Monday, December 3, 2007

Mandibles (2003) by Jeff Strand



HORROR! THRILLS! PLUS-SIZE ANTS!
 


I don't know what the psychological ramifications of it are, but I just love a good "Nature Runs Amok" story. There's something about people fighting for their lives against "mutated beasts, carnivorous insects, and normally harmless animals or plants turned into cold-blooded killers" that makes me smile. The only thing maybe a little funner is people fighting for their lives against evil menacing malfunctioning robots or cyborgs.

Anyway, the menacers in this novel are ants. Big angry aggressive stinging ants. And when I say big, I mean the littlest ones are 2 to 3 inches long and go up from there. (Think rat, wolf and living room couch in terms of size.)

I had a hard time categorizing this book. It's a little bit horror and a little bit science fiction and more than a little bit comedic. It's the same kind of novel that "An American Werewolf in London" is movie, if that tells you anything. (So maybe "Comedic Horror" or "Horrific Comedy".)

The plot boils down to a bunch of extremely large and vicious red fire ants on the loose in Tampa, Florida, and the folks who aren't quickly devoured have to figure out how to stop them before the entire city is overrun by the beasties. Much adventure ensues as our heroes work to figure out what's going on and then put a stop to it. And almost everyone you'd expect to make it to the end of the book alive, does.

Almost.

At any rate, I quite liked it. Of course, I'd like pretty much any book with a plot like this, no matter the quality level. But this one was actually pretty readable.

Here's a couple of alternative covers for the book:


It was written by Jeff Strand. You can see he leans toward the comedic side of things by looking at the titles of some of his other novels:

How to Rescue a Dead Princess
Casket For Sale (Only Used Once)
Single White Psychopath Seeks Same

FOUR COUCH-SIZED ANT BRAINS

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