Blue World is a collection of short stories and one novella, all of which seem to be from McCammon’s early career. They’re all mostly horror/thriller and run the gamut on subject matter.
I hate books like this. A story collection is meant to be a balanced read where each story is a cool, little nugget you enjoyed on some level. So that by the end of the journey, you feel that the overall experience was worth it. What it’s not supposed to be is what this collection was. A couple of good stories, a great novella, and then a whole lotta weak stuff. So that by the end, you’re trying to figure out if you even want to keep this thing or not.
A lot of these stories felt like tales I’d heard before, only done better by someone else (“Nightcrawlers” and “Pin”). They were bleak in ways that weren’t scary or profound, just empty (“He’ll Come Knocking At Your Door” and “I Scream Man!”). Some were grasping for heights they missed by a long shot (“Chico” and “Yellachile’s Cage”). Stories that should’ve been good and all missed the mark by varying margins.
Were there gems? Of course! Were they worth reading the entire book for? That’s where I’m struggling. “Doom City” was a really unique look at an apocalypse setting, or maybe even a hell setting, and the fact that I can’t figure out which it is promotes the story even more. “Something Passed By” had that apocalypse magic, as well. “Night Calls the Green Falcon” is a strong story, especially if you’re a comic book fan, with emphasis on something like Watchmen.
Finally, the novella for which the book is named, “Blue World”, was the strongest story of the bunch, in my opinion. The fact that it takes up half the book means that it feels more significant than the rest, and thank all that is good, else this book would’ve been a two star endeavor. It was more about characters than it was about being thrilling, and it gave me what the internet refers to as “feels”. It wasn’t entirely perfect, but after sloughing through the rest of the collection, it felt like a breath of fresh air.
I can no longer tell if this is a recommendation or not. Which is why, I repeat, I hate books like this.