After what I assuredly deem to be a sickening amount of away time, Revisiting Strange Matter is officially BACK! I know; you can all breathe now. Feel that collective sigh of relief? Good. I've been getting a few messages from fellow Strange Matter fans and it's so awesome to hear from you guys! Keep the messages coming, don't be afraid to post comments, subscribe and start "following" the blog, and if you're stopping by the site for the first time, drop me an email and we'll talk!
New reviews will be coming soon, and today, with much pleasure, I am happy to introduce the first of what I hope to be many guest bloggers on Revisiting Strange Matter. His name is Sean and he's a fellow Engle and Barnes fan. He's here to tell you a little about how he got started with the series, and his first guest review is currently in the editing process and will be up for your reading pleasure soon. Enjoy, and keep things strange!
- The Strangest Blogger, Mitch
Hello folks! Guest Reviewer Sean "SmokedToast" O'Dell reporting in. :) Like Mitch, I got pulled into the strangely vast web that was the Fairfield universe as a child. A lot of my favorite memories regarding book stores were related to coming in and looking for the familiar format of the Strange Matter book covers, ready to find out which monstrosity would pop up next. Even then, my first major 'web browsing' was related to the series. I'd been visiting my dad in upper Wisconsin and ran into a local internet cafe that had opened. It's taken me a few days to find a copy of the site still online so I could revisit the appearance of Frank Dunk, amongst the other Strange Matter regulars.
What I think that Engle and Barnes "got" that a lot of other series missed out on was that there were more then two ways to produce a shared universe. Most childrens' horror books at that time seemed to have two trains of thought on the subject. They'd either minimize the amount of relation between books by saying it was the same location and that 'weird stuff happens here' but not really touch on the particular phenomena, except for the rare book... or they would focus on one group of kids throughout the whole series with the occasional guest star. Strange Matter broke that mold by having good character development, even across multiple books.
Many of the kids became experts, or at least as much as a young adult could become in the initial paranormal situations they premiered in. There were as many cameos as one would expect from events happening in a single town. There were even indirect sequels to previous books--not a case of Monster Blood 1 through 4, per se--but more along the lines of that we would visit upon other characters and learn how the previous books had altered their lives. It really made it feel like the authors were passionate about their work and wanted to make this a lasting universe to play in.
My first book for review is a clear example of what I mean by the cohesiveness, at least when read before the book Doorway to Doom. It is a Place to Hide, starring Trey Porter.