Friday, November 13, 2020

SUMMER FROST by Blake Crouch

If you loved Blake Crouch’s recent novels, Dark Matter and Recursion, there’s a great chance you’ll enjoy his latest novella. Focused on the discovery of a minor, non-playable open-world game character that gains independence and explores her world, the book is smart, speculative science fiction that explores the increasingly fickle idea of what it means to be human. 

Although the danger of AI with a growing awareness has been told many times before, it’s still told well here, using the story to present interesting looks at gender identity and how what we see as life isn’t that much dissimilar to a computer program. It’s all well-conceived with clever twists, by an author still at the top of his game. 


Thursday, November 5, 2020

GREENER PASTURES by Michael Wehunt

“You ready to go into the mouth? It goes far and maybe all the way to forever.”
I wanted to read a collection of good horror stories during the Halloween season and while this wet my palette, I was also treated to some of the best writing that I’ve seen during my reading this year! While each story in here is undoubtedly horror, there’s a poetic, romantic tone to the prose, giving the stories a texture and a weight that I haven’t seen in a while in the genre. 

While the stories do vary based on subject, there are common themes throughout, themes like transformation, as in the best stories in the collection:  

“Deducted From Your Share of Paradise,” about a town’s obsession with a group of fallen angels, with this opening line:
The women fell from the sky, silhouetted as dying eagles against the sunset. They struck the huddled trailers of Twin Firs and buckled thin ceilings, the sound of their impacts like God drumming His fingers on the earth. 
and “A Discreet Music,” about a widower’s journey toward something beyond grief. 

Another running theme is the burden of loss, as seen in the devastating breakup in “The Inconsolable” or the breakdown of a marriage in “Dancers.”  Other stories veer into pure cosmic horror territory that sneaks under your skin but they all have the same urgent lyricism that I’m excited to see in more of Wehunt’s work.