Monday, September 06, 2010

The Hephaestus Plague

By Thomas Page

After an earthquake, strange bugs appear. They are hard, black, beetle-like bugs that chirp like a cricket. And they can start fires. They start fires because they eat pure carbon.
Naturally, people have to eliminate this new threat. But these bugs seem totally resistant to pesticide. Also, since they eat carbon they are quickly transported around the country in vehicle exhaust systems.
Scientists are frantically studying the bugs to figure out how to kill them. But one scientist takes a shine to the bugs. He is the one who discovers that the bugs are not beetles but are a kind of cockroach. He is also the one who figures out how to kill them. But he is also the one who proceeds to breed a new bug, a cross between a hissing roach and the fire roaches. But these hybrid bugs are a whole lot smarter than any bugs humankind has ever encountered. And they don't like people trying to get rid of them.

This science fiction horror story was pretty good. The bugs are certainly strange and different, almost like something from another world. The story is mostly about the reclusive scientist who gets way too interested in these bugs and lets his scientific curiosity override his better judgment, wreaking havoc on his town and neighbors in the process. The only problem I had with the book were the rather detailed descriptions of the bug's innards. I don't really want to know about the internal structure of a cockroach, even if it is a superbug. But, overall I enjoyed the book.

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