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Nightmares & Dreamscapes

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Written by Stephen King. A collection of 20 short stories, one teleplay, one poem, and one piece of non-fiction.

Brooklyn August
Chattery Teeth
Crouch End
The Doctor’s Case
Dolan’s Cadillac
The End of the Whole Mess
The Fifth Quarter
It Grows on You
Head Down
Home Delivery
The House on Maple Street
The Moving Finger
My Pretty Pony
The Night Flier
Rainy Season
Sorry, Right Number

Suffer the Little Children
The Ten O’Clock People
Umney’s Last Case
You Know They Got a Hell of a Band

Overall, this is probably a more enjoyable collection than Night Shift. But it lacks a real stand-out like Night Shift’s The Last Rung On The Ladder or The Woman In The Room.

Anyway, here are some brief comments on some of the stories:

Chattery Teeth – Pure grisly fun. Vividly described, but without any point other than to shock/amuse.

The Doctor’s Case – Sherlock Holmes fans will either love King’s attempt here, or absolutely hate it. Me, I loved it.

The Fifth Quarter – Cheesy and overdone. But oddly enjoyable.

The End of the Whole Mess – Probably my favorite story in this collection. (I have a sick fascination with end-of-the-world scenarios.) Genius do-gooder fucks up, big-time…

Dolan’s Cadillac – Ah, sweet revenge. You root for the protagonist 100%, even though he’s an obsessed, soon-to-be killer…

The House on Maple Street – Odd fact: This story, while fairly mediocre, is unique in that it’s accompanied by an illustration (at least it was in my hard-cover edition). Just thought I’d point that out…

The Moving Finger – Like Chattery Teeth, this is pointless fun. Darkly comical, and quite gory.

My Pretty Pony – This is King at his non-supernatural best. “Time flies when you’re having fun,” explained…

Sneakers – Creepy, with homoerotic undertones. Must have been written when King was all coked up…

Rainy Season – Like The Moving Finger or Chattery Teeth, but without the humor. Sheer bizarre horror.

Sorry, Right Number – King’s teleplay. A bit of a tear-jerker. Pretty good, if you know how to read the teleplay format…

Suffer the Little Children – King seems to have a thing for evil children, doesn’t he? Grim stuff…

You Know They Got a Hell of a Band – Corny, but good fun. The general concept though, of an eternity (more or less) spent in a quasi-hell, is something King has turned to numerous times. I must admit, this topic unnerves me quite a bit. Mind, the story itself is not really scary. But the thought of having to be somewhere you really don’t like for a really long time…

And, finally, The Ten O’Clock People – This is basically King’s version of They Live. In this version, you don’t need sunglasses; just a semi-addiction to cigarettes…

I welcome all thoughts/comments below…

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About RJ

  • sheri

    Pretty good break down RJ. mY personal favorite is My Pretty Pony. It’s not horror, as you point out, but scary, because I recognized Halloween coming too early at perhaps too young of an age.Assuming I would live to be as old as grandpa, I allready see time thru his eyes.

    You Know They Got A Hell Of A Band, is of special significance to me for another reason. I was dreaming this story, minus a few details, as a recurring dream, long before I read this story. Rock-n-Roll Heaven is my Strange Little Town dream.

    The difference is I never have identified the people in my dream, they are familiar to me, as if I know them, but I can’t identify them.Just as in the story, I arrive in the town by way of a long confusing route, lost.

    You’re right, it has a religious tone to it. The road forks, and he is forced to choose between the wide and smooth path, or the narrow one. The biblical reference here is that the road to hell is wide, smooth and easy, and that’s the one he chooses.

    But at what point did they die? I read the story over again the first time, looking for clues SK may have given , if they did in fact die somewhere. ya know, kind of like BeetleJuice.

  • That’s an interesting interpretation of You Know They Got a Hell of a Band. I must admit to not having looked at it this deeply. I just thought it was an excuse for King to write about his favorite musicians. But perhaps it has a deeper meaning.

    Anyway, Sheri, thanks for the comment! 🙂

  • sheri

    YW, RJ …

    Really, I was kind of reluctant to go into this much detail and admit this for fear of looking crazy, but you can see from the history of my comments on the thread “Weird recurring dreams”,back in February, a post by TDavid, that my recurring dream of a strange little town is what brought me to blogcritics to start with.

    I have not had the dream since my last comment on TDavid’s thread.

    But now I can’t stay away from Blogcritics… a ‘little town’ of people i ‘know’ but have never seen, talking about dead rock stars in a never ending rock n roll theme :0).