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Monday, 10 May 2010


20th Century Baseball Stories more like, fnar fnar!

Christ Almighty, Joe Hill doesn't half love baseball, the amount of references there are to it in this, his debut collection. But never mind that now: Joe Hill is, according to one of the blabs on the back, a new master of suspense. I know for a fact that often, people provide marketing guff like that without having read the book itself. I don't think that person read this book. There is practically no suspense in this entire collection of short stories, because Joe Hill telegraphs his endings from twenty miles away. Not every story, and it's not always a bad thing anyway - sometimes the fun is waiting to see just how the current events are going to lead to the conclusion.
Joe Hill is Stephen King's son. There, I said it. He doesn't inherit his dad's "literary elephantitus" but he does like to write "this happened to me when I was kid" style stories. Nothing wrong with that, but it gets a bit...wearing. Not to mention repetitive.
I enjoyed 20th Century Ghosts but found the whole book a tad disappointing. Although overhyped would probably be a better word. Let's face it, with Stephen King as your dad how can you NOT be expecetd to be incredible? Most of the stories in this book are okay, nothing mind-blowing but they also don't make you want x number of minutes back in your life.
Thankfully, there are a few AWESOME stories, with a capital AWESOME. 'You Will Hear The Locust Sing' treads familiar ground (kid wakes up, is an insect) but puts a fun 50's b-movie spin on proceedings. 'Voluntary Commital' is one of the aforementioned 'telegraphed ending' pieces, but is still deeply satisfying. But the highlight is without doubt the simply incredible 'The Cape'. A young man returns home after a failed relationship, failed life and all the rest of it, and finds a 'cape' that might actually grant superpowers...It was also probably the only story where the ending *should* have been obvious but wasn't, and was extremely, extremely cool.
RATING: 72 cans of sweetcorn out of 91.

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