From one of our modern masters of strange or speculative fiction, Joe Hill, comes this collection of four novellas.
Included here is: Snapshot. This is a dark, strange tale of a young boy and his grandmotherly neighbor babysitter who is slowly going through dementia. Except it’s not naturally caused. In fact, her warnings of beware and not to let the cameraman take a picture come full force as the young boy discovers the horrible secret of the Solenoid camera that contains no film but produces picture after picture of a person’s memory.
Loaded is a disturbing novella not because of any supernatural bent but because it deals with racism and violence in an all-too real way. This story just plain upset me and was the most difficult to read. The people in the story are really out there, and that’s the truly frightening part of the story.
Perhaps the strangest story among this quartet is Aloft. A man by the unfortunate name of Aubrey, is going to skydive with his heart’s desire in memory of a mutual friend. He wants to be everything to his friend Harriet. But where Harriet is adventurous and gregarious, Aubrey is reserved and timid. He has made assumptions about their ‘relationship’ and now, at 10,000 feet, he’s beginning to understand the truth and he gets cold feet about jumping. But the plane loses power and his jumping companion clips to Aubrey and they abandon the plane … only to find themselves hitting the hard form of a cloud that isn’t a cloud. Still attached to the parachute, the jumping partner is dragged off the cloud and Aubrey is left to experience strange inventions of cloud-like shapes from his own thoughts. This not-a-cloud/alien spacecraft/life-form(?) helps to clear Aubrey’s thoughts.
My favorite story was Rain. A plague has struck and the sky is now raining nails (actually a fused sediment that falls as sharp, nail or spike-like objects). Each rain kills thousands caught outside as the spikes shear through car roofs and nearly anything else. Storm after storm of the deadly rain brings great panic. Know only that there is great comeuppance.
I know that there are a lot of Joe Hill fans out there and I’m new to the party, but I enjoyed this quite a bit.
Looking for a good book? Strange Weather is a collection of four novellas by Joe Hill, each different but also dark and delicious.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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author: Joe Hill
publisher: William Morrow
hardcover, 432 pages