Worm Head

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The idea that the 'insane' and the 'mad' may well have the true insights that the 'sane' do not has a long pedigree (especially when the 'sane' represent the ranks of officialdom). Bart Wolffe's novel features an everyman by the name of John Citizen incarcerated in a Harare lunatic asylum sometime in the 1990's. An alien worm by the name of Varg has invaded John's brain. Varg is the repository of secrets far ahead of our time. As he yields them to John, the latter fears for his sanity. The dim-witted and time-serving beaurocratic representatives of officialdom take him to be insane and commit him to an asylum. As time progresses, John's emotional and psychological delirium clears as he comes to understand his condition. The relationship between parasite and host is transformed into a partnership. In an act of pure altruism, the worm literally turns against its own alien masters and facilitates John's relationship with a psychiatric nurse who provides his redemption. Franco Henwood, for THE ZIMBABWEAN