Tuesday, 8 October 2013


Guy N. Smith has written over a hundred books since 1974, most of them in the horror genre. He also writes about hunting and pipes and country life, as well as being an editor and book seller. He'd be called a polymath if he was working in a more respectable area, but I doubt Guy cares what people call him. Several times a year he sits down and creates a new novel. He's a professional, he doesn't sit on his pink panniers waiting for inspiration. He has an obsession with screaming death, cringing horror, cruelty, torture, vomit and nasty things invading orifices. He is our hero.


'Abomination’ is about what happens when big business and bad people combine to cause (un)holy havoc. A chemical plant in Wales has been experimenting with the ‘perfect pesticide’, a deadly chemical compound supposed to accelerate insect life cycles to hasten their early death - except, mercenary, corner cutting arseholes that they are, it leads to everything they spray it with turning big and nasty and massive termites start crawling up peoples bottoms and huge killer frogs form violent gangs. It’s a bloody bloodbath.

A keen ecologist, Smith gives full rein to the idea of nature fighting back, with an enormous number of human fatalities from biting, nipping, sucking, stinging, sliming and internal nibbling. It's not possible to accurately measure the exact volume of puking that goes on, but it's probably enough to fill a tanker lorry. As above, Smith also seems unhealthily preoccupied with the idea of the creatures targeting private areas, and so throwing up and insect sexual battery become an integral part of a recurring pattern of violent, humiliating death. 

For example --

'Martha struck at the earwigs blindly. She sent two tumbling back, but there were five or six already beneath the hem of her skirt and travelling upwards, fast. Swiftly she closed her thighs and pressed them tightly together. 'No, not there! Oh, my God!' 
'He could feel them on his thighs and knew only too well that they were seeking out his genitals. Soft tender flesh, sweetbreads for the taking'.
'The ants were everywhere; not an inch of her body was spared. It was obscene. She cried out, a strangled shriek of anguish. The dirty bastards are raping me!'
'She was laughing and spitting mangled ants all down her tits. And she had a suspicion that she had messed her pants, too. Or it could just have been the ants running out of her'.

(this poor soul has an ant induced orgasm at the point of death).
'He thought his genitals were gone, but he didn't mind that'.

'Randolph winced, knowing now what it felt like to be circumcised and castrated at the same time'

This list is not exhaustive. 

Sometimes Smith writes his equivalent of a happy ending - i.e. the evil is temporarily vanquished - but more often he takes the microcosm of horror he has created and then insinuates that it will spread across the world and wipe out all we know. This is one of those stories - everybody is going to have ants in their pants by midnight. 

When you think of Smith sitting down to write these books, don’t think of a man who labours over the prose or sits around ruminating, think of him pounding the keys in a white hot blur of activity, the sound echoing around for miles like a series of shots. Not everything is perfect*, but it’s immediate, energised; it’s not crafted in the sense of a load of phonetic curlicues and a well planned narrative, but this is not literature, it’s story telling.

We imagine him typing the last full stop, pulling out the paper and thinking ‘right, there you go, one book’ - no fiddling, no agonizing about semi colon use, no poncing about - then onto the next. His sheer stamina and fecundity are the things we admire about him the most. 

He'll be back.

We can't stop him.

* How else can you explain lines like 'Les had the same pair of briefs on - perhaps he slept in them'?  

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