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X The Unknown Kindle Edition
In a quiet field in Buckinghamshire, a huge crack has appeared in the earth's surface. And people are dying. Incinerated beyond recognition. At the same time, hospitals have noticed an increase in catastrophic deformities in foetuses, and cancer levels soaring.
Dr Adam Royston, a scientist working at the nearby military base, thinks he knows what it is; a creature as old as the earth that slumbers for centuries, then wakes to feed on the energy and radiation produced by humans. But if he's right, and they can't find a way to destroy the creature roaming the countryside, then it's not just Buckinghamshire that could be in danger, but the whole world.
"An expert in the art of keeping the reader turning the pages." --Time Out
"Hutson writes grippingly." --SFX Magazine --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
- ASIN : B008674BOA
- Publisher : Cornerstone Digital (July 5, 2012)
- Publication date : July 5, 2012
- Language : English
- File size : 722 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 370 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #2,491,797 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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When Lansing is found he is dying of radiation poisoning, and it is near a huge split in the Buckinghamshire marsh that hadn't been there before. Sergeant Michael Coulson & Lieutenant James Bannerman, Lansing's commanding officers, start investigating the attack. But, going over their heads, the army calls in Doctor Adam Royston, who will go to the Broughton Green Military Research Facility to see the experts Doctor Peter Elliot and his father Professor John Elliot. And that which lives below the earth, and the explanation as to what that something is, is what will drive a wedge between father and son.
Of course, as the story progresses, more soldiers and townspeople start developing symptoms of radiation sickness, tumors and such. And then despite the unbelievably of the creature, it then arrives on the scene and all hell breaks loose.
One of the requisites of Shaun Hutson doing this novelization was that the story had to be updated from the fifties, which was the original date of the making of the movie. Now, even though it has been updated, the song basically remains the same, as all of the major scenes have been left in, even if they have been altered and updated. My favorite scene from the movie, the death of the radiologist is here, although Hutson eventually wrecks it.
Another problem is the addition of additional extraneous characters that add nothing to the novelization. Like Claire Reese, who finds out that she has a malignant breast tumor, or Nikki Cross who finds that her unborn baby has become a mass of tumors. Another demerit is that while I can get behind this creature's massive expelling of radiation which is the cause of instant and corrosive tumors, but that a second exposure can not only cure the cancers, but heal all of the damage the these cancers and tumors caused? Ah, no. Don't believe it. Just because this is a super-science horror story doesn't mean you get to contradict your own reality.
The first, and only, previous Hutson novel that I read "Slugs", which was his first novel, and it was so bad that I couldn't be bothered to read anything else of his until the "X The Unknown" novelization appeared. And while this novel is certainly much better than that novel, it still doesn't convince me to go and buy anything else of his. And, while this is a decent novelization, and like any good novelization, it can certainly stand on its own, I wouldn't put it up there with the best of them that I have read.
However, let's give credit where credit is due. Because, while I haven't seen this movie in several decades, when Hutson is allowed to, and when he allows himself to do so, he certainly is able to maintain the flavor of the movie. Still, from what I remember, and as I said, it's been awhile, the movie was a relic of its time, and its updating has added nothing to the story.
For this site I have also reviewed the following creature feature adaptations:
Alan Wake by Rick Burroughs.
The Frighteners: A Novel by Michael Jahn.
Godzilla - The Official Movie Novelization by Greg Cox.
Mutant Chronicles by Matt Forbeck.
Plasmid by Robert Knight (Christopher Evens).
Reptilicus by Dean Owen.
Rabid by Richard Lewis.
I think he might have done more with some of the “creature’s” details (lacking in the 1956 movie as well), but his storytelling left my imagination ripe for a potential sequel (…. An appeal to Mr. Hutson).
Don’t expect Stephen King here. Just a good, simple and scary “paperback” genre.
Like many of us, I'm a bit of a purist regarding adaptations of classic works, so the fact that Shaun Hutson chose(actually, this decision was the publisher's, not Hutson's)to bring this adaptation forward to the present day and relocate it a long way south of the events of the original 1956 film filled me with no little trepidation.
Having said that, I hadn't seen the movie for a very long time--probably sometime back in the late 60s--so I decided to watch it again first, so I could more easily see what changes had been made.
I'm pleased to report that the alterations actually work very well and, in hindsight, the book hangs together rather better than the original.
Freed from the constraints of the film board censorship, Hutson is able to be more realistic with the dialogue of the soldiers. He neatly adds material and characters which give more weight to the events of the film, without sacrificing anything. There are only two major changes, other than period and location. The first is in making the lead character somewhat younger than in the original, which I found perfectly logical. The second is right at the end, where he has Royston realise that his original plan for destroying the entity was simply not going to work and comes up with a better and more believable one.
I'd always thought the "monster" to be vaguely Lovecraftian in concept, and it's evident that Hutson agreed, as he ends the book on a quote from the master himself.
To some extent, I regretted my decision to view the original movie version first, as it rather took all the suspense out of reading what turned out to be a very enjoyable SF/horror novel.
Top reviews from other countries
They keep wittering on about 'radiation', but that was established at the beginning of the book - why do they keep discovering it every five minutes.
The author claims to have brought the tale up to date, but I'm afraid the odd reference to Afghanistan and mobile phones just doesn't do it. It's written as an old tale.
A couple of examples:
- doctors haven't worn white coats for many years - it's all 'pyjamas'
- radiographers don't stay in the same room as patients when treating them
Basically, I feel the story is weak and the writing lazy.