The Girl with All The Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey started out as a short-story entitled “Iphigenia in Aulis”. It grew into a phenomenon that is now going to be a movie. (Personally I’m glad the name got changed). I remember reading the short story and wanting more. Glad the author obliged.
The world is infected by a fungus, which quickly attacks the brain cells, leaving the host brain-dead, but with a hunger for human flesh, hence they are called “hungries”. Among those that were not infected were the “junkers”, bands of marauders caring about nothing but themselves. The remaining people lived in military-guarded areas.
There was one area in which the military, led by Sergeant Parks, housed “special” children, who, although infected with the virus, had retained their mental abilities, as long as they did not come into contact with a human scent. These children are taught, but are muzzled and hand-cuffed at all times when not in their cells. They are also used as tools by the head scientist, Caroline Caldwell, who is dissecting their brains in hope for a cure.
Miss Helen Justineau is one of the teachers at this facility, who disagrees with Dr. Caldwell’s methods. She feels that these are still “children”, not “hungries”. Her favorite pupil, Melanie, has a genius IQ. When Caldwell feels it is time to work on Melanie, Justineau intervenes. At that moment, there is an attack on the base involving both junkers and hungries. They must run for their lives.
This book floored me. I really enjoyed it (I’ve read it twice now). In a world of “zombie” books, this one is different. I really want to find a cure to save Melanie….but am not really thrilled with the way Dr. Caldwell is handling things.
Definitely worth a read, or two.
Favorite Quotes From The Girl with All the Gifts:
“That’s Pandora,” Miss Justineau said. “She was a really amazing woman. All the gods had blessed her and given her gifts. That’s what her name means – ‘the girl with all the gifts’. So she was clever, and brave, and beautiful, and funny, and everything else you’d want to be. But she just had the one tiny fault, which was that she was very – and I mean very – curious.”
“you can’t save people from the world. There’s nowhere else to take them.”
“She’s as big as four-fifths of five-eighths of fuck all, but she takes no bullshit from anyone.”