Blue World, by Robert R. McCammon

paulmoore's review

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adventurous dark mysterious tense fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


A collection of short stories from one of the greatest horror writers around. 

There are too many stories here to review each one (although each one is good enough to be reviewed on its own merit) but I can honestly say it's one of if nor my favourite horror short story collection I've read to date. Only 20th century ghosts by Joe Hill had me as hooked as this one. 

The themes in this book range from creepy to flat out terrifying. It feels like if Ray Bradbury tried to scare the hell out of us with a horror book. Each story gripped me from the start and none felt too long or too short. It's the perfect collection of horrors.

If you've not read any McCammon before then this is a great place to start before you get into the lengthy stuff. An unbelievable talent in horror and this collection deserves to be amongst his best.

Easy 5 stars. 

invisiblemonster's review

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dark mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


charshorrorcorner's review

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Edited 12.27.13 after the third read.
I started off making notes on each story that I thought was above average, as you can see below...

The first story in this collection knocked my socks off. It was eerily reminiscent of an episode of The Twilight Zone. The bees! 5*
Edited: It turns out that this actually WAS a Twilight Zone magazine story in 1986.

The second story, "Makeup" was a tribute to horror films of old, with all kinds of references to a previous Robert McCammon novel, They Thirst. 4*

"Nightcrawlers"-a heavy story about a Nam vet dosed with a chemical named Howdy Doody. 4*
Edited: This was adapted for the small screen by the new Twilight Zone show. You can watch the episode online at You Tube for free here:

Edited to add a few words about the story "Yellachile's Cage". This story is good enough to get its very own mention here. A prison story, slightly reminiscent of The Shawshank Redemption, with its message of hope.

Edited to add a few words about the story "Pin". Apparently, Pin was made into a short film by a student named Christian Frahme. This story was so disturbing I could not bring myself to watch the film. In case you would like to after you read "Pin", here is a link to the film:

"Night Calls the Green Falcon" had me in tears as did the last novella Blue World.

...then I realized that every story is above average in this collection. Well, all but one of these tales strongly resonated with me.

Robert McCammon will forever be one of my favorite authors. No matter the subject, the strength of his writing never fails to show through.

reanne's review

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I don’t read a lot of short story collections, nor have I read this author (who’s mostly a horror author) before, but I was offered a free review copy by Audible and it sounded like it might be interesting, so I gave it a shot. In my opinion, the collection is kind of hit-and-miss, and partly that may just be that horror short stories aren’t my cup of tea, but there were some pretty good stories in here.

I imagine someone who’s a fan of this author and/or a fan of short horror fiction would probably like this. For me, it had its ups and downs, but there were some interesting ideas and sympathetic characters.

My full review is pretty long, so to read the whole thing, including individual reviews for every story in this collection, go to my book review blog.

gengelcox's review

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If you read horror, you'd have to have been in suspended animation not to have heard of Robert McCammon. A veritable writing machine, with bestsellers like They Thirst, Night Boat, Stinger, and Swan Song, the man has virtually rewritten the horror genre from whole cloth. (There are some who say he's rewritten Stephen King and done it better.) His new novel just hit the stands as I write this; called Mine, it has no outlandish or fantastic events, just good old aberrant human psychology. The publisher is hoping that it will appeal to the same people who make Thomas Harris a rich man. I think it's a good bet. McCammon's novels are daunting, though, large and epic, what my buddy Tad Williams would term "Winnebagos of a book" (of course, that's the pot calling the kettle black). Luckily, for those interested in dipping their toes into the McCammon river there's a book that just fits the bill: Blue World, a short story collection including "Nightcrawlers" (which was filmed for the revival of The Twilight Zone), "He'll Come Knocking at Your Door," "Night Calls the Green Falcon," the title novella and nine others. Stories like "Yellowjacket Summer," a cross between King's fog from "The Mist" and that Twilight Zone classic "It's a Good Life" by Jerome Bixby, in which a town is held captive by a lone boy and thousands of stinging insects; the life affirming "Yellachile's Cage," a heartfelt story about prison life and hope; and "The Red House," a story of escape from the small town--literally and figuratively. For those of you that missed the episode of The Twilight Zone in which "Nightcrawlers" aired, run! don't walk to your nearest bookstore and read this story. Instead of giving the story away, let me give you a list of elements diverse and weird, yet all fitting together in this one story: Vietnam, a small Florida diner, nightmares, tourists, ghosts, guilt, fear. And, for those that wonder what makes a good story even better, the best example is the story "Blue World" itself. A priest who learns that lust is something you never rise above, a porn star who discovers real friendship, and a gun-happy star-fucker out to blow away his every fantasy make a strange threesome in this tale of sex, God, and hope. Beginning with all the trappings of the most graphic splatter story ever, it twists in on itself until what you thought wouldn't happen does and what you were afraid might happen, doesn't. McCammon is in complete control, upsetting the applecart of your expectations but serving a fine applesauce with the results.