Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blake's Run

I'm reading a thriller called RUN by Blake Crouch, and it occurs to me that
the difference between science fiction and other genres is a matter of degree as
regards the reader's suspension of disbelief.
Here’s Blake's pitch:
Picture this: A landscape of American genocide...
5  d a y s  a g o
A rash of bizarre murders swept the country…
Senseless.  Brutal.  Seemingly unconnected. 
A cop walked into a nursing home and unloaded his weapons on elderly and staff alike. 
A mass of school shootings. 
Prison riots of unprecedented brutality. 
Mind-boggling acts of violence in every state.
4  d a y s  a g o
The murders increased ten-fold…
3  d a y s  a g o
The President addressed the nation and begged for calm and peace…
2  d a y s  a g o
The killers began to mobilize…
Y e s t e r d a y
All the power went out…
T o n i g h t
They’re reading the names of those to be killed on the Emergency Broadcast System.  
You are listening over the battery-powered radio on your kitchen table, and they’ve 
just read yours.
Your name is Jack Colclough.  You have a wife, a daughter, and a young son.  
You live in Albuquerque , New Mexico . People are coming to your house to kill you 
and your family.  You don’t know why, but you don’t have time to think about that 
any more. 
You only have time to….
One would only have to change or add two or three words, and this could just as
well be the pitch for an imaginary sequel to ALIENS, for example.
(That comment is not intended to pejorative.)
Blake Crouch adds in his note to reviewers and fans:
This isn’t horror in the same way DRACULAS was...this is a story about a family thrown into a nightmare none of us could fathom and how they pull together to try and survive. This is a fast, scary, pedal-to-the metal ride, but it has a real heart beating at its core. It’s about a family’s love under the worst conditions imaginable. I’ve been working on this book for over two years, between other projects, and I’m more excited about it than anything I’ve ever written.
An interesting, anchoring technique that Blake Crouch uses, and that I think would adapt well to
science fiction is his use of real quotations from historical figures such as

"There's no decent place to stand in a massacre."
~Leonard Cohen

Crouch also makes great use of imaginary reportage from realistic-sounding newspapers.

1 comment:

  1. Well, in that case, I would hope to be armed. And no, it isn't too far fetched. I can foresee the day when we'll need a sniper up on the tower to protect the family's food supply.

    Funny how nobody writes this gritty, could-be-reality rather than futuristic everything's-okay-just-different post apocalyptic fiction. Maybe it's too close to the truth?

    Then again, some folks think the economy is improving. People can live in a world of suspended fiction every day if they want to.