Went running again tonight. Cold, windy, dark night. I think part of what drives me to keep running at this point is just how creepy it is to listen to Brian Keene's book, Darkness On The Edge Of Town, as I run. (Discussed HERE)
The plot revolves around a town that wakes up to discover the sun has failed to come up. In fact, the sky itself is just inky black. At the edge of town the darkness intensifies -- and those who wander into it never come back. The darkness is held at bay by strange writings on the ground.
I both really like and dislike this book! I get weary of all the drug use. And the motif of the crazy homeless guy who is actually very deep -- the only one who really knows what's going on -- is a well worn story line. Keene goes to some effort to make his lone Christian character a loon. Not the interesting kind of loon, like Mother Carmady from the Mist, or the Westboro bunch from real life. This lady is just -- a edgy, unlikable and paranoid.
Why do I keep reading? Because I'm scared. And fear is a great motivator! I want to know what happens. Though the book opens with a promise that it isn't going to give a conclusion.
At one point the main character gets a group of people to try an experiment How about they make a chain and wander out into the darkness to see what's out there. The idea is that if trouble arises, they can just pull each other back. Good idea, right? NO! Dumb idea! The problem with dumb ideas in a novel is that the novelist doesn't have enough other real voices near him to say, "Hey, real people would never ever never ever sign on to this! Never ever." Nope -- like lambs lead to the slaughter, people show up to hold hands and walk into the darkness. Darkness where dead people call for them to come. Darkness where everyone who has entered has not returned. Sure! Hold hands and go on in -- that's a good idea.
So where did this idea come from? THE MIST!
"Yo" T hopped up on the hood of the car with me, speaking quietly so that no one else would hear. "We ain't no punks, but we ain't stupid either. Ain't you ever seen The Mist?"Well, they do agree to go, because our narrator offers them drugs. Of course! You'll wander into the depths of darkness for weed.
"Yeah," I admitted. That's kind of where I got the idea from."
"Well, if you saw that movie, then you know . . . how it turned out for those people. Ain't no way me and my boys are going out into that... Know what I'm saying?"
Did you get where the great idea to line up as a chain and wander into the darkness came from? The Mist! Not that there isn't fair warning. In the Mist it didn't turn out well, so of course it's a good idea to try it here! So ideas from the world of Stephen King are spilling over into Mr. Keene's books and going to get people killed over there, too.
It's like Stephen King is now killing off characters in other people's books!
All this might make you think I don't like the book. So I must whole heartedly emphasize just how much I am enjoying this little novel. I really don't know where Keene is going with this.