I have had the pleasure of reading a couple of gems from horror novelist Tim Curran. His efforts on the creepy Fear Me was impressive, as well as the subterranean nightmare of The Underdwelling. I was anxious to try another of his novels and stumbled on a novella simply called Worm. It was originally published by Dark Fuse and now exists as an affordable ebook through Crossroad Press.
Curran places the reader on Pine Street in a normal, small American town. Quickly, readers are introduced to a half-dozen town residents and interesting facts about their lives. Interrupting these smooth character introductions is a riveting earthquake tremor. Shortly after, a thick black sludge erupts from the crevice and begins to envelop part of the street.
Like a 1950s science-fiction film, disgusting creatures soon emerge as if given birth through this sludge substance. These creatures have a malevolent desire to eat the town's inhabitants. Throughout the novella, the assemblage of characters interacts with each other in a unified attempt to survive the sludge and creatures.
The pacing and action was superb, but I found myself with very little sympathy for some of the characters. They all seem to be flawed in ways that violate certain ethics and moral conduct for me personally. It is that disconnection with the character that seems to be the basis for my slight disappointment. However, Curran absolutely delivers a hair raising good time with his horrific creations.
Worm is a throwback to films like The Blob and Night Of The Creeps in a modern style similar to Brian Keene's novel The Conqueror Worms. It is this delightful tradition and homage that makes Worm a quality read for genre fans.