Joe Hill delivers another great read with this collection of four short novels, all of whom, in some form or another tie in with strange weather. Each of the stories are about one hundred pages each, and completely captivate with Hill’s addictive narratives, and engaging characters, details, and horrifying moments.
Snapshot delves into a bit of horror, and you can see some of Hill’s father’s influence on him, although he is very much his own writer. Told in flashback to the year 1988 and one terrible set of days, we are introduced to the main character through a first person narrative and his horrific encounter with a strange man. This man has a camera, that looks like a Polaroid and once a subject is found, steals memories through the pictures it takes.
Of all the stories Loaded, for me, was the most horrifying, perhaps because of it’s subject matter, and the regularity with which the subject matter occurs in real life. Set in Florida, the story follows a group of people, how their lives are affected by gun violence, all of them coming together in a truly horrifying set of circumstances that is incredibly believable, and utterly terrifying. This one is going to stay with me for a long time. It’s brutal, and deals with so many of the issues affecting our society which all seem to find an outlet through the barrel of a gun.
Aloft takes us into a more fantastical realm, nestled in the skies above our head. A parachutist leaps from a plane, only to land on a cloud, that isn’t a cloud. Trapped far above the ground, our hero has a strange encounter, which also lets him reevaluate his life. And I love the ending for this one, because it shouldn’t come as much as a surprise that the main character survives, as he’s lived to tell the story, but with what we learn about the cloud, you have to wonder if his saving himself has doomed the rest of us. Or perhaps I’ve read too much Lovecraft, though there are definitely overtones in this story to support that supposition.
The last tale, Rain is a bit of a world on the edge of apocalypse, when instead of water, it rains shards of crystal nails that cut down anyone who is outside. And from there one woman’s journey across Colorado takes us to the edge of a post-apocalyptic world, and hints at the destruction, and the h-o-p-e hope that could follow.
I love Hill’s writing since I first came across the Locke & Key comics, and as I’ve shown on the blog, I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by him so far.
I guess I’ll just have to read some more.