show up on the island to harvest marijuana and to possibly rape and kill the women in the research group.

While all this is going on, the island's oversexed bugs and worms are infesting the island's inhabitants, stimulating them sexually, and entering their bodies like no bugs and worms ever should. Oh yeah, and both of the polychaetologists are virgins, and might just fall under the sexual spell of the worms and bugs unlike anyone else...

Sex and violence

The concept of Slither is truly horrifying. Can you imagine waking up and discovering bugs latched onto your nipples, sucking like leeches? You would probably be horrified, but what if it felt sexually stimulating? Would you set out to learn whether they were dangerous so you could enjoy the sexual stimulation? On the other hand, the worms are even more terrifying, since they can slither right up into the characters' bodies through any hole. Wow. How violating.

We soon learn not too far into Slither that the bugs and worms are part of an experiment we presume is being funded by the military. We also learn that perhaps the bugs and worms might be trying to fertilize and impregnate humans by mutating the latter's reproductive system.

You get the gist, right? I don't want to go into too much detail for the sake of avoiding spoilers. Because trust me, you don't want me to spoil this crazy book for you.

The craziest splatterpunk

I've always been a fan of splatterpunk horror, though I was never familiar with the term until recently. Apparently, the term "splatterpunk" has been around since 1986! Wikipedia fails to mention Gord Rollo and Bryan Smith in its list of splatterpunk authors, the latter of whom have written some of the craziest splatterpunk gore I've ever read. Sometimes, there's sex included with the violence, which makes for the wildest, most fucked-up horror ever.

I was hoping Edward Lee would take the sex and violence in Slither to that crazy splatterpunk level achieved by Rollo and Smith, but it didn't quite get there. Here's my review for The Freakshow by Bryan Smith, which is super splatterpunky. Like I mentioned earlier, Slither was plenty gory and disturbing, but I was hoping I could squeeze more juice out of it.

Do you enjoy the splatterpunk genre? If so, who are your favorite splatterpunk novelists and books?

More books by Edward Lee

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