Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Night shift

Yes, Stephen King writes very long novels.  But he is also a master of the short story.  Night Shift is the first collection of shorts published by King.  Most of these stories were written before I was born.  They still work.

This collection contains the short story that has kept me up more nights than any other story I've read.  I first read The Boogeyman when my oldest kiddo was still in the toddler/ poor communicator stage of life.  Perhaps that's why the story haunted me.  At that point in my life, it read like a series of events that could actually happen.  I almost skipped over the story when I reread the collection this time, out of fear that it would haunt me again.  I wish I had skipped it.  Not because it gave me nightmares, but because the story was not the same as I remembered it.  I found it much less scary and resonant this time through.  Because my kids are well past that stage of life?  Whatever the reason, I now miss the hold that story had over me. 

These stories are some of the earliest King wrote.  Reading the collection, it is obvious that many of the stories clung to King, bouncing around in his brain for years afterward.  Many of these short stories grew up to become full length novels.  Most interesting is the short Jerusalem's Lot which by the title you would assume was the baby version of the novel 'Salem's Lot.  Really the short story One for the Road contains the kernel that eventually became the novel.  Also in this collection is the precursor for The Stand.  And the stories that became the movies Lawnmower Man and Maximum Overdrive.  Overall, a pretty good collection of bits for a "fledgling" writer!

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