Friday, May 14, 2010

“The Bridge”, (Leisure Fiction), by John Skipp & Craig Spector

Though reprinted from the eighties, one only has to visit the local landfill or read about catastrophic oil spills in the newspaper to understand the lasting relevance of a novel such as “The Bridge”. Big and ambitious, brimming with a razor-sharp social consciousness and gut-wrenching horror, its resonance proves far more powerful than the average “monster story”. In a world increasingly more reliant on man-made products, its importance cannot be ignored.

In the small industrial town of Paradise, Pennsylvania all seems well, especially for those holding the reins of power. For crooked waste management companies and corrupt officials alike, business is booming. For everyone else, life has capered along as normal. The people go about their business, ignorant of the chemical stews brewing in the depths of Codorus Creek and in other sinkholes secreted throughout the area.

Everything changes on an average “discrete disposal” run during an unseasonal storm. A tremendous clap of thunder, an eldritch flash of lighting, one too many barrels of toxic waste dumped into the simmering waters of Codorus Creek...and something awakens, after long last. A threshold has been breached, a malignant consciousness born, and it is bent on finally lashing out in retribution for a thousand ecological sins. It spreads, infects, consumes and assimilates....remaking the world around it into a twisted, nightmarish vision from which nothing and no one can escape....and it has a message to spread...

To the rest of the world. This is a toxic spill that cannot be covered up, for even the ground itself has joined the cause.

All the “right parts” of a horror novel are here in “The Bridge”, but what separates it from average fare is, as always, the human element. As man's sins rise up in chemical-breathed life to judge and punish, there are no “innocents” who escape. Humanity as a body is measured and found lacking, demonstrating the all too painful reality that abusing the Earth is simply too much like abusing our own bodies, plucking out our eyes to indeed spite our faces.

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1 comment:

M. L. Archer said...

Okay, I'll have to read this just to be fair, but sounds like one more hunk of Greenpeace propaganda. Yeah, yeah, take care of the earth, all that...but anticipating a preachy parable about loving the environment doesn't really thrill me.