The Forbidden Zone

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Every small town has special place like the Mound. Lovers go there to enjoy the view, families to picnic in the summer, kids to sled in the winter. It's been there forever, and it's not in any way dangerous.

But what if something came out of it - out of time, space and the depths of the mind - something so terribly dangerous, that the citizens of this little town could not ...

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The Forbidden Zone

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Overview

Every small town has special place like the Mound. Lovers go there to enjoy the view, families to picnic in the summer, kids to sled in the winter. It's been there forever, and it's not in any way dangerous.

But what if something came out of it - out of time, space and the depths of the mind - something so terribly dangerous, that the citizens of this little town could not hope to understand or stop it? How could they save themselves from a weapon of soul-breaking potency: pleasure too powerful to resist?

Physicist Pete Kelly, his pregnant wife Loi, and their fellow citizens must face such a creature with no hope to defend themselves. Until Pete - the scarred, conflicted survivor of a tragedy in which he lost his first wife and child - discovers that there is somebody to blame, somebody who broke the shell of reality and let the monstrosity in. . . and that somebody is Pete himself.

Every town has a place like the mound--where lovers meet and families go to picnic or sleigh-ride. For Oscola, New York, the mound has become a place of terror--where an evil force preys on the minds of all who dare enter--The Forbidden Zone. Whitley Strieber is world-famous for Communion, his phenomenally bestselling book on extraterrestrial experience. (Occult/Horror)

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A dedication to H. P. Lovecraft opens Strieber's Unholy Fire latest tale, paving the way for fantastical and grisly visions. In fact, Strieber borrows liberally from his malignant muse, adapting that author's concept of a monstrous alternate dimension and even giving Lovecraft's ubiquitous whippoorwills a cameo appearance. Not long after physicist Brian Kelly and his pregnant wife hear human screams coming from within a dirt mound, inhabitants of their upstate New York town are attacked by wasp-like fireflies, women transformed into grub-like creatures are dug from the earth and an otherworldly being terrorizes motorists from its Dodge Viper. Brian theorizes that somehow the space-time fabric has been breached, and before long he and a few companions are engaged in a classic battle with an army of ancient demons. Strieber's updates and additions to Lovecraft's original ideas--for instance, the sexual component of gruesome death scenes--provide ample suspense and gore, even if the final battle has few fresh twists. Horror enthusiasts will find his central concept chilling, a primal force beyond human comprehension or control. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections. July
Library Journal
A small town in the Adirondacks becomes a beachhead for an invasion of large, insect-like creatures that first seduce and then sadistically absorb the native population. Brian and Loi Kelly become aware of the unearthly invasion and take the lead in fighting the creatures and warning their neighbors. Brian feels responsible for the death and destruction because his physics research laid the groundwork for the onslaught. This audiobook is a work of graphic and sensationalized however imaginative violence bereft of any logical or believable context. Reader Buck Schirner's tendency to overdramatize, especially during the most violent passages, exacerbates the ludicrous text. This is not Strieber's best work. Not recommended.-- Kristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, Ia.
Ray Olson
Modern horror fiction begins with the cosmic paranoia of H. P. Lovecraft, and it's not surprising when a supernatural-thriller writer essays Lovecraftiana. Most do not do so at book length, though, since it's pretty hard to sustain the requisite skin-crawling atmosphere; Lovecraft himself wrote few stories more than 100 pages in length. But Strieber's not most horror writers. He succeeds where others have not tried by cutting the Lovecraftian formula to the chase. In fact, this book is all chase, from the moment physicist Brian Kelly and his pregnant Vietnamese-immigrant wife, Loi, are jolted by the agonized screams they hear emanating from "inside" the Mound, a favored picnic spot outside their New York town, until. . . but it's not fair giving away a good chase's ending. Along the way, friends, neighbors, animals, plants, and even cars are relentlessly pursued and hideously changed by a black, smelly, tentacled entity that paralyzes its victims with a purple light that triggers acute pleasure in them--until the pain starts, and then it's too late. Brian puzzles out where the entity came from, and his deductions accord well with Lovecraft's imaginings. Since Strieber's a speedier writer than Lovecraft--and has had his imagination goosed by advances in gross movie special effects since H. P.'s day--"The Forbidden Zone"'s the best story of its kind since Jack Finney's "Body Snatchers", which was filmed as "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." Yeah, that good.
Kirkus Reviews
Strieber's horror novels often rework classic occult themes (Unholy Fire: possession; The Hunger: vampirism, etc). Now, in an unusually spooky—and splattery—offering, the author updates the monstrous mythos of H.P. Lovecraft, to whom he dedicates the book. The eerie doings pile on quickly, beginning with physicist Brian Kelly hearing screams emanating from a mound in his hometown of Oscola, New York. Years back, Brian's first wife and child died in a fire, and ever since he's been a wreck, abandoning his time- travel experiments and cringing at the screams he still can hear—and so Brian wonders whether he's imagining this scream, until his new and pregnant Vietnamese wife, Loi, also hears it. A dig, however, reveals only dirt. But later that night, newspaperwoman Ellen Maas visits the dig and is swarmed by a horde of huge lightning bugs that nearly suffocates her, while Brian, also returning to the mound, is mesmerized by purple lights that crackle with sexual energy. The next day, screaming is heard at another site, and this time digging reveals the corpse of a woman, every bone in her body pulverized—but her left eye still glimmering with evil intent. Ellen and Brian team up to investigate, evoking Loi's jealousy—but when the menace fully reveals itself in the form of further animate corpses bursting open to loose further swarms of lightning bugs, the corpses then mutating into gigantic tentacled creatures that ferociously shred the town and its inhabitants—it's Loi who leads the fight. But can she combat this superintelligent creature, freed from a parallel universe by Brian's old experiments, before it destroys her—as well as her baby,squirming to be born? Genuinely scary, with plenty of scattered body parts for gorehounds—but subtle it is not, and the Providence recluse was scarier still, by saying less and implying far more.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451404879
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/1/1994
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 4.12 (w) x 6.84 (h) x 1.16 (d)

Meet the Author

Whitley Strieber
Whitley Strieber
WHITLEY STRIEBER is the bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including the legendary Warday, Nature's End, and The Coming Global Superstorm, the basis of the movie The Day After Tomorrow. His most recent books, The Grays and 2012: The War for Souls, are both being made into films. His website, Unknown Country, is the largest of its kind in the world, exploring the edge of science and reality.
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