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The Monster Librarian Presents:

Reviews of Science Gone Awry in Horror Fiction

Humanity's search for new discoveries, attempts to explore the unknown, and desire to alter nature for benefit has been the focus of many horror books. While this particular subgenre does also fit in the science fiction genre, it has a place in horror fiction, as the science experiment or product often ends up killing folks in a gruesome way. (Note: Scientists trying to reanimate the dead are often a cause of zombie outbreaks. Those books can be found on the Zombie list)


Godmode by Quan Williams*New Review

Necro Publications, 2013


Available:  Paperback, eBook(Kindle, Nook, Smashwords)



     Elijah wakes up in a cage without any memories.  He's trapped in a laboratory in the bottom sub-level of a corrupt pharmaceutical company.  Dead scientists are everywhere. He must escape this hell the only way he can-- one floor at a time-- passing by specially bio-engineered creatures, created by the company, that have escaped and are now hunting their makers.  Slowly, Elijah's memory returns. In the form of flashback glimpses, we learn that he lied, manipulated and womanized his way up the corporate ladder.  In return, the company threatened to kill his wife and daughter unless he agreed to work with them on their perverse experiments, as a subject.  Elijah is now superhuman, and he wants to make things right. 


     The premise of this story was interesting, and  I looked forward to reading it. However, I found that it wasn't really the kind of thing I like to read.  The author spent a lot of time describing the fight sequences in detail, and after awhile that got really tedious for me. Editorially speaking, there were some typos, but not enough to spoil the story.  The characters' voices were distinct, and the plot line worked alright.  However, the tension didn't develop for me as well, likely due to the heavy use of detail, and the almost constant, never ending fighting.  I felt like I was watching one of the Resident Evil films, only not as well done.  I found the protagonist to be so lacking in ethics that I couldn't buy into his quest to make things right, and just hoped he would get killed.  As a result, the ending  seemed contrived to me, a setup for a sequel-- just an okay read.  I have not read any of the author's previous works.


Contains:  Graphic Violence, Gore, Adult Language, Sexual Situations


Reviewed by Aaron Fletcher


Bad Night In The Holding Cell by Dennis Latham
Y.S. Gazelle Books, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9796744-6-4
Available: New
    After he is charged with assault by his landlord, Simon Dawson turns himself in to the police. Simon's lawyer assures him that he will be out by morning. But when a flood raises a corpse, and that corpse gets tossed in the holding cell with Simon and his three cellmates, Simon will be lucky if he can make it through the night.
Dennis Latham's Bad Night In The Holding Cell is a fast, fun read, perfect for a stormy evening, or a sunny day at the beach, or… well, anywhere you want to be entertained by a good story. The first part of the story is spent in character building. We meet Simon, the cops, and, eventually, his cellmates. As each prisoner shares their story, we get peeks at a secret government project, which seems to have lost a body. Odd, since a body has just shown up at the police station. When the corpse hits the cell floor, we go from character to action, as the blood hits the fan. And there is LOTS of blood. Latham's storytelling packs a punch. And a kick. And did I mention the blood? Mayhem rules the second half of the book, as Simon tries to survive, and Latham orchestrates it all with a master’s hand. Recommended for libraries and any fan of good, old-fashioned, gory storytelling.
Contains: Violence, strong lanuage, and gore
Review by Erik Smith


Creature by John Saul

Bantam Books, 1989

ISBN: 9780553284119

Available: New and Used  

    Mark Tanner is a teenager who is small for his age. He enjoys animals and photography. His father, on the other hand, is a sports enthusiast, especially when it comes to football. Their relationship is tense because of their differences. That is until Blake Tanner, Mark’s Dad, gets transferred to Silverdale. The quaint town is almost completely owned by Blake’s company and it has the best of everything, including the football team. The boys are overly large and violent in their competition, and the town lives and breathes football. At first, Mark is more of an outsider than ever, but that changes when he is brought to the sports center and is treated by Dr. Ames. The treatments cause Mark to almost instantly begin to grow taller, more muscular, and violent. Mark and his family suddenly find themselves in the center of a conspiracy, and it’s one that could cost them their lives. The book starts off a little slow, but quickly picks up and grabs the reader's attention.  The portrayal of the villains is believable because they are not wholeheartedly evil. Some are just misguided while others are working for a higher purpose where the ends justify the means.

Contains: Violence Review by Bret Jordan.  Note from the Monster Librarian: Movie tie-in would be the 1998 movie "Disturbing Behavior".



Earthcore by Scott Sigler

Dragon Moon Press, November, 2005
ISBN: 1896944329

Available: New
    Earthcore is a story of greed leading people to a bad end. Platinum is found in Utah in a place where it is said to be bubbling up from under the ground. The origins of the find are the largest pure deposit every discovered, but it is deep under the ground. Luckily the EarthCore company has the technology to drill the 3 miles down to get to it. Unfortunately, the company quickly discovers why the Native Americans consider the place cursed as they discover evidence of an ancient culture that wields bizarre razor sharp platinum knives.

This is a different kind of book. While not strictly horror, it's really Sci-fi horror, it is definitely a monster story. This book was originally released as a serialized podiobook (a book usually read by the author and released as a podcast) and, while available in print format from Amazon, it is really something to hear the author read the story to you. It is available for free at:
or by searching Itunes' podcasts for it.
Contains:  Vioence and  a few adult situations. Entry by Nooker


Death Spore(AKA Fungus) by Harry Adam Knight
Pinnacle Books, April, 1990
ISBN: 155817348X
Franklin Watts, April 1, 1989
ISBN: 0531151034

Available: Used
    Death Spore/Fungus is a fun, quick, guilty little read. Set in England, Knight tells the story of a fungal research experiment gone awry, causing all the different fungi around us every day to grow uncontrollably, threatening to take over the whole country. It is up to Barry Wilson to track down his wife, Jane, head of the fungus research project, and to try to find a way to stop the plague. Knight’s book moves along at a nice pace. Recommended. Contains: Violence


The Fog by James Herbert
 Pan; New Ed edition,April 1, 1999
ISBN: 0330376152

Available: New and Used
    Another fine bit of British horror. In this tale, a science experiment, coupled with a local explosion, releases a deadly fog that drives everyone who enters it into a mad homicidal frenzy. Herbert once again writes a nice, tight, fast-paced story that is mighty readable. The book shares some attributes to the movie “28 Days Later”, which is a good movie tie in.   Herbert's tale shows a terror that spreads from the countryside into London and paints a very vivid apocalyptic style picture of madness.  Recommended as part of a core of a horror collection. Contains: Graphic violence, rape, suicide.

Sleeper by Steven Harriman
Berkley,February , 2003
ISBN: 0425188817

Available: New and Used
    A fun, recent addition to the category of monster books. Sleeper is about a deadly, manmade monster held in a cryogenic chamber in the Pentagon, released during cleanup after the September 11th attacks.  The writing is fun and tight, the book adds from a number of genres including a little bit of sci-fi and mystery, with plenty of action and suspense it is a recommended read. Contains violence.

Spawn of Hell by William Schoell

Banner of Truth, June, 1984
ISBN: 0843921129

Available: Used

    An evil corporation and  subterranean monsters that are are a mixture of human and animal that have a taste for flesh and mush death and mayhem all tied up in book called Spawn of Hell.    David Hammond is our main hero, an unsuccessful artist who meets  with Anna Braddon a model as they stumble upon the monsters.  It is a lengthy tale but well written, it has the feel of a 1980's creature feature that will make the older readers well a little nastolgic.  Recommended.  Contains monster violence.

Berserk by Tim Lebbon

Leisure Books, 2006

ISBN: 0843954302

Available: New and Used

    Tom's son Steven was killed in a military accident, or so he was told.  While at a bar, Tom overhears two military men talking about monsters at the base where Tom's son died.  One of the men tell Tom that Steven's body wasn't in the casket that he received but rather was buried at the old base. Tom on a quest to find his son's body and the truth about how he died.   In searching for his son's body at the base he uncovers the corpse of a young girl, Natasha, who telepathically tells Tom that his son isn't dead and that if he helps her she will bring him to his son.  The girl is a beserker a monster that was part of a military experiment.   This leaves Tom and Natasha seeking other beserkers who escaped from the military base and Tom's son, while being hunted by Cole, a former military man who was part of the beserker project.     This 337 page book goes fast, once the action starts it continues to flow and Berserk's plot keeps you turning the pages.  Contains violence.




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