Cover Image: Strange Weather

Strange Weather

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Member Reviews

I loved each story in this book.  Joe Hill has a wonderful voice that reminds me of his father yet is fresh and new.  Each story in this book is strange and unsettling and I find myself thinking about them long after having finished.  Definitely one to re-read!  Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the advance copy.
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Enjoyed so much long time ago. I really loveed this one much more than 'The fireman' which was sooooo long. Can't wait for new stuff from Joe!
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Snapshot: Such a killer story - Joe Hill is a master of characters and emotional manipulation. The setup of a magical memory-removing camera is like something from Goosebumps, but the way Hill handles it and keeps the story twisting is so impressive. I'm on my third flat white in a Spanish coffee shop, trying not to cry.

Loaded: I was SO into this, thinking how Hill is so incredible at building tension, showing character, layering scenes - and then that ending. I don't know if it's lazy writing or just the way it inevitably had to end, but it made me angry. Why create all these complex, interesting characters just to end like that?

Adrift: This is the weirdest and most imaginative of the stories so far, and usually that would be my bag, but something about this story didn't work for me. It was just a bit boring. For much of the story the character doesn't do anything except wander around. There was a lot of potential here but I just kept waiting for it to get going, and then at the end it just... ended, rather than having a satisfying conclusion. I feel like these stories are getting weaker as I go on.

Rain: This started off so well! Interesting protagonist, queer relationship, weird but beautiful but deadly thing happening. I thought this would be my favourite. But I got bored of it so quickly. I read that Hill wrote this to spoof himself – well, I'm sure that's very fun for you and your hardcore fans, but if (like me) you haven't read all of Hill's books then you're not in on the joke. Ended up skimming this one. 

Overall, I'd say this is worth a read if you like Joe Hill, but if you're not already into his stuff then this won't convince you. Maybe just read Snapshot and leave the rest.
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I love Joe Hill’s work and these stories were a real treat. Especially Loaded which was a brilliant piece of character work and very topical
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An awesome collection of short stories, from one of my favourite authors.
A must read.
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I had no idea what to expect when I begun this series of novellas from renowned writer, Joe Hill. I was pleasantly surprised with the variety, in this anthology, as each of the four stories contained inside had an entirely different genre, focus and style, which spoke volumes of the prowess of this author.

'Snapshot, 1988' had a pure 80's horror vibe, which made this a mildly disturbing yet entirely fun story of a young boy stumbling across a camera that takes far more from this in frame than just their picture... This had the most traditional horror feel to it and provided many instances of withheld breathe and quickly turned pages. 3.5/5 stars.

'Loaded' was my favourite in this collection. My original rating was four stars but I have since decided to round it up to the full five, as days after reading it I still can't stop thinking of the horrors of this tale. The focus is on a mall shooting and Hill as woven multiple narratives and perspectives to give a humbling and horrific portrayal of gun crime, racism, and prevalent (and wholly inaccurate) stereotypes. This scathing societal insight was powerful and wrought with high emotion. 5/5 stars

'Aloft' is the story of a young man parachuting with a group of friends in memory of one lost from their group. As he descends to earth his journey is far shorter than he imagined and with some surprising consequences. This was the most bizarre tale with a unique focus that had me puzzling over where this story was going to take the reader. Whilst not the ending I had anticipated and with the slightly open-ended nature leaving me furrow-browed, this was my least favourite but still an entertaining read. 3/5 stars

'Rain' proposed the possibility of our usual liquid rain being replaced with razor-sharp needles that could fell the population in mere minutes, if shelter were not available. Whether climate change or terrorism is behind this startling new phenomena, the dystopian world that is quickly created in its wake probes at the feeble structures that hold civilisation together, and how quickly it could all crumble. 4.5/5 stars
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Strange Weather is full of strange stories, strange characters and stranger plots. Good shorts combined together into a good book. Recommend this one to anyone who likes a spooky coincidink
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These novellas are real page turners, with some thought provoking content and socio-political comment as a bonus.
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I picked up this book to read because of the author. I had read and loved NOS4R2, Heart Shaped Box, The Fireman, and was looking forward to reading his new novel. I soon realised, however, that rather than a full length novel, this book was a collection of 4 novellas, all connected with the theme of Strange Weather.

Imagine one day that it started raining sharp crystalline shards that punched through cars and roofs and skulls. What is causing it and how far would you go to find out?

America and gun control is a hot topic and a mall cop shooting during a heatwave has repercussions for more than the people who were shot.

In Silicon Valley you might expect technology to be on the cutting edge of innovation, but a Polaroid camera that steals memories? 

A young man takes his first parachute jump to impress a girl, but when things go wrong and he lands on a cloud? And when this cloud is intelligent? Well, what would you do?

I thoroughly enjoyed all four of these stories and the book could only have been improved for me if they were related to each other more than thematically.

This is a good read while we wait for the next full length Joe Hill novel to arrive.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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These 4 short stories are totally different. I did not really enjoy any of them. I prefer to be read longer stories and get more engrossed in them.
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I do enjoy Joe Hill. His books share the inventiveness but rarely venture into the silliness of his father’s recent books. This book contains 4 novellas, loosely connected by a weather theme. The second story is by far the strongest, a thriller exploring the myth of the “good guy with a gun”. Twisting, dark and at times ambiguous I found it very clever. The fourth story of a rain of nails was more typical Hill fare, as was the first. The 3rd story was however, really odd, a bit too odd for me. A dead UFO cloud, I was almost with it until the disembodied head appeared. Oh well!
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Strange Weather by Joe Hill

In four novellas, loosely linked by the weather, Joe Hill presents a chilling portrait of present-day American society. The effects of global warming are more and more apparent with almost each passing day but this is a little too obvious for Joe Hill to focus upon. After all, to any sane person this should be taken as read, and in fact weather plays less of a role in these stories than the title of the collection suggests, with the clear exception of Rain. Instead, Hill takes us inside our nightmares, to a place that’s almost real. The things that take place there are most certainly real – illness, gun violence, grief, prejudice, fear. Some stories contain more elements of horror than others but they’re all disturbing.

In Snapshot a young boy takes on a stranger in town, the Phoenician, who uses his polaroid camera to steal memories. This was for me the most harrowing of all four stories and it actually upset me a fair bit. Loss of memory is a terrible thing and Joe Hill portrays the pain of this exquisitely. I loved young Michael. His kindness is so touching and something of an antidote to some of the other characters that we encounter through this collection.

Loaded was inspired by ‘the massacre of twenty children in Newtown, Connecticut. Loaded was my attempt to make sense out of our nation hard-on for The Gun’. It focuses on a mass killing in a shopping centre while the town is threatened by a deadly forest fire. It shows what happens when the bigoted, the ignorant and the aggrieved can get their hands on a gun. The fallout is extraordinary and not quite what you’d expect. I had some issues with the way that this story develops. It’s powerful stuff but its ending was troubling for me. This is the longest story in the collection and also the oldest.

Aloft is another kettle of fish entirely and lifts us out of reality. Aubrey is about to do a parachute jump. The thought alone terrifies him but he’s doing it with friends as a tribute to someone they loved who died young. He also wants to impress Harriet. But when he makes his jump something happens and instead of floating to Earth Aubrey lands on a cloud. And on that cloud what you want may come to pass. I’m not a fantasy reader and so I did struggle with Aloft, which is my fault, not the story’s.

My favourite of the four is Rain, an apocalyptic tale of rain that falls as lethal crystal needles. Thousands are killed, law and society break down. Honeysuckle loses Yolanda, the girl that she loves and her grief compels her to make a hazardous journey to let Yolanda’s father know that his wife and daughter are dead. There are horrors along the way as you can imagine. But there are also bright spots, especially with Hill’s depiction of the young boy that Honeysuckle babysits. Joe Hill says in his afterword that ‘Rain arose from a desire to spoof myself and my own sprawling end-of-the-world novel The Fireman. I’m a big believer in making fun of yourself before anyone else can’.

While I found the stories mixed in their appeal, each shares in common a very important factor – the fine characterisation. It’s impossible not to feel involved with these people’s lives. Some are vulnerable and powerless, prejudiced against, but many make a stand and do the right thing. There are pleasing little digs at certain American presidents, comments on the state of society, especially in regard to its gun laws and tolerance (or lack of), but it’s the characters that give these stories life and there are a few moments that I won’t forget in a hurry.

Other review
The Fireman
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I 'm a big fan of Joe Hill i feel his writing is very good and is obviously influenced from his parents writing, so I was very excited to read his new book, when I put in the request to read I didn't realise that it was short stories, I was more attracted to the cover and the Author, but although I'm not usually a fan of the shorter story I found I couldn't put this down, the stories are all linked in some ways to the weather and each is very different from the others, the stories are more like novellas so you can still enjoy an absorbing amount of time reading each one, there is the story snapshot 1988, the curious tale of a chubby, bullied kid who meets a strange tattooed man who call himself the Phoenician, and he seems to take a lot of photos, but not always of what hes pointing at!
There is Aloft about a young man who goes skydiving for the first time and not successfully.
but in my opinion the best stories are Loaded, which is a brilliant story about owning guns and Rain which has a fantastic twist to it I wont say anymore as I don't want to give anything away, all I will say is give this book a chance  and thank you to the Publisher and Netgalley for letting me read it.
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“Snapshot” is the disturbing story of a Silicon Valley adolescent who finds himself threatened by “The Phoenician,” a tattooed thug who possesses a Polaroid Instant Camera that erases memories, snap by snap.

A young man takes to the skies to experience his first parachute jump. . . and winds up a castaway on an impossibly solid cloud, a Prospero’s island of roiling vapor that seems animated by a mind of its own in “Aloft.”

On a seemingly ordinary day in Boulder, Colorado, the clouds open up in a downpour of nails—splinters of bright crystal that shred the skin of anyone not safely under cover. “Rain” explores this escalating apocalyptic event, as the deluge of nails spreads out across the country and around the world.

In “Loaded,” a mall security guard in a coastal Florida town courageously stops a mass shooting and becomes a hero to the modern gun rights movement. But under the glare of the spotlights, his story begins to unravel, taking his sanity with it. When an out-of-control summer blaze approaches the town, he will reach for the gun again and embark on one last day of reckoning.

I’ve become a real admirer of Joe Hill’s work over the last couple of years. I may have been late to the party, I’m still slowly savouring Locke and Key. The Fireman is a doorstop of apocalyptic goodness. Horns is deliciously dark. My other half also assures me that both Heart Shaped Box and NOS4R2 are equally splendid. With all that in mind, a new release featuring not one but four novellas from Mr Hill promises to be something a bit special.

Snapshot – Ahh, the Eighties, a halcyon time when the world was a simpler place (ignoring the ever-present threat of nuclear annihilation and the rise of the yuppie obviously).  Michael Figlione is a nerdy teen who likes nothing better that inventing things. One day he meets a neighbour wandering aimlessly around the streets. Her memory appears patchy at best. Is she suffering the vagaries of age or is there something more sinister going on? The other question, who is the Polaroid Man? I do love a “mysterious stranger” story. Especially when, like this one, it has a satisfying pay off. The characterisation is also a real highlight. Michael’s life and family is presented so well that I quickly forgot this was a novella. All the little throw away details that sneak into the main narrative help to flesh out each and every person in the story. Actually, now I think about it, Joe Hill manages to pull this same trick in all four novellas. The characters are so well established and very real.

Loaded – In the second novella the topic of America’s gun culture is picked apart. The story follows how character’s lives are ended or changed irreversibly by their interaction with firearms. Separate threads of a seemingly disparate narrative begin to weave together and finally meet in a single shocking event. The story doesn’t stop at that point however. The aftermath and repercussions of people’s actions are also explored. I don’t want to give away too much detail. Trust me, you’re best coming into this story cold. Hill examines every aspect of the arguments both for and against gun ownership. He manages to dissect such an emotive subject with genuine skill. Loaded doesn’t feature any supernatural or mystical elements, which makes it all the more frightening. The sad truth of the matter is that what with almost daily mass shootings in the United States, Loaded could easily be entirely based on fact, it certainly feels like it. I’ll be honest, the ending utterly destroyed me. It felt like an emotional gut punch. Though a difficult subject matter, Joe Hill treats the topic respectfully and with a thoughtful insight. I think this may win the prize for my favourite story in the collection. It is undoubtedly the most harrowing but also the most affecting.

Aloft – As if jumping out of a plane wasn’t terrifying enough, how about jumping and never hitting the ground? Imagine Robinson Crusoe on a cumulonimbus and you’re about halfway there. Aubrey Langdon Griffin finds himself adrift in the sky. Alone, with little but his thoughts, he is prompted towards introspection. In his isolation he gets the chance to re-evaluate past decisions and mistakes he has made. There is a transformative tone to this novella that I liked. Aubrey goes through an internal journey that finds him ultimately changed. How often do we get the opportunity to revisit our memories properly and focus on the choices we’ve made? More a character study than anything else, Aloft is a welcome change of pace after the tension inducing Loaded.

Rain – Apocalyptic fiction is hands down my favourite sub-genre. I cannot get enough of it. Last year I read The Fireman and loved every word. It’s a huge sprawling behemoth of a thing. Rain feels like the opposite, it’s dialled right back. The entire novella takes place over a very short time period, only a couple of days, and features a much smaller cast of characters. Honeysuckle and Yolanda are about to move in together when a meteorological Armageddon strikes. It is so severe in nature that society very quickly begins to collapse. Politician’s sabre rattling reaches epidemic proportions, everyone blaming one another, and things quickly escalate. Amidst all this horror I think Rain is actually a love story. It’s really about the lengths you would go to for someone who is your world. That’s the interpretation I took from it anyway. I’ll admit initially I wasn’t expecting such a bittersweet tale, but it is all the better for it. Turns out the old axiom “a little bit of rain never hurt anyone” isn’t true at all.

Strange Weather is, in a word, brilliant. All the stories are great, but as I mentioned before if I had to choose a favourite story it is going to have to be Loaded. People should be forced to read that and learn from it before buying a gun. I’ve reached the stage now where I await each new Joe Hill book with unrestrained glee. I know that his writing is going to have me completely hooked from the get go and that each new tale is going to make me think. Good fiction needs to be like this, to challenge preconceived notions, to educate and to inform. Strange Weather is the rarest of treats and does exactly that.

When I started reading Strange Weather, Snapshot in particular, made me feel nostalgic. So much so, that I found myself listening to the soundtrack to Stranger Things 2 by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein whilst reading. Seems like a good fit. The music and the novellas both manage to evoke the entire gamut of emotions from terror and sadness to joy and hope. Works for me.

Strange Weather is published by Gollancz and is available from 7th November. Highly recommended. Joe Hill’s writing just keeps going from strength to strength.
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Cracking collection of stories, each one of them standing out in its own right. My personal favourite was "Loaded" - sadly all too topical in the wake of mass shootings in the USA, but fabulously well written all the same. Joe Hill's style reminds me of his dad, one of my favourite authors, and he has a knack of creating such a vivid world for his characters, that you can't help but see and feel what they do.
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This month see’s Joe Hill taking a break from the epic novel and treating us to Strange Weather.  A collection of 4 novellas that are all uniquely different.  The collection opens with Snapshot which tells the tale of a kid who comes into contact with a man who steals memories by using a Polaroid camera.  Mr Hill follows this up with a personal comment of the state of gun crime in America and it’s called Loaded.  An intricately weaved tale that slowly unravels to it’s horrendous climax.  Next comes Aloft where a terrified sky diver finds himself minus his instructor riding on a UFO that wants him as a passenger forever.  A delightful slice of Sci-Fi fun.  The final story in the collection is Rain, which has a sort of Fireman, end of the world, apocalypse feel too it.  The Rain in the story is crystal nails that skewer anybody foolish to be out in the downpour and leaves thousands dead looking like Hedgehogs or Pinhead.  Another beautifully named heroine, Honeysuckle finds herself on a journey to deliver some bad news whilst all the while watching the skies.  Another excellent collection to add to Mr Hills ever impressive catalogue.
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This was a great collection of stories and can't really say there was one that I did not enjoy, would recommend if you like joe hill and like short stories, and I would buy this just to have as I have a feeling I may want to re read these.
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Billing this book as a collection of four short novels is certainly fair as to call them short stories feels like doing this book a disservice as there's as many ideas packed into each story as there is in many 400 page novels. The collection starts with 'Snapshot 1988' which I think was my favourite of the lot. A science obsessed teenager runs into a man with a polaroid camera which seems to have the ability to erase people's memories with each photo it takes. The main victim being his neighbour and childhood babysitter who also acted as a substitute mother. This is a skilfully woven and sinister story, the man with the camera, The Phoenician, is as terrifying a character as Charlie Manx from NOS4R2 and certainly gave me the creeps. 

'Loaded' is up next and is a commentary on the gun culture in America. A security guard is the apparent hero in what's thought to have been a terrorist attack on a mall. Of course it's not that simple and while the mainstream media runs with the All American Hero angle, one reporter tries to uncover the truth. There's many layers to this particular story and the reader gets to experience it through the eyes of several characters. Joe Hill never pretends to make every character sympathetic and thats what makes this story all the more compelling.

'Aloft' is a bit of a strange one. A young man, Aubrey, is a reluctant skydiver as part of a bucket wish list a deceased friend had. Desperate to impress a girl he's making a massive hash of it when he suddenly finds himself suspended on a cloud which can form shapes depending on what Aubrey thinks of. All alone and unable to see anyway of getting down, Aubrey starts reflecting on how he reached this point and that's what makes for a really interesting story. It's a definite change of pace from the previous two and took me a little bit to get into, but I ended up thoroughly enjoying it.

The collection ends with 'Rain'. Suddenly tiny needles start pelting down like a rainstorm, instantly killing thousands of people. This story follows the narrator as she makes a perilous journey to tell her girlfriend's family of her death. It's a post apocalyptic tale of how humans survive or turn to their worse impulses in a time of crisis and was a thrilling read.

This a tremendously enjoyable collection. I really feel like Joe Hill has felt enough freedom in this format to try out a few different things and its really paid off. My only niggle is that I feel 'Snapshot, 1988' could have stood up as one of his 700 page epics but I'm sure that, as prolific as he is, there'll be plenty more of those in the offing. 

I received a ARC from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for a fair review.
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Thank you to Netgalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

I have to admit that I have never read a Joe hill novel before and so I pretty much went into this with no expectations whatsoever, and also that I'm not the biggest fan of short stories. I think I always end of feeling like there isn't enough time to develop a connection to the characters or the story with that being said I full on loved this it was a little slice of fantastically written tales that left me either blown away for chilled to the core.

I have to admit to Snapshot being my absolute favourite of the bunch. I was just so invested in the characters and the story that it definitely blew me away. A standout from the crowd short story and probably my favourite short story ever. 5/5

loaded..... Ah loaded the story that left me chilled to the bone and left me totally 100% horrified and that is no exaggeration. This short story just gave me the creeps the whole time I was reading it. Actually for that reason alone this is probably the best out of all of them the horror and dread you feel reading this leaves me  applauding Joe hill and his masterful storytelling. 5/5

Aloft.. We're giving a little break from the full on horror with aloft and to be honest this was my least favourite of them. Not that it wasn't a good one too just wasn't for me. although still a 4/5 read.

Rain.. and rain last but certainly not least and another firm favourite of mine I adored honeysuckle she was a fabulous character and her journey was one I was totally captured by. Another standout 5/5 read.

I actually cannot wait to read this again for me this was a 4.3 star only due to the fact that Aloft wasn't my cup of tea but the rest were amazing and I cannot wait to read more from Mr hill.
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I find short story collections so hit and miss. Most often times I like one or two stories and find the rest filler. With this I really enjoyed all four. 

My favourite was 'Loaded' - incredibly scary with events in America over the last year. For a scary story it was just too believable. And scary how quickly out of control the heroes life gets. 

Snapshot is a smaller story with more supernatural elements where the camera sucks the life out of you - literally

Equally good are the remaining stories: Aloft and Rain. We have UFOs and post-apocalyptic events. They're a lot of fun with lots of engaging characters. 

I really enjoyed all of these and would really recommend it
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