When I first heard that Joe Hill’s next project was a collection of four short novels, I admit I was a little disappointed. I love sinking my teeth into a big book, and Hill’s NOS4A2 and The Fireman are over 700 pages and they’re two of my favorite books. Still, I expected to enjoy Strange Weather – and I was not disappointed.
With Strange Weather, Hill demonstrates that he’s just as talented with short-form fiction. Hill also proves more bluntly political here. The second novel in the collection, “Loaded,” deals with the issues of gun control and police brutality with a mass shooting occurs in a Florida mall. “Rain” is a post-apocalyptic cautionary tale in which a deadly downpour kills a majority of the population of Denver, Colorado and the president can’t refrain from Twitter commentary. The other short novels aren’t as political in theme, but I found them to be even more moving. “Snapshot” is told from the perspective of a teenage boy and set in the 1980s – I have to admit that setting and the pop culture references particularly resonated with me. In this story, the main character is visited by his family’s former housekeeper who is haunted by a menacing figure with a device that resembles an old Polarioid camera. My favorite of the four pieces, however, is “Aloft,” in which a twenty-something musician is talked into a skydiving escapade by his bandmates – one of whom is the object of his obsessive affections. The story takes an interesting turn when his dive is interrupted by a cloud-like object that strands him thousands of feet above the ground.
Strange Weather demonstrates Joe Hill’s versatility as a writer and his flexibility when it comes to genre. (Locke and Key has already demonstrated that he can cross mediums as well.) Although it was over much too quickly, I enjoyed every page. Strange Weather is at times grotesque, at times beautiful, and it’s definitely one of my favorite reads of 2017.
Strange Weather is available now in stores from William Morrow.