SPIDER LEGS by Piers Anthony


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Man-made monster yarn written by nonfiction author Pickover and rewritten by Anthony (Faun and Games, p. 1167, etc.) into a school-of-absurdism ecological rant. In the waters off Newfoundland--an island where, according to the authors at least, all four seasons occur simultaneously, and drunken Dutch dwarfs are a notable feature of the population--a sea spider the size of an elephant attacks a boat, ripping a woman to shreds and driving her husband insane. Visiting St. John's, luckily, is Harvard invertebrate-expert Nathan Smallwood, who'll team up with some of the locals--cop Natalie Sheppard, fisheries officer Elmo Samuels--to investigate. Also on the scene is Elmo's irascible sister Martha, proprietor of a tropical fish store, karate black belt, biology whiz, and secret hater of humanity. Martha and Elmo look scary, having inherited their father's abnormally long teeth and fingers. Anyway, Martha has genetically engineered the giant sea spider as a predator to reduce the human population. Nathan and Natalie take a ferry trip to try to capture the creature, with mayhem the predictable outcome. Meanwhile, cross-country skiers set off despite the absence of snow; more ludicrously still, Elmo (father's name Elmo) was born in Milan, while Martha (Jewish father Ismar) hails from Silesia; other inconsistencies abound. Some promising characters blundering around in a madhouse: a showcase of what goes wrong when writers, editors, and publishers sleepwalk through production.
Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-86465-5
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Tor
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 1997


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