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PARASITE PIG by William Sleator

PARASITE PIG

By William Sleator

Age Range: 12 - 16

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-525-46918-4
Publisher: Dutton

Barney and The Piggy are back in this long-awaited, delightfully icky sequel to Interstellar Pig (1995). The aliens have left in pursuit of The Piggy, but Barney still has the Interstellar Pig board game they abandoned in their haste. He’s been playing the game with his new friends: another 16-year-old named Katie, an undergraduate named Matt, and a mysterious stranger named Julian. Barney thinks that the game is no longer dangerous, since the aliens have left Earth. Of course, the real game isn’t over at all. Julian kidnaps Barney, and reveals himself as a giant tapeworm parasite in a dinosaur-like creature with disgusting eating habits. Matt, it seems, is a giant parasitic wasp, who kidnaps Katie. Katie, at least, is actually human. This merry band descends on the planet J’koot in search of The Piggy. J’koot is the home of enormous crabs who reputedly find humans tastiest after slow and painful death (the crabs are distressed by their brutal reputation; in one hysterical scene, they escort their captives to a tastefully decorated spa for “marination therapy” in a pool filled with something like garlic and soy sauce). To complicate matters even further, Barney has a parasite—Madame Toxoplasma Gondii—living in a cyst in his brain; she needs Barney to be eaten by a giant crab in order to complete her lifecycle. Barney’s hilarious adventures are filled with gruesome detail, lovingly described. The presence of a few appealing secondary characters, which Interstellar Pig lacked, gives Barney’s new story freshness in its own right, and keeps it from being merely a sequel. (Fiction. 12-16)