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In The Flame Alphabet, children kill their parents with language

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Erin Cosgrove created this dark, weird trailer for Ben Marcus' new novel, The Flame Alphabet. Billed as "an intellectual horror story," it's the tale of a world-ending disease that spreads through language. Only children are immune.

Here's a synopsis:

A terrible epidemic has struck the country and the sound of children's speech has become lethal. Radio transmissions from strange sources indicate that people are going into hiding. All Sam and Claire need to do is look around the neighborhood: In the park, parents wither beneath the powerful screams of their children. At night, suburban side streets become routes of shameful escape for fathers trying to get outside the radius of affliction.

With Claire nearing collapse, it seems their only means of survival is to flee from their daughter, Esther, who laughs at her parents' sickness, unaware that in just a few years she, too, will be susceptible to the language toxicity. But Sam and Claire find it isn't so easy to leave the daughter they still love, even as they waste away from her malevolent speech. On the eve of their departure, Claire mysteriously disappears, and Sam, determined to find a cure for this new toxic language, presses on alone into a world beyond recognition.


The Flame Alphabet invites the question: What is left of civilization when we lose the ability to communicate with those we love?


Seriously creepy.

You can pre-order a copy of The Flame Alphabet here. It comes out January 17.