by Steve Rosenstein
I finally got a copy of Sean M. Thompson’s Hate From The Sky (2016, Eraserhead Press) and sat down to read it. The caveat here is that this is my first foray into the Bizarro genre, so forgive me if my criteria are off. Superficially, this book is what it says, a guy, Kyle, is hated for an unknown reason by the actual Sky; not an anthropomorphic deity or sky god, but the actual sky. And as the sky is literally omnipresent and somewhat malicious, Kyle is bullied throughout the book, with the Sky throwing pretty much everything it can at Kyle, slowly breaking him down and driving him down the path of insanity. It reminded me of the film After Hours as the more Kyle tries, the more horrible things get.
On the way there, Thompson blends tropes from several genres, bending them to create a story that, while frightening, displays an almost dead-pan sense of humor. Kyle himself seems to take the horrible situations that he finds himself in and, while despairing, soldiers on, knowing that he has no choice but to try to make amends with the Sky for a slight he doesn’t know that he committed.
One of the things that Thompson does well is to take a situation of cosmic horror, getting harassed by the sky, and personalize it to the point where we can see the ridiculousness of the situation. We’ve all felt the self-important pity that forces beyond our control are out to get us, whether that manifests as an alien super-fiend a la Cthulhu, a slightly malignant universe, or the sky itself, and Thompson shows us the banality of this point of view.
All in all, Hate From The Sky is well worth picking up and at 80 pages, it leaves one wanting more from Thompson, I know I’m looking forward to his next work.