Thursday, March 08, 2007

Shirley, John. Demons. New York: Ballantine, 2003. 372pp.

This is really two pretty good horror novels bound together as one. The first is Shirley's short novel Demons and the second is its sequel Undercurrent.

Demons is a fairly traditional horror novel, well done in an over-the-top way. It seems that demons have suddenly started appearing in the world, randomly killing people that get in their way. A courageous band of anti-heroes band together to figure out how to get rid of them. Some good gorey sequences and some good mumbo-jumbo supernatural stuff too make for a satisfying experience. Undercurrent, the sequel, picks up nine years later and it seems that the government has convinced everyone (or almost everyone) that the original infestation was a mass delusion. So, it seems that this evil corporation want to...well, I'll let you find that out for yourself. Undercurrent neatly subverts the traditional horror tropes and pushes them into a kind of social citique of capitalist greed. I'm not sure how well it works in the end, nor am I sure that it makes for as compelling a read as the original, but I have to give Shirley props for reaching high.

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