THE FUNGUS by Harry Adam Knight


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All the Lysol in the world won't kill this fungus, a genetically engineered nightmare that blankets southern England in this sprightly horror novel--first published in Britain in 1985--told in the classic manner (plus sex and gore) of early John Wyndham and Brian Aldiss. According to the publisher, "Knight" is the pseudonym of a British civil servant and "a well-known horror author." A veteran's touch is certainly at work here, from the black-humorous opening scenes of Londoners succumbing to rampant fungus ("It grew between their legs to form furry yellow diapers and covered their ears like huge, fluffy ear muffs") to the final, vividly rendered surreal images of that city smothered under giant mushrooms, toadstools, and lichen. Revealed early on as a benign lab experiment run amok, the fungus finds its main foes in three familiar but stalwart characters: macho Army Sgt. Slocock; sexy doc Kimberley Fairchild; and Barry Wilson, mycologist-turned-pulp-novelist and ex-husband of Jane Wilson, the scientist responsible for the fungus. The trio's probably suicidal mission: leave fungus-safe Ireland and, bolstered by fungicidal injections and traveling in a sealed Army tank, venture across mouldy England and into London to find Jane Wilson and her papers--which may hold a clue to destroying the fungus. Sexual tensions, rampant fungus-fear, and attacks by fungus-ravaged humans (who try to sacrifice Kimberly and Barry to a toadstool-god) threaten the mission--but at last Jane Wilson is found (she's now a lesbian priestess to the fungus) and, although only one of the trio survives, hope reigns. Loud, scary, silly, sick fun with the same rough appeal as a kid's haunted-house ride. And you will never again go near mushroom soup.

Pub Date: April 10th, 1989
ISBN: 531-15103-4
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