I’m ready to flog myself into productivity. At least I’ve been reading more lately, instead of binge-watching things on Netflix.joehill-thefireman

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.

Anyway.

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.

Pick it up at an indie bookstore near you (or online, my suggestion would be at Powell’s). Get it while it’s hot, folks.

Also, if audiobooks are more your style, Kate Mulgrew (Captain effin’ Janeway!) reads this one.

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