Sometimes you get a book or one is recommended to you and you read the synopsis and you cringe and you just don’t want to tell the person that–“No, this book just really is not for me. Thanks, anyway.” You probably feel guilty or pained because it means a lot to the person and it really would make them happy for you to show an interest in the thing that they enjoy, but try as you might, you just can’t imagine this book in your lifetime, or for that fact, the next one either. This book had no true blaring faults when I read the synopsis, but when I read it I worried I might be having that feeling because it would be a “boy-centric” Sci-fi. BUT I WAS WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! It was sort of “boy-centric”story but I totally got into this book and loved it hard.
Stan Morris’s Surviving The Fog begins with a group of youths between the ripe ages of twelve and eighteen spending a three week stay at a summer camp retreat in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California for an abstinence camp. They are there to learn about different birth control methods but ultimately to make a pact when faced with a sexual situation to take the high road and abstain. But shortly into their stay the Admin of the camp and the Counselors go lost and never return leaving roughly fifty youths with one counselor whose mental stability quickly devolves leaving them all alone. Knowing something very wrong has occurred thirteen year old Mike and his friend sixteen year old John attempt to make contact with the outside. When this fails they spearhead taking control of the camp before things get out of hand. It takes a while before a hierarchy is established but when it does, it is thirteen year old Mike who is the “Chief” of those left in the camp.
When I started the book I had the odd feeling I was dealing with the set up of a 1980’s slasher film. The young adults, isolated with the ominous feeling of impending suspenseful doom. Danger awaiting them and always a threat. After a couple of threats that feeling disappeared and something reminiscent of a happy telling of Lord of the Flies came to mind. Once it really got rolling I wanted more and more to keep going. I really didn’t want to put it down.
A whole lot happens in this book from point ‘A’ to ‘B’ and a good deal of detailed steps that add many dimensions to the large cast of young adult characters. Eventually, they come into contact with more people and their camp becomes the village of Petersburg–named for one of the founding members who helped establish peace at the camp at the start of the story. The happenings during the expansion will disturb many readers brought up in the black and white societal view delineating when a child becomes an adult. Also probably rural and urban upbringing will see the relationships that occur in this book differently as well. Many people will be offended or have argument with the later portion of the story.
This story is a rather romantic view of communal living as a best possible outcome. Stan Morris’s character’s faith in human goodness and their ability to do what is best for one another in the face of a crisis is the vehicle that carries the story. For the most part the encounters with inhumanity that occur within the book are met with swift and severe punishment. It’s the very definition of dura lex sed lex, the law is hard, but it is the law. However, in a times when humanity is tested, inhumanity will gather its forces. I really felt that there should have been a great deal more grief and strife. More uprising and usurping of power. The history of man does not really show a history of peace. Most of man’s time on earth has been spent in bloodshed and a thirst for domination.
The book had many issues which need a tune up. As good as the novel is it is just a little too long; it needed to be edited down just a bit so it wasn’t so heavy to shoulder. I had no real beef with the simple writing style. Many might complain that Stan Morris’s writing is too basic or undeveloped but for this book. The narrative being that of a thirteen year old boy, I truly thought he hit the nail on the head. The novel was too male centric and desperately needed to be balanced by more active respected female characters. I also felt that despite the pairing of couples that there never seemed to be any rhyme or reason for those relationships. I think he could have worked on developing a better psychological connection between them so it wasn’t as dry and clinical as it came across.
I wish I knew of books to compare this too but in my mind it really stands alone. I do recommend it and I’m suggesting it as a Weekend Pick Me Up but this one is one for a snowy or rainy weekend where you need to be taken away and forget this world for a little time.
Stan Morris’s Book: Surviving The Fog – Kathy’s Recollections
Kathy’s Recollections is about a group of teenagers attending a camp in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The camp was designed to preach abstinence and teach methods of birth control. After a week, the cell phones are not connecting, and the mail has not been delivered, so the camp administrator and most of the counselors leave for a short visit to a nearby convenience store. They never return. After another week it become clear to one boy that something has gone seriously wrong in the world. Then the campers discover that they are surrounded by a mysterious brown fog that appears to cover the earth below 6,700 feet. The story is narrated by fourteen year old Kathy. She focuses on their efforts to survive the elements, outsiders, and each other.
Book Trailer: Surviving The Fog – Kathy’s Recollections
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