Written by: Matthew J. Barbour
Edward Lee is one of the world’s premier splatterpunk authors. His novels focus on two things: sex and gore. Slither delivers on both in abundance, with a narrative that is fast-paced and gritty.
This sci-fi horror tale focuses on parasitic worms, specifically gene-spliced super worms with a hankering for big-breasted females. Set on a tropic island, Slither follows several groups of would-be-adventurers, including scientists, school kids, and criminals, as they deal with said worms. Can they escape the infestation in time? The answer for most is a resounding, no.
Character development, while present, is unnecessary. Most are simply common archetypes within the horror genre. This is of little consequence, as you will be rooting for most to get devoured by the worms. To this end, you will not be disappointed.
Lee follows a formula that has worked well in the past. He moves quickly from sex scene to kill scene to sex scene. Sometimes, he just combines the two activities. Girl with parasitic worms attached to her coochie forcing a man to provide oral stimulation? Check.
Expect to suspend belief for the pseudo-science involved in Slither. I am not sure why worms growing to over 20 feet in length and plucking up full-grown humans into trees is scientifically impossible, but I am sure that it is. Also expect a twist. There is always a twist. Here the twist is perhaps a bit laughable, but by the time it comes, you are already buckled in and ready for it.
Overall, Slither is a good story. Is it Lee’s best novel? No. Does it leave you with a deep understanding of human nature or pondering life’s mysteries? No. It is exploitative entertainment. So if that appeals to you, sit back, read, and enjoy.
About the Writer: Matthew J. Barbour is a speculative fiction author living with his wife and three children in Bernalillo, New Mexico. When he is not writing fiction, Mr. Barbour manages Jemez Historic Site and contributes to a number of regional newspapers, including the Red Rocks Reporter and the Sandoval Signpost.