Miscellanea, Reviews

Throttle by Stephen King and Joe Hill

(Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

Do you want to know what’s disappointing? Reviews, in general, are the least popular posts I write, yet they by far require the most thought, time, and effort to put together. If you’re curious, lists are by far my most popular, followed by bookish thoughts and literary mixtapes, with reviews scraping the bottom of the popularity barrel. This is disappointing, because aside from literary mixtapes, they are my favorite to write. But I also like people to read what I write, so…

What’s to be done about it? Do I add in more about television? (Because Sons of Anarchy fans would like the following story…) Do I add in more about films? (Because Steven Spielberg’s first film is involved.) What about classic authors? (Because Richard Matheson’s short story was integral to the creation of this novella.) Or classic rock? (AC/DC…) In short, I really don’t know. Anyway.

Throttle

What do you get when you combine Sons of Anarchy, Richard Matheson, Stephen King and Joe Hill? Throttle, a short story/novella written for the He Is Legend: An Anthology Celebrating Richard Matheson. The story is simple enough, a father and son duo lead a tightly-knit motorcycle gang home after a badly botched drug deal. The relationship between the two – think Clay Morrow and Jax Teller, though reversed – is bitter, caustic, and divisive within the club. At a truck stop diner, they unknowingly offend a long haul trucker. On the desolate highway outside of town, the enraged trucker begins to pick off the bikers, one by one. It’s visceral, bloody, foul-mouthed, and gory. It’s not written to be great literature, it’s written for entertainment. And in that it succeeds.

Throttle was the first collaboration between Stephen King and Joe Hill and is a tribute to Matheson’s Duel  – they’ve since written the fun, yet repulsive In the Tall Grass. Duel, Matheson’s classic story of a psychotic trucker trying to run down a Plymouth Valiant, later became Steven Spielberg’s first film – it was made for television, but well received. Throttle works well as a standalone and while it’s not quite as good as the iconic original, it works well as an homage too. At 47 pages, it is the perfect length, with the  gut-churning action tempered with a bit of heart. For .99 cents, it’s absolutely worth reading. 3.5/5, cover art by Adam Johnson and illustrations by Nelson Daniel. If it’s a story you’ve already read and loved, you might want to check out the comic book adaptation Road Rage: Throttle.

If you blog about books, how do your review posts fare? Which types of posts seem to be your most popular? And finally, did you know that both a homage and an homage are acceptable? The two variants are (currently) equally common.

(Also, is anyone else excited about the rise in biker fiction? I have to admit, despite never having been on a motorcycle, I am appreciative and fascinated.)

 

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  • http://www.acidfreepulp.com Acid Free Pulp

    I, too, see the same thing: my book reviews, which take the most time and energy, are probably the least popular. I have read other bloggers lamenting this fact as well (so you’re not alone). My most popular posts are usually the WP photo challenges and posts about classics (especially, those that might have a limited amount of info online).

    With that said–I love reading your book reviews! (they’re my favorite.) So keep them coming. I have a long plane trip coming up and this might go on the Kindle for the ride. I noticed when Stephen King joined Twitter that about half of the people he followed have something to do with Sons of Anarchy, so this all makes so much more sense now.

    Ah, motorcycles. I always find them frightening in the US, but I went through Switzerland on a motorcycle (where it seems like half the country uses them instead of cars). So much fun and everything cliche about wind in your hair and being free is totally applicable.

    And finally, always, an homage…

    • http://fourthstreetreview.com/ Rory

      I’ve seen the same thing off an on. I try to follow the (personally implemented rule) of one book review, one list/bookish thoughts. I still feel weird when I put things that I more or less think have no substance to them online. Anyway, thank you. It’s nice to know people are reading them.

      One of the reasons I liked this one is because, in addition to liking Matheson, this short story doesn’t try to be better than it is. It’s for fun. I think he guest starred in a Sons of Anarchy episode, so I would say he is probably a fan. I’m trying to get in to Sons of Anarchy, but it is slow going so far.

      I don’t think I’d want to ride on a motorcycle in the US, especially on a highway. It looks far too life threatening. But someday I would like to give it a try.

      And, yes, thank you. A homage…really? No.

  • http://www.fortheloveofwords.net/ Bonnie @ For the Love of Words

    In the Tall Grass and fun in the same sentence? lol I suppose I can see that, just as soon as I get past the repulsed stage. Throttle was definitely entertaining but I have yet to read matheson’s Duel so I’ll have to check that out.

    For the most part, I ONLY post review posts so that could be why my blog is so unpopular. My silly Waiting on Wednesday posts and Top Ten Tuesday when I participate are seemingly my most popular. It’s disappointing because you’re right, review posts take the most time and energy for me too. Oh well. I have noticed more biker fiction lately (unfortunately the most ones I’ve come across have been of the erotica variety) but oh my gosh.. never been on a motorcycle? Tons of fun.

    • http://fourthstreetreview.com/ Rory

      The build up is pretty fun and if gore could be considered fun…

      Biker erotica? Um…

      Your blog and mine can sit at the unpopular table together. I don’t think I’m snarky or funny enough to gain any sort of significant following, which is okay I guess. I do enjoy making pennies a day.

      Someday, I hope to be on a motorcycle. I’m fairly certain I would want to be on the back of the bike, I’m far too afraid to attempt to drive one alone. For what it’s worth, I’m afraid of driving cars too (but do it all the time anyway).

      • http://www.fortheloveofwords.net/ Bonnie @ For the Love of Words

        I live to be at the unpopular table. The only place I’d rather be.

        Oh, I’ve never rode one myself but would really like to learn how. Ever since we condensed down to one car I hardly ever drive and when I do I’m always crazy nervous. I used to love driving though.

  • http://cheapthrillsbookblog.wordpress.com Charleen

    Reviews seem to be the least commented on, but the most searched for. As such, even the ones that get decent page views don’t get many comments since people are just looking for information, not interaction.

    • http://fourthstreetreview.com/ Rory

      My lists get the most searches (by accident I’m sure). I have a few books that get decent search returns, but mine are typically the least viewed and the least commented on – which is fine, just…I don’t know. Disappointing, I guess.

  • http://booksaremyfavouriteandbest.wordpress.com Kate @ booksaremyfavouriteandbest

    Same as Charleen – I get lots of views and searches for reviews but few comments. In comparison, I get the most comments on posts that have lists or where I’m venting about something…

    • http://fourthstreetreview.com/ Rory

      I think my lack of searches/views has to do with the fact that I’ve been reviewing more popular books as of late. If someone looks up Stephen King, I’m fairly certain my blog will be so low in the search results that only the most determined searchers will get there.

      I have a few reviews that are consistently searched, but mostly it’s my lists that do really well (for better or for worse).

  • http://consumedbyink.wordpress.com Naomi

    My blog is mostly made up of reviews, so I can’t very easily compare, but I can say that I don’t get a lot of traffic. I am happy, though, if I can throw a good book someone’s way, bonus if it’s Canadian. You’re right, it can be very time consuming to write reviews, which sometimes has me wondering why I am doing it, but it makes me happy to write down my thoughts

    I love reading your reviews, so don’t stop. They are both entertaining and thorough. I do my best to comment on people’s review posts, because I know how much work and love have been put into them, and it’s one of the reasons I like to highlight my favourite blog posts at the end of each month.

  • http://sowenswrites.com Samantha

    The ‘a’ or ‘an’ is depending on the pronunciation, I’m assuming. :)

    I have this one on my Kindle and I haven’t read it yet. I should, it’s short enough I could finish it pretty quickly. Maybe it’ll be my next one. :)

  • http://thewellreadredhead.com Kelly

    Lately my blog has been about 90% reviews, just because I don’t have time to do anything else these days. Which is too bad, because I keep getting all these amazing ideas for bookish thought posts and whatnot, but there’s just no time to write them. I always make time to write reviews because that IS the primary purpose of my blog, though much like you, I see way less traffic on them than other posts. Ah well. I have to take what I can get these days.

  • http://nishitak.com Nish

    I get the least comments for my book reviews too. The popular ones are the top ten / teaser posts.

    However, I do see that book reviews are searched for long past when they’ve been written. Reviews that I wrote 2-3 years back are still being accessed whereas that’s not the case with the tag posts.

    So, yeah, I think reviews always have value.

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