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"Wolverton Station" by Joe Hill short story review

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Not gonna lie, this story's a weird one. I'd say it's neck and neck with "Here There Be Tygers" in terms of out and out strangeness.

The plot centers around a man who gets trapped on a train with a bunch of wolfmen. Oddly enough, not all of them are the savages that you'd expect. In fact, the first one the main character encounters is rather hoity-toity and speaks with an English accent.

At first, it's implied that the wolf is just a guy in a costume, but it turns out to be all too real. The nature of the wolves is never explained and we don't really get to see others react to the phenomenon. One woman on the train does get killed, but outside of that, people don't seem too fazed by what's happening.

The main character isn't the most likable guy in the world, but he has enough humanity that you want to see him get out of the situation. He's one of those cutthroat corporate types, which could easily rub some people the wrong way. If nothing else, it was fascinating to see him try to come up with justifications for his worldview.

Where he really shines is during his conversation with the aforementioned highbrow wolf. The two get into it and the wolf lectures him about the American way, looking down his nose at it. The guy has none of it and actually curses the wolfman out. It was kind of awesome.

Now, when you find yourself trapped on a train with wolfmen, your first instinct is to get off the train. Sure enough, this does come up. It's initially a problem as he has a while before the next stop, but he makes it and manages to get off the train.

Fortunately, this isn't where it ends. It would have been one of the biggest anti-climaxes ever if he had simply walked off the train and went about his business. There's more and it ends with an appropriately dramatic twist.

This story is bizarre and that's what makes it work. It's just such a weird concept. It's played straight enough, but it also embraces the ridiculousness of the situation. I'm not sure if there's enough material here for a cinematic adaptation, but at the same time, I want to see it brought to film. I have a feeling it would be a blast.

It's a quick, fun read and at 99 cents, you can't ask for a better bargain. Alas, there is no preview of Hill's next novel, or any preview of anything for that matter, but I usually glossed over those anyway, so it wasn't that much of a detriment.

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