Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Power by Ian Watson

The Power
by Ian Watson
1987 Headline Book Publishing

The little boy was dead.  Of course he was.  Would you expect a half-naked child, whose bowels had been hauled out through his devastated anus and knotted around his neck, to be alive?
Set against the backdrop of 80s Britain, with aging student radicals protesting nuclear proliferation and the presence of the US military.  Lots of this for a while, until protester Jeni gives birth to a giant pink worm who promptly swims down the toilet.  A child is found dead, then the four horseman of the apocalypse ride through the village.

While everyone is trying to decide if this is all an hallucination, the world ends.  Nuclear war breaks out, and the village is protected by a kind of force field.  Most of the villagers carry on a semblance of life while the flesh rots from their irradiated bodies.  The Power, which may be Satan wanting to protect humanity so evil can live on, speaks through the severed head of the town vicar.

Time goes backwards for the Power, which means it still needs to be conceived.  To save the world, Jeni must have sex with one of the rotting zombies in a scene played largely for laughs.  Healthy children emerge from the rotting bodies and the world begins anew.

I get the feeling Watson was a high-falutin' science fiction writer who tried his hand at that horror stuff that sold so well in the late 80s.  He missed the mark a bit there, as he doesn't deliver scares as much as revulsion and weirdness.  Which is fine with me, though the prose is quite thick to get through:
This is the razor blade buried in the cake of the miracle; but it's the only cake in town.
And I'll never have the recipe again.

Kindle ebook from Amazon

Click here to read a sample

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