“All scientists are mad scientists.” – Parasite, Mira Grant
- Title: Parasite
- Author: Mira Grant
- ISBN 0451239253 (ISBN13: 9780451239259)
- Series: Parasitology #1
- Published: October 29th 2013 by Orbit
- Format: Audio-book/Purchased
- Genre/s: Fiction
- Print Length: 504 pages
- Source: Library
- Rating: B+
Science is in equal parts miraculous and terrifying, to me it is more than plausible that in our “quick fix” loving society, a drug that would eliminate the majority of health problems, like diabetes and heart disease and would be welcomed. By simply ingesting a tablet, the active ingredient being an intestinal parasite, maladies such as allergies would be eradicated. Ten years from now in this world, a woman who was declared brain dead after a serious car accident mysteriously recovers with full cognitive function albeit with no memory of her past.
A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.
We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system – even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.
But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives…and will do anything to get them.
As her family was contemplating removing her from life support Sally inexplicably regained consciousness. Six years later Sally, “Sal” as she is called now is still an anomaly, perfectly healthy but memory of the years before the accident are still beyond her despite the rigorous testing on the part of the Symbogen Corporation. She leads a relatively normal life after having to relearn everything after awakening from her coma. It isn’t until suddenly people are suddenly succumbing to the “sleeping sickness” in her immediate vicinity that she realizes that there might be more to her recovery than her mysterious benefactor the head of the Symbogen Corporation is sharing with her.
As I listened to Parasite, I couldn’t help but be reminded of one of my all time favorite X-Files episodes “The Host” S2, E2. It is one that bears the dubious honor of being the episode that sealed my phobia of outhouses and also broke through my insistence on watching a series from the premiere much to my besties’ frustration, what can I say I like to know the whole story? As is the case with most of my preferred episodes of the phenomenally successful series The Host was a stand alone story separate from the continuing arc of Mulder’s search for his missing sister. The episode starts on-board a nuclear submarine, scary in and of itself, a friend recently referred to them as floating coffins, where a body is disposed of in the sewage system and the toxic combination results in the monster dubbed “Flukeman”. Gross as the plot is, it is also one of the more eerie episodes of the series.
Much of the plot of Parasite is not overly surprising, yet there are a number of truly frightening scenes, kind of like when you are watching Walking Dead and you know a zombie is going to come up behind them yet you still jump when it happens. Though at times I found myself saying “C’mon Sal, this should be obvious!” as she remained stubbornly oblivious to her part is this phenomena. It is truly as the saying goes, denial is more than a river in Egypt. However, the rest of the characters were diverse and reasonably well developed and the zombies properly “zombie-like” if you are a fan of the good ol’ medical thriller ala Robin Cook or Michael Crichton, Parasite is going to be your cup of tea. I for one will be following Sal’s story as it continues in Symbiont, Parasitology Book #2.
Born and raised in Northern California, Mira Grant has made a lifelong study of horror movies, horrible viruses, and the inevitable threat of the living dead. In college, she was voted Most Likely to Summon Something Horrible in the Cornfield, and was a founding member of the Horror Movie Sleep-Away Survival Camp, where her record for time survived in the Swamp Cannibals scenario remains unchallenged.
Mira sleeps with a machete under her bed, and highly suggests that you do the same.
Mira also writes as Seanan McGuire.