The Krugg Syndrome
One day Arthur Montrose, 18, woke up from a fainting fit, and realised that he was the vanguard of the Krugg invasion force.
The Krugg were a race of alien trees destined to destroy puny Earthling culture and enslave this miserable planet for their own ends.
But as Arthur struggled against the crippling loss of his telepathic powers and fought to apply the mighty Krugg intellect to the affairs of the law firm of Salamander and Smail, his mission suffered its first major setback.
He was unable to contact any fellow Kruggs. The trees here were even more stupid than the humans – and meanwhile the twin vices of sex and alcohol shone before him like beacons of Earthly knowledge…
The Krugg Syndrome is a social comedy with a science fiction theme set in Glasgow in 1965/66, which was published by Grafton Books in 1988. In some ways it can be regarded as the first volume of my autobiography, although I tried to make my boring life much more interesting by having a hero who is much better looking and more industrious than me, by giving him a beautiful fantasy girlfriend, and by making him an extraterrestrial alien. Apart from that, most of what I wrote is true. Salamander and Smail is an accurate portrayal, without exaggeration, of a solicitor’s office in which I worked for a year in the mid 1960s, and many of my real youthful follies are also documented.
As a paperback original the book didn’t attract many reviews, but those it did get were largely favourable, and the brief selection below gives a fair representation of my intentions.
This is accurately conveyed in the back page blurb, but unfortunately the front cover gives a quite different impression. In my biased opinion, the front cover could not have been better calculated to attract browsers who would not enjoy the book and repel those who would. I am not alone in my view. A few months after it was published, I was given a row by a well-known SF book dealer for allowing my novel to be given such a misleading cover. I don’t know why he thought I had any say in the choice of cover, which had been entirely the responsibility of someone deep in the Murdoch organisation. In fact for many years I have entertained a fantasy about encountering the cover artist in a back alley at night, so that I can inflict appropriate violence upon him.
Despite this handicap, I have received enough feedback to confirm that the book has managed to attract a small but enthusiastic cult following, including the Glasgow judge quoted below. It was recently reported to me that an unrepeatable reference to the Krugg, which appears on the last page, had been spotted scribbled repeatedly on the back of a toilet door in a Glasgow pub. (Not entirely inappropriate – see the extract from David Langford’s review below.)
Copies of The Krugg Syndrome are available from Amazon.
“… a rollicking, good-spirited read, that’s guaranteed to give you a lift.” Glasgow Evening Times.
“Set against a well-drawn background of seedy bedsits and a decaying solicitor’s office, THE KRUGG SYNDROME combines a send-up of the ‘alien invaders’ genre with a convincing picture of Glasgow in the 1960s. Entertaining.” Paperback Inferno
“… McAllister plays adroitly for giggles and produces an engaging effect of seediness… Any alien scourge whose most cogent effort consists of writing THE KRUGG ARE COMING on toilet walls is OK by me.” David Langford in White Dwarf.
“Scottish comic novels are rare, and good ones about lawyers rarer still, so I was delighted to find that Angus McAllister’s marvellous The Krugg Syndrome, about a young law clerk in the west of Scotland who believes himself to be a vegetable from outer space, can be obtained through Amazon. It is much funnier than the same author’s Scottish Law of Leases, which is, of course, a good book too.” Sheriff Andrew Lothian The Journal of the Law Society of Scotland.