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No One Gets Out Alive by Adam Nevill
Stephanie is poor, desperate, socially disadvantaged, irascible and bears it all as a badge of affronted shame. She unwisely rents a room in a vast grotty house in an abjectly failed part of Birmingham. The landlord is full of Wagnerian rage and a worrying whiff of condescension. Stephanie, being stupid, stays and finds herself facing very old arcane secrets, dismissive treatment and uncomprehending cruelty.

The problem is Stephanie is so stupid and thus has no gripping internal conflict and all she does is stand anxiously behind doors as disconcerting events embroil her. One feels naked impatience at the irrational behaviour of the ‘heroine’, the grimacing dastardly landlord and the absurdism of the plot. Stephanie has bitter resentment at the dismantling of her pride and the reshaping of her life by the sudden surrealism of nightmare. But you don’t care as this book is an endless stream of drivel; it’s not even amusingly awful. It’s an overplayed tale of contemptuous neglect and gnomical horror that is brutally generic. I felt disengaged from the mundane depths Nevill leadenly sinks to.

Nevill did wonderful horror with ‘Apartment 16’ and ‘Last Days’ but they’re diametrically opposed by the infelicity of later books such as this, ‘Banquet for the Damned’, ‘The Ritual’ and ‘House of Small Shadows’. The 2nd half of the book is better than the 1st but that isn’t saying much.

Best Lines:
“Her constituency of the lost, the desolate and possibly their killers too.”

“And whatever tried to stop her must feel the knife.”

“Someone had tried to get out before her, using what looked like their teeth.”

“Turned to face the awful thing that had just sat up.”

“He looked at her like she was a traffic accident.”

“The ritualistic murders of the first four women at the same address when George V was on the throne of England.”

“Repellent traditions.”

“Their ghastliness explained little about what dwelled inside the building before they took up residence.”

“A Goddess that we have no name for.”

“Vestiges of an older idea.”

“Something older than the house, even the city.”

“Carried the relics of a foul God here.”

“Probably much older than Christ and had been served before the first Roman footfall on British soil.”

Fisherman’s Hope by David Feintuch
This 1996 novel was supposed to wrap the series up but didn’t. Seafort is now the Commandant of the Naval Academy and still splendiferous in the enormousness of his emo whining and lives in chaste terror of hell. Nothing can dissuade him. There is racism, flashbacks to Seafort’s cadet years, Annie is a damsel in distress and another woman is hysterical. The Fish attack earth and Seafort shows why he shouldn’t be in a supervisory position at all by sending the cadets on a suicide mission to save humanity’s abode.

Why do the Fish attack? How do they drop rocks on cities? How do they have bio weapons? Why do they have blowholes? Where are they from? We never learn, instead the Fish threat just ends in a lot of excessive capitalisations and the books turn out to be Seafort’s autobiography. This was terrible and Seafort ends up a crazy recluse. There was bizarre ‘future’ slang: orchestron motherboard, teener, uppies, freethinkers, droob and zark. Also bizarre ‘future’ moments like N-waves finally mentioned again, bizarre football teams, bomb sniffers, a Hodgkin’s vaccine, holovid coin chips, radionics, Unadilla’s, fax consoles, host fathers and host mothers.

Best Lines:
“Rebalancing was seen as shameful, and discharged patients were patronized if not ostracized.”

“New York Military command had decreed that public team sports were ipso-facto incitements to riot.”

“An insult that could cost a life if overheard.”

“I’m not going to prison for a tube of beer.”

“Society didn’t approve of wild children, and to tell the truth, neither did I.”

“School was voluntary.”

“Haircuts and clothes and making beds, about twenty times.”

“Jerries waded in with their riot sticks.”

“Vile practices.”

“How dare you interrupt a Captain!”

“Society had finally recovered from a century or more of coddling rebellious children.”

“Rumor had it that if the middies were sufficiently irked, even the shorts were dispensed with.”

“He’s da one what came back in dead ship, save Hope Nation!”

“Self contempt or no, I wouldn’t sink so low.”

“There is nothing left. Of the city. Of the...people.”


“Cleaning latrines helped me not to think, a duty from which Father Ryson eventually relieved me, over my bitter protest.”

“The greased chute to hell.”


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