Book Review. The Grandfather Infestation by John Peel.

On board the ship Radio Crossbones, DJ Mary is the narrator of The Grandfather Infestation and encounters the aliens first. The aliens are rock like beings, who Mary christens as the Ymir. These seem to be completely at odds with the problem that is happening on land. Specifically, the village Strommach, where they have a carnivorous plants problem. The plants land on the village, coming up from the sea, and casting nets to capture the inhabitants of Strommach and use them as slave labour. These are The Grandfathers. It does seem to take a while for the two threads to entwine, as one alien race uses the other, and now wants to use Earth too.

‘It feels like we hit something,’ Alan said, confused.

‘What?’ Mary tried getting to her feet, but the corridor shuddered again and she decided she was safer staying on the floor, ‘but we’re miles out at sea, there’s nothing to hit!’

DN6, the pesticide from Who story Planet of Giants, is used to combat the plants. This is the kind of tie in I love.

I thought that the parts in the caves with the Ymir, and with Mary trying to desperately advocate for breaks and refreshments for the captured villagers, became disinteresting. Mary’s friend, Alan, eats something that he shouldn’t and The Grandfathers then have the ability to talk through him. Anne Travers eventually joins this group, having gone down in a Bathysphere, with Professor Brinstead, and basically offer themselves as bait. Mary’s spirits are dropping by this point, so well that Anne Travers and Professor Brinstead do arrive. The Brigadier, and his soldiers, have conquered the plants, and have dressed in civilians clothing, with weapons concealed, in a bid to be captured. This they achieve, and into the caves they go too.

It is a team effort at this stage – beneath the sea, in the sub surface dome – to get everyone safely back up to the surface and defeat the Grandfathers.

I  liked Mary’s character, although I found that in the early chapters, it was laid on a bit thick – being a female jockey, sleazy Larry the other bloke ‘she couldn’t imagine what would be happening now if she’d been stuck with Larry instead,’ and extolling the virtues of Alan, ‘the good guy’ I did wonder if it would turn out that he was actually not a good guy, but the good act Alan does is try the food first, that the Ymir have given them, and that backfires on him. I liked that Chorley had a small part in The Grandfather Infestation. It was also good to have Evans, another character from the TV episode The Web of Fear, return. He’s not great at his job, and he isn’t very dependable. Rabbie and Kirstie were good characters, for the very little part of the story they were in.

‘They’re some kind o’plants,’ Rabbie replied. ‘They’re putting out roots.’

‘Plants don’t grow that fast.’

‘Aye, normal ones don’t,’ he agreed, shivering. ‘But these are uncanny plants, love.’

All around, wherever they had fallen, the pods had broken open and the plants were growing, seeking Earth in which to bury their roots. In macabre silence, they scuffed away until they could begin to bury themselves.

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