The Dunfield Terror by William Meikle, DarkFuse, p/b, $16.99/ebook, $6.99, Website
Reviewed by Dave Brzeski
William Meikle loves to visit that grey area between Lovecraftian fiction and the classic British science fiction/horror of the 50s and 60s. It’s a combination that appeals strongly to me too, so the title grabbed me immediately. As in so many of those classic old movies, the the dangers of unchecked scientific enquiry is a major part of ‘The Dunfield Terror’.
The bulk of this novel is split between the present day, and the 50s, when Professor Muir set into motion the events that would build into serious horror for the inhabitants of Trinity, Newfoundland. What can one say about Professor Muir? He’s a classic example of the obsessed scientist, too caught up in what he’s trying to achieve to see the dangers he’s unleashing on the world. Honestly, Frankenstein, Jekyll and Moreau would have asked him exactly what the hell he thought he was doing. Quatermass would have thrown an apoplectic fit. Challenger would have shot him in the head, and to the Devil with the consequences! Sadly, Muir has no one with the power and knowledge to keep him in check. All he has is the unfortunate, and very reluctant assistance of Duncan Campbell. A disaster happens on board the ship, where Muir conducts his experiments in 1954, and the repercussions are still gaining momentum in Trinity in the present day.
Frank is the leader of a work crew in modern day Trinity. His life consists of driving a snow plough and making a non-stop, and often futile attempt to keep the roads clear. Everybody in Trinity has heard the stories about “The Fucker”, the strange, dangerous glowing fog that occasionally appears at night. While the younger ones tend to take them with a pinch of salt, some of the older folks have had first-hand experience. They will soon all have first-hand experience!
There are echoes of ‘The Thing’ in this tale of a fast dwindling group of people, trapped by the extreme weather, trying to survive a horror beyond their imagining. There are some awful ways for a person to die, but few that come close to the horrific death that “The Fucker” brings. The government does eventually show up—too late of course—and the Dunfield Terror is ended for now. But there is evidence, in the journal of an unknown seaman, dated 1856, found in the Trinity town archives that suggest otherwise. Did Muir simply exacerbate an already existing problem, or is it simply that time doesn’t present a barrier?
I’d love to see this book optioned for a TV miniseries, although the special effects budget might be an issue.