I’m ready to flog myself into productivity. At least I’ve been reading more lately, instead of binge-watching things on Netflix.
I checked out a few great books from the library recently and I thought I’d start with The Fireman. I burned through it (ha ha) in a single Saturday.
Without giving much away, The Fireman is about a plague of beautiful flame-like skin coloration followed by spontaneous combustion. The science is believable without being boring, which is often a hurdle for genre writers. Crichton seemed to carry it off consistently enough for fans, but it’s never enough for critics. It’s never enough for those guys. Whatever, I loved Crichton’s Sphere, if it makes me a philistine, so fucking be it.
The story is heavily influenced by Fahrenheit 451, but I was also reminded of Jose Saramago’s Blindness and Stephen King’s The Stand (Hill actually leaves several Easter eggs for fans of his father’s work). There are so many wonderful non-King references in the book as well, from Mary Poppins to The Dire Straits. I’m not a vocal reader (I very rarely laugh aloud or gasp at a new plot development) but this book actually evoked a gasp/shriek of horror from me at one point. No, I’m not telling you when it happens, but I’ll give you a cookie if you guess in the comments– don’t go there if you don’t want spoilers!
I’m a fan of Joe Hill’s novels, Horns and Heart-Shaped Box; he is living up to his paternal legacy. Hill’s Locke & Key series, illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez, is one of my favorite graphic novel collections.
Hill is a wonderful writer, a master craftsman who remembers the face of his father (I’m very excited for the upcoming Dark Tower miniseries, can you tell?). The Fireman actually spoiled me a bit for the next book I read, which doesn’t often happen. It was like switching to a decent wine after drinking something really exquisite.
Also, if audiobooks are more your style, Kate Mulgrew (Captain effin’ Janeway!) reads this one.