Aaron Bunce's Reviews > Boom Town

Boom Town by Glenn Rolfe
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it was amazing

Boomtowns sprung up across America in the mid-19th century, usually focused around concentrations of natural resources. Ironically enough, Glenn Rolfe’s science fiction novella Boom Town shares the same name, but for a different reason. Or, is it? Rolfe has injected some subtle themes throughout. Ones which will undoubtedly keep your gears turning well after you finish reading.

Born of equal parts “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”, “Fire in the Sky”, and “The Blob”, Boom Town sets out to forge its own distinctive mark with science fiction and horror fans. It starts out in the year 1979 (the year I was born, yes, I was probably dropped here on earth by the same aliens) in small town Eckert, Wisconsin. There was an encounter of the unidentified flying object variety. A strange craft hovered over Hollers Hill, and subsequently blasted a blue beam into the ground. Strange rumblings have shaken the town ever since.

Fast forward to present day Eckert as we pick up with young Brady Carmichael, and his best-friend Kim Jenner. They feel like your average pre-teens. They go to school, they have their special haunts, and they may or may not hold secret flames for each other. Brady and Kim are both great characters. They are complicated and deep, Brady especially. His history of tragedy and loss guides his actions and makes him an incredibly compelling character.

The face of evil is well represented. Locals, contaminated by the mysterious blue slop, begin carrying out foreign desires “Take them. Bring them. Ascend”. They’re actions are savage, brutal, but not without reason. The alien presence behind the scenes in Eckert has designs. It has a plan. But what is the strange alien goop? Why does it affect Brady so differently than other people? What does it mean by ascend? Oh the mystery. If you are like me, you will undoubtedly be left grasping at the meaning behind it all. Grasping at what this alien intrusion into Eckert, Wisconsin means to the small town’s people, but in a broader sense for mankind in general.

Rolfe utilizes the short word count masterfully, spinning efficient prose into a science fiction amusement park ride that will leave you tapping the next page button at the end. But thanks to the story’s oblique nature we are left to ponder much on our own. Some readers will undoubtedly be seeking tidy conflict resolution, an ending which ties it all together with a bow so you can cleanly move on to the next story. But that was not Rolfe’s design here, and I have to say it is what I loved most about Boom Town. It engaged my imagination, and upped the sense of dread and foreboding. It left me with more questions than answers. In short, it kept me thinking long after I had finished reading. Who knows, Maybe Rolfe will journey back into the Boom Town universe in the future. I can say that if he does, I will readily, no eagerly, dive back in. If you are a fan of science fiction, horror, thrillers, or fiction in general, I highly recommend that you pick up Boom Town and give it a read!
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Reading Progress

April 16, 2015 – Started Reading
April 16, 2015 – Shelved
April 16, 2015 –
10.0%
April 27, 2015 –
10.0% "74"
April 27, 2015 –
page 74
91.36%
April 27, 2015 – Finished Reading

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