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By Jim Mortimore

Book review by Chris Girdler

Parasite is a long-winded account of various individuals' fight for survival in an extremely alien locale. The imaginative depiction of the artefact is the book's strongest point, but this is barely enough to sustain the reader's interest. The irony of an adventure set within a moving, changing environment is that the end result is static, dull, and refuses to develop.

As with Jim Mortimore's previous New Adventure, Blood Heat, the plot is thin and there's a strong reliance on spectacle. It reads as a chain of farfetched events rather than a proper story; sometimes intriguing, other times ludicrous. Unusually for a Mortimore novel there are no internal illustrations which is a good move because, as the cover painting indicates, such a surreal world is difficult to portray and is best left to the reader's imagination.

The pedestrian prose is sometimes broken up by stream-of-consciousness passages, usually in italics, which works quite well, an example being the deceptively promising prologue. The new chararcters are drab, excluding Midnight and Mark Bannen. Atmosphere is nonexistent.

The first two parts of Parasite are generally slow-paced, whilst part three (the final) is rushed and unsatisfactory. Little is seen or heard of the Doctor up until this point, and he gets his act together just twenty pages before the book ends. After a dramatic moment where Denny launches herself to a certain death, Mortimore writes her rescue as: 'The rest was a rewrite of the way Bernice had rescued Elenchus' (p244). Very lazy. I doubted that the plot details could get any more insufficient until I reached the shabby imprudent finale. I liked the link with Lucifer Rising though. (2/10)

This item appeared in TSV 44 (June 1995).

Index nodes: Parasite