Sunday, July 16, 2006


James Herbert
ISBN: 0333761170
Whenever a mother has a child she hopes the baby is going to be OK, not the kind of person who will suffer a lifetime of pain and abuse and ostracism. Most babies, apart from an unfortunate tendency to look like Winston Churchill, are like that. Some have disabilities which attract sympathy. Then there are the “others” of the title.

James Herbert is a top horror writer and resides in Sussex (this novel is set mainly in a realistic and recognisable Brighton). I read horror stories when I was a young teenager because a good horror story (and that is what James Herbert writes) take the reader to a world where they can escape the ordinary. This book however locates the extraordinary firmly in the ordinary.

I won’t put in too many spoilers here but it is a fairly standard narrative. Why do evil doctors have this strange need to tell heroes all their plans before they make improbably inefficient attempts to kill them?

However the main theme of the novel is the way society treats “others” and of course Brighton is teeming with “others” of various kinds. It is not a book for the queasy and the kind of horrific description at which James Herbert Excels is there in abundance. It is highly readable for people who like this genre.

I repeat the warning. To read it is easy but it is not for the queasy.

The book was first published in 1999 and is available in a large print edition. Avoid reading the blurb on the back of the book by the way because it gives rather more spoilers than I do.



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