In Monster Rally, Pat O'Donnell takes a chapter to examine classic horror films featuring swarms of killer insects. From blood-thirsty worms to highly intelligent ants, there seems to be no end to the number of insectoid creatures willing and ready to combat the human race. It's enough to make Professor Hellstrom proud.
But the silver screen and boob tube aren't the only fertile domains for arachnid invasions and predatory pests. These killer insects are just as willing to kill us in ink as they are on celluloid. This became more than apparent when I stumbled upon Robert Farley's latest novel, Thripz.
In Thripz, Reporter Nathan Brewster's thinks he smells a story when he reads a police report of an insect attack that suddenly turns into a missing person case.
During his own investigation, Nathan gets his hands on one of the insects and takes it to a nearby college for examination. They soon discover that the insects in question are Thrips, a common yard and garden pest. At least, they were. These have somehow been altered at the genetic level, and are now capable of rapidly metabolizing pesticides and reproducing at an alarming rate.
Before you know it, Nathan and company are drawn into a desperate race to track down the bio-geneticist responsible for this new breed of killers, in the hopes of stopping him before his twisted creation spreads beyond control and swarms over the world in what can only be described as biblical proportions.
Robert Farley's Thripz has everything that you would expect from a sci-fi horror film like the ones mentioned in Monster Rally: Destructive swarms of killer insects, a hapless reporter who unwittingly becomes mankind's last hope, a mad scientist hell-bent on improving on God's design, horrible mutilations, partially devoured victims, and the occasional angry farmer.
Thripz is a fast-paced novel that not only carries on the tradition of such classics as The Hephaestus Plague, but takes the genre to the next level. Not only is it engaging and captivating, it is also scientifically plausible and creatively original. In short, it's a damn good read.
Just don't read it anywhere that insects tend to congregate. They might realize that we're on to them.