Stephen King is great. Have I mentioned that yet, like in my last post? I haven't found a "miss" by him. I've read over a dozen of his novels, but they always satisfy. So I tried my hand the other day at his short stories. I bought an inexpensive copy of Everything's Eventual, one of his newer collections, with fourteen terrifying and wonderful gems from the mind that invents both nightmares and dreamscapes.
In "Autopsy Room Four", King's lighter side comes to the forefront, telling the story of a man who is not dead... although everyone thinks he is. "The Man in the Black Suit", the story that won King the O. Henry award, is timeless and amazing, an old man telling of his run-in with the devil as a young boy. "All That You Love Will Be Carried Away" is a story set inside a man's sad, depressed mind. "The Death of Jack Hamilton" is not a horror piece, but rather historical fiction, set in the last days of John Dillinger. "In the Deathroom" has more of a suspense vibe than horror, and the title says it all... sort of. "The Little Sisters of Eluria" is a prequel story to the Dark Tower series, almost a hundred pages long, and it doesn't fail to excite. "Everything's Eventual", the title story, is one that changes tone partway through, when the real, more terrifying story rears its head. Like the previous story, "L.T.'s Theory of Pets" changes tone as well, but without the horrifying implications... or does it? "The Road Virus Heads North" is classic King horror, a story of a painting with a mind of its own. "Lunch at the Gotham Cafe" is bizarre in every way, but in an endearing sense, at least to me, but I won't tell you anything about it... the cover says it all. Deja vu is explored in "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French". "1408", Stpehen King's take on the cliched "haunted hotel story", is a masterpiece of terror and one of the most frightening things I have ever read. "Riding the Bullet", the e-book sensation, tells of a college student's hitchhiking experience... with a dead man. And "Luckey Quarter" ends on a strange, but high note, leaving the reader to wonder what exactly is real and what isn't.
The book would be worth buying for "1408" alone. Or "Everything's Eventual". Or "The Man in the Black Suit". Or "The Little Sisters of Eluria". In other words, you'll want to buy it. It's proof that the art of the short story is far from being lost, and proof that Stephen King has some serious writing chops.
My rating: 10/10
Coming Soon: The Kite Runner