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3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  104 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In a secret government lab somewhere in Nevada, a young scientist cowers in darkness–waiting, listening, and calculating his chances of surviving the unspeakable carnage that has left him trapped and alone. Or almost alone.

Soon after, a covert military operation “cleanses” all traces of a top-secret project gone horrifically wrong.

Three years later, it begins again–when
Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 4th 2003 by Del Rey (first published 2003)
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Pulpy, dark, and plausible. Not as visionary and Shirely's earlier works, but hey, what does a prophet have left to say when we live in a world he predicted? Adrenal, unique spin on the sky-net parable.
Koen Crolla
Fairly unremarkable horror that starts out promisingly but quickly falls to pieces. The Big Bad is revealed too completely too early in the book, and Shirley tries way too hard to make sure everyone understands that what he's really writing about is how technology is bad and controlling all of our lives and the solution is a bit of religion.

Crawlers would still be fairly decent—especially for something coming from someone who mainly writes comic book and video game novels—if not for two things:
"Crawlers" is a pretty good book. It's basically "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" meets "The Terminator", as directed by David Cronenberg. The crawlers themselves are the most interesting parts of the book, and I was almost rooting for them.

Unfortunately, some of the human characters weren't quite as interesting as the monsters, and the addition of quasi-psychic powers was rather jarring. Also, having read other books by John Shirley, I thought the ending was a bit weak, and a bit too upbeat.
Mar 11, 2009 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Splatterpunk aficionados
(I originally wrote this in 2003; this version is adapted from the one on my website.)

I've got a great book for you, if you like full-bore horror a la Stephen King in his early days, before he got all literary on us. Plus it's by a Pacific Northwestern author, more or less. Plus (full disclosure!), an old buddy of mine who's now a professional editor worked on the book, and shows up in the acknowledgements - not that that changes my opinion.

John Shirley's Crawlers is a science-fictional horror n
I picked this book at random from the John Shirley selection at the local library. It's a good horror novel that gets better as it goes, culminating in some very tense and disgusting action scenes toward the end of the book. Shirley was one of the first writers of cyberpunk (William Gibson called Shirley's City Come A Walkin' the "Protoplasmic Mother of all cyberpunk novels") and I hadn't read him before. I felt I had to because I'm publishing a short story of his and the man is both one helluva ...more
Brian Ridge
Crawlers was OK. I was intrigued by the blurb on the back cover and it started off storngly enough with a poor soul trapped in an underground military facility trying to avoid some sort of bio-tech monster. But after getting about halfway through the book I realized that I was just reading a modernized, nano-tech version of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, and nothing in the story from that point on was particularly clever or surprising. I give it credit for some pretty horrific imagery at times ...more
If one mixed "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" with a bloody high tech thriller (itself a mix) you'd have a good sense of "Crawlers." Something is taking over a small California town. Are the people who suspect something paranoid or do they see the world as it is? It's a page turn and very entertaining but not for the squeamish. (It's not wall to wall gore, but it's there.)
Rev. Nyarkoleptek
Basically a nanotech Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, this is a cute, gory little tale in which a militarized NSA nanotech colony escapes into a quiet southern California town, and a lot of blood is splashed around. Not a particularly complex story, but then again, it really doesn't have to be.
This book was worth reading. It isn't as good as Demons but definitely had its disturbing moments (the kind that you will think a lot about because they were that well described).
picked this up in my local library. I'd never heard of it but it sounded interesting. glad I did, it was a good read. well worth investing a few hours in.
Interesting, creepy but lacking true horror. Fairly believable characters and decently written but perhaps a bit predictable. Worth reading at the least.
Entertaining cautionary nanotech meets invasion of the body snatchers tale
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John Shirley is the author of more than a dozen books, including Demons; Crawlers; City Come A-Walkin’; Really, Really, Really, Really, Weird Stories; and the classic cyberpunk trilogy A Song Called Youth: Eclipse, Eclipse Penumbra, and Eclipse Corona. He is the recipient of the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award and won the International Horror Guild Award for his collection Black But ...more
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