It was supposed to be a simple mission. A suspected Russian spy boat is in trouble in Canadian waters. Investigate and report are the orders.
But when Captain John Banks and his squad arrive, it is to find an empty vessel, and a scene of bloody mayhem.
Soon they are in a fight for their lives, for there are things in the icy seas off Baffin Island, scuttling, hungry things with a taste for human flesh.
They are swarming.
And they are growing.
Big beasties fascinate me.
Some of that fascination stems from early film viewing. I remember being taken to the cinema to see The Blob. I couldn't have been more than seven or eight, and it scared the crap out of me. The original incarnation of Kong has been with me since around the same time.
Similarly, I remember the BBC showing re-runs of classic creature features late on Friday nights, and THEM! in particular left a mark on my psyche.
I've also got a Biological Sciences degree, and even while watching said movies, I'm usually trying to figure out how the creature would actually work in nature -- what would it eat? How would it procreate? What effect would it have on the environment around it?
On top of that, I have an interest in cryptozoology, of creatures that live just out of sight of humankind, and of the myriad possibilities that nature, and man's dabbling with it, can throw up.
All of this means I can't avoid writing about the beasties, from Giant Crabs in CRUSTACEANS, to Yeti in BERSERKER and ABOMINABLE, man-eating seaweed in THE CREEPING KELP, another big blob in THE PLASM, killer shrooms in FUNGOID and Giant Ants in GENERATIONS.
And there's now this, my latest foray in the genre.
INFESTATION is a tribute to several things - 50s B movies, Alistair MacLean books and movies, Aliens, and Dog Soldiers are all rattling around in there.
But mostly it's for the love of big beasties. Mostly.
A British Special Forces team parachutes in to a remote Canadian Arctic Island, searching for a lost Russian spy boat that has gone off the grid. At first it plays like Dog Soldiers meets an Alistair MacLean thriller, with them finding an Inuit settlement wiped out, then encountering a survivor who has a tale to tell, of a dead crew... and something monstrous.
The Brit team finally reaches the Russian boat. It is indeed infested, not with one thing, but with many -- giant Isopods, a swarm of them, each the size of a large dog, and as vicious as a rabid one.
Fighting ensues, people die bloodily, and, in the hunt for the spy boat's secrets, the source of the Isopods is found, a Queen, and a nest... one that has to be destroyed before spring comes, and the Isopods can reach warmer waters... and swarm.
Infestation is an excellent piece of writing and a joy to read, skillfully combining the aesthetics of the B-Movie, ‘creature features’ that Mr Meikle cites as an inspiration, while still giving a sufficiently original take on the creatures and their opponents to ensure that the novella rises above the rest of the competition. - SCI-FI AND FANTASY REVIEWER
Infestation is a fun, quick romp that you’ll furiously turn page after delicious page. Big beastie horror seems to be all the rage right now. Unfortunately, very few authors seem to know how to do it right. They need to take lessons from Meikle. He’s at the top of his class. - INTO THE MACABRE
Willie Meikle proved yet again that he is one of the best writers of pulp/adventure/horror stories with Infestation – a glorious mash-up of cryptozoology and sweary Scotsmen set in a chillingly remote location. - DARK MUSINGS