From bestselling storyteller Orson Scott Card comes a gripping story of terror within a small town. Step Fletcher, his pregnant wife DeAnne, and their three children move to Steuben, North Carolina with high hopes. But Step’s new job with a software company turns out to be a snake pit, and eight-year-old Stevies school is worse. As Stevie retreats into himself, focusing more and more on a mysterious computer game and a growing troop of imaginary friends, the Fletchers’ concern turns to terror. Young boys whose names match a list of Stevie’s nonexistent friends have mysteriously vanished from Steuben. And as evil strikes out from the most trusted corners, it’s suddenly clear: Stevie’s next on the list.
What I didn’t realize when I heard the audio book is that I heard the half-an-hour summary of a 448 page book. Like many of Card’s works, the novel is an expansion of a short story, his “Lost Boys”, which can be found in his short story compilation Maps in a Mirror. In the short story version, Card assumes Fletcher’s role as the protagonist. Some minor plot details are different as well in this story, such as the protagonist’s occupation (an editor for a video game magazine) and the story is told from a first-person perspective instead of the novel’s third-person perspective. Though he refers to many real events (such as his writing of Ender’s Game and Alvin Maker), the short story is also completely fictional. Because of his use of himself and his real occupation, real locations and real people, Card had to append a special note stating that the story is fictitious.
And a special note if you are listening to the audiobook version (like I did) – you get to hear Mr. Card’s booming voice that just seems to vibrate all the way through you. And you know that the most suspenseful stories are the ones that were inherently real and you could sympathize with the characters involved. “Lost Boys” is I believe one that’s most brutal of the entire series, it centers around his son and what it means as a parent to lose a child.
About the story
Step Fletcher, his wife, DeAnne, and their three children move to Steuben, North Carolina, thinking-hoping-it might be just the right place for them. its traditional values coincide with theirs, and Step has the promise of a good job at a hot software company. But Steuben is definitely not right for their oldest child, eight-year-old Stevie. Introspective even in the most comfortable surroundings, Stevie becomes progressively more withdrawn from this alien place. Soon he is animated only by computer games and a troop of fictitious playmates. The Fletchers’ concern for Stevie turns to terror when they discover that other young boys have disappeared from Steuben-and someone seems to be stalking Stevie.
As they struggle to keep their son from joining the “lost boys,” the Fletchers battle a bevy of more conventional torments as well. Their new house is an insect-ridden matchbox dependent on the attentions of an eccentric old handyman. Step seems to be the only sane man at his snake pit of a job. DeAnne must acclimate herself and the three children to a new world while she is hugely pregnant with a fourth. A woman at their church believes God has given her an insight into Stevie’s best interests that his parents lack. Evil hides in myriad mundane corners, threatening the Fletchers and their children. One of these threats, or maybe all of them, or maybe something else besides, may take Stevie away. But, though evil is all around them, goodness is within them, and that goodness will bind them together with a strength no force can break.
Orson Scott Card’s forthright, moving prose, his remarkable gift for chronicling everyday tragedies and triumphs, and his uncanny ability to conjure up emotions-his characters’ and his readers’-all blend together in a poignant, masterful novel.
Orson Scott Card – Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender s Game, Ender s Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys , biblical novels Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah , the American frontier fantasy series Th Orson Scott Card is the author of the novels Ender s Game, Ender s Shadow, and Speaker for the Dead, which are widely read by adults and younger readers, and are increasingly used in schools.Besides these and other science fiction novels, Card writes contemporary fantasy Magic Street, Enchantment, Lost Boys , biblical novels Stone Tables, Rachel and Leah , the American frontier fantasy series The Tales of Alvin Maker beginning with Seventh Son , poetry An Open Book , and many plays and scripts.Card was born in Washington and grew up in California, Arizona, and Utah He served a mission for the LDS Church in Brazil in the early 1970s Besides his writing, he teaches occasional classes and workshops and directs plays He recently began a longterm position as a professor of writing and literature at Southern Virginia University.Card currently lives in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Kristine Allen Card, and their youngest child, Zina Margaret.