Colin Harvey. The Killing Streets. (Interzone #225, Nov/Dec 2009).

Dark, bleak horror. Set in Bristol, with society gradually falling apart. Animal rights activists have unwittingly let loose a burrowing monstrosity that is now reproducing in huge numbers, bursting out through pavements and roads to devour unwitting humans. Unemployment is on the rist, and getting even a routine clerical job requires a First Class Honours Degree. Thom didn’t excel at university, and is subsisting, just, support by the clerk’s salary his girlfriend brings in.
He’s fallen out of love with her, and into love with a woman with young children. He’s also got to look after his bedridden aunt who brought him up as a child, who is suffering from dementia.
And to make matters worse, there are viral outbreaks, including the fatal Blacktongue, which has been helped to cross over from its bovine hosts to humans.
And to make matters even worse, Thom’s girlfriend has found out about his philandering, and he has found out that in fact she is working for the security services who are increasingly monitoring society.
It doesn’t have a happy ending!
It’s a grim read, with some unsympathetic characters, and a mashup vision of a Broken Britain from right-wing tabloids, and of state-oppression from the libertarians. There are scientific elements to the story, and its speculating about where British society could go, but not enought sfnal elements for it to grab me. Mind you, not as horrible as having a Labour Party Chancellor of the Exchequer today being willing to boast that public sector cuts they would implement post-election would be greater than those of Margaret Thatcher in the 80s. It’s going to be grim enough dealing with the long-term financial consequences of the free money market – shark-like monsters attacking your from underneath the pavements might be an easier option!

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