Friday, September 18, 2009

Blue World

Blue World: And Other Stories by Robert R. McCammon
Mass market paperback, 435 pages
Pocket Books, 1990
ISBN: 0671695185
horror, short stories
highly recommended

From the battlefields of a Vietnam veteran's memory to an old-time movie hero's search for a serial killer, from Halloween in a special town--where the rules of trick-or-treat are written in blood--to a Texas road where a wrong turn leads to a nest of evil, horror master McCammon is at his terrifying best in this collection of stories.
My Thoughts:

I don't normally read short stories. Because it requires such great skill for a writer to craft a truly good short story, many I've read over the years haven't been enjoyable. This collection by McCammon is an exception. Blue World includes 12 short stories and one novella. All of the stories are worth reading. McCammon excels at establishing the setting and bringing his characters to life, and he does this quite quickly and nimbly in these short stories. The stories included in this collection run the gamete, from frightening to disturbing to strangely hopeful. "Yellow Jacket Summer" (as well as a few of the other stories) reminded me of an X-Files or Twilight Zone episode. "Pin" was just disturbing and I don't want to think about it any more. "Something Passed By" was very good and I wonder if it couldn't be developed into a novel. My favorite was probably "Night Calls The Green Falcon". Although there were a couple of the stories I enjoyed less than others, I would still say, all in all, I would highly recommend this whole collection.

Read for the RIP IV Challenge

Quoted from the introduction:

I've built my own fast cars. They're in this book, and they're eager for passengers.....All of them have a starting point, and all of them have a destination. You can sit behind the wheel, but I have to steer. Trust me.

We will travel, you and I, across a tortured land where hope struggles to grow like seed in a drought. In this land, a place with no boundaries, we'll run the freeways and back roads and we'll listen to the song of the wheels and peer into windows at lives that might be our own, if we lived in that land. Sometimes we'll have the wind at our backs, and sometimes in our faces....Our road will lead us onward, deeper into the tortured land, and as the speedometer revs and the engine roars, we may find strange visions on that twisted highway.
A man who awakens one morning to find a skeleton in bed where his wife had been the night before.
A small-time their who steals a makeup case, and learns a dead horror star's secret.
A roadside diner, where a Vietnam veteran comes seeking shelter from the storm.
A young man in prison who finds beauty and hope on the wings of a yellow bird.
Halloween in a very special residential area, where trick-or-treating is deadly serious.
A red house on a street of gray houses, and a breath of fresh sweet fire.
The adventures of a has-been serial hero, who dons his old costume and goes in search of a serial killer.
A priest obsessed by a porno star, and his realization that both of them are being stalked by a third shadow.
We will see worlds within worlds from the windows of our fast car. We might even see the end of the world, and we might sit on a front porch for awhile and sip a glass of gasoline on a hot December day.....
Novels are limousines, stately and smooth. Some of them can ride like tanks, slow and heavy. The fast car of short stories: those are the vehicles that let us zoom close to the ground, with the wind in our hair and the speedometer's needle vibrating on the dangerous edge.... pages ix-x

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