"Hole in the World" Book Review
Written by Karin Crighton
Published by Apex Book Company
Written by Brian Keene
2018, 297 pages, Fiction
Released on February 26th, 2019
Disclaimer: I know Brian Keene personally.
You knew airport shuttles were evil, this is just proof.
Poor, unfortunate souls, hoping to fly home from BWI, find themselves on a shuttle to hotel accommodations when the airport is closed in a blizzard. A random assortment of friends, family, and strangers, they know little about one another - until a hole opens in spacetime and they fall through together to an unknown world. And that world does not want them there. Every choice could be their last as they try to navigate their new existence and find a way back home.
Hole in the World is just plain sci-fi fun. As a prequel to author Brian Keene’s series “The Lost Level”, this is uniquely a book populated by Kickstarters. Each traveler to the unknown is based upon a real donor who would love to see themselves die in an awesomely gruesome way (razor grass!!).
It’s a fun concept, but therein also caused issues.
I’m terrible with lists. I have to review shopping lists every 12 seconds or I completely forget what I came in for. As the characters are “real”, they are introduced in a list time format, explaining who they are and how they came to be stuck in Baltimore in a snowstorm. I couldn’t remember anything about them for the life of me and eventually quit looking back to the first chapter and just let the story carry me. As they also had firm roots as people, not tropes, it was tough to accept when they needed to bend who they were to fit sci-fi tropes for the narrative, like the warrior mother or the reluctant team leader. It doesn’t make sense for them, but it is necessary to carry the story. I also take exception to the maniac dickhead being a serial killer; it’s always the man next door who “seemed like such a nice guy” to the neighbors, like Dennis Rader or John Wayne Gacy. That’s how they get away with killing, you’d never suspect them.
That being said, there are some of the coolest deaths I’ve ever read. I’m a sucker for aliens, snow, and murder, that’s my list for what I’ll pay to see on screen or read on page. This novella covers all of it, with horrifying ends to these poor people who just wanted to eat their crappy airline pretzels and go home. I want to talk about some, but it would absolutely ruin the surprise. So no context spoilers that are my faves:
Socks. Tree. Grass. Bony Passenger. Exhaust Vent.
So gross, you’ll love them. It’s not heavily cerebral, but there are some great nods and jokes in there that will pick the reader up and make this short fiction a lot of fun.
Maybe don’t read it at the airport.
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