Review: Generations: A Creature Feature, William Meikle, 2019.
After finishing this book in September of last year (yes, that’s how far I am behind in reviews), I enthusiastically tweeted:
So you’ve read all the @williemeikle S-Squad books and need more giant critters? Check out Generations. Bug count and size upped by 10X. Mad scientist. Dragon. Heroic horse. Plucky but not obnoxious kids. And, yeah, tanks, helicopters, and artillery. Funny too.
I could leave it at that for the review of this unjustly neglected Meikle work.
Normally, I wouldn’t read a young adult book, but Meikle is one of those authors that I’ll read whatever type of story he’s spinning.
Our protagonists are eleven-year old Kate who lives on a farm in Scotland with her parents. Fellow classmate Tom lives nearby. And so does Tom’s Granddad. (I’m not sure we ever get his name.)
Granddad is a brilliant, eccentric scientist – mad in his carelessness but not bad in his intent. A former university professor, he practices alchemy and is a believer in vitalism.
We first meet Tom catching a newt for his Granddad. He wants to make a dragon out of it by giving it some wings. The newt, Tannis, gets his wings alright, but some growth medium is accidentally spilled in the lab. The next thing you know giant bacteria and insect are crawling up from the foundation.
While the future problem under the house is growing, we follow Kate and her pet pony Champion. At one point, Granddad even thinks about turning it into Pegasus.
Granddad may be good at causing problems, but he also mounts a good defense of Kate’s home when it’s besieged by giant ants.
And, eventually, we get a full-on battle of the British Army and Air Force vs. the giant bugs threatening Edinburgh.
The destruction Meikle gleefully gives us exceeds even his S Squad series, and I can’t think of a single Meikle novel with a higher body count except, maybe, The Coming of the King trilogy.
This is a fun story and surprisingly good for a novel with two kids as protagonists. Meikle lives up to his subtitle. He does give us a funny, enjoyable, “creature feature” movie in book form complete with a cast of likable characters and widescreen mayhem.