Wednesday, December 04, 2013
First published: 1981
The Blurb: Man had landed on the planet before: a fruitless expensive fiasco of an expedition. Then, fifty years later a smaller disastrous landing had left two men horribly and unexplainedly (sic) dead.
Mow a third attempt had so far found nothing but a silent, lifeless world. Until they broke open the underground chamber and discovered in the most vile way imaginable that the planet was not quite dead. That a sleeping life form had been waiting for millennia, needing only a chance to breed before escaping to spread like a foul, devouring disease into the lifeblood of the universe.
And to breed it needed the bodies of those who had disturbed it.
The review: I was contacted, not long after reviewing the film Inseminoid and given the heads up about the novel of the film and, you know what, I couldn’t resist. Time for some good, old fashioned cheesy sci-fi.
And what cheese, flaming camembert of the literary world. The book is short, the prose is functional and the premise… well, whilst it is the same as the film details are changed. The creature is found in a glass sarcophagus (what killed the three crew members of the second expedition is never answered) and the mysterious crystals have a function. We still get an interspecies rape – which is more organic and less tubular than the film.
There is a disturbingly sexist undercurrent to the book – not necessarily in the concept of rotation (making sure that men and women on inter-stellar expeditions have partners forcibly rotated for provision of (I assume not forced) sex without damaging emotional ties) but with the attitude of the female crew as described by the author.
The baby creatures were identified as the primary vampiric element of the film. Not so in this (though they carnivorously devour humans). However the mother, Sandy, is certainly more vampiric in this than in the film; “she ground her teeth into Holly’s neck. The life juices spurted out and that pleased Sandy because she drank it all.”
Altogether poor prose mingled with dated attitudes but so much cheese that it is actually quite good fun in a guilty sort of way. 4 out of 10.