Gruesome Science: Generation by William Knight

About the book

A crime-thriller with an injection of horror

Journalist Hendrix “Aitch” Harrison links bodies stolen from a renowned forensic research lab to an influential drug company.

Aided by Dr. Sarah Wallace, a determined and beguiling entomologist, he delves into grisly world of clinical trials and a viral treatment beyond imagining.

But Aitch must battle more than his fear of technology to expose the macabre fate of the drugged victims donated to scientific research.

When I first heard about the book, I was a little hesitant about doing a review. I read the blurb, took one look at the muy creepy cover, and thought, “Oh man, zombies.” The blurb also mentioned words like sci-fi, crime and thriller, and I haven’t read a single crime thriller in a long time, so I wasn’t exactly in the mood for one. However, I decided to suck it up and give it a go as part of my personal reading and writing goals. WELL, I’m glad that I went ahead with it because it turned out to be even more interesting than I thought. Yes, it has sci-fi, crime, horror, and a little bit about the walking dead, and it was all gewd.

First, let me say a little zomething about zombies. I am seriously terrified of zombies, or rather, the thought of zombies. I mean, I’ve seen the George Romero movies, the Resident Evil films, and Zombieland, and I thought they were gross, but really cool, too, in a way.  It wasn’t until I read World War Z that the thought of the walking dead really freaked me out. The book was about the zombie apocalypse told through transcripts of interviews with survivors. For me it brought the zombie issue down to the individual level. It was about what people had to go through and had to do to survive. For me, imagining the personal horrors of these survivors was more terrifying than the actual zombies themselves.

Generation gave me a similar kind of feeling. Although the book isn’t really about zombies, it talks about the scientific possibility of reanimation or regeneration of human cells–a concept that has already been widely used in many crime thrillers and zombie stories. In Generation, however, the author uses it in a slightly different way. Knight doesn’t take the usual “OMG botched scientific research results to zombie hordes run for your lives!!” route. He doesn’t talk too much about the dead, but rather about the living.  He talks about the lengths people are willing to go to for a chance to live longer. He also touches on corporate supremacy and capitalism. How far would you go in the name of scientific or medical research? How far will corporations go to earn a gajillion dollars? Is it all worth it?

Another thing unique about the book is that it also shows the side of the so-called walking dead. Most films or books only show the stories of the people trying to escape the madness and portray the infected ones as mindless soul-less creatures. Generation takes a different stab at these “mindless soul-less creatures” by including short features that show the perspectives of these poor souls.

Here’s an excerpt to give you an idea:

Case Number SW0112

He could not die. He remained, even as they ate into his half-buried torso. Dropping into the surrounding sea of leaves, burrowing and pulsing, tunnelling through his flesh and gnawing his bones; they made a home. He’d been aware of them throughout the long winter, but now the air was warmer and his senses were awakening. Perhaps he could hide from the plump overfed bodies. He wanted to go home.

He struggled to raise his mud-caked arm. Silver-dewed cobwebs strained and snapped, releasing sparks of water. Sodden earth clung to his elbow forming a gnarly branch. Trailing ivy, fed by leaching nutrients, tied the limb to the ground. He fought the binding weed until he collapsed, exhausted. Once more his arm settled back into the leaf mould as if it had never moved.

But on this day his thoughts came quickly and fluidly. Weeping joints and dead muscles warmed by sunshine filtering through the canopy oiled his movements. Finally he was free of the binding roots. He emerged like a fly from its chrysalis, unfolded his body, crease-by-crease, joint-by-joint, and willed each sinew to do his bidding. At last he stood.

His limbs resembled felled branches of trees: waterlogged, mould-spattered and swollen, with open splits in the skin. He rubbed his forearm and scraped off a layer of fat, releasing an odour of soap and damp, and exposing raw muscle. The smell awakened his dull senses, and at first he thought it was the soft fragrance of his wife’s perfume. He tried to find her. But as the sun warmed his sagging flesh and stirred his turgid blood, bacteria swarmed and divided, excreting the stench of decay. He realised her perfume was thick odour made sweet by fond memory. She was lost.

From the very vivid description of decay and decomposition, you would think this character was simply dead and walking, but then you read about its thought process and feelings, and you wonder if this is really one of the walking dead.  It was the fate of these poor things (and the very gruesome description of skin and muscle falling off gaahhhh) that lingered with me after I read the book.

Overall, the book was a pretty good read and I enjoyed it. The science part was really interesting and sounded very believable. Made me think about more horrifying what ifs–which for me is a good sign that the book was, well, worth reading.

I received a review copy of this book at no cost and with no obligations. All opinions and views expressed here are my own.

Novel Publicity Blog Tour Notes

Get Generation on Amazon or Barnes & Noble – you know you want to!

Vote for White Sky Project! The blogger with the most votes wins a $50 Amazon gift card. I want that to be me so I can use it for future giveaways on this blog! You can vote in the poll by visiting the official Generation blog tour page and scrolling all the way to the bottom til you find the traffic-breaker poll.

Be sure to enter for your chance to win an autographed copy of Generation : ENTER HERE.

About the Author

William Knight is a British born journalist and technologist currently living and working in Wellington, New Zealand. He’s chased a varying career starting in acting, progressing to music, enjoyed a brief flirtation with handbag manufacturing and was eventually wired into technology where he’s been since 1989. In 2003 he published his first feature in Computing magazine and has since written about the many successes and failings of high-tech for the Guardian, Financial Times and the BBC among many others publications. He continues to maintain a lively IT consultancy. Connect with William on his website, blog, Facebook, Twitter or GoodReads.

10 thoughts on “Gruesome Science: Generation by William Knight”

  1. Hi Leah, I really liked this review, not just because you enjoyed the book, but because you picked out so many of the points that are important (to me at least). This is a zombified look at corporate greed and capitalism, and I’m really happy you came away with the message hidden beneath the festering remains! Thanks very much for taking part in the tour — and at the risk of aping Emlyn; it was gewd. 

  2. Yay, Leah. I loved this review. It kind of made me laugh, because your personality shone through so much. In other words, it was all gewd :-D See, you taught me something new there.

    When you have a moment would you kindly cross-post your review to Amazon and GoodReads to help up exposure for our friend, the author? 

    Thanks so much for being a part of this tour,
    Emlyn :-D


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