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Interlopers (Ace Science Fiction) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2001
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Archeologist Coschocton "Cody" Westcott discovers, along with his future wife Kelli Alwydd, discover hidden chambers below the temple they are excavating filled with all sorts of carving and symbols on the walls. They photograph all of it for later research, both making careers out of it.
Later, married and teacing in Arizona, Cody deciphers one set of symbols for some sort of formula. A chemist friend helps him mix it up and Cody samples it.
A whole new word opens up for him. And not a nice one.
He can see Those Who Abide, the Interlopers, who live in natural objects: trees, rock, and such, until a human touches them, invading the body. He witnesses a girl vomit, a man turn violent and kick his dog, two women crash their bikes together just to warn him off.
Only he can see them and does wha he can to prevent them infecting people. But he must do more.
What are they? There must be others that know of them. How can they be stopped?
Foster has a style that pulls one into the story and won't let go.
The plot is not complex: Our world shares it's place in time/space with a parallel world, and creatures from that parallel world have managed to get into ours. They are normally invisible to us, and inhabit natural objects, like stone, plants, or even water. When they come in contact with a Human Being, they are able to infiltrate our bodies, where they feed off of our negative emotions. There is one point in the book where Foster offers a brief explanation that it all has something to do with sub-atomic physics and quantum mechanics. Don't ask for any more, because that is about all you get.
Our hero is an archeologist who happens to stumble onto an ancient South American stone carving which he deciphers into the formula for a concoction said to "improve" one's sight. So, of course, our Ph.D., with the help of a chemist, gets the ingredients, mixes up a batch, and -- you guessed it -- throws it down the hatchet! Not exactly objective academic protocol, but it was that or no book, I suppose.
The brew allows him to see the things -- called "Interlopers" or "Those Who Abide". And they are pretty much everywhere, infecting pretty much everyone all the time. The professor's new gift of sight, of course, makes him a primary target for their wrath.
In an effort to bring ruin to our protagonist, the things invade his wife, causing her to fall into a deep coma. Foster overplays our intrepid professor's angst over his wife's condition somewhat; suffice it to say he is driven to find a way to save her and defeat the creepy-crawlies. He finally gets help from a somewhat unexpected source -- a demure German physicist, along with an Aborigine from Australia, both of whom belong to a "Society" dedicated to opposing the spread of the body-snatchers.
If you want to read something mindless, aren't too picky about an air-tight plot or scientific credibility, and have nothing better to do (stuck in a coffee shop, maybe), this book is worth a read. Barely. Be sure and either borrow it (like I did), or buy it used, though.
When student archeologists Cody Westcott and Kelli Alwydd discover a secret cache of Chachapoyan artifacts in an ancient Peruvian mountain site, they know that this is the discovery of a lifetime. What they don't realize is that they have also found the key to a trans-dimensional invasion of eerie creatures that feed on the anguish and pain of human beings. When they return to the States Cody begins the translation of the difficult Chachapoyan hieroglyphics
He finds a recipe for a tincture whose purpose he cannot divine. When he has the potion made up he discovers that it has permanently altered his sight so that he can see these invisible invaders. They are horrific looking and lurk in all kinds of natural objects, such as rocks, plants, even the ground itself, waiting for an opportunity to infest a human. When Cody tries to stop several attacks he initiates a personal war with the alien Interlopers that he cannot hope to win. Not only must Cody avoid contact with any infected material, he must hide from victims of the Interlopers who fall under their control.
Unable to stop Cody, the Interlopers attack Kelli, now his wife. Cody finds her unconscious, struggling for her life in a hospital. He must start a desperate search for help if he is to have any hope of saving Kelli. That help comes from unexpected sources, and Cody finds that he must help save the world if he wants to save Kelli's life and sanity.
"Interlopers" is written in the same style as many of Foster's long list of successful science adventure tales, from "Glory Lane" to "Jed the Dead." His style is light and entertaining, and is easily accessible to all age groups. He has a host of interesting characters and mixes well researched facts with creative interpretations. Not only do I like "Interlopers" as a great read, I appreciate its positive belief in human nature. Something that is often lacking in today's fiction.
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