The Swarm

I grew up in a household where everybody read.

There were authors who were considered family favorites, and Robin Cook's name is easily on top of that list. I couldn't wait to be old enough to read 'Coma', since I saw that book go through every hand in the family, and it also had a bad-ass cover with creepy surgeons on it! There was Stephen King, Robert Ludlum, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (although his work didn't click with my Mom, but everybody else loved him), and of course Arthur Herzog.

Herzog is most known for 'The Swarm', his novel about killer bees (it was adapted into a movie in the 70s with Michael Cain in the lead). He wrote mostly disaster fiction, from earthquakes to the overheating planet and everything in between. (He is the reason why I love the works of Roland Emmerich, because it's cut from the same tree, and by the way, I would pay good money to see him remake The Swarm. But that's another story.)

Anyway, I grew up looking at this fantastic cover of the Hungarian edition:

This was another book I couldn't wait to read. We all knew it was pulp, but it was fun and a perfect way to peak a pre-teen boy's interest in reading. I still don't know if it was intentional on my parents' part or just a brilliant coincidence, but they were reading just the right kinds of books.

I always wanted to write something like that. It's funny, looking back, I don't even remember why the killer bees attack the city. I have very little recollection of the actual story, but I could probably still tell you what music I was listening to then and what my mom was cooking in the kitchen. In other words, I don't remember the book as much as the experience of reading it. And it was a blast.

Cut to a decade later. I was a smoker (I'm not anymore!) and I was taking a break at work. I was trying to ash my cigarette in the ashtray, but there were wasps buzzing all over it, and in that moment it all clicked in my head.

All the sudden I knew why the insects attacked the city.