The Fungus (1985): an extremely positive review by a big fan of the book

horny men ruin good books. This is a fact. And The Fungus, written by Australian author John Brosnan (under the pen-name Harry Adam Knight) is no exception to this. And I kinda feel like a dick for speaking against a dead man, but it was so awful that I feel as if I have no choice and I want other people to share in my pain and anger….because I love passing on misery.

 

So on my normal rounds of scouring Amazon for off-the-wall books, I stumbled upon John Brosnan, AKA Harry Adam White. Unaware of the other books/movies attached to his name (including the Carnosaur franchise and Proteus) I found this book and thought it sounded interesting. Here’s the premise, directly from Amazon:

When a brilliant scientist seeking to solve the problem of world hunger tries to create giant mushrooms through genetic manipulation, what could possibly go wrong?

The mutated spores escape the lab and spread across all of England. Toadstools grow to twenty feet tall, and a case of athlete’s foot can mean a grisly and horrible death.

But those who die quickly are the lucky ones. Those who survive infection by the fungus will be transformed into something unthinkably monstrous.

And I had to get that from Amazon, because even though I just finished reading the book about two hours ago, this thing was so unmemorable and so infuriating to me, that I could barely recall the plot. In fact, this book was such an enormous waste of my time, that I really WISH I had just read the amazon summary, said to myself ‘oh that sounds pretty cool’ and continued on my gay, merry way. Hindsight is 20/20, innit?

Let me preface this scathing critique by saying this: Harry Adam Knight has a talent for writing mutant fungus. And that’s about it. He’s skillful (to an extent) at painting this new, alien world that our characters will have to navigate through if they have any chance of surviving. Let me tell you what he’s just abysmal at, and that that is writing decent female characters. Let me preface this once more by stating that I am no stranger when it comes to far-too-horny men writing science fiction or horror novels; when it comes to gratuitous scenes of sex and romance in these genres, I am mostly able to shoulder my way through these parts and get to the meat of the story. This novel, however, made me want to rip out each one of my fingernails, slowly and painfully, so I could puncture my eyes with them afterwards.

 

But this…novel. This novel. I was warned in the Goodreads reviews that there would be ‘very 80’s attitudes towards women’, and so I believed that I would be ready for the sexism that inevitably comes along with these 80’s era gross out horror paperbacks. I was so, so terribly wrong.

Let’s get into the meat of it; not one women in Harry Adam Knight’s The Fungus is worthy of saving. Not one of them.

The first prominent character we are introduced to is Doctor Jane Wilson. More correctly, we are first introduced to Jane Wilson’s body. Doctor Wilson is the hypothetical ‘mother’ of this new fungal disease; she engineered certain fungi in an attempt to make them grow larger so they could become a potential food source to end world hunger. Of course it goes extremely wrong very fast, but none of that matters as much as the firmness of Doctor Wilson’s tiddies. You think I jest? Here, read this real life quote from an actual published book about a world-renown mycologist:

“Despite her thirty one years and two children, it [her body] was still a good body with long, well shaped legs, firm stomach, and large but equally firm breasts.”

https78mediatumblrcom07456a4150af912b00d00315ad5c8926tumblr_inline_p5rzoqtyai1vn4988_500gif_encoded
Well, hey, it really sucks that I’m infected with these fungi that are growing throughout my body and will inevitably turn me into a walking mushroom man but hey, at least I have a throbbing erection while I choke to death in my own bodily fluids.
And this passage, when Doctor Wilson is exiting a pub after celebrating her success and an unlucky man just happens to see her there:

“It was then he noticed the tall, blonde woman drinking a red wine by herself at a table near the door…she looked too well bred to be a whore.”

img_0300

This man also goes into detail about how he loved to press his gargantuan belly against ‘young, soft and female’ flesh. Ok. Did that add anything to this review? No? Fair. It didn’t add anything to the book, either, but ol Harry thought it appropriate to mention, so I did too.

Jane Wilson does not show up again until the very end of the book, but this does not stop the male characters from calling her a bitch and a whore throughout the novel. When we see Jane again, she has become the ultimate she-bitch, and has decided somewhere (offscreen?) that she is now fighting for Mother Earth and that all men need to die to atone for their crimes against women. That’s what she says. From level headed scientist to rad-fem ‘kill all men’ fungus queen. Listen, I’m not knocking her on that one, but Harry Adam Knight gave us ZERO development or insight as to how she got to this train of thought from beginning to end. Absolutely none. Now she’s evil. Fuck you. It’s like he just shrugged his shoulders and thought ‘you know what? I’ve masturbated enough to the thought of Jane Wilson, but I don’t know how to kill off her character. Oh right! I’ll just make her a man-hating she-devil so the main character will have no choice but to brutally murder her and her female followers!’
Brace yourselves. This character alone was the reason for the season. I have never, EVER read a book in which a female character was written so terribly, so abysmally, that I had to take to the Internet to voice my anger. Here we go.

Early on in the novel we are introduced to the only female ‘protagonist’ scientist named Kimberly Fairchild, who accompanies the other two male protagonists into the fungus ridden heart of London. She is an expert on tropical diseases, someone you’d want to have on your team on a mission like infiltrating new-fungus England. She has been working in Mycology for her entire life, and was on the team that helped design an anti-fungal vaccine that helps the characters against the mushroom menace. Someone that should be a heavy hitter on the team, but unfortunately, she had to be a woman.

Throughout the course of the novel, Harry Adam Knight Josh Brosnan constantly, without taking a breath to bust his nut, goes into detail about how shapely she is, how feminine she is, how her breasts booble and titter this way and that and how delicious her nipples look in a white tank top. How sexy she is. How men literally lose all sense of control when she comes around.
The fucking HUSBAND of Jane Wilson, who was on a mission to find his missing wife up until Doctor Fairchild comes along and breasts boobily in his direction (how dare she) becomes completely infatuated with her in the course of a few pages. It came to a point where I wasn’t sure if he was going to rape her; a married man was less worried about whether his kids were alive or not, and more concerned if this female scientist wouldn’t fuck him. Yes, he is concerned about the fact that she, a woman who has nothing to do with him, is fucking another man, and less concerned about the fact that his two kids are likely dead. It’s fine though because Kimberly is the whore of Babylon, so he gets to have an emotional fuck at the end, right after he murders his kids. lmao.
In one of the scenes when they are traveling through London in a souped up Jeep or whatever, Kimberly takes shotgun while one of the male characters are driving. When she backtalks him, he forces her head onto his nasty dick and makes her give him a blow-job. But it’s okay, because he eats her out afterwards! It’s equality!

 

img_1771

in fact, this scene is so out of the blue and ridiculous, I couldn’t get over it, so here it is in it’s disgusting glory:

Slocock reached across and put his left hand on her crotch. He gripped her hard. She gave a hiss of pain and annoyance and pushed his hand away. “Don’t do that!”

Amused, Slocock said, “Oooh, the lady doctor’s all uppity today. Doesn’t want to remember what she was doing with common old Sergeant Slocock last night.”

“That was a one-off event. Don’t think for a moment you’re going to get second helpings.”

Slocock’s hand shot out and grabber her by the hair. She gasped and struggled but he was able to push her head down towards his lap without any trouble. Then he gave her hair a sharp twist. Her scream was muffled.

“You know what to do now, Doctor. And be gentle with it. I feel your teeth in me I’ll scalp you.”

She unzippered him and freed his already erect penis. As she went to work on him with her tongue he shuddered with pleasure and said hoarsely, “You’re a real expert at this, I can tell.”

His words were confirmed in the fifteen minutes that followed. Several times she brought him to the edge but just when he felt he was about to explode she seemed to sense it and eased off. Finally she didn’t ease off and he came in her mouth with such an intensity of feeling he almost drove off the road.

 

My face journey reading this shit.

In a later scene, Doctor Fairchild has been stripped naked by the infected mushroom people who want to turn her into one of them. She escapes with one of the male characters, and during a vulnerable moment, she is assaulted by two men who brutally rape her and beat her. But it gets even better because Harry Adam Knight thinks that we also need to know, in great detail, how one of her rapists’ infected penis snapped from his body and got stuck inside her vagina. She is saved by someone else who—no fucking joke!!!! Came over with the intention to rape her as well! There was a development process in making this book!! And I can tell no fucking women were involved in making and publishing this shit because if I was Nancy from penguin house I’d call up Harry Adam Fucking-Knight like ‘uhh hey man I know you love to jack your diseased dick to this torture porn type shit but can you get back to writing about fucking mushrooms please and thanks!”

This was in a book about mushrooms Why was this in a book about mushrooms
When Doctor Fairchild is just out boobiling breastily along, there always seems to be an offhanded comment by the mostly male cast about how beautiful her body is. I mean, listen…those comments are really not appreciated at a ‘good’ time, and in the middle of a fucking outbreak that is spreading through the world with no signs of slowing down is especially not the time to be telling a scientist how good her tits look in that shirt.

And when being a sexy vixen that makes men want to assault her, she’s being a neurotic nuisance. If then cannot use her body to chase their own pleasures in that moment, Doctor Fairchild becomes a weeping, hysterical mess of a woman, who is frightened out of her wits that she will be infected with the fungus…which, again, shows Harry’s ineptitude at writing cohesive characters with the same motivations that they kept from beginning to end of the novel. Kimberly went into this mission KNOWING that she would most likely not be coming back, that she would be infected along the way. When her character was first introduced, she was a woman excited about the prospect of studying these rampant new strains of fungi, KNOWING they were highly infectious. But lets scrap all that says Harry Adam Knight, for a scene where a naked Kimberly lets one of the characters check out her bare, naked pussy and asshole because she’s so scared of getting the disease.
I just…hate this book. I hate this book. I hate the way he wrote all of these characters. None of the men were memorable or even really fleshed out whatsoever, but it was the women, the way Harry really threw them into the dichotomy of Madonna or Whore, that really struck me in this awful thing. And, honestly, this is me just. Scratching the surface of the off-the wall shit he had the characters do or say, only the tip of the iceberg for some of these descriptions.

 

Here are some honorable mentions: one of Jane’s assistants was described as someone who ‘could’ve been rather attractive, if she lost some weight’, who also cheated with one of the main characters; the ex-wife of one of the male protagonists, who made him feel emasculated and inadequate; the fucking DAUGHTER of the other male protagonist, who was most likely killed in a hailstorm of bullets by her own father; and let’s fuckin’ pour one out for the tens of hundreds of women who were killed by the male protagonists on their road trip to London. We didn’t need to know that many of them were female, but Harry Adam Knight thought it was worth mentioning so

img_1772

Anyway this book sucked a big fat donkey dick and although I got my money back I have half a mind to spend it on a physical copy just so I can burn the book in my fireplace to keep my womanly boobily breasteses warm this winter

rip in piss harry Adam knight