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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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This is a superlative, well-crafted horror story with a quite original storyline. Taking place in foggy, old England, a dense, yellowish fog suddenly arises from the depths of the earth, infiltrating the minds of all whom it envelops and taking away all restraint. Suddenly, all formerly sane individuals find themselves acting as if they were beings out of Dante's Inferno. It is a disaster from which there is seemingly no end.
As the fog moves from place to place, it leaves in its wake a swath of grisly devastation, as murders, rapes, mass suicides, and looting become a way of life. Even animals succumb to the fog, as treasured pets turn on their owners. Only one man has managed to emerge with his sanity still intact, and a group of scientists in an underground laboratory are laboring to find out the reason for his seeming immunity. For in him lies the secret to the fog's destruction and the liberation of mankind from the effects of the fog. Time, however, is of the essence and is running out.
This is really a terrific novel, well paced, tautly written, and totally absorbing. It is an absolute page turner, with scenes of horror matter factly written, making it all the more believable and horrific, while tinged by a trace of dark humor. The tension is crisply maintained throughout the entire book, from start to finish, and makes for a riveting read that is hard to put down. This is a must read for all those who love a good horror story. Bravo!
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on 17 May 2011
When an apparent earthquake, in a sleepy Wiltshire town, creates a rupture in the road, a fog escapes. Holman, a government worker looking into potential misdeeds by the MOD, breathes it in and turns insane, before being successfully treated. The fog then makes its way along the south coast, turning everyone who encounters it into a maniac, until it reaches London. Published in 1975, my memories of this (read when I was in my teens) encompass three key set pieces - the gym, the pigeon fancier and the sex scene and as a more world-weary 42 year old, the gym sequence still works very well. The pigeon fancier suffers the same fate as many other `incidents' - you get to know the characters, in the full knowledge that they're going to die shortly - and the sex scene is remarkably coy (so much so that I wondered if I'd missed one). There's also a lengthy section in the middle, where Holman goes to a meeting at Whitehall, that is so full of exposition it literally stops the story dead. Having said that, this is full of terrific sequences - the church attack, the madness-induced fight that Casey (Holman's girlfriend) and Holman have and the superb Bournemouth sequence, which is truly brilliant, whilst making you cringe at the sheer scale and terror of it. The climax descended a little too much into 50s/60s sci-fi tropes for me, but a good read nonetheless and it still packs a solid punch. Well worth a look.
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on 24 January 2015
Not to be confused with the John Carpenter film of the same name. Besides the title they couldn't be more different: The film is set on the American coast and is about a pirate curse; this book is set in England and concerns a fog that wreaks havok with men's sanity.

In a sense it is an environmental thriller about the dangers of environmental pollution and chemical weapons, although at its heart it is really an excuse to ask the question: what would happen if you were allowed to act on all your impulses without regard for the consequences?

Comes up with some interesting scenarios, although it is a bit more juvenile that I remember it being when I first read it as a teenager - probably because it is the sort of horror that would appeal to teenage boys.
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on 5 April 2013
I have been a James Herbert fan since picking up 'The Rats' as a teenager. In fact 'The Rats' was probably the first book I ever read properly. Prior to that it was the stuff that you had to read at school, 'Far from the madding crowd' etc... (I am not knocking that book it just wasn't the sort of thing that cut the ice with a teenage boy) So it was with great sadness that I read of his death.

My reading habits have changed over the years. As a teenager I loved books like 'The Rats' and 'The Fog' I now read a much wider range of books, but I have always looked forward to the publication of the next James Herbert book.

So it was interesting re-reading 'The Fog' over 35 years later.

In the forward to the book James Herbert said the book made him a lot of enemies and a lot of friends when it was published and he considered rewriting it at one stage. I am glad he left it alone, it is still a great story. A story of madness, mayhem and murder. I found it totally engrossing and a real page turner. There are some horrific scenes in this book and I can think of one scene in particular that still makes me cringe after all these years. But it isn't all mindless violence, there is a fast paced absorbing thriller in there too. A great read.

So thank you James for many a sleepless night over the years, you will be missed.
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on 8 January 2013
This book was recommended to me by a friend and I started it with trepidation. I erroneously associated with a good but rather tame John Carpenter film. This book is much more visceral than I expected. However, it is not the gore or level of violence that makes this novel work it is the pacing. From the very beginning we are quickly brought into the character's individual worlds only to watch them become twisted and warped both physically and mentally. A much recommended book that thrives on its portrayals of madness.
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on 31 May 2002
This is the first James Herbert book that I have read and I found it a very easy read with some really amusing comic touches - I'm not sure if it is supposed to be funny, but it definitely is. I particularly liked the bit where the vicar 'lost it' in front of his congregation. A very easy read which has me keen to have a go at his other books.
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on 26 July 2013
Herbert's second novel, published a year after The Rats, takes a turn more towards the sci-fi than the horror. I'd describe it as horrific scenes occurring throughout the course of a sci-fi thriller. Not as worryingly plausible as The Rats and losing itself at times in a series of snapshots that don't really serve the plot by being so detailed, as second novel it feels like some of the lust for writing has died down. That is not to say it's not good. It's just not quite as good.

I don't think Herbert ever wrote a novel without at least one gratuitous `bedroom' scene. As a youngster I wondered if maybe I shouldn't be reading his books and perhaps I shouldn't have been. As an adult, I tend to think `oh here we go' and skip to actual plot matters. It shaves quite a few pages off the total with The Fog.

In terms of pace, I don't feel The Fog really picks up until the final quarter. It's one I picked up and put down over a number of days whereas The Rats I never fail to read in one sitting. Because I've decided to read all of Herbert's novels back to back in order of publication, this is the first time I've really noticed the contrast in pace and ferocity from first to second novel. Still entertaining and easy reading, The Fog is perhaps a better book for the more squeamish horror reader (not me!) than others from Herbert's sizeable catalogue. Not a bad book, but not my favourite of his.
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on 21 November 2012
The Fog is a well crafted novel and fun to read. There is always something happening in the book, it doesn't go on for pages describing like some of Herbert's later novels. The story line is brilliant and well worth a read.
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on 18 July 2011
A gripping story of an accident and its aftermath. The central character is well realised and there is empathy generated for all of the characters which are the strongest part of this novel. The idea of a government-military mistake and the attempt at cover up contrasted with the bravery of all those trying to deal with it, is described better than most novels. It is a bit dated being clearly set in the 1970s but that does not detract from the story. However do not expect too much from it.
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on 7 March 2012
Part thriller, part mystery, and with a strong element of horror, I found James Herbert's "The Fog" to be one of those stories I couldn't put down until I had finished the book. A mysterious fog rises from a fissure that opens up in the heart of an English village and starts to drive people mad: is it supernatural in origin? an unexplained natural phenomenon? or the result of a disastrous experiment which the MOD might like to cover up? - and does it have a mind of its own? John Holman - no stranger to observing and recording strange events - makes a good central character to lead us through the horrors that follow. The story is superbly well paced with never a dull moment, and a number of character cameos to provide depth and human interest. If I were to venture any criticism, it is that all the symptoms of the fog-induced madness verge towards the sexual and violent (sometimes rather too vividly for my taste) - I would have liked to see more subtle variations in the way people responded. Having said that, for a book written in the seventies it has lost none of its impact. Thoroughly recommended to anyone who likes intriguing horror.
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