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Stormland

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They call it Stormland: a sprawling, largely abandoned region of the southeastern coast of the USA, where climate change’s extreme weather conditions have brought about a “perfect storm” of perpetual tempests; where hurricane-strength storms return day after day, 365 days a year. The heart of Stormland is Charleston, South Carolina, a flooded ruin where hundreds of people r They call it Stormland: a sprawling, largely abandoned region of the southeastern coast of the USA, where climate change’s extreme weather conditions have brought about a “perfect storm” of perpetual tempests; where hurricane-strength storms return day after day, 365 days a year. The heart of Stormland is Charleston, South Carolina, a flooded ruin where hundreds of people remain for their own peculiar reasons; where thugs prey on the weak, and a strangely benevolent cult tries to keep everyone insanely sane. Here, plutocratic evil takes advantage of Stormland’s lawlessness to cultivate a weirdly puppeted theater of cruelty. Swept into the turbulent vortex of Stormland is an unlikely duo—a former serial killer and a former US Marshal—who must work together to bring light to America’s late twenty-first century heart of darkness. A cyberpunk detective thriller set in a maelstrom of climatic upheaval, classism, and corrupt power, Stormland paradoxically dramatizes the resilience of the human spirit.


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They call it Stormland: a sprawling, largely abandoned region of the southeastern coast of the USA, where climate change’s extreme weather conditions have brought about a “perfect storm” of perpetual tempests; where hurricane-strength storms return day after day, 365 days a year. The heart of Stormland is Charleston, South Carolina, a flooded ruin where hundreds of people r They call it Stormland: a sprawling, largely abandoned region of the southeastern coast of the USA, where climate change’s extreme weather conditions have brought about a “perfect storm” of perpetual tempests; where hurricane-strength storms return day after day, 365 days a year. The heart of Stormland is Charleston, South Carolina, a flooded ruin where hundreds of people remain for their own peculiar reasons; where thugs prey on the weak, and a strangely benevolent cult tries to keep everyone insanely sane. Here, plutocratic evil takes advantage of Stormland’s lawlessness to cultivate a weirdly puppeted theater of cruelty. Swept into the turbulent vortex of Stormland is an unlikely duo—a former serial killer and a former US Marshal—who must work together to bring light to America’s late twenty-first century heart of darkness. A cyberpunk detective thriller set in a maelstrom of climatic upheaval, classism, and corrupt power, Stormland paradoxically dramatizes the resilience of the human spirit.

45 review for Stormland

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    Without spoiling it for anyone, I'll just go ahead and confirm that the blurb on this book is right on target for what you should expect. Storms, storms, storms. What you should also expect is chaos. Lots of floating bodies. A technothriller with cyberpunk aspects perfectly in line with John Shirley's earlier novels, but rather than taking a revolutionary tack, this feels more like a survival/mystery/thriller. The chaos is much more than the storms, although they also feature very prominently. I w Without spoiling it for anyone, I'll just go ahead and confirm that the blurb on this book is right on target for what you should expect. Storms, storms, storms. What you should also expect is chaos. Lots of floating bodies. A technothriller with cyberpunk aspects perfectly in line with John Shirley's earlier novels, but rather than taking a revolutionary tack, this feels more like a survival/mystery/thriller. The chaos is much more than the storms, although they also feature very prominently. I will say, right off the bat, that if you like the complicated and deeply detailed styles of Sean Stewart's Galveston or the feel of some of Tim Power's darker, modern-placed novels, then I can promise you that you'll probably enjoy this very much. As for the story's conclusion, leaving aside spoilers, I'm not entirely sure I believe the kind of partnership, but there are plenty of internal reasons why it ought to work, so I'm not complaining that much. I prefer good cyberpunk chaos anyway. Nothing says that unlikely friendships CAN'T happen. It certainly happens here.

  2. 4 out of 5

    David Agranoff

    Check out the interview I did with the author for the (PK)Dickheads podcast https://soundcloud.com/dickheadspodca... This is the kind of review that can turn into a bit of a history lesson unintentionally. I know many of you will not need a refresher on the award-winning novelist and screenwriter John Shirley. His most famous project is probably the classic Brandon Lee goth action movie the Crow, it was Shirley that gave Eric a guitar after all. I am sure many readers have been coming to Shirley i Check out the interview I did with the author for the (PK)Dickheads podcast https://soundcloud.com/dickheadspodca... This is the kind of review that can turn into a bit of a history lesson unintentionally. I know many of you will not need a refresher on the award-winning novelist and screenwriter John Shirley. His most famous project is probably the classic Brandon Lee goth action movie the Crow, it was Shirley that gave Eric a guitar after all. I am sure many readers have been coming to Shirley in the last few years because of his tie-in work where he elevated franchises like Predator and Hellblazer with really above-average tie-in novels. That said Shirley had decades of producing short stories and novels that were groundbreaking enough that William Gibson blamed him as cyberpunk patient zero in his introduction to his Science Fiction Masterpiece City-Come-A- Walkin. Shirley’s return to the novel let alone a Science Fiction one is a welcome relief. The last novel we got from Shirley was the criminally underrated historical western Wyatt in Witcha about the young Wyatt Earp in 2014. This was one year after his fantastical after-life mystery Doyle After Death, the last time we got some speculative fiction from Shirley in the novel form. It was clear with those two novels John was chasing passion projects and the silence on the novel front only led to an active time in short stories, novellas, and more importantly punk rock. With a move back to Shirley’s native Pacific Northwest he re-united with some of the musicians he played with during the pioneer days of Portland punk rock to form a new band the Screaming Geezers. We got a full-length CD and before COVID they were gigging in Portland including opening for Blue Oyster Cult. With the John Shirley special issue of Weird Book last year, we got a taste of Lovecraftian and Jack Vance-influenced fantasy. Those short works showed that JS was still operating at the master level despite his focus being on his Rock and Roll. So Stormland is a welcome return to form that sees John Shirley slipping back into three subgenres he is none for all at once. The political Science Fiction novel with environmental and cyberpunk themes. This is not the first high concept environmental novel from JS, the novel this most reminds me of is his 2002 novel Demons. That novel is about massive environmental disasters that are used by evil corporations to raise evil demonic creatures. Stormland in the same way has a very thin line between serious horror and tension and light social satire. I should not have to remind people but not all satire is funny. JS recently did this in a novella published in the Outspoken author series about Arizona being turned into a privately run prison. The savage social critic that revolutionized Sci-fi in 1978 with a novel about Cities developing a soul and defending themselves is back. He is not wearing dog collars to conventions but the wiser and sharper writer that wrote Stormland is firing on all cylinders. Set in a future South Carolina that is constantly battered by climate change-driven tropical storms Stormland presents an exaggerated to clarify the future. That said the science behind the wariming of the Atlantic waters is a hell of a lot more possible than many tropes in so-called hard sci-fi that hand wave away plenty of nonsense. The very idea that anyone would choose to stay there is hard to wrap your mind around. At the same time, the novel explores not just the climate future but the future of how we interface with technology seen through this bizarro setting. “The Amazon forests?” Webb asked, opening the medicine box. He looked at the label, then put a med patch on his arm. “Yes, yes, the forests. Mostly gone, turned into savannah and gold mines and palm oil plantations and beef ranches. Oh yes. The natural moisture pump is gone, don’t you know? Far more moisture gathers out over the sea instead, along with the growing heat, and that increases wind shear. And then . . . then . . . Why, the Gulf Stream weakening as the ice caps melt . . . Of course, that’s a good way north of here but it’s all one system, domino effect of weather cells, do you see . . .” His eyes lost focus; his voice drifted away.” The novel never gets bogged down in the science of it, but there is enough to carry the story. The power of the storm is always there in the background, like the howling winds that rattles the windows. There are lulls but the storms constantly batter the coast but the power is such that you can't entirely get used to them. Stormland has become a place people have adapted to because they have no choice. Who would stay in New Orleans in the post Katrina world? Who would stay if Katrina kept happening? John Shirley is using speculative fiction to remind a part of the world this may be something they ask themselves soon. “But this was Stormland. There was always another front coming remorselessly at the coast. A Category Four was coming from the mid-Atlantic, angling to cross their northward flight path. The Butcher Bird should be turned inland to try to dodge the worst of it. But Noel Leuman had insisted they stay on this course. Leuman was a stormrider.” Cory Leuman and his father fly in to the area as storm riders, Daryl Webb, an ex-marshall hired to track down a killer in the storm zone. Gerald is there for reasons I don’t want to spoil. There are the people who are there because they have nowhere else to go, thrill seekers who host experiencers who streamed from the outside world by VR and several other neat ideas. The sad reality is there are just people with no where else, no escape because of money and circumstance. A lot of the most cutting and intense aspects of satire happen in sub-plots and moments of world-building. The privatized FBI is probably the most direct obvious example of Shirley in social satire mode. “Whenever it was over, I was supremely depressed. Finally—I turned myself in to Justice Incorporated.” The name Justice Incorporated always nettled Webb. He could remember when it was a bureau. The FBI.” Drug-dealers, Medicated ex-serial killers being used for clinical studies of anti-psychotics, and thrill-seeker online avatars the population of Stormland is made of interesting and remarkable characters. In the hands of a less skilled writer they could become cartoons of themselves. The tension between the characters is well executed with quickfire dialogue but the unspoken elements of making the story crawl under the reader's skin were done with skill. One aspect of the writing I found most impressive was the way the never-ending storm built-up and drove the narrative in a series of storms and cycles as they doing in the world of the book. I love how JS built the suspense with tiny details ranging from slow-spreading crack in submarines and to the feeling of tilting buildings. The reader certainly feels as though they spent time in Stormland. “Supposedly, it was dawn. He shook his head. Was this what really passed for dawn around here? It was dark as coffee with a few drops of skim milk as they filed along the concrete strip under the veiled, hissing sky. He wore a loaned rain slicker, but the rain worked its way in at his collar and cuffs, making his legs and upper back wet.” And “Isa looked out a porthole. Cory looked too, and they watched a hefty piece of weighty debris fall by, so coated with slime mold it was unrecognizable. It missed them by inches as it spun downward, trailing bubbles. “Out here,” she said, “it’s better if the boat’s computer pilots us. It reacts faster than people. Sees farther ahead.” Stormland is a warning novel no different from classics like Alas, Babylon or On the beach. The issue at hand is the temperature in the Atlantic ocean. The linage is more directly connected to the eco-Science Fiction of John Brunner's bleak horror novel The Sheep Look Up. The best we can hope for is the world moves to avoid this fate. “You haven’t been here that long. Just wait. I don’t go for it either, but who’s in charge of Stormland, really? The perpetual storm system is! We crawl around under it hoping it doesn’t stomp us. These people feel like they’ve got to appease it. Easy to get superstitious in all that. Desperate people can go for magical thinking pretty easily, Webb.” After a thoughtful pause, he went on, “A lot of folks around here believe that one day the storms will pass. From what I’ve heard, it might take a century for the cycle to finally stop. The storm system here is—it’s like the red spot on Jupiter, with what we’ve done to the planet. The big storm had to settle somewhere.” Stormland is a welcome return of the master of social satire science fiction with a razor-sharp punk edge. It is a fierce and angry book that confronts climate change with the proper venom the topic needs. It is written with skill and a quality of prose that will remind you quickly how strong of a voice John Shirley has honed over the years. It is not to far from tone and attitude he expresses with a rock and roll beat. It is every bit as urgent. A must science fiction read for 2021.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandy S

    4.25 stars--STORMLAND by John Shirley is a near-future, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk detective thriller set in the year 2039. Told from third person perspective following several intersecting paths STORMLAND focuses on what was once Charleston, South Carolina and the eastern seaboard of the USA. An environmental apocalypse has rendered the eastern seaboard inhospitable and mostly under water as daily hurricanes and storms ravage the shores and the remaining few who are willing to fight but 4.25 stars--STORMLAND by John Shirley is a near-future, sci-fi, post-apocalyptic, cyberpunk detective thriller set in the year 2039. Told from third person perspective following several intersecting paths STORMLAND focuses on what was once Charleston, South Carolina and the eastern seaboard of the USA. An environmental apocalypse has rendered the eastern seaboard inhospitable and mostly under water as daily hurricanes and storms ravage the shores and the remaining few who are willing to fight but those who remain behind are caught up in a game controlled by the rich and powerful, leaving a trail of dead bodies in their wake. Enter former US Marshall Darryl Webb, who has been tasked with returning an escaped serial killer, a killer who is unlike anyone Darryl has ever met. As the number of bodies increase, Webb and his Stormland counterpart Gerald, begin to notice a pattern, including a physical injury between the victims. STORMLAND is a story of power and control; of manipulation and murder; of nano-technology and mind control. John Shirley pulls the reader into a dark, edgy world of constant storms, and haunting virtual realities. The tragic few who remain struggle to survive against the odds, odds that worsen as technology, designer synthetic drugs, and the collapse of the city begin to take its’ toll. The character driven premise though provoking, gritty and edgy; the characters are tragic, desperate and wounded. www.thereadingcafe.com

  4. 5 out of 5

    BreeAnn (She Just Loves Books)

    I love a good post-apocalyptic story, and I completely got one in Stormland! I loved that the story made me feel the danger from the weather, from the travel, and from the people. It created a heart racing, edge-of-your-seat roller-coaster ride that I didn't want to get off of. I really enjoyed the characters. They fill the story out. The storm is always there, it might get quiet for a bit, but it always comes back, and I felt like I could rely on that throughout the story. The characters though, I love a good post-apocalyptic story, and I completely got one in Stormland! I loved that the story made me feel the danger from the weather, from the travel, and from the people. It created a heart racing, edge-of-your-seat roller-coaster ride that I didn't want to get off of. I really enjoyed the characters. They fill the story out. The storm is always there, it might get quiet for a bit, but it always comes back, and I felt like I could rely on that throughout the story. The characters though, there was so much surprise, change, and growth, it complimented the steadiness of the roaring weather really well. I think that readers that enjoy a sci-fi post-apocalyptic story will really enjoy this one! I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my review voluntarily.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dave C

    I rather enjoyed several of the authors other books. This one had a very different feel to it. Charleston, South Carolina, and the rest of the Southeast, has been decimated by never ending hurricanes and storms. Yet people still live there; refugees from the rest of the world. The streets are flooded, the buildings are compromised and moldy, the rats and crabs eat the debris and the dead and life is generally miserable. Into this vividly described setting, a billionaire and his son crash their hur I rather enjoyed several of the authors other books. This one had a very different feel to it. Charleston, South Carolina, and the rest of the Southeast, has been decimated by never ending hurricanes and storms. Yet people still live there; refugees from the rest of the world. The streets are flooded, the buildings are compromised and moldy, the rats and crabs eat the debris and the dead and life is generally miserable. Into this vividly described setting, a billionaire and his son crash their hurricane surfing jet and a bounty hunter and his guide arrive in search of a missing murderer. In their own ways, they all become important to the folks living there; who are under attack from a billionaire and his desire for the ultimate experience. It takes a while to get into the book as the characters keep arriving from every corner. Things are not clear for a long time in regards to the plot but they do come together quite satisfactorily at the end. Not an enjoyable novel in some respects but quite interesting in others. Worth a read. I received an ARC from NetGalley.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Penny

    I have never read a book by this author, so I really didn’t know what to expect. It was only about a third of the way into this that I found who this author was and his accomplishments. Anyway, this book was a storm-filled, atmospheric-loaded thriller of how the spirit of humanity lives on even when in the worst of situations. Webb starts out his job of finding a killer and ends up realizing that people kill for many reasons when put in a no-win situation. I am not a huge fan of post-apocalyptic I have never read a book by this author, so I really didn’t know what to expect. It was only about a third of the way into this that I found who this author was and his accomplishments. Anyway, this book was a storm-filled, atmospheric-loaded thriller of how the spirit of humanity lives on even when in the worst of situations. Webb starts out his job of finding a killer and ends up realizing that people kill for many reasons when put in a no-win situation. I am not a huge fan of post-apocalyptic books, but this one was very good. The author was a master at making the reader feel everything that was going on around the characters even if sometimes I didn’t know the characters as well as I would have liked. This is a standalone well-worth a read. Recommend. I was provided a complimentary copy which I voluntarily reviewed.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    I liked this a lot. Shirley used the relentless barrage of hurricanes as a perfect constant atmospheric tool. The dynamics of the characters was well done and used so effectively within the environmental setting. Great plot. This so much felt like the movies Dark City or Blade Runner. I could not stop reading. Great book. Highly recommended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Richard Driftmeier

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tiane

  10. 5 out of 5

    David

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lira

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ronronia Adramelek

  14. 5 out of 5

    Justin Loring

  15. 5 out of 5

    Brock

  16. 5 out of 5

    GreenBlueSpiral

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jim

  18. 4 out of 5

    Betsy

  19. 4 out of 5

    Zachary Krishef

  20. 5 out of 5

    Cristiano

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

  22. 4 out of 5

    Loulou

  23. 5 out of 5

    Riley

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rodney

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jedipagan

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marize

  27. 5 out of 5

    BookSloth

  28. 4 out of 5

    Spasticnontastic

  29. 4 out of 5

    WillowRaven

  30. 5 out of 5

    DB in Richmond

  31. 4 out of 5

    Chris Huntley

  32. 4 out of 5

    Alex

  33. 5 out of 5

    Stefan

  34. 4 out of 5

    Mike Dean

  35. 4 out of 5

    Sylvie

  36. 4 out of 5

    Kate (Feathered Turtle Press)

  37. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Angle-boyer

  38. 4 out of 5

    OutlawPoet

  39. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Overby

  40. 4 out of 5

    Hyzie

  41. 5 out of 5

    Ryelan McDonough

  42. 4 out of 5

    Eiva King

  43. 5 out of 5

    Susan Tunis

  44. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Gault

  45. 4 out of 5

    Cat

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