What Are We Reading?: Hive, Tim Curran
Rating: 4/5 Eerie Fluting Cries
Give me the short version: It's like Lovecraft and Carpenter got together and had a baby. And then it ate them.
Have you ever made it to the end of a story and cried But No, I Wish to Read More! Luckily there move among us those with the fortitude and grit to do something about it. Being a cultured traveller of the world you'll undoubtedly already have the key required reading for Hive under your belt: HP Lovecraft's At The Mountains of Madness and a smattering of his other work; John W Campbell Jnr's Who Goes There? and John Carpenter's practical effects masterpiece film it inspired, The Thing; and of course a passing acquaintance with the Alien universe. Antarctica. Isolation. Paranoia on the ice. Mr Curran takes the broad strokes of At the Mountains of Madness and carves them right from brutal antiquity into the quivering flesh of modern climes. I'm going to call Hive a bit of a flawed gem. It's not one to propose with but you'd give it to your sweetheart on prom night. I certainly dug it enough to go scrabbling straight for Hive 2: The Spawning where I found the tribute elements more comfortably integrated with the gruesome epic loathsomeness Curran lavishes on the page. He etches in radioactive brilliance the sort of imagery that stays burned into you long after forgetting the occasional hitch, and as we've seen in Dead Sea to stumble is in no way inherit in Curran's style. It's a difficult thing to encompass another's vision before spilling and spreading it out. But I found Hive really took me there: to the dark and the cold, where normal rules don't abide anymore and there's nobody around to help.
Favourite bit: "Beyond the fringe of fur at their hoods, he could see faces that were running, guttering like hot wax. He fired at them, hitting them, and they stumbled backward but they did not go down. Their parkas expanded as if they were filled with air, a gassy, flyblown stink rising from them. The parkas began tearing open, splitting. Coiling and vermiform things oozed out in fleshy tangles. West screamed."