Friday, February 15, 2008

The Swarm

The Swarm by Frank Schatzing was originally published in Germany in 2004. The English language edition, translated by Sally-Ann Spencer, was released in 2006. My hardcover copy is 881 pages. Make no mistake about it, The Swarm is an epic eco-disaster novel intertwined with a bit of sci-fi, and is a mini-series waiting to happen. I can see it being a very successful mini-series too. Schatzing includes a lot of pertinent information, much of it scientific, along with the storyline. It's a hefty book for those of you who like a good, long read. Be forewarned, however, that there is some eco-propaganda, and even more bashing of America and Christianity. Toward the end of The Swarm, I was a wee bit tired of the author's anti-American and anti-Christian comments. I thought of a friends recent observation about another issue could have served Schatzing well in his sentiments concerning America and Christianity: "it never all sucks." I'm giving The Swarm a 4. It could have been higher had some of the preaching been edited out of the novel.

Synopsis on cover:
For more than two years, one book has taken over Germany's hardcover and paperback bestseller lists, reaching number one in Der Spiegel and setting off a frenzy in bookstores: The Swarm.

Whales begin sinking ships. Toxic, eyeless crabs poison Long Island's water supply. The North Sea shelf collapses, killing thousands in Europe. Around the world, countries are beginning to feel the effects of the ocean's revenge as the seas and their inhabitants begin a violent revolution against mankind. In this riveting novel, full of twists, turns, and cliffhangers, a team of scientists discovers a strange, intelligent life force called the Yrr that takes form in marine animals, using them to wreak havoc on humanity for our ecological abuses. Soon a struggle between good and evil is in full swing, with both human and suboceanic forces battling for control of the waters. At stake is the survival of the Earth's fragile ecology -- and ultimately, the survival of the human race itself.

The apocalyptic catastrophes of The Day After Tomorrow meet the watery menace of The Abyss in this gripping, scientifically realistic, and utterly imaginative thriller. With 1.5 million copies sold in Germany -- where it has been on the bestseller list without fail since its debut -- and the author's skillfully executed blend of compelling story, vivid characters, and eerie locales, Frank Schatzing's The Swarm will keep you in tense anticipation until the last suspenseful page is turned.

"All he could think of was breaking through the dense mass of fish and reaching the surface, seeing the light, going back to where he belonged, finding safety.
The shoal parted.
From its midst something writhed towards Ucanan." pg 13

"You analyze whale song and try to figure out what they're telling each other. We listen to noises from space because we're convinced that the universe is packed with civilizations." pg. 33

" 'Everytime we tamper with our environment without knowing what we're doing, we're dicing with death. But it's started already. The gas hydrate programmes in India, Japan and China are already quite advanced.' He gave a bleak smile. 'But they don't know what's down there either.'...
Worms. Monsters. Methane. Natural disasters." pg. 116

"Anyone who tried to help had become the target of a fresh attack [by whales]. All hell had broken loose - and no one knew for sure what was going on." pg. 132

"People liked the idea of lemmings committing suicide so they took it for granted that they did. But when someone looked into it properly, they found out that lemmings are just stupid." pg. 152

" 'What's going on?'
'It's obvious, isn't it? Biological invasions happen all the time.' " pg. 165

"I hope you're not about to give me some kind of conspiracy theory. This is Norway, not America. There are plenty of possible explanations for the rise in jellyfish plagues." pg. 168

"It's like a horror movie. Go forth and kill humanity." pg. 188

"The world was large again, full of unbridgeable space." pg. 370

"I'm going to be frank with you here: the first casualty of war is always the truth. and don't be mistaken, this is war - a war that we need to understand before we can win it. We have an obligation to ourselves and the rest of humanity." pg. 385

"Air travel brought an end to the age of passenger shipping, but world trade still relies on the seas. Our maritime passages are essential." pg. 399

"And that's the problem with all these attacks. No one imagined that such things could happen." pg. 403

"America has to take charge, We can't afford to cede power to anyone else - and especially not to that joke of a UN assembly, where every last scumbag gets a vote." pg. 831

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