In his first post for The Werd, Brad Harmer-Barnes tells us about Hunter Shea’s “They Rise”.
I’m an absolute sucker for sharksploitation in all its myriad forms. I think I was one of the few people (back in’t t’day) looking forward to Declan O’Brien’s Sharktopus (2010) without a hint of irony. So here’s Hunter Shea’s “They Rise“. It’s not about sharks or octopi or piranhahaiaia. It centres around something a little more obscure, and a little weirder. Chimaera Fish.
The main story focuses about marine biologist Brad Whitley. He’s your typical scientist for this sort of story (you know, he’s studied chimaera fish all his life but can also fire off three hand-guns at once while seducing a woman).
Global warming and rising ocean temperatures cause some rocks to fall apart, only instead of Godzilla, they instead free a seething mass of prehistoric chimaera fish from their methane ice suspended animation. The killer fish (which vary from three to twenty feet in length) carve a bloody swathe across the ocean, crushing, killing and destroying all in their wake. It’s up to Whitley, his sexy climatologist ex-wife and the entire US Navy to stop them in the bloodiest battle ever seen on the high seas.
They Rise is exactly what you want it to be. A fast-paced, gore-heavy splatter fest of sharksploitation. The plot starts off as a relatively fast paced examination and exploration of the causes and effects that the newly released chimaera fish could have on the ocean…but it isn’t too long before they’re leaping out the water, crushing limbs, biting off heads and spurting gore in all directions. The novel has a truly cinematic feel – and by “cinematic” I mean “ten o’clock at night on the SyFy Channel” – and that is great. It is, as I said earlier this paragraph, exactly what you want it to be.
The chimaera fish are actually pretty scary, and I think it’s certainly nice to see a whole new “monster” being added to the sub-genre. We’ve had sharks and octopuses and piranha and so on a hundred times or more before (and, of course, not forgetting Guy N. Smith Crabs series of shonk-fests). The pack-hunting chimaera fish are genuinely alien looking creatures anyway, almost triggering that “not human…kill it” lizard brain reaction. And when swarms of them – some twenty foot long – start jumping up out of the ocean…the book really builds up some tension fast.
They Rise is a quick read at only 160 pages, but it’s only £1.99 on Kindle (price correct at time of publication) so it’s very fairly priced. If you dig sea monsters and sharkspolitation as much as I do, then you could do a lot worse than having this in your collection.
Brad Harmer-Barnes is a writer for Miniature Wargames, Fortress Ameritrash, and other publications, as well as The Werd. He likes Gatorade, fish and chips and Twinkies. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @realbradhb.