Strange Weather

Strange Weather - Joe Hill Joe Hill’s Strange Weather is a collection of four short novels with diverse narrators, themes, and settings that might appeal to readers preferring light thrillers or science fiction. The first story, Snapshot, takes place in the 1980’s, and is told from the point of view of Michael, a thirteen-year-old boy. He is approached outside his home by a woman who used to babysit and clean for his family. She seems disoriented and lost, fearfully telling Michael to not to let his picture be taken. He is puzzled by her warning until he later encounters a menacing stranger with a Polaroid camera who seems to have some evil intent. This tale is one of the stronger ones in the book, exciting and reminiscent of some of his famous father’s earlier works. Loaded, the second novella, is very different in tone and takes place in the current day. It explores the timely topics of gun violence, police brutality and racial profiling. The story describes what can happen when an overzealous security guard with a propensity toward violence makes a huge error based on his own biases. While the plot is gripping and contains an unexpected twist, the story seems a bit overly ambitious as it attempts to make several political statements at once. The third tale is Aloft, and it is probably the weakest of the four. Aubrey, the main character finds himself in a unique situation after agreeing to participate in a sky-jumping tribute in memory of a friend. The story has science fiction elements combined with allusions to a well-known fairy tale. The final offering in Hill’s collection is Rain. Told from the point of view of a woman named Honeysuckle, it also combines science fiction with a well-known reference-this time a children’s book (and movie). This last story includes a bizarre weather catastrophe, a cult, and terrorism. Hill proves he is a talented and versatile writer, with a good grasp of the hot button topics of our time. Despite the varying strength and success of the four novellas, each was entertaining and thought-provoking in their own way.