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review 2018-02-12 20:22
Four well written novellas.
Strange Weather: Four Short Novels - Joe Hill

This was a perfect example of a book I would never have read if it hadn't been for a book club - and our fabulous Lit Fest, next month, which Joe Hill will be attending. This is tagged as Science Fiction and Horror, and while I'd not be drawn to Sci Fi, I'd certainly shy away from Horror. Yet, these four novellas, published together under the umbrella title of Strange Weather, were not particularly scary and I found them weirdly interesting.

 

I listened to the audio version, read by four different narrators, Stephen LangWil WheatonDennis Boutsikaris, and Kate Mulgrew, who all do an excellent job.

 

There is a slim connection between three of the stories through weather, but only the 'Rain' seemed to me to be truly connected to the weather. A storm is brewing for 'Loaded' (an anti-gun story - though to begin with I wondered if it was actually pro-gun) and a freak weather pattern presumably caused the cloud in 'Aloft'. I'm not sure how 'Snapshot' is connected though. 

I am left wondering how anyone would dream up such off-the-wall tales. 

 

I think my favourite story was the first one, 'Snapshot', suggesting that every time a photo was taken by The Phoenician, the subject lost a little more of their memory. Relating this to Alzheimer's Disease made for a thoughtful read. I also liked how I found myself gradually grasping what was going on.

'Aloft' was my least favourite, largely because I got a bit confused and had to rewind a few times to clarify what was going on. Maybe it just didn't lend itself so well to audio.

 

All in all an interesting diversion from my usual reads and I look forward to hearing what the author has to say in March.

 

 

 

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review 2018-02-05 23:30
Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyll & Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Other Tales of Terror - Robert Mighall,Robert Louis Stevenson

The Strange Case of Dr. Jeckyl & Mr. Hyde has been eyeing me from my TBR pile for quite some time now. It's been patiently waiting for me to choose it over the stacks and stacks of other choices. The reason it's always been the bride's maid and never the bride is because it falls into that unsavory category - classical literature. And for me, classical literature can be about as appetizing as swallowing a handful of broken glass. Oh, I've had a few triumphant moments with literature. Frankenstein, War of the Worlds, HP Lovecraft tomes, even Twain, Fitzgerald and Golding. But for every Catcher in the Rye, there's Moby Dick and The Tale of Two Cities. I try. I really do. I want to love literature, but I don't think it loves me back. Alas, I periodically go back to the well and try again. This time, it was Stevenson's tale's turn to suit up...and I'm glad it did.

 

 

We all know the basic premise of Jeckyll & Hyde. The lovable Dr. Jeckyll explores a way to rid himself of his dark urges by attempting to concoct an elixir that will dispel his dark side. Instead, it transforms him into the evil and wretched Mr. Hyde. Stevenson had me hooked with his storytelling from beginning to end. The tale is intriguing in the exploration of Jeckyll's alter ego and the imbalance of chemicals that brings him out. In man's search for purity by tinkering with Mother Nature, we discover that there is something so vile and impure lying beneath the surface waiting to escape. Is every human capable of evil? Do we all have evil within us, lying in the weeds waiting for it's chance to surface? If so, what keeps the lid on the boiling pot, preventing it from spilling over into the outside world while others cannot keep the same lid securely fastened? It's an interesting question, the duality of man, and one that Stevenson not only makes into an entertaining read, but also a thought-provoking one.

 

 

 

4 Tainted Salts out of 5

 

 


You can also follow my reviews at the following links:

 

https://kenmckinley.wordpress.com

 

http://intothemacabre.booklikes.com

 

https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5919799-ken-mckinley

 

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review 2018-02-03 22:10
Review: Passing Strange
Passing Strange - Ellen Klages

I may be more in love with the parts this is constructed from than with the whole. All the characters are great, and I'd love to see more stories about them.

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review 2018-01-30 15:40
Strange Weather by Joe Hill
Strange Weather - Wil Wheaton,Joe Hill,Kate Mulgrew,Stephen Lang,Dennis Boutsikaris

Snapshot is the first story and it’s narrated by Will Wheaton who does a most excellent job.

Set in the 80’s, Strange Weather is the story of a 13 year old boy and his run in with a man he calls “The Phoenician”. The Phoenician is the villain of the tale. He’s ugly, vaguely imposing and possesses a camera that steals memories. 

It’s also a story about aging, and about caring for those who once cared for you. It has some misty eyed moments and just a wee bit of eeriness. It lags pretty badly towards the end though and left me feeling gloomy. 

Loaded is narrated by Stephen Lang who is deadly serious for a deadly serious story.

This dark tale is about guns, hate, prejudice, revenge and the media. I’m going to admit that there are many days that I have to turn off the news because I can’t take in any more of the unending ugliness occurring in the US right now (as I write this there has just been another senseless school shooting that is barely getting any media coverage). This is a story I never would have chosen to spend my free time reading had I known more before going in. I read to escape this true life horror. This story introduces a group of mostly loathsome people who come together in a climax of bloodshed at a shopping mall, taking out a few innocents along the way. In the aftermath, it turns into a story of the stupidity of hero worship and the suspicious reporter who smells something fishy. Though well written, it wasn’t my favorite and I would never read it again.

Aloft is narrated by Dennis Boutsikaris and just like the previous two narrators, he nails it. 

Things go awry for a young man with an extreme fear of heights when he attempts to skydive to fulfill a wish made to a deceased friend and he ends up stranded on a cloud. This story is super imaginative but it also wasn’t my favorite. Something about Aubrey just grated on my last nerve. I don’t know if it was his fearfulness and gaseous emissions in the beginning, his never-ending pining away for a girl who was so not into him or just his personality. At any rate, it was a struggle and it shouldn’t have been. I found his thoughts boring and all we get are his thoughts. Sorry, I’m a jerk. I know this. If you’re going to throw anything my way, make sure it’s a horror book. 

Rain is the final story and, if you ask me, the best in the collection. It is read by Kate Mulgrew who is one of my most favorite of all the narrators in all of the lands. 

So many people seem to loath this story and find it ridiculous (and yeah maybe it is that) but I thought it was heartbreaking and sarcastically funny and Honeysuckle was a character I loved spending time with (unlike that Aubrey fellow) which is probably why I enjoyed it so much. She’s tough and resilient as a spiky rain falls from the sky and reigns terrors on those caught up in it.

I have to say, with the exception of Rain, I found this collection a wee bit unsatisfying.

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review 2018-01-26 00:25
Strange Music
Strange Music - Alan Dean Foster Probably should have left this series where it ended years ago though it was somewhat enjoyable visiting with Pip and Flinx again. 3.5 Stars (rounded up for many years of previous enjoyment).
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