I'm a fan of Joe Hill - should just put that out there now! I think he rocks. But regular readers of this blog will know that I can fangirl and be critical at the same time!
I appreciate the explanation of the 80s slang (our protagonist is given the nickname 'f*gs' or 'f**g*t' by bullies) as being completely unacceptable from a modern standpoint, but I think it'll still bother some readers.
Sometimes Mrs Beukes, who has dementia, is talked about a little too disparagingly for my tastes; but I also recognise what's said as the venting of an exhausted and frustrated carer/husband, who clearly loves her.
This is definitely uber-uber-readable and the storm which serves as this novella's contribution to the weather theme is pretty much played to perfection.
Apparently it's not considered to be so bad in the US, but here in the UK, that word is about as offensive as you can get, so this is a heads-up for UK readers in particular.
We open with the shooting of an unarmed black boy by police officers. It doesn't really let up from there.
The weather theme here is a raging wildfire - make of that metaphor what you will.
Additional genres: contemporary, sci-fi
This novella is my favourite of the four, a slightly twisted fairy-tale in the sky which incorporates loneliness and obsession with a fair touch of Gothicism.
Argh, that probably makes it sound far more whimsical than it is! I really can't explain this one - but it's beautiful.
This is Joe Hill doing what Joe Hill does best - sparse, lyrical, prose, and writing not only with the words but with the spaces between them.
I know, that makes me sound either a) pretentious or b) New-Age-y. But that's the only way I can think to explain it *shrugs* I'll blame my hippie upbringing... again.
I could've done without the character with anxiety problems related to fear of heights being called a coward though *mutters angrily* - some of us know what anxiety feels like, and it's not easy.
I think Aloft might be too bizarre for some people... but wow, the imagery guys! I loved it.
Additional genres: contemporary, dystopia, sci-fi, LGBTQ+ (F/F)
I have no idea. Really, I don't.
I mean, I love Honeysuckle Speck (and dude, you have totally been taking naming tips from J K Rowling,) but... well, if you find Aloft too bizarre, you won't like Rain.
I don't even know if I like it. I think I do...? Honestly, I have no idea what I just read.
Luckily, this is also the shortest story in the collection, so... I guess there's that...
If you do give it a try though, you'll find your new bad-a** butch lesbian heroine in Honeysuckle - who deals quite well in a situation which is best described as 'WTF?'
Not all good on the diversity front though - we are suffering from a case of Bury Your Gays, and also The Black Dude Dies First.
(Although, technically, the Jewish guy dies first, but you get my meaning.)
Not good tropes man, not good tropes.
Also I should mention that someone is described as falling 'in a palsy,' when actually, they just fell, and someone else is 'bulimia thin,' both of which are highly ableist.
But, y'know what? The Queen of the Apocalypse on her own made this one worth the read for me! (I can't explain it to you; I really don't think anyone can. But I love her.)
- violence (BIG warning)
I still don't know how I feel about Rain, but as a whole the anthology is readable and... well... just awesome.
Aloft in particular is well worth it - so give it a try! :)
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