Saturday, July 5, 2014

Parasite by Mira Grant

After Mira Grant finished one series about zombies, she starts a new one about them. Different book, slightly different zombies. Once again evil scientists and an evil corporation have designed something which turns out to be harmful. This time zombification isn’t due to run away genetically engineered diseases, but from runaway genetically designed tapeworms, which were supposed to monitor their owner’s heath. The main protagonist is a young woman, who apparently was saved by her tapeworm after being diagnosed as being brain dead. She has however lost all her memories of her former life. After five years, she has slowly adjusted to life and has gotten a cute boyfriend, who just happens to be an expert in parasitology. (There is a slight yuckiness factor, when someone who could essentially be considered to be five years old dates seriously. At first I suspected that the boyfriend is a plant of the Evil Corporation, but it doesn’t seem to be so.) The beginning of the book is pretty slow and not a lot happens. Soon there starts to be “sleepwalkers”, people who stop what they are doing, and just wander aimlessly, but eventually they turn to more or less full-ledged zombies, who are attacking people. If Mira Grant’s earlier series was pretty unbelievable, this one is stupid beyond any belief. At the end of the book, she credits people for medical and parasitological help. I wonder if she has managed to pick up people, who just pretend to be experts, or if she has just chosen not to listen to their advice. The book is filled with extremely stupid science and medicine at many levels, from small irritating errors (X-rays on film on a top-notch laboratory in 2027 – film hasn’t been in use at any major centre for years) to very stupid errors (a large bridge is so powerful Faraday cage, that it prevents all possible listening devices and even disrupts a Bluetooth connection between cell phone and headset, but doesn’t prevent the phone call going through) to extremely major stupidities rendering the plot totally nonsensical. (Human DNA is special and it has major effects – as has toxoplasma DNA – even when humans and tapeworms already probably share something like 60-70% their DNA anyway. Also the sophisticated medical faculties are unable to notice parasites teeming in muscle and brain tissue - apparently it doesn’t occur anyone to do any MRI or ultrasound scans of the patients. Also, worms take over most powerfully some brain dead people. The brain dead people don’t have any brains to be taken over by definition. The text is easy and fast to read, but the stupidities and very poorly described characters and fairly bad writing started to grate my nerves. I was able to finish this book by making an itemized list of all major stupidities in the book. I didn’t start at the beginning, and I run out of steam a little before the end, but I got to somewhere over 25 entries. The earlier series wasn’t any great literature, and had a lot of huge faults of logic, but this one is whole in a class of itself considering implausibilities. This one will be under the “no award” on my ballot.

512 pp.

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