Imatge de l'autor

James Herbert (1) (1943–2013)

Autor/a de The Rats

Per altres autors anomenats James Herbert, vegeu la pàgina de desambiguació.

40+ obres 12,867 Membres 246 Ressenyes 40 preferits

Sobre l'autor

Horror writer James Herbert was born in London, England on April 8, 1943. Before becoming a full-time writer, he worked as a singer and an art director for an advertising agency. His novels have sold more than forty-two million copies worldwide and have been translated into thirty-three languages, mostra'n més including Russian and Chinese. His stories are simple, yet compelling and usually have a young, jaded man as the hero. Besides writing his novels, he also designs the book covers and handles the publicity. He currently lives in London, England with his wife and children. (Bowker Author Biography) mostra'n menys
Crèdit de la imatge: © Pan Macmillan


Obres de James Herbert

The Rats (1974) 960 exemplars
The Fog (1975) 917 exemplars
The Magic Cottage (1986) 750 exemplars
Haunted (1988) 750 exemplars
Once... (2001) 690 exemplars
The Secret of Crickley Hall (2006) 623 exemplars
The Dark (1980) 617 exemplars
Lair (1979) 601 exemplars
Moon (1985) 568 exemplars
Domain (1984) 559 exemplars
'48 (1996) 553 exemplars
Sepulchre (1987) 521 exemplars
Fluke (1977) 517 exemplars
Others (1999) 507 exemplars
The Ghosts of Sleath (1994) 505 exemplars
The Survivor (1976) 464 exemplars
Creed (1990) 423 exemplars
Shrine (1983) 414 exemplars
The Spear (1978) 403 exemplars
Nobody True (2003) 389 exemplars
Portent (1992) 378 exemplars
The Jonah (1981) 290 exemplars
Ash (2012) 284 exemplars
Moon; Shrine; The Dark; Fluke (1985) 43 exemplars
The City (1993) 35 exemplars
The Ghosts of Sleath/'48 (1996) 26 exemplars
The Fog; The Spear; Sepulchre (1993) 24 exemplars
The Rats; Lair; Domain (2001) 15 exemplars
James Herbert Box Set (2003) 5 exemplars
The Rats; The Dark; Fluke (1988) 2 exemplars
FLESH AND BLOOD 1 exemplars
The Ghost Hunter 1 exemplars

Obres associades

Now We Are Sick: An Anthology of Nasty Verse (1991) — Col·laborador — 342 exemplars
The Mammoth Book of Haunted House Stories (2000) — Col·laborador — 289 exemplars
Dark Masques (2001) — Col·laborador — 132 exemplars
The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 11 (2000) — Col·laborador — 80 exemplars
Dancing With the Dark (1999) — Col·laborador — 49 exemplars
The Mammoth Book of Body Horror (Mammoth Books) (2012) — Col·laborador — 46 exemplars
Classics of the Supernatural (1995) — Col·laborador, algunes edicions39 exemplars
The Complete Masters of Darkness (1991) — Col·laborador — 31 exemplars
Best Of Masques (1988) — Col·laborador — 30 exemplars
Masques II: All-New Stories of Horror and the Supernatural (1987) — Col·laborador — 22 exemplars
By Horror Haunted (1992) — Col·laborador — 18 exemplars
Haunted [1995 film] (1996) — Original novel — 10 exemplars
Gaslight and Ghosts (1988) — Col·laborador — 9 exemplars


Coneixement comú

Nom oficial
Herbert, James John
Data de naixement
Data de defunció
Lloc de naixement
London, England
Lloc de defunció
Woodmancote, near Henfield, Sussex, England
Llocs de residència
London, England
Sussex, England
St Aloysius Grammar School, Highgate
Hornsey College of Art
art director
Herbert, Eileen (wife)
Premis i honors
World Horror Convention Grand Master Award (2010)
Order of the British Empire (Officer ∙ 2010)
Biografia breu
Herbert's first novel, The Rats, depicted London overrun by mutant flesh-eating rodents and sold 100,000 copies within two weeks of being published in 1974.
Since then, he has published 23 novels in more than 30 languages, selling 54 million copies worldwide. His latest book, Ash, was published lin March 2013.
Herbert was appointed an OBE by the Queen in 2010 - the same year he was made Grand Master of Horror by the World of Horror Convention.



I hadn't read any books by this author for many years and this was a departure from the horror tales which made his name. Published in 1992, it concerns climate change and environmental degradation so comes across as prescient in 2023.

It opens intriguingly with a strange light seen just prior to natural disasters (the portent of the title). This thread continues to be interwoven between a narrative that follows the protagonist, James Rivers, a climatologist who is, practically speaking, the sole survivor of a plane crash. (The other two survivors are incapacitated.) The plane was being flown into the eye of a hurricane to take measurements as part of an ongoing investigation into climate change, but the storm behaved uncharacteristically just after Rivers saw the strange light near the plane.

Months after the accident, Rivers is struggling with a painful leg injury and pressure from his bosses at the Meteorological Office in London to come up with a cast iron explanation for the random natural disasters besetting the planet and a way to predict them. Given that these include earthquakes, tsunamis, forest fires and volcanic eruptions it's a pretty tall order. Then he is approached by Hugo Poggs, a scientist discredited due to his environmental theories, concerning Poggs' idea about Earth as a living being. Rivers resists the other man's persuasion yet begins to be drawn into Poggs' family. This includes a budding romance with Diane, Poggs' widowed daughter-in-law, and a bond with her adopted twins, Eva and Joshua, who demonstrate psychic powers. This is played out against a background of escalating worldwide disasters.

I didn't find Rivers or any of the other main characters involving. Some of the minor characters seen in vignettes set in other countries, where disasters are about to occur, are more vividly realised, such as the young boy in India, forced to labour at breaking up batteries for their raw materials, but unfortunately such characters are soon killed off.

Important aspects were muddled - the light or lights (there were multiple ones sometimes), appeared to cause the disasters and be evil. In two cases, one early in the book, they set trees alight and cause major forest fires. If this was meant to be the planet trying to save itself from human abuse it didn't make sense that it was harming itself more. Quite a way into the book, a villain is introduced who worships Mother Earth and wants to hasten the end of humanity but the character doesn't seem to be responsible for the actual disasters. She only exerts mind control over special children like the twins. Eventually she takes steps to harm them physically but as there are apparently thousands of such children worldwide in a spiritual network, it's hard to see why she goes after Eva and Joshua rather than attacking those in her own country first. It doesn't seem credible that there aren't any in the USA where she lives. And it's not clear what she wants to achieve: she is jealous of their power but they aren't actively doing anything apart from playing with the other gifted children in dreams or visions. It would make more sense if they were trying to prevent some of the disasters and heal the Earth.

The book doesn't appear to have been reprinted since 2011 and given the portrayal of characters of various ethnicities, especially the villain, that isn't surprising. There is also the oddity of Eva and Joshua being ' gypsies ', a term not acceptable nowadays, because the stereotype of Roma and other travelling people having uncanny abilities isn't required given that children all over the world are supposed to have the same powers.

The only horror aspect is provided by graphic accounts of people expiring in various nasty ways during the various catastrophes, and a gratuitous scene of the villain murdering a sexual partner. Personally, I would have found it far more effective if the villain had been physically attractive and the book had completely avoided the "voodoo mama" racist vibe and had instead made more of this person's hatred of the human race and therefore ultimately of herself.

The book throws in the kitchen sink by having not only this rather shoehorned in villain but the whole psychic aspect, which takes over in the final third/three quarters. In my opinion, it derails what would otherwise be an interesting story set in a quite well realised near future (relative to when it was published). For example, permits have been introduced by law, so that people can only commute into London by car on alternate weeks, and traffic lights in London indicate how long before they will change so motorists have to switch off their engines. There are some misfires such as wall-mounted phones which allow people to speak hands free - odd since mobile phones were being adopted more widely in the early nineties especially for business. But if it had been a straight science fiction dystopia, it would have been much better in my opinion.

To cap it all, the final explanation near the end, of what really lies behind the crisis doesn't make sense, even after going back to re-read it after finishing the book. For me, the conclusion descends into melodrama. So altogether a disappointing 'OK' 2 stars.
… (més)
kitsune_reader | Hi ha 10 ressenyes més | Nov 23, 2023 |
Why has it taken me so long to read anything by James Herbert? O thoroughly enjoyed this and will definitely be reading more of his works.
everettroberts | Hi ha 6 ressenyes més | Oct 20, 2023 |
Herbert's little vignettes of daily life and character sketches are really great, as if taken from slice of life literary fiction. You really get a feel for and care about nothing characters that way which is unusual in a horror novel. The plot itself seems clichéd now thanks to a plethora of similar stories told since this book was published in 1976, but it's still quite good.
A.Godhelm | Hi ha 3 ressenyes més | Oct 20, 2023 |
Most of this book could be a 70s era spy thriller and the paranormal aspect is a mere hint until the very last tenth and conclusion. This makes the book feel a bit rushed; though everything is resolved, a modern version of this story would be at least a trilogy to expand on the world created and answer more of the how and why questions.
A.Godhelm | Hi ha 2 ressenyes més | Oct 20, 2023 |



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També de
½ 3.5
Pedres de toc

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