Lately a re-occurring topic of contempt on Lytherus is the seemingly ever-repeating plots and themes of new book releases. For those of you getting tired of the same old scene, boy have I got a book for you.
Perhaps it’s true that there is no such thing as a “new” story. In The Immune, monstrous creatures almost completely decimate the civilized world. Sure, we’ve seen that before – but not like this. The way that author Doc Lucky Meisenheimer lays this story out for the reader creates a version of our world where the science fiction aspect comes across completely plausible.
The “airwars” appear seemingly out of nowhere. These creatures are huge biogenetically manufactured organisms with an appetite for humans. They hover over the earth, entrapping people in their massive tentacles. The result is almost always death for the prey either by being stung to unconsciousness by the tentacles or, for the unlucky ones, being fed alive into the airwar’s digestive sphincter where they will be suffocated and broken down by acidic juices.
Humans are being killed at astonishing rates. Groups rally to destroy the beasts, but there is a problem. Every time an airwar hydrogen sack is broken by violent attack it releases thousands of juvenile creatures that fly forth to grow and feed. The airwar population quickly explodes.
In the midst of the chaos a governing body forms in order to deal with the crisis; the Airwar Scientific Council (ASC) gains power at a frightening rate. As the crises grows so does their grip upon society. Freedoms are quickly stripped one by one with the justification of “greater good.” Using the ASC as a literary vehicle to make political and sociological commentary, Meisenheimer brings this book to an entirely different level. The story began as amusing and quickly evolved to brilliant with a libertarian-themed undercurrent that never took away from the entertainment value. If I had my way The Immune would be taught in political science and literature classes next to allusion-filled classics like Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies.
With the world in need of heroes, and main character John Long is forced to use the painful reality of his fiancée’s death via airwar as the driving force for him to step into this role.
“Should the family of deadly sins ever consider an eighth, vengeance would make a fitting brother. Vengeance is a powerful, life-altering emotion, and no one in history could claim more metamorphosis from this sensation than John.” (pg. 156)
John is intelligent, resourceful, and athletic. But most importantly John is immune to the debilitating sting of the airwars. Using his knowledge as a physician, John figures out a way to down airwars without breaking the hydrogen sack and releasing the juveniles. Unlike his predecessors who were tortured and skinned alive for having the immune gene, the clean-kill discovery qualifies him to lead an elite team of genetically sting-resistant individuals called “Immunes.”
Under the public relations thumb of the ASC, John becomes the hero that society needs. He’s a real-life Superman. He’s bigger than the Beatles. He’s practically a god. And John could care less. There is only one thing that John really wants … to kill the insane son of a *#$% who created the airwars.
I have to be honest. There were parts of the ending that just felt a little too convenient. But I am quickly willing to overlook that fact in lieu of twists and turns at every angle and characters that had me guessing their intent until the very end. Every detail has meaning. Every character is a representation of something substantial. This book is one of those rare finds that is both intellectual and utterly absorbing and entertaining at the same time.
I’m not an avid science fiction reader. I get bored by the technicalities. Give me magic and the impossible any day. But Meisenheimer is able to work the technical descriptions (usually focused around medical issues) so well that the scientific nature actually becomes one of the absorbing factors sucking the reader in. I read this book with wide eyes – simultaneously appalled and engrossed in disgusting descriptions that gain their power over the reader through the scientifically factual tone of the author. The drama of an airwar death is more ghastly because of the lack of drama in the prose. Meisenheimer simply tells it how it is. Without melodrama clouding the reader’s thought process, the stripped actuality of events speaks for itself.
The Immune release date is today, May 13. Don’t judge this book by the cheesy looking cover (like I did when I first got it, proving the old saying completely true) – the image definitely becomes more understandable after you read – hard core science fiction fans, casual readers who just want to be entertained, and literary gurus looking for the next great piece of modern literature.