Slither is a horror novel by British author John Halkin, first published in 1980 by Hamlyn Paperbacks. It is not connected to the 2006 film of the same title.
The book is very much in the tradition of the ‘nature gone wild’ horror novels that were particularly popular with British pulp fiction authors throughout the 1970s and into the early part of the next decade. Inspired by the success of James Herbert’s The Rats and Guy N. Smith‘s Night of the Crabs, all manner of creature – often species that were never seen as overly threatening before – were mutated, enraged or otherwise provoked into bloodthirsty action.
While the cover of Slither shows a woman being attacked by what look like newts, the novel refers to the creatures as ‘worms’ throughout. These initially small monsters grow in size throughout the story, which becomes more apocalyptic as it goes along.
From the back cover:
“From his first terrifying, bloody encounter with them Matt Parker knew they were lethal to the human race. Out of the murky sewers they suddenly attacked – snapping, biting, ripping at his flesh. After the first sensationalism had died down, the newspapers lost interest… the experts dismissed them as no more dangerous than ferrets… people started to forget. But Matt knew different. All the time they were growing in size and numbers – and they preyed on living flesh! For when they returned – slithering out of village ponds, swimming pools, even bath pipes – the fate of the British population was sealed. And there was no more horrifying way to die…”
John Halkin also wrote horror novels such as Blood Worm, Slime and Squelch.
We are grateful to Too Much Horror Fiction for some of these images.