Mira Grant, Parasite

This book has been preying on my mind since I finished it. For the most part I agree with Stefan at Far Beyond Reality: it’s a novel that falls apart in the middle, one whose interesting premise is marred by execution that is at best uneven and at worst seriously flawed. The similarities to Grant’s Feed are marked, especially in the way that crucial information is presented to the reader – but unlike Feed this infodumping never really feels smoothly integrated into the rest of the narrative. And the assumptions made about health and healthcare systems, globally, are fundamentally American: I’m not sure I see Parasite‘s miracle tapeworm passing muster on a global scale. Grant’s interest in zombie apocalypses here pushes the bounds of the believable: suspension of disbelief is often challenged.

In ways I cannot quite articulate, it reminds me of John Scalzi’s Redshirts: it’s not the same one-trick punchline, but something in the airport-blockbuster quality of the writing, the breezy confidence overlain over shallow characterisation, the lack of depth even as the prose carries one irresistibly along, annoys me in very similar ways. It will probably appeal to readers of Michael Crichton, and I expect Grant will certainly find a wide audience – but we can safely say that audience doesn’t really include me.