I believe this is Joe Hill's first collection of novellas, and my GOD it is a length that he excels at. This book is fairly large, but I read most of it in a day because I literally couldn't stop. At the end of each novella, I felt like I should stop reading and do something productive or something, but I also didn't want to, so I didn't. These stories are so engaging and excellent and I literally couldn't get enough of them, and had they all been novel length that would have been wonderful.
Let's discuss each novella individually:
As the title suggests, this story is about a creepy ass camera which I can't really talk about because it's a spoiler, but just believe me when I tell you that it does bad things. Our hero is a young boy who watches the bad things happen and eventually takes on the villain with the camera, and the story is especially good for the fact that he's recounting this as an adult. This novella was particularly scary in a human way, because the subtext of it is dementia and the way that as people forget themselves, they themselves are also forgotten. This made it surprisingly moving, as well as chilling as heck.
This story started with gun crime and then became bonkers awful and terrifying. It's kind of the classic story of a man committing one crime and then having to continue committing more crimes to cover his tracks, but it's probably a lot more horrible than you're thinking. There are some not veiled at all messages about gun control in this story (love you, Joe Hill) and the fact that it's all real world with nothing supernatural makes it a lot more upsetting than it might otherwise be. It's horrid and scary and makes you feel like the world is fucked because this is real life (you know, kinda)
This story was weeeeird. It was probably my least favourite of the collection (because it was weeeeird! But not in a good way) but because this collection is so good, it was obviously still pretty decent. It starts pretty innocuously, with a group of people in a plane, getting ready to skydive out in memory of their friend/sister who has just died of cancer. Our hero, who is only there to impress the girl he loves, is in the process of chickening out when he is forced to jump, and he lands on a solid cloud. His time on the cloud serves as a learning and growing experience and for me the most interesting parts were his memories of his time on earth as opposed to his (seriously weird) experiences on the cloud. Interesting, but strange, but interesting... But still not my favourite.
THIS WAS THE BEST ONE. Ahem. But seriously. This novella is an apocalyptic dystopia, aka the best kind, aka my absolute favourite jam. Our story starts tragically, with a load of the population dying in a rainstorm of needles because rain has turned to rock (essentially) in the clouds. This is made especially sad because the first rainstorm happens on the day that our heroine's girlfriend is meant to be moving in with her, and so she watches her and her mother die in the storm. From then onwards, everything gets grimmer and grimmer, more and more people die and our heroine goes on a pilgrimage to tell her father in law (ish) that his wife and daughter are dead. GRIM right? It's also, delightfully, a detective story of sorts - who has done this to the clouds, and who has the power to stop it? It's a fabulous end to a fabulous collection of stories.
So, seriously. This book is great and you should definitely read it and everything in the world will be good but also, so horrible. It's confusing, yes.