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Search tags: 7-hiding-under-the-covers
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review 2017-07-28 16:46
Gwendy’s Button Box ★★★★★
Gwendy's Button Box: Includes bonus story "The Music Room" - Richard Chizmar,Stephen King,Maggie Siff

It’s odd to me that, given the emphasis in the afterward by Chizmar on getting the setting right, I don’t really recognize Castle Rock. But otherwise, this novella is a home run for me. I loved the character of Gwendy, and the mystery of the box. In true SK fashion, nothing is explained about how things work or why it happens, and it doesn’t matter at all, because the story is terrific.

 

The bonus story, The Music Room, wasn’t such of a much. It was more like flash fiction than a complete short story.

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. Excellent performance by Maggie Siff.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-25 21:13
Swan Song ★★★★☆
Swan Song - Robert R. McCammon,Tom Stechschulte

Oh boy, was this a wild, fun ride-along with characters that I loved and characters that I loved to hate. There was plenty of explicit gore, some of which actually did make me cringe and stop for a bit. But there were some truly touching moments, too. Much like the post-apocalyptic world of this book, it’s not all darkness and cruelty and death, but also some hope and love and a tiny spark of belief in humanity.

 

It’s not quite a five star read, though, because I had to work pretty hard to suspend disbelief that 

a world in which a nuclear winter lasts for 7 or 8 years, where supposedly nothing can grow, not even weeds, and all plant life has died, seems unlikely to be able to sustain any life at all. Sure, most people starved and some could survive on the remnants of canned food or rats, but what would herbivores survive on? How did they keep that horse alive, if nothing was growing? If there are no herbivores left, did the carnivores/omnivores like rats and bobcats and wolves survive just on eating each other? If there are no plants, then a significant population of insects would go extinct, wouldn’t they? The disruption of the food chain seems unlikely to have allowed survival for that long a period of time.

(spoiler show)

 But this isn’t explained or even addressed, so I wondered and doubted, and that took something away from the story for me. Although it does strike me as funny that I didn’t have the same problem with 

people growing an entire warty coating on their heads with their faces beneath becoming something entirely different that reflects their true self/soul, or non-human creatures growing extra limbs and heads, or an inhuman creature who thrives on death and destruction and performs supernatural feats, or a girl who can magically make plants grow at an accelerated pace, etc.

(spoiler show)

 Why I should fixate on the

nuclear winter

(spoiler show)

thing, I don’t know.

 

Audiobook, purchased on sale from Audible. The performance by Tom Stechschulte was absolutely fantastic. I’ll look for other books read by him. Warning, though, this is a 34 ½ hour audiobook, so you have to really love audio to consume it in this format. It’s a LOT of listening.

 

Previous Updates:

7/17/17 – 2% 

7/18/17 – 9%

7/18/17 – 16%

7/19/17 – 23%

7/22/17 – 51%

7/25/17 – 97%

 

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text 2017-07-25 13:26
Swan Song: 97%
Swan Song - Robert R. McCammon,Tom Stechschulte

Wheeeeeeeeee! It's like riding a runaway mine train!

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text 2017-07-22 16:19
Swan Song: 51%
Swan Song - Robert R. McCammon,Tom Stechschulte

Did the story just jump 7 years forward? That was disorienting. 

 

Comparisons with The Stand are inevitable, of course, and I was thinking how differently people, in general, were behaving in the aftermath of the apocalypse, and that McCammon must have a much darker view of humanity's essential nature than King does. Then it occurred to me that there is an enormous difference that could account for it - resources. In The Stand, a virus wipes out most of the people, but leaves nature and natural resources intact, along with most of the man-made resources, so there are few humans, but an abundance of food, shelter, and fuel. McCammon's is a nuclear apocalypse, so there seem to be more people, but scarce life-sustaining resources in a hostile natural environment. 

 

So, yeah, of course people are going to behave differently. 

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text 2017-07-19 15:44
Swan Song: 23%
Swan Song - Robert R. McCammon,Tom Stechschulte

That boy is one sick little bastard. I suspect he's going to be real trouble down the road. 

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