on 22 November 2012
Compared favorably with the nightmarish visions of Hieronymus Bosch by none other than fellow cyberpunk William Gibson, John Shirley's "Crawlers" is a creepy, compelling blend of horror and science fiction; a literary nightmare that readers will find impossible to put down, replete in its spine-tingling terror. Shirley weaves an intoxicating blend of conspiracy theory, secret Federal Government bioweapons research and the specter of the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks, setting them in the rather ordinary Northern Californian town of Quiebra whose residents receive an unexpected jolt to their mundane, and tranquil, existence when a satellite crash-lands nearby into water, unleashing a malevolent plague robbing many of their personalities and individual sense of purpose, and guided by a demonic intelligence seeking control of the town, and then, eventually, the outside world itself, assuming dominion over much of the town's human and animal residents. Shirley has wrought an almost hallucinatory horror and post-cyberpunk science fiction tale which demonstrates his ample gifts as a storyteller and prose literary stylist; a novel worthy of distinction and favorable comparison with any of the recently published near future dystopian tales crafted by the likes of Margaret Atwood and Colson Whitehead, rendering in memorably terse prose, nightmarish visions comparable not only with Bosch but also with Barker and Lovecraft as well. Indeed, he is far more successful than either Atwood or Whitehead in his depiction of a horrific dystopian near future that potentially remains all too plausible. Without question, Shirley has demonstrated once more with "Crawlers" why he is still among the most important writers of Anglo-American science fiction and one of the most notable literary talents emerging out of the cyberpunk literary movement of the 1980s and early 1990s.
on 28 January 2009
As stated above this is a book which is slowly paced to begin with. However, although it is never going to be a classic it is an intriguing read. You know what will happen but end up being interested in HOW it will take place. Some of the dialogue is a bit dodgy. Maybe that is because I'm 33 & British rather than an American teenager! A good way of passing the time.
on 15 March 2011
This is like a photo-negative of Greg Bear's novel, Blood Music, except that here John Shirley depicts the nexus of a possible transformation of humanity that has no element of uplifting transcendence. Living metal that gets under the skin and takes over - shudders aplenty, and your neck hairs will get prickly.