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Strange Weather: Four Short Novels Hardcover – October 24, 2017
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“A four-pack of mayhem in this sparkling collection of short novels. . . .Worth waiting in line for, if you’re a Hill fan. If you’re not, this is the book to turn you into one.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“Hill is not only maturing as a writer of relevantly chilling tales but he is also emerging as a distinct voice for our complicated times.” (Booklist (starred review))
“[I]n times like these, when real-world terrors outstrip our night terrors, how can a novelist possibly compete? Joe Hill, the author of several terrifying bestsellers, rises to this challenge in Strange Weather.” (Washington Post)
“[A]nother must-read from a increasingly impressive storyteller [...] Strange Weather speaks to the versatility of Joe Hill’s craft, telling deeply disturbing stories in which cataclysmic forces of nature seem like a gentle rain when set against the actions of villains who are all too human.” (barnesandnoble.com)
“The Weather quartet unleashes a perfect storm of styles, from a slow-burn thriller to ethereal sci-fi, all told with a consistently strong voice…. Hill whips up emotional moments in all four that strike like lightning and thunderously rumble your soul.” (USA Today)
“There are few authors as deft at marrying pulse-pounding action and a sense of inescapable dread than Joe Hill. Fans of his masterful thrillers NOS4A2 and The Fireman will find plenty to love in his new collection of four short novels.” (BookPage)
“A striking selection of novellas ranging from the playfully apocalyptic to the wickedly political… [Strange Weather] is a demonstration of [Hill’s] range and readiness to tell the hell out of any tale, be it supernatural or straight, silly or completely serious.” (Tor.com)
Each selection in Strange Weather is a well-crafted piece of storytelling, with characters to care about and conflicts creepy, mind-boggling and action-packed. (Portland Press Herald)
“It’s good to see [Hill] flex his authorial muscles with a different form. Weather changes and we never know what to expect. The same is true for great writers.” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
“Joe Hill is one of the 21st century’s pre-eminent writers, not just of the dark fantastic, but of American Literature. Strange Weather is a must read.” (SFF World)
About the Author
Joe Hill is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Fireman; NOS4A2; Horns, which was made into a major motion picture starring Daniel Radcliffe; Heart-Shaped Box, which won the Bram Stoker Award and the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel; and the prizewinning story collection 20th Century Ghosts. He is also the Eisner Award–winning writer of a six-volume comic book series, Locke & Key. He lives in New Hampshire.
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Also like his dad, short stories are some of Hill’s best work. Three of the four are clear allegory tales, with supernatural elements standing in for modern day traumas and/or current events. Aloft, the story of a skydiver on a cloud, was the most fantastical and, for me, the hardest to enjoy, though I did like the ending.
Loaded, which I thought was the bleakest and best of the bunch, eschews the paranormal for a very violent, but all-too-credible look at humanity’s darkest underbelly. Not something to read right before you go to bed.
In general, Hill is even darker than his famously horror-centric father, which is really saying something. Where King is grim, Hill is pitch black and he tends to speed past brooding malevolence to straight out human evil in a way that almost, but not quite, is too much for me to take. After reading Hill’s work I often have to shake off the bleakness, so his books requires a certain resilience of mood; not something I’d dig into when feeling depressed, for sure. Still, he can definitely write — the entire King family is freakishly intelligent, enviably articulate and awesomely prolific —and Hill's work is entertaining, as well as dark.
The first story, Snapshot deals with this crazy camera, The Polaroid Man, and a young boy by the name of Michael Figlione. Taking place in the summer of 1988 this story takes place all in one day and is a crazy ride I loved the details of the story and it made me think of persons suffering from Alzheimer or dementia in a different way. (I gave it 4 stars)
Loaded, the second story, was probably my favorite of the two, this one deals with a man named Kellaway who's a racist gun toting mall security guard, who's pretty much down on his luck. His wife is about to divorce him, there's a restraining order placed against him and one morning at the opening of the mall shots are fired and five people are dead and Kellaway is the only one left standing. Okay no more, I can't say anymore, but it was just so good, I had to make sure I did all my adulting before I could sit and finally enjoy this story all the way through. (I gave it 5 stars)
Aloft, the third story was just okay, it's about a man named Aubrey his experience in the clouds. The story begins with him and his three friends about to jump out of this airplane to go tandem skydiving after the death of a friend. But while up on the plane, about to jump out something happens to the plane and Aubrey and his friends are forced out sooner than expected and on the way down something crazy happens within the clouds. I think the ending of the story is what saved it in my eyes. ( I gave it 3.5 stars)
And Rain, the last and final of the short stories, narrated by my favorite, Kate Mulgrew, and to be honest I think her narration kicked it up a notch for me. So we follow Honeysuckle Speck on the day in which everything changed for her. What started out sounding like any normal summer rainstorm turns out to be more like a rainstorm of small needles falling down from the sky killing friends and neighbors alike. That's all I really want to give about the happening of the story, too much and it would give it all away. Just know it's a great read. (I gave it 5 stars)
All in all, I really liked this collection of short novels/novellas/stories and I'm glad I didn't wait till his next book was announced to pick it up and enjoy.
“Aloft” is my favorite of the four, because it’s just so damn weird. I loved the pathetic main character, his childish crush that should have ended years ago, & man did I love that cloud. This story was beautifully simple, and the climax echoed of Lovecraftian cosmic horror. “Rain” was a bit of a weak ending to this collection, although again I found the characterization unique and refreshing. I also loved the central idea of raining weapons, but the ending rang untrue. There were too many coincidences in the larger plot for me. My favorite moments were the details of people dealing with the aftermath of the first rain, & I would have liked to see more of a focus on that. I honestly didn’t really care how the rain began or Honeysuckle’s attempts to figure out “whodunit”- I wanted more of that day-to-day reality of living in a changed world.
All in all, Hill’s new collection is an excellent snapshot (haha, get it?) of him as a writer. It’s horrific, weird, heartbreaking, beautiful, and funny all at the same time. Highly recommend!