Wednesday, July 8, 2009


“Why do werewolves howl at the moon?
Because that’s where they originally came from!”

That’s the tagline for Al Sarrantonio’s 1989 novel Moonbane. Out of print for some time, it has now been re-issued in an attractive hardcover from Cemetery Dance, featuring a cover by Alan M. Clark, and interior illustrations by Keith Minnion. In it, Sarrantonio takes one of the classic monster archetypes (the werewolf) and melds it with a classic from science fiction, in this case H. G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds. It is a delightful, fast-paced B-movie of a book.

Jason Blake is a poet (oddly enough, not starving) living in west Texas with his wife and son. Father and son are watching the Geminid meteor shower when the sky is set alight by many more meteors than expected, one of which falls to Earth nearby. Upon investigation, the younger Blake is bitten by an animal which crawls out of the meteor. This will be a tragic night for Jason Blake.

It seems years ago the Moon was home to a race of werewolves. When the Moon lost its atmosphere, the werewolves went into a state of suspended animation, waiting for more hospitable times. Volcanic eruptions have now sent some of these werewolves to Earth, where they are reborn and go on a killing rampage. Anyone bitten or scratched by one becomes a werewolf, also. The creatures kill and eat everyone they come across, leaving only a carefully arranged pile of bones behind.

Blake begins a long journey, accompanied by other stragglers he meets, to a distant military base. There, it is hoped, a solution lies that may keep mankind from being exterminated by the lunar invaders.

I’ve also been a sucker for a mixture of science fiction and horror, so I enjoyed the book a lot. There are a number of scientific inaccuracies that could be nitpicked, but to John’s surprise, I won’t. This is a very entertaining, quick-read of a book. If you’ve never read Moonbane, here’s your chance, and if you read and enjoyed it, this is an opportunity to own a hard-bound copy of a minor horror classic.

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