Fungoid – William Meikle



There’s a fungus among us. When the oily rain starts pouring down, what follow brings mankind to it’s knees. A fast growing fungus starts spreading and wiping out the vast majority of the population. Is it from outer space? Was it an experiment gone wrong? Does it really matter? The speed at which these deadly spores wreak havoc on the world is astonishing and it’s decimating everything in it’s path. We’re left with only a few characters that have hung onto life by the skin of their teeth. One is a scientist that specializes in fungus and stumbles onto a possible solution. Will it work and, if it does, will it work in time or is this Mother Nature’s answer to it’s human problem?

Meikle’s Fungoid is a fast-paced read that will have you on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what will happen next and how will our heroes get out of this predicament. The characters are realistic. The situation is plausible. The suspense can be cut with a knife. I really don’t have much for criticism for this one. Meikle was a scientist in a previous life and you can tell he knows his way around the fungus. What’s amazing to me is that he makes it interesting. Funguses aren’t that exciting to the vast majority of the population and I’ll be damned if he doesn’t make me eat my words. Good show, Willie!


4 1/2 Blue Hills out of 5


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Tortures of the Damned – Hunter Shea

The horror/sci-fi genre has experienced a huge boom in post-apocalyptic stories in the last decade. Many are thanks to Brian Keene and The Walking Dead making zombies the popular choice, these days, and it shows. The market is over saturated with zombie books – some good, but most are meh…seen it, done it, read it before – and it makes me shy away from the post-apocalyptic genre, and that’s really too bad. One of my favorite books of all time, Robert McCammon’s Swan Song, resides smack in the middle of this genre. Even so, I normally wouldn’t have picked up Hunter Shea’s Tortures of the Damned, due to the aforementioned reasons, if it weren’t for it being a NetGalley choice. Lucky for me, it was.
This is my first read of Shea’s and it’s a damn shame that I haven’t jumped onto his stuff before this. T.O.D. starts off with an unexplained phenomenon happening in Yonkers, NY. Explosions are heard in the distance and all electronic devices stop working including vehicles and communication devices. As the people begin to panic, a cloud of strange smoke begins to drift into the area. The Padilla family scramble to gather their children and discover that their neighbor has an underground fallout shelter under his home. As they hide out there, the unknown is happening above ground causing a sense of dread to percolate with the cabin fever that is already settling in. On top of that, two of the children in the shelter are experiencing flu-like symptom from breathing in the strange smoke before they reached safety. With the anxiety ratcheting up and unable to establish any communication with the outside world, they decide to send the men out in search of medical help for the kids. What they find, once they leave the shelter, is that the world looks the same, except the people are gone from the neighborhood. What they do find, while a sudden the thunderstorm erupts while they are out, is that the rats in the sewers are bonkers. They flood out, attack them, and infiltrate their shelter while the men we’re trying to get back in. This causes the families to vacate the shelter and take their chances topside as a group. What they find is that while most of the humans have been killed off, the animal world has become bloodthirsty and organized and danger is around every corner.
Shea takes a tired subject and gives it a great voice. You instantly become one of the Padillas as they journey into their neighborhood gone to hell. I know that the open ending of the book has left some disastisfied, I find it very appropriate. A world that has been turned upside down like this wouldn’t have tidy ending. It would keep on going and what we’ve witnessed in Tortures of the Damned is a a moment of time in this world. We don’t know what all happened before OR after and I like what he’s done with it. If you enjoy Post-Apocolyptic stories, I imagine you will too.
4 crazed alley cats out of 5

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