The Fog is a horror novel by English writer James Herbert (The Dark; The Rats), published in 1975 by New English Library (NEL). It is about a deadly fog that drives its victims insane when they come into contact with it.
Herbert’s second book, it is completely unrelated to the 1980 film of the same name by John Carpenter. Long before the infamous ‘video nasties‘ moral panic of the early 1980s, Herbert’s The Fog was being passed around school playgrounds by hordes of shocked and stunned, yet morbidly fascinated British teenagers.
John Holman is a worker for the Department of the Environment investigating a Ministry of Defence base in a small rural village. An unexpected earthquake swallows his car releasing a fog that had been trapped underground for many years. An insane Holman is pulled up from the crack, a product of the deadly fog.
Soon the fog shifts and travels as though it has a mind of its own, turning those unfortunate enough to come across it into homicidal/suicidal maniacs who kill without remorse, and often worse. Respectable figures including teachers and priests engage in crimes ranging from public urination to under age sex. A Boeing 747 pilot also goes insane and crashes the aircraft into the BT Tower in London.
Soon a bigger problem is discovered – the fog is multiplying in size and nothing seems to be able to stop it. Entire villages and cities are in danger and the only chance left is to use the treated and immunized John Holman to take on the fog from the inside where who knows what awaits him…
Thanks to H.P. Saucecraft at the Vault of Evil: British Horror Plus web board for the reprint cover image