#REVIEW: THE HUNGER, by Alma Katsu

For whatever reason, I’m reading a lot more this year than I did last year. I set last year’s goal at 100 books and only barely got past that at 106; I decided to dial it back a little bit this year and set my goal to 75, and I just finished the 70th book of the year last night, so I’ll finish my yearly reading goal before the year is halfway done.

Given that I’ve been on a book-every-day-or-two pace for most of June, the fact that it’s still notable how fast I devoured — pun intended — Alma Katsu’s The Hunger is pretty impressive. I couldn’t put this book down; it’s nearly 400 pages long and I finished it in less than a day. Even more impressively, The Hunger is a horror novel, and I tend to be kinda rough on horror novels. The scariest book I ever read was a nonfiction book about the Dust Bowl (I am not remotely kidding) and on the rare occasions that I find a horror novel that actually scares me I tend to promote them heavily.

You might imagine, given all of that, that a historical fiction about the Donner Party that tosses some supernatural complications into the story might be right up my alley, and man, you’d be all sorts of right. Don’t get me wrong; I think Katsu probably could have played this book perfectly straight and still written a hell of a novel if she’d wanted to, but taking what was already a nightmare hellscape of a setting and tossing in what isn’t quite a zombie story but is still certainly in the neighborhood ended up creating one hell of an engrossing story. Katsu bounces back and forth between half-a-dozen or so narrators from the caravan (which was, at the beginning, nearly 100 people strong) and from my brief research into the actual events of the time, does a decent job of keeping at least the important parts of her narrative close to what actually happened.

(I mean, monsters. She adds monsters. I’m pretty sure the monsters weren’t there originally. But it’s still decent historical fiction nonetheless, I think.)

So, yeah: this book is about terrible things happening to regular people, and some of the terrible things are kind of their own damn fault but most of them are because frontier-era America was legitimately dangerous as hell, and Katsu keeps the tension so thick for most of the book that you want to wipe it off your fingers when you’re done reading. She’s got a genuine gift for setting a scene and a hell of a talent for just keeping everything creepy; this book isn’t a jump-scare sort of thing, but the type of book that’s gonna worm its way into your head while you’re reading and stay there a while. There’s a good chance of seeing this one on my Best of 2019 list at the end of the year. Check it out.

STATION IDENTIFICATION: Infinitefreetime.com

I’m Luther Siler.  I’m an author.  Welcome to my blog, infinitefreetime.com.

I’ve written several books you might be interested in, ranging from short story collections to near-future science fiction to fantasy space opera to nonfiction, all available as ebooks or in print from Amazon.  Autographed books can be ordered straight from me as well.

I can be found in several different places on the Internet.  Here are the important ones:

  • Support me on Patreon!  Just a dollar a month gets you access to exclusive stories, early access to new books as they come out, and more!  $2 or more a month gets you access to CLICK, an entire exclusive book!
  • You can follow me on Twitter, @nfinitefreetime, here or just click the “follow” button on the right side of the page.  Warning: Twitter is where Politics Luther hangs out, and Politics Luther is usually angry and profane.  I generally follow back if I can tell you’re a human being.
  • My author page on Goodreads is here. I accept any and all friend requests.
  • My official Author page on Amazon is located here.
  • Feel free to Like the (sadly underutilized) Luther Siler Facebook page here.  It’s mostly used as a reblogger for posts.
  • And, of course, you’re already at infinitefreetime.com, my blog.  You can click here to be taken to a random post.

Thanks for reading!

Prostetnic hi-res cropped

On my life of luxury

Now that we are … y’know, pool people, and now that it’s starting to be warm enough that actually using the thing without freezing to death is a possibility, man, this was the right call. It’s still cold, mind you– I actually had to kick the boy out after a while because he lacks his father’s insulating layers of body hair and fat and the shivering was getting to the point where I felt like it was probably kind of dangerous. But man, it has been nice the two or three times I’ve been able to use it this week. Seriously consider getting yourself one of these things if you have a few hundred dollars to spare and some level lawn space, y’all. Life-changing.

My wife is leaving me and heading off to Boston to do work stuff for a week, so it’ll just be the boy and I around here for the next several days. My goal is that the two of us not spend the entire time playing video games. I have actually done pretty well in sticking to the goals I set at the beginning of this week. I’m a little bit behind on the wordcount I wanted, which will surprise absolutely no one, but it’s at least happening. Which is progress, right? Feel free to encourage me to continue by buying a book if you’re so inclined. They’re cheap!

The goal right now is to have enough written by InConJunction in a couple of weeks that reading an excerpt at some point is a viable possibility. I don’t know for sure if I’m going to have a panel schedule or not, but I volunteered for a bunch of them so there ought to be something. I will keep everyone updated, of course.

On the best possible use of my time

The book doesn’t have a real title or a cover and only has like 1400 words right now but hell let’s spend an hour fiddling around with title logos just because. Why not, right?

STATION IDENTIFICATION: Infinitefreetime.com

I’m Luther Siler.  I’m an author.  Welcome to my blog, infinitefreetime.com.

I’ve written several books you might be interested in, ranging from short story collections to near-future science fiction to fantasy space opera to nonfiction, all available as ebooks or in print from Amazon.  Autographed books can be ordered straight from me as well.

I can be found in several different places on the Internet.  Here are the important ones:

  • Support me on Patreon!  Just a dollar a month gets you access to exclusive stories, early access to new books as they come out, and more!  $2 or more a month gets you access to CLICK, an entire exclusive book!
  • You can follow me on Twitter, @nfinitefreetime, here or just click the “follow” button on the right side of the page.  Warning: Twitter is where Politics Luther hangs out, and Politics Luther is usually angry and profane.  I generally follow back if I can tell you’re a human being.
  • My author page on Goodreads is here. I accept any and all friend requests.
  • My official Author page on Amazon is located here.
  • Feel free to Like the (sadly underutilized) Luther Siler Facebook page here.  It’s mostly used as a reblogger for posts.
  • And, of course, you’re already at infinitefreetime.com, my blog.  You can click here to be taken to a random post.

Thanks for reading!

Prostetnic hi-res cropped