Lately, confusion seems to be rampant in our world.
As in, we are confused as to what the difference is between between the beast that we call a fact, and the lesser known distant cousin of the fact, otherwise known as an “alternative fact.”
Since I myself am a survivor of the Bowling Green Massacre, let me educate you on the difference between facts and alternative facts.
The following information is brought to you by BARF (Bureau of Alternative Real Facts.)
Fact: Killer Klowns from Outer Space is a classic movie, and should be required viewing for all school age children.
Alternative fact: Jupiter Ascending is classified as a film. And one that people are allowed to watch, to boot.
Fact: The Colts are the coolest team in the NFL and Andrew Luck and co. are never given the credit that they deserve.
Alternative fact: The Patriots have won their fifth Super Bowl under Tom Brady and a now a dynasty. As a Colts fan all I have to say is #notmySuperBowl, dammit!
And now, for the factiest fact that you ever facting heard, motherfacters!
Joe Hill is a bad ass. A motherfacting bad ass, in fact.
And if you don’t agree with me, well then fact off, you facter!
In other words, I just finished reading NOS4A2, written by The Master 2.0.
And I assure, I survived my trip to Christmasland, although, between you and me, the inhabitants of that place are kind of hostile. In fact, they will suck the life right out of you…
So, gear up your Rolls Royce Wraith, strap in and get ready for the recap and review of NOS4A2.
And, as always:
The story begins by introducing the reader to a nurse named Ellen Thornton. Ellen works in a prison infirmary, where most of the patients are comatose and unresponsive to any form of human contact.
One of these patients is a man named Charlie Manx. Manx is extremely elderly, and was also convicted of terrible crimes: he was convicted of kidnapping and murdering young children.
One night, as Ellen is making her rounds, something unexpected happens: Manx appears to awake from him comatose state, and speaks to Ellen. He specifically refers to Ellen’s son by his full name, and makes references to some place he calls “Christmasland” and someone named the “Gas Mask Man.”
Ellen calls for the doctors, as she is badly frightened. However, Manx exhibits no sign of consciousness once the doctors arrive, and Ellen is not believed, despite the fact that Manx grabbed her hard enough to leave bruises, and the fact that Manx referred to her son by his full name.
The story then switches to the perspective of a young girl named Victoria McQueen, also known as Vic. Vic’s father Chris also calls Vic The Brat.
At first, Vic seems to be an ordinary young girl. However, we find out that Vic is anything but ordinary. Vic possesses the ability to teleport herself between faraway places. Vic does this by riding her bike, and envisioning a bridge she calls The Shorter Way Bridge, which seems to magically appear when Vic wants to find a lost object. The bridge takes Vic to the place where the object was lost, and then takes her back to her original location. However, Vic’s talent also comes at a cost: she experiences headaches and becomes extremely ill when she uses this ability.
We are then introduced to a troubled man named Bing Partridge. One day, as Bing is leafing through some old magazines, he comes across an ad promising employment in a place called “Christmasland.” The ad is not specific in regards to the job details, but Bing is enchanted, as he loves celebrating Christmas, which brings back happy memories for him. Bing sends away his application for employment in Christmasland, desperately hoping that he gets a response soon. We also learn that Bing killed both of his parents as a child, and spent time in a mental institution before he was released. Bing is employed as a janitor, and has access to certain kinds of gases that can turn a person into a zombie, along with his own gas mask.
Almost immediately, Bing begins to have visions of past Christmases with his parents, and begins to dream of Christmasland. However, days go by, and he does not get a response to his application.
Bing also begins to see a mysterious vehicle circling his work place. The vehicle is an old Rolls Royce Wraith, and is black. However, the driver of the vehicle continues to remain a mystery.
One day, Bing finally meets the driver of vehicle, who introduces himself as Charles Talent Manx. Manx convinces Bing to go for a ride in the vehicle, so he can describe the opportunity that awaits Bing in Christmasland, if Bing chooses to accept. Once he is in the vehicle, Bing begins to feel sleepy. Manx tells him that is okay, as Bing will be entering another reality of sorts.
Manx tells Bing that he saves children from a life of pain and abuse by taking them to an alternate reality he calls “Christmasland.” In Christmasland, the children never have to grow up, and it is always Christmas, every day, all year. Manx says that the children are his, but that Bing can do what he wishes to any parents or any other parties that may need to be subdued, as most will not want Manx to take their children away. Bing eagerly accepts the employment opportunity, and he and Manx get to work.
Over the years, several children vanish under mysterious circumstances. In many of these disappearances, a mysterious Rolls Royce Wraith is spotted. However, none of the disappearances are ever connected.
Vic is now a teenager. She has used her bike many times to create the Shorter Way Bridge, so that she can locate lost objects. Vic is also a budding artist who has received recognition for her work.
One day, Vic uses her talent to locate a missing photograph. In doing so, she badly startles the school janitor, who relapses back into alcoholism. Vic feels extremely guilty and begins to question her use of this ability. The Shorter Way Bridge makes another appearance, and Vic rides her bike through it.
The Shorter Way Bridge deposits Vic in a library somewhere in Iowa. There, she meets a young woman named Maggie, who seems to have been expecting Vic to make an appearance. Maggie dresses in a colorful manner. Maggie is also afflicted with a bad stammer, which makes her speech difficult to understand.
Vic is bewildered, but Maggie attempts to reassure her. Maggie tells Vic that while her abilities may be a bit unusual, she is not alone in being gifted with these abilities. According to Maggie, many highly creative people (Vic is an accomplished artist and Maggie is gifted in the use of language and also an accomplished Scrabble player) possess the ability to alter reality. Maggie compares this to someone who uses a knife to make cuts in various objects, and refers to these altered realities as “inscapes.”
We also learn that Maggie has the ability to create her own “inscapes” and alter reality. Sometimes, Maggie’s Scrabble tiles will spell out sentences on her own. This is how Maggie knew to expect Vic: her Scrabble tiles told her of “The Brat” (but not Vic’s name, as no proper nouns are allowed in Scrabble.)
Maggie also states that her Scrabble tiles have indicated that Vic can find someone or something known as “The Wraith.” Vic demands to know who or who “The Wraith” is, but Maggie tries to change the subject, telling Vic that The Wraith is bad news and dangerous to Vic.
At Vic’s insistence, Maggie breaks down and gives her what information she has on The Wraith. According to Maggie, The Wraith is another person who possesses abilities similar to hers and Vic’s. However, The Wraith uses his abilities for evil, as he kidnaps children to steal their souls so that he may achieve immortality, trapping the children in an “inscape” of his own creation. Maggie then sends Vic back home, warning her once again to stay away from “The Wraith” as he is dangerous.
When Vic returns home, she becomes extremely ill as a result of her latest journey. Her parents become extremely worried, and confiscate her bicycle, as they believe she has an unhealthy fixation. Vic eventually recovers, and resumes her normal, every day life.
In the meantime, more children disappear. Once again, a Rolls Royce Wraith is spotted when some of these disappearances take place, but the cases are never connected.
Vic grows into a troubled teenager, When she is fourteen years old, her parents divorce, and her father abandons Vic and her mother. Vic acts out, turning to alcohol and drugs. Her grades in school are mediocre, although her art teacher notes that Vic has a talent for art, although Vic does apply herself.
One day, after an argument with both of her parents, Vic sneaks back into her house and falls asleep. When she awakens, she searches for some of her belongings that were confiscated by her mother, and finds her old bicycle.
Vic begins to ride her bicycle, and remember happier times during her childhood. However, it is not long before the bicycle leads her to trouble, which happens to be the lair of Charles Manx, or The Wraith.
Almost right away, Vic realizes that something is not right. She encounters what she thinks is a young child, but the creature only resembles a child in name only, as it has sharp teeth and appears to be breathing some sort of vapor or smoke when it speaks.
Vic also encounters Charles Manx, who attempts to entice her. When Vic refuses, her Shorter Way Bridge vanishes, leaving her stranded. Manx also sets fire to the house, intending to trap Vic in the house so that she will perish from the fire.
However, Vic escapes the house. She is assisted by man named Lou Carmody, who happens to be in the area, riding his motorcycle. Lou takes Vic to a nearby gas station, so that she can attempt to get help. Vic realizes that she is actually in Colorado, instead of her home of Massachusetts, and that she has been missing for two days. Vic indicates that she has been kidnapped, as she knows that no one will believe her story about the Shorter Way Bridge.
As Vic is telling her story, Charles Manx and his vehicle make an appearance at the gas station. The men at the gas station attempt to apprehend Manx, and a fight ensues. However, Manx is apprehended in the end, and arrested for his crimes. The official story is that Vic was kidnapped, and there is no mention of any of the stranger elements to her story.
Some years later, Vic moves back to Colorado, under the pretense of attending art school. She pursues a relationship with Lou Carmody, and the two have a child together named Bruce Wayne Carmody, who they call Wayne. Vic loves Lou and Wayne, but is afraid to admit, as she feels that she is not good enough for either of them. Vic also receives troubling phone calls from children who state that they are residents of Christmasland. These phone calls frighten her, but she does not tell anyone about them.
Bing Partridge is never apprehended by the authorities for his role in Manx’s crimes. and anxiously awaits the return of Manx, as he believes that he will receive his eternal reward in Christmasland.
Vic notices that when she engages in some kind of creative active, such as painting, that phone calls from Christmasland stop. She keeps herself busy by painting motorcycles and also by writing and illustrating children’s books. However, the mysterious calls start again, and Vic’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic. Lou moves out of their house, taking their son with him, but he is worried about Vic. Vic then burns down her house in an attempt to silence the calls from Christmasland.
In the meantime, Manx’s vehicle has been purchased at an auction by a man and his daughter. One day, the vehicle comes to life, killing its new owner, as Bing has found it, so that he may reunite with Manx.
Charles Manx is thought to be deceased, but his body goes missing from the mortuary.
Vic is institutionalized for her erratic behavior, and comes to believe that her experiences with the Shorter Way Bridge and mysterious telephone calls are simply vivid hallucinations caused by her abuse of alcohol and other drugs. When she is released from the mental hospital, she temporarily moves back to Massachusetts to spend some time with her mother Linda, who is dying of cancer. Vic also makes plans to spend the summer with her son Wayne, as she feels that she has failed him as a mother.
Tragically, Linda passes away just as Vic is able to secure a cottage for the summer. However, Vic still makes plans to spend time with her son Wayne, and Lou sends him to his mother for the summer.
In the meantime, we find out that Bing has managed to steal the body of Charles Manx, who is actually still alive, although barely. Bing sets up camp in the house across the street from Vic’s childhood home, killing the home’s owners, and placing Charles Manx in the bedroom. Bing waits for Vic, as he intends to murder Vic, and hand Wayne over to Manx.
Vic returns to her childhood home sometime in July, as Lou has arrived in town to spend Fourth of July with his son. Vic is greeted by a face from her past: Maggie, the woman from Iowa whom she met as a child.
While Vic recognizes Maggie, she is not happy to see her, as she still believes Maggie to be a delusion from her past. Maggie begs Vic to help her stop Charles Manx, who she insists is alive and on the hunt for Vic and Wayne. Maggie hands Vic a file containing some paperwork on Manx, but Vic chases Maggie away from her house, and threatens to call the police.
Later, Wayne finds the folder on Manx and peeks at it, as he is curious. Bing spots Wayne from the house he is commandeering, but is unable to do anything, as Lou arrives, and Bing does not want to be seen. Bing realizes that Vic is in the neighborhood, and makes preparations to capture Vic and Wayne.
That evening, Vic speaks to Lou, and finds out that Wayne has mentioned Manx to his father. Vic tells Lou about her childhood experiences with the Shorter Way Bridge, and the real story of how she encountered Charles Manx. Vic recognizes that she may be delusion, and indicates this to Lou. Vic also tells Lou that she thinks Maggie was a patient at the mental hospital, who is sharing in Vic’s delusions. Vic makes plans to move back to Colorado that fall, so that she can be closer to Wayne.
Wayne believes that Charles Manx is nearby, and becomes frightened, even though he thinks that he is imagining things.
Vic and Wayne work on a motorcycle that was left at the summer cottage, fixing it up and giving it a new paint job. Vic decides to take the bike for a spin, and tells Wayne that she will return shortly.
Vic rides the bike, and is able to conjure the Shorter Way Bridge, just as she had been able to do as a child. However, Vic continues to believe that she is delusional.
Wayne waits at the house for his mother. He hears a knock on the door, and encounters Bing and Manx, who tell him they need to use the phone, as they have run Wayne’s dog Hooper over with their car.
Bing and Manx then proceed to kidnap Wayne. Wayne shouts for his mother, who is just now returning from her trip and does not realize what has happened.
However, Vic soon does realize what has happened, and runs to the car in an attempt to rescue Wayne. She fights Manx, who attacks her with a hammer. Bing shoots at Vic, but misses Vic and hits Manx in the ear instead. The men then escape, with Wayne trapped in the car.
Lou is at the airport, awaiting his flight. Lou receives a panicked call from Wayne. Wayne tells his father that he has been kidnapped, and then hangs up the phone. Lou then collapses, due to a sudden heart attack.
Wayne tries to escape, but Bing douses him with gas so that he cannot think and becomes very sleepy. Manx tells him that he is going to Christmasland, and that he will never see his parents again.
Vic meets with the authorities at her mother’s house. The FBI has been brought in, as the authorities believe that Wayne’s kidnapper may cross state lines. Lou also meets with Vic and the authorities. Vic’s mental illness is brought up by a FBI agent, Tabitha Hutter, who does not agree with Vic in regards to Manx returning and seeking vengeance. Vic also describes her earlier experience with the Shorter Way Bridge. Lou tells Vic that he believes her, and Vic tells Lou that she will do whatever she can to rescue their son.
Manx drives his vehicle through his inscape, giving Wayne a glimpse into Christmasland. Wayne falls into a trance, and becomes excited about living in Christmasland. However, the ghost of Wayne’s grandmother soon appears in the vehicle. She appears to be speaking in reverse, and gives Wayne a cryptic message before she vanishes: he must speak in reverse.
Manx then stops at Bing’s house so that he can rest and recover from his wounds. Wayne then notices that the vehicle has peculiar properties: objects seem to vanish and then reappear. Wayne also finds some Christmas ornaments. He becomes fixated on one that resembles a moon, but has a face.
Wayne is then questioned by Manx, who promises him a phone call to his mother. Manx tricks Wayne into giving him some information about Maggie, along with Vic’s new motorcycle, and does not allow Wayne a call to his mother.
At her home, Vic is growing more and more worried about her son. Lou is attempting to fix her motorcycle for her, so that she can conjure the Shorter Way Bridge and rescue Wayne. Vic receives a phone call. The caller is Maggie. Maggie tells Vic that her son is still alive, and that she will help however she can.
After Vic hangs up the phone, she is confronted by Agent Hutter, who has heard the entire conversation. Hutter attempts to arrest Vic, but Vic escapes from the house, and uses her motorcycle to drive away. Eventually, she is able to conjure the Shorter Way Bridge, and is able to arrive at the house where Wayne was being kept.
In the meantime, Manx leaves with Wayne in his vehicle, promising that he will take Wayne to Christmasland. Manx does not allow Bing to come with them, as he says that Bing has failed in his duties. Wayne’s personality is beginning to change, as he is horrified to remember that he pulled the wings off of a butterfly. Wayne is also fixated on his Christmas ornament, constantly touching it.
Vic realizes that Wayne and Manx have left, and becomes upset. A man allows her to use his phone. Vic does not realize that this man is actually Bing, until he attacks her.
Wayne continues to travel with Manx. He sees visions of Christmasland and is anxious to arrive. However, he receives a visit from the ghost of his dead grandmother, who again tries to warn him that he must think in reverse. However, Wayne dismisses the old woman’s ghost, as his personality has begun to change. Wayne has also begun to loose some of his teeth, and appears to be growing small fangs in their place.
Vic fights Bing. She manages to escape, but sets the house on fire. Before she escapes, she receives a call from Manx. Vic pleads with Manx to release Wayne but Manx refuses. Manx allows Vic to speak to Wayne. Vic senses that Wayne’s personality is changing due to his exposure to Manx, and tells Wayne that he must fight Manx, and that she will do whatever it takes to rescue him.
After she speaks to Wayne, Vic then speaks to Lou and Agent Hutter over the telephone. She tells Lou that she has a plan to stop Manx and rescue Wayne, but that she will need a large amount of explosive material to accomplish this. After Vic hangs the phone, Lou suffers from a heart attack and is rushed to the hospital.
Vic uses the Shorter Wayne Bridge to locate Maggie. She arrives at Maggie’s library in Iowa, which was destroyed by a flood a few years back. However, Maggie is there, and Vic recounts the events of the past few days.
Maggie tells Vic that Manx does possess the same abilities that they possess, but that he uses his abilities for evil. She tells Vic that Manx’s car must be destroyed in order to destroy Manx. Maggie also tells Vic that the use of their abilities comes at a cost: Maggie’s stammer has worsened, Vic’s brain has been damaged and Manx has lost all of his empathy, and now revels in the suffering of his others. The children Manx has kidnapped have also been stripped of their humanity, as they exist for pleasure only, and do not comprehend the suffering of others.
While Vic falls asleep asleep due to exhaustion, Maggie consults her Scrabble tiles for information in regards to Manx. As she does this, a young boy enters the ruins of her library with firecrackers. At first, Maggie thinks that it is a local child playing a prank, but realizes that the boy is Wayne, who is acting under the influence of Manx. Wayne utters some incomprehensible words (his human side knows that what he is doing is wrong) and lures Maggie out to Manx and his car.
Manx immediately attacks Maggie with his vehicle. Maggie puts up a fight and refuses to give any information about Vic, who is still asleep inside. Maggie is killed by the impact, and Manx exits the scene.
Lou has been hospitalized due to his heart attack. However, he escapes in search of his son. Agent Hutter and her partner are aware of the escape, and plan to use Lou to track down Vic, who they still believe to be responsible for her son’s kidnapping.
Vic arrives at her father’s house. Lou and her father are waiting for her, with the explosives that she has requested. However, the FBI agents have tracked down Vic, who refuses to surrender. Agent Hutter realizes that there may be something to Vic’s story, but her colleagues do not, and open fire on Vic and her family. Vic’s father is shot, but Vic escapes with Lou on her motorcycle.
Once again, Vic conjures the Shorter Way Bridge. She leaves Lou in handcuffs, as she feels that this a job for her only. Vic then makes her way into Christmasland, via her motorcycle and the Shorter Way Bridge, to confront Manx and rescue her son.
Manx sends his children after Vic, and they attack. Vic fights back and is stabbed by one of the children. The explosives go off, causing mass destruction. Wayne realizes that his mother has come to rescue him, and escapes from Manx, hopping on the motorcycle with his mother.
Vic escapes Christmasland with Wayne. Manx follows her, but his vehicle (and there Manx himself) is destroyed by a flock of bats that emerge from the Shorter Way Bridge.
Finally, Vic emerges with Wayne back into their world. Her job done, Vic perishes from her wounds and the effects of creating the bridge and traveling to Christmasland.
Several months later, Wayne is living with his father. Lou has lost weight after angioplasty procedure, and is in a relationship with Tabitha Hutter. However, Wayne knows that something wrong with him, as he is aroused by anything violent and even thinks that he can feel an extra set of teeth in his mouth.
One day, Lou and Tabitha take Wayne for a ride. They arrive at the house Manx had used to keep his children captive. Lou realizes that Wayne’s soul is trapped in one of Manx’s Christmas ornaments. Lou, Tabitha and Wayne begin smashing the ornaments. Several children that Manx had kidnapped emerge, restored to their human selves.
Eventually, the ornament containing Wayne’s soul is destroyed. Wayne sobs with relief, happy that his humanity has returned.
Okay, let’s talk to Captain Obvious for a moment. So, just bear with me.
Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son, in case your head has been buried under a rock for…oh…the past 10 years or so.
(And hey, no judgement, being buried under a rock can be pretty comfy sometimes!)
And while I like to evaluate Joe Hill on his own merits, let’s be realistic.
Let’s get it out of our system, and talk about how he is the son of Stephen King.
Well, writing-wise that is.
We can leave the family drama for those better equipped to handle it, and not put TMZ out of a job.
Other than the fact that NOS4A2 reads a bit like an older King novel, in that it has build and will scare you into a change of pants, it is the novel that most screams: I am the son of the master of modern horror, and if you dare to forget it, well, let’s not even go there!
NOS4A2, in other words, has tons of Stephen King Easter eggs. In fact, this book may have even more King Easter eggs than some King books.
First of all, the obvious connection.
I am speaking of the one to Doctor Sleep, the follow up novel to The Shining (both written by The Master himself, but you knew that.)
I can tell you that I definitely sleep better knowing that Charles Manx and The True Knot have some silent truce between themselves, that they both can go on (literally) sucking the life out of children and if one gets found out, we know that the other did not rat on them. Definitely useful information to have.
And, oohhh, direct reference to Derry, along with Pennywise’s Traveling Circus! Again, whenever I have trouble sleeping at night, I can rest in comfort knowing that Manx and Mr. Bob Gray were likely on a first name basis at some point!
Vic yelling “Hi-yo Silver!” as she jumps on her bike was added bonus. Not that I am complaining, although a few tears did spring to my eyes as I recalled some fond childhood memories of murderous clowns…
Then there is the similarity between The Sleigh House (geez, these jokes kill me sometimes) and Black House, another house in a King novel of the same name.
The way the children start coming out of the house at the end of both books is so similar, not to mention the fact that Charles Manx is pretty similar to Charles Burnside, another villain who gets his rocks off on kidnapping and hurting kids.
I can also take comfort in the fact that Maggie’s “creatives” (more on that later) may be able to travel to the world of our friendly neighborhood gunslinger.
Is Jake Chambers one of Maggie’s creatives? An interesting question, but one for another day.
And don’t let me forget the nod to The Stand (and the Dark Tower series) when Bing utters those famous words: My life for you.
Oh, and apparently Bill Hodges and company had to hunt down a certain missing vehicle that just happened to be a Rolls Roy Wraith…funny how that works out!
Well, now that it is out of our system (feel better?), let’s talk about Joe Hill and NOS4A2 on their own merits.
So sorry, Uncle Stevie, you have been relegated to another blog entry!
One thing about NOS4A2…it is one scary book!
Well duh, it is written by Prince of Modern Horror, who is the son of the King of Modern Horror. So we shouldn’t be surprised by scary, right?
Yes and no. Am I entirely surprised that it’s scary?
No, I am not.
What is shocking is the fact that NOS4A2 is essentially a vampire story, but modernized.
After all, who isn’t familiar with Dracula?
Or Kurt Barlow from ‘Salem’s Lot?
Well, now we can add Charles Manx to that list of fictional vampires.
Now, Manx is not like Barlow or Dracula, at least on the surface.
He’s old, but not centuries old.
His victims are usually kids.
He drives a bad ass vehicle.
Somehow, I don’t think a rosary or garlic would phase him very much.
(Did anyone else think of this guy when Manx was introduced, by the way? Or is it just me?)
But, back to Manx.
He may not drink blood, like Barlow and Dracula.
But he is still a vampire, nonetheless.
His preferred food is not blood, but the souls of children. Since he is all modern-like.
As a bonus, like Barlow and Dracula, he has a human familiar in Bing, who may be even more demented than either Straker or Renfield, if that’s possible. At the very least, he holds his own.
And Manx does not need to be able to fly or even move quickly, as he has a vehicle that allows him to travel to back and forth between realities.
Who said that newer necessarily means inferior?
Manx can hold his own!
Speaking of holding one’s own, let’s talk about Vic for a moment.
Now, there is is someone who can hold her own and then some.
One thing I have noticed about Joe Hill is that he writes female characters extremely well.
Harper (The Fireman) was a great example of this.
Even Georgia and Merrin (Heart Shaped Box and Horns, respectively) were well written characters, despite the fact that that Georgia is the girlfriend of the main character in Heart Shaped Box, and Merrin is the dead girlfriend of Ig in Horns. Even though we mainly see them from the eyes of a male, both are fascinating and sympathetic.
But, Mr. Hill decided that having a woman as the interesting girlfriend of a main character just wasn’t good enough. And then Vic was born.
To put it simply, Vic kicks ass. There is no way around that statement.
While Vic may not always be easy to like, it is understandable as to why she may be unlikable at times, due to her upbringing (watching your dad wash his hands because they were bloodied due to beating your mom may cause a girl to have some issues.)
Vic’s character has a great arc.
She starts off as a spunky girl, morphs into a rebellious teenager, turns into a still troubled adult and then transforms into a mother who will stop at nothing to save her child from a vicious predator. And I loved every minute of it.
One of my favorite parts of the book is when Vic handcuffs Lou, leaving him behind so she can venture forth into Christmasland to save Wayne.
Vic was no damsel in distress. She knew that she had to be one the one to save (and ultimately sacrifice herself) in order to save her son.
Now, NOS4A2 may be a scary book.
But, like the books of dear old dad, it is so much more than that.
I love what this book has to say on art, artists and the creative process in genera.
I may be a bit biased, as someone who spends so much time creating her own “inscapes” but bear with me.
In fact, I love the idea of an “inscape” itself.
Because that is exactly what happens when someone creates something: it is actually an escape from the “real” world into an entirely new one, whether that is a painting, a book, a song, etc.
And let’s not kid ourselves. Those made up worlds become “real,” especially if the creator uses enough love and care in the creation of these worlds.
Middle Earth, Mid-World, Hogwarts. How are those not “real,” along with the Harry Potters, Roland Deschains, Aragorns, and so forth who live in them?
And when something happens to the people who populate these worlds, is the effect not felt in ours? When Harry Potter realizes that Voldemort has been resurrected, for example, did the reader not fear for him, and join him in his grief for a lost friend and classmate?
So it stands to reason that there are “creatives” out there, whose gift is especially powerful (like Joe Hill, his father, JK Rowling, Tolkien and countless others) who can use their knives to cut reality (in Maggie’s words) and create new realities.
And the knife is just the tool, like Maggie so eloquently stated.
Sometimes, the knife is not harmful, and results in children’s books, paintings, etc.
But sometimes, some sick individual (like Charles Manx, who is actually all too plausible) will create a new reality.
But this new reality is terrible, and only brings hurt to others.
And this is not uncommon, as so many predators who are similar to Charles Manx exist in our world. They believe that what they are doing is actually a good thing.
It is then up to someone (a Vic McQueen, if you will) to try to put a stop to it.
Sometimes, that is successful.
Sometimes, it is not. And that knife continues to cut, leaving blood behind.
Well, I am still a bit confused on what is a fact, and what is an alternative fact.
But I do not need an agency such as BARF to tell me that Joe is a fantastic writer, and that he will (hopefully) continue to churn them out, for many years to come.
So that’s it for NOS4A2. Join me later this month as we delve back into the world of dear old Dad, as we read and dissect an oldie but goodie, aka Christine!