THE PARASITE by Ramsey Campbell


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From an up-and-coming British horror writer (The Doll Who Ate His Mother, 1976): an occult novel about astral projection that shows distinction until the plot hairpins into the now-conventional Rosemary's Baby payoff. Heroine Rose and her husband Bill are a pair of popular British film critics who churn out trivia anthologies and such. They've done more serious work, but Bill wants to ride their popularity while Rose. . . well, Rose is having problems: thanks to a Tarot-reading friend, she finds herself experiencing involuntary out-of-body trips where she is above the scene looking down. (At one point she flies outside a 707 jumbo jet crossing the Atlantic and cavorts with it like a dolphin.) Also, Rose reads a horrible book, Astral Rape, which slowly leads her to believe that she is being invaded by the astral spirit of Peter Grace--a monstrous Aleister Crowley type and despised cast-out member of the Order of the Golden Dawn who died violently and apparently lodged himself in Rose when she stumbled into Grace's old temple at age ten. Poor Rose. Husband Bill is a very heavy-handed rationalist, and the pills that next-door neighbor psychologist Colin gives her--are they Librium or LSD? After a convulsively surreal climax, Rose thinks she's safe and has remated with her unfaithful husband to become pregnant in an idyll of motherhood. . . when the true horror breaks loose and Bill is seen at last as Grace's surrogate. . . and her body is now in labor to produce. . . ? ? ? The astral projection scenes are fine, and the movie comment is a lot of fun; but the derivative horror-pregnancy is simply disappointing. Mixed bag for occult readers.

Pub Date: Sept. 23rd, 1980
Publisher: Macmillan