HELLSTROM’S HIVE by Frank Herbert

Sci-fi fans who love Frank Herbert’s DUNE series will also enjoy HELLSTROM’S HIVE; the classic story of a dystopian America threatened by a chilling enemy: insects. It is a story of genetic manipulation that is as fascinating today as it was in 1973 when it was first published, and is even more relevant in light of current debates about cloning and stem cell research.

Herbert based his novel on the 1971 film “The Hellstrom Chronicle,” which won the 1971 Academy Award for Best Documentary. The narrator was Dr. Nils Hellstrom, a fictional scientist, who filmed the documentary to warn humanity that insects could one day be the dominant species on Earth. The film is out of print, but I understand it was beautifully photographed with stunning sequences of bug wars and mating practice. In 2007, TOR Books published a new edition of HELLSTROM’S HIVE that is well worth adding to your collection. The setting is Oregon in dystopian America, where Dr. Nils Hellstrom is making eco-films on his farm. The Agency, an espionage arm of the government, believes that Hellstrom is using his films as a cover while he builds a new experimental weapon. His estate is put under surveillance, hoping to steal his metallurgical technology. The agency’s “observers” are easily discovered and soon disappear. The Agency then sends their “A” team to find out what happened to their missing agents.

Hellstrom has secretly established an underground society, designed on insect hive principles. Captured agents are sent to the “vats”, where hive members go at the end of their own lives to become food for the rest of the hive. And his society is on the brink of a discovery that is more horrible than anything the government can imagine. Herbert is adept at conveying all the senses and readers will experience every emotion along with the characters. His hive members are also quite convincing with their insects’ survival instincts, lack of individuality and emotion. The scene is set so perfectly that he becomes another character in the story. The suspense is riveting as events unfold. Written in a chillingly realistic style, interspersed with notes and diary excerpts, this gripping adventure is a story that will make your blood run cold. The tension builds and the ending will keep you thinking long after you turn the last page. Publisher: Tor Books (April 2007) ISBN: 978-0-7653-1772-8 Pages: 336 Price: $14.95

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *