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Blue World by Robert McCammon

Blue World (1989)

by Robert McCammon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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420525,247 (3.77)9
  1. 10
    Night Shift by Stephen King (GWoloszczuk)
    GWoloszczuk: Mccammon's Short stories are very reminiscent of this collection of early King stories

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Showing 5 of 5
The Basics

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.

My Thoughts

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.

Final Rating

3/5 ( )
1 vote Nickidemus | Sep 18, 2014 |
I picked this up, my first McCammon, because it's October and I was looking forward to some ghosties. Really, there are not any spooky stories here besides one, which I'll get to momentarily.

I thought that "Blue World" must be a collection of McCammon's earlier works, given the simplicity of style which makes this sentence look daunting; however it was published in 1990. It is to note that most of McCammon's Pocket Books titles are now out of print; and that McCammon himself chose, from a pride which was contemptuous of, and indeed embarrassed of his early success, to pull his first four novels from print—I could forgive this egoism had (maybe they had) sales stopped completely. Then again, not having read them, I don't know—maybe they make Stephenie Meyer look like Henry James. McCammon allegedly went on to whine that he had to learn to write publicly. These foggy revelations have given me pause at contemplating the reading of further works by the author; though really, let the work speak, not the author. That's the good thing about antiquarian authors—they can't ruin your reading of them with their own mouths. I suppose they can though, if you go looking hard enough...

About the stories collected in "Blue World": they are clean and simple and straightforward, and Isaac Asimov, who called for simplistic writing, would be proud; except that I keep thinking these stories, I've read someplace else, in a slightly altered and more eloquent form.

"Yellowjacket Summer" was a nice little nature story. I enjoyed it because this past summer I had the pleasure of angering some yellowjackets to violence towards my person.

"Makeup" was a bit juvenile, in that the character was juvenile, though I really liked the idea of the cursed movie monster makeup.

"Doom City" was post apocalyptic goodness.

"Nightcrawlers" was good, in an agent orange ethereal zombies, we're all held up at the diner, sort of way.

"Pin" was garbage.

"Yellachile's Cage" was good, very good, and I only thought a few times of prison movies. It spoke to me, "Yellachile's Cage", that is, of what it is to be a writer, a creative person.

"I Scream Man" was not that great of post apocalyptic short fiction.

"He'll Come Knocking At Your Door" was the one spooky story fit to read around Halloween time, and it made me feel queasy. It gives me chills and makes me feel a bit nauseated to think about it even now. I think it is because it is a true microcosm to our own postmodern reality. Just look who has power in the world, luck, money, success. It costs too much. I think the main character, because he was good, was doomed here, but should be OK in the afterlife.

"Chico": creepy malformed mentally disturbed Mexican messiah to cockroaches.

"Night Calls the Green Falcon" was like a few stories here. It's sort of hell to read, but it's kind of neat, and you carry through because you are a completionist and want to see what the hell happens to the old man.

"The Red House" I didn't really care for. I think it was actually, as the father feared, communist (interchangeable now with capitalist) propaganda.

"Something Passed By": the third post apocalyptic story here, which still doesn't beat out "Doom City" but is better than "I Scream Man".

"Blue World": this too was hell to read, but I carried through, strung along by a thread of interest until I reached the far away ending, which I actually liked.

I may come back and read some of the out of print McCammon which is sitting on my shelf, or I might not. Maybe I'll read some reviews for a change. ( )
1 vote endersreads | Oct 14, 2010 |
Blue world(the novella),Yellachile's cage and Night calls the green falcon are superb. Unfortunately the rest range from rubbish to good.
Overall well worth reading but Mccammon has written a lot that's better. ( )
1 vote johnmischief | Feb 16, 2010 |
This is one of my Favorite books by Robert McCammon. It's an anthology. It has 12 short stories and a short novella. Every story in this book is good a few of them are great, Some of the best writting he has ever done. They are all creepy and nerve wrecking. The title story Blue World is this really great Horror mystery story that shows his talents for character developement that he uses so well for his later novels specifically Boys Life and Gone South, both superb novels. ( )
1 vote NickKnight | Aug 9, 2008 |
Acollection of short stories. Most were OK except for Blue World, the last story. Wow! A true gem of a story. I just coulld not put the book down. Sorry it had to end.
1 vote Tommie1 | Aug 4, 2008 |
Showing 5 of 5
McCammon skillfully weaves elements of horror and adventure with a variety of writing styles to create 13 exceedingly readable pieces. Travel through his universe and meet such inhabitants as Chico, a special child who exacts subtle revenge on his mother's abusive boyfriend, or a Vietnam vet whose deadly nightmares become real. The pi ece de r esistance , especially in terms of character development, is the novella "Blue World." Father John Lancaster discovers that he has put his faith and his life in peril when he falls in love with a porn star who is being stalked by a deranged serial killer. A powerful, well-written collection.

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Robert McCammonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Warren, JimCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
Something Passed By:

Johnny James was sitting on the front porch, sipping from a glass of gasoline in the December heat, when the doomscreamer came.
Fast cars, the sign said.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
Contains the following stories:
Yellowjacket Summer
Doom City
Yellachile's Cage
I Scream Man!
He'll Come Knocking on Your Door
Night Calls the Green Falcon
The Red House
Something Passed By
Blue World
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0671695185, Mass Market Paperback)

"We will travel, you and I, across a tortured land where hope struggles to grow like seed in a drought. In this land, a place with no boundaries, we'll run the freeways and back roads and we'll listen to the song of the wheels and peer into windows at lives that might be our own, if we lived in that land." So Robert McCammon introduces this superb collection of 13 stories, nominated for a 1990 Bram Stoker Award for Best Story Collection. The standouts are "Blue World" (a richly imagined novella about a priest facing temptation); "Nightcrawlers" (a World Fantasy Award-winner about a Vietnam vet in a roadside diner); "Night Calls the Green Falcon" (has-been fictional hero dons his old costume to fight real evil); "Yellowjacket Summer" (fateful stop for gas in backwoods Georgia); and "Pin" (dare you to read that one). All of the stories are excellent.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:15 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A novella and twelve stories from a master of supernatural horror. Father John has lived his whole life without knowing a woman’s touch. Hard at first, his self-denial grew easier over time, as he learned to master his urges with a regimen of prayer, cold showers, and jigsaw puzzles. That changed the day that Debra Rocks entered his confessional. A rough-talking adult film actress, she has come to ask him to pray for a murdered costar. Her cinnamon perfume infects Father John, and after she departs he becomes obsessed. Around the corner from his church is a neon-lit alley of sin. He goes there hoping to save her life before he damns himself. That is “Blue World,” the novella that anchors this collection of chilling stories by Robert R. McCammon. Although monsters, demons, and murderers fill these pages, in McCammon’s world the most terrifying landscape of all is the barren wasteland of a lost man’s soul.… (more)

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