My weekly[-ish] list of speculative fiction novels that I think are worth looking out for. They are mainly – but not always! – new or forthcoming releases.
Parasite by Mira Grant
We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system – even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.
But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives…
Promo for the book includes a website for the fictional SymboGen Corporation. Here, you will be assured to find support should you experience any of the side-effects of Intestinal Bodyguard™:
“Minor side effects have been reported in a small percentage of recipients of the D. symbogenesis tapeworm including: fatigue, feelings of displacement, anxiety and aggression, and in extreme cases a loss of consciousness and death.
If this sounds like you or someone you know, please call us at the first sign of symptoms. Our operators are standing by 24/7 to make sure that you receive the very best care. We want to assure you that the Intestinal Bodyguard™ is completely safe; however, should your tapeworm not agree with you, we offer a guaranteed full removal of the parasite.
So why are you waiting? Ask your doctors if this procedure is right for you.”
The Wanting Seed by Anthony Burgess
“The Wanting Seed” is a Malthusian comedy about the strange world that overpopulation will produce. Tristram Foxe and his wife, Beatrice-Joanna, live in their skyscraper world of spacelessness where official family limitation glorifies homosexuality (“It’s Sapiens to be Homo”). This time of the near future is eventually transformed into a chaos of cannibalistic dining-clubs, fantastic fertility rituals, and wars without enemies. “The Wanting Seed” is a novel both extravagantly funny and grimly serious.
This is delving back into the archives: The Wanting Seed was first published in 1962. Mirra Ginsburg mentions it, along with Burgess’ better-known A Clockwork Orange, and William Golding‘s Lord of the Flies and The Inheritors, in her introduction to We by Yevgeny Zamyatin.
The review over at The LIttle Red Reviewer convinced me this needed to be on my list.
The Explorer by James Smythe
When journalist Cormac Easton is selected to document the first manned mission into deep space, he dreams of securing his place in history as one of humanity’s great explorers. But in space, nothing goes according to plan.
The crew wake from hypersleep to discover their captain dead in his allegedly fail-proof safety pod. They mourn, and Cormac sends a beautifully written eulogy back to Earth. The word from ground control is unequivocal: no matter what happens, the mission must continue.
But as the body count begins to rise, Cormac finds himself alone and spiraling toward his own inevitable death . . . unless he can do something to stop it.
The Testimony intrigued me enough to want to read more by Smythe, and this one will eventually move from my wishlist into my shopping basket. Also, he’s been longlisted for The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize for his most recent book, The Machine. I guess that’s another one to add to the wishlist!