Title: Strange Weather
Author: Joe Hill
Page Count/Review Word Count: 440
I picked up this book because I’d read and enjoyed some of Joe Hill’s stuff before and because my cat picked it out for me when I filmed a video of my cat picking my TBR. I thought it was a novel going into it, but it turned out to be a collection of what Hill calls short novels. I’d argue that it’s actually three novellas and one short novel, but that’s just semantics.
The interesting thing about this collection is that, as the title suggests, each of the stories relates back in some way to the weather. There’s a hail of crows, an out of control forest fire, a solid cloud and a rain of metal shards that wreak havoc on anything beneath them. With weather like this, you might want to stay indoors.
I suppose the most logical way to review this book would be to tackle each of the stories in order, so let’s start with Snapshot, which is the least memorable of the lot and which reminded me a little bit of The Sun Dog by Stephen King, Hill’s father. I didn’t think much of that story either, but I do like the idea of using a creepy polaroid camera as a plot device.
Up next we have Loaded, the longest piece, which started a little slow but which suddenly went nuts and which went on to have one of the bleakest endings I’ve ever come across. I liked it though, and I was impressed by what Hill had to say on the subject of guns. His opinion definitely comes across, but it doesn’t feel preachy. He just lays it out like it is and then leaves the reader to make up their own mind.
Then there’s Aloft, which follows what happens when a man volunteers for a charity parachute jump, immediately regrets it and ends up stranded on a cloud. There’s a lot of jumping backwards and forwards through time, which kind of annoyed me a little bit, but I can also see how it was necessary for the way that the story was told. I wasn’t the biggest fan though.
And then finally we have Rain, a sort of parody post-apocalyptic novel that works well on one level and not so well on another. I actually thought that the premise of it was pretty good and wished that Hill had run with it for real, but hey ho. All in all though, it was a great collection and I’d definitely recommend it. Enjoy!