Book Review: The Mythos of the Earthworm Gods

As I mentioned in a previous article, I am beginning to trek through the literary works of horror maestro Brian Keene. Although I’m an avid reader, I really don’t read too much fiction, and decided that needed to change. After reading The Complex and Dark Hollow, I decided to go through the Earthworm Gods series. I had done some investigating and discovered that this series was one that could fit into the subgenre of cosmic horror, which I love, so I decided to give it a shot. I was not disappointed.

In the world of the Earthworm Gods, there are giant super-storms that wreak havoc and ultimately submerge the entire earth underwater. For reasons unknown, these storms have released a brood of horrific beings on the planet. The two gnarliest creatures, Behemoth and Leviathan, are accompanied by a myriad of hellish fish-like aberrations and gigantic mutated, flesh-hungry earthworms that would be ever so comfortable in the pages of a classic Lovecraftian tale of apocalypse and doom.

Image result for the earthworm godsTeddy Garnett tells this story of a global flood that has left humanity in tatters. Holed up in his mountain home, Teddy and his buddy Carl Seaton struggle through daily life, puzzling over things even stranger than a 40-day rainstorm, including the giant slime-coated holes that keep showing up in Teddy’s yard. Before long, Teddy and Carl are fending off man-eating earthworms the size of buses. A helicopter crash nearby brings Kevin and Sarah, the last two survivors of an outpost in Baltimore, into Teddy’s story; their tale makes up the bizarre second part of the book that explores the insanity doom can inspire. It all leads to a showdown back at Teddy’s house with a creature so monstrous it scares even the killer earthworms.

 

 

Image result for the earthworm godsAs the last of the mountains sink beneath the waves, the survivors make a desperate final stand. But the worms aren’t the only enemy they face. The world-wide ocean is host to a legion of monsters, each more terrifying than the last, and mankind is vastly outnumbered by these new horrors. Adrift at sea and struggling to stay alive, the surviving members of the human race cling to a thin strand of hope. But their possible salvation may be worse than their looming extinction…

 

 

 

 

Image result for the earthworm gods scenes from the end of the worldEarthworm Gods: Selected Scenes From The End Of The World features thirty-two all-new short stories set in the universe of The Conqueror Worms. From the first drop of rain to humanity’s last waterlogged stand, Earthworm Gods: Selected Scenes From The End Of The World chronicles the fall of man against a horrifying, unstoppable evil. And as the waters rise over the United States, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere—brand new monsters surface—along with some familiar old favorites—to wreak havoc on an already devastated mankind…

 

 

 

I had an absolute blast reading through this series, which only took me a little over a week and a half. While still very new to the literary works of Brian Keene, this series easily showed me why Fangoria has dubbed him “a new master of the genre.” I am especially impressed with how Brian develops his characters, given the sheer number of them that occur in his works. The reader finds himself coming into contact with scores upon scores of characters, and Brian develops each one to the point necessarily dictated by the narrative. I can’t imagine it being easy being able to write for such an eclectic cast, but Keene seems to do it with ease. Each character basically has their own dialect and cadence, which is brilliantly employed by the author.

Another strong suit of Keene’s that I have picked up on is his ability to write fast paced action sequences. I find myself wanting to throw out various cliches, such as the action keeping me “on the edge of my seat.” There are points throughout the story that are necessarily slower paced, but when the action hits, Keene really shows off his talent. The pacing is near perfect, with no wasted motions or dialogue. The scenes basically play out like a movie in my head. He does a tremendous job describing the more horrific bits without being overly repetitive (he doesn’t just use the words “blood” or “guts” or “gore” on an infinite loop).

I absolutely love how Brian is expanding this universe. The first novel is a rather straightforward tale of cosmic horror (which is NOT a knock). It is not until the second novel that you really get an understanding of why these storms are occurring and why these abominable beasts are hellbent on destroying mankind. These plot points help to introduce a whole new world of possibilities. Add to that a calculatingly entertaining third volume of short stories set in this world, and you have a dark world that could expand into infinity. And I hope it does.

In conclusion, you NEED to read the Earthworm Gods series. Even if you don’t find yourself particularly drawn to horror fiction. The story is just too good. You owe it to yourself to take a nightmare-fueled journey into the Great Deep. Just make sure you steer clear of the crazy cultists, frightening monsters, and…soft…whatever that white…soft…fuzz is…

About Chuck Ransford 73 Articles
Ah now for the one thing everyone loathes...writing about themselves! Well for starters, my name is Chuck, and I am a south Jersey transplant living in Amish country. I’ve been a horror fan since 5th grade, about 16 years ago. My horror fandom started when I got my hands on a copy of Jay Anson’s novel The Amityville Horror. The book terrified me, and I knew I just had to watch the movie. An older cousin of mine had a copy of it, and that was the genesis of my obsession with the genre. Over the years I have expressed my horror fandom in many ways. Since about 2005 I have been regularly attending horror conventions. These have been great ways to amass collectibles, movies, and to meet some of my favorite celebrities. My best friend Mike and I used to run our own horror blog years ago, and we also dabbled in script writing. I am looking forward to going back to writing about horror, something I’ve always loved. When I’m not working (I work at PNC Bank), my non-horror interests are studying theology and economics, watching Japanese tokusatsu, and doing play-by-play commentary for professional wrestling. I’m also a member of the Barbershop Harmony Society and singing in a Barbershop quartet. Oh, and I’m probably the biggest fan of the Golden Girls you’ll ever meet. My top 5 horror flicks (definitely subject to change): 1. Cannibal Holocaust (1980) 2. Basket Case (1982) 3. Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) 4. The Beyond (1981) 5. Dawn of the Dead (1978)