Friday, June 29, 2018

Short Fiction Friday: Strange Weather by Joe Hill

By now you all know well my love for novellas and short stories. You also know how much I love horror. And Joe Hill's latest combines the two loves - novellas and horror - in a collection of four tales the perfect length for dipping your toe into the chilling waters of dark fiction.

Snapshot - the arrival of a stranger in town leads to devastating results. When a young boy realizes this stranger's arrival coincides with a neighbor's rapid loss of memory and the stranger's use of a particular polaroid camera, he finds himself on the wrong (or right, as it may be) side of a conflict that could cost him his own mind. 

Loaded - a mass shooting puts a lowly mall security guard in the spotlight when he saves the day. But as it turns out, this hero isn't quite what everyone thinks he is. As the story unfolds, his lies begin to unravel and he finds himself willing to do whatever it takes to make sure no one learns the truth.

Aloft - an afternoon's adventure strands a man on a cloud that's anything but!

Rain - a hot day leaves everyone looking to the coming rain shower for relief. But the rain is deadly and kicks off an apocalyptic event that leaves one man desperate to connect with his only remaining family, even if it means getting caught in another shower. 

I loved this collection. It's meaty and thought provoking, but it's also fun.

Snapshot and Rain were definitely my two favorites. The latter of which is a post apocalyptic tale, so of course it hits all the right buttons for me in that sense. The former is a tale looking back on the narrator's childhood, a bit of a coming of age story, which I also love.

Loaded is a bit of a touchy one to listen to in this day and age, but that's definitely the point. And it is likely the one to get your gray matter most whirling.

Aloft is just plain weird and fun!

I had the pleasure of listening to this one on audio book on a long road trip and it was quite perfect. Though each story shares a basic good vs evil theme, each one is very different in the telling and in tone. And each one has a different narrator to go along with that. Wil Wheaton, Stephen Lang, Dennis Boutsikaris, and Kate Mulgrew take on one story each and Joe Hill himself reads the afterword.

Strange Weather released in October of last year and won Hill the Stoker for "Best Achievement in a Fiction Collection." It's new out in paperback this week!

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