Shorter is Better

Published June 7, 2013 by jrm17

I don’t know about you, but I am actually a huge fan of Stephen King’s short stories.  Just After Sunset was probably my favorite book up until I read ‘Salem’s Lot and Christine (I really like the very first story in particular).  I’m really close to finishing up Night Shift, and it still remains true that I love the man’s shorter pieces of work.

I bought the book because I wanted to read Sometimes They Come Back and the story I was promised was the prequel to ‘Salem’s Lot (If you haven’t read it, go do it right now.  Even Stephen King says it’s his favorite of all his books.  I promise these vampires do not sparkle).  Well, I reached a point of both complete happiness and disappointment from the things I expected.

The prequel was where I found the disappointment.  I really don’t get how it ties into the story other than it took place in Jerusalem’s Lot.  It happens way, way, WAY before Ben’s adventure there.  I guess it’s prequels the novel because it explains how evil was there prior to the vampires, but I was thinking it would tell us about how the vampires fount The Lot or how they came there.  I expected something about the bloodsuckers.  It didn’t ruin the novel for me.  To me, they are to completely separate entities (king of like The Vampire Diaries show and the books).  I think Jerusalem’s Lot is a very interesting story.  It’s King’s homage to Lovecraft so it’s written in letter/diary entry form, which I really liked, and honestly, the plot is great.  I was just expecting something different.

What I was expecting is something similar to the sequel to ‘Salem’s Lot, which is also found in Night ShiftOne for the Road is a few years after the novel.  It takes place in the town next to The Lot, and two guys are sitting in Tookey’s Bar, Tookey and Booth.  They are approached by a tourist whose car got stranded outside The Lot during the snow storm.  That brings up old memories and as my favorite professor always put it, chaos ensues.  This was the kind of thing I was hoping for with the prequel, and I really enjoyed this story (I read it this morning at 7:30).

The books just over 300 pages.  If you get the same copy as me, the introduction is kind of long so your copy goes to about 450 pages.  There’s 20 stories in total.  The only one I didn’t really like was Battleground.  It’s like the movie Small Soldiers.  Other than that, I’ve really enjoyed all of them.  I can’t even name you a favorite.  It’s a tie between I Know What You Need, Night Surf, Gray Matter, Quitters, Inc., Strawberry Spring, The Man Who Loved Flowers, and One for the Road.

I will give you two pieces of advice for reading this King novel.  Carefully read The Lawnmower Man.  I have a habit of reading the Wikipedia summary before I read anything by King because I get lost in all his detail and small things.  It’s my way of keeping things in track, and with this kind of book, it gives me an idea of what I’ll be reading about.  I did that for each story in the book so I thought I knew what the lawnmower man was going to do.  I was completely lost when I read it because I don’t think I was paying enough attention (I was really tired when I read that one).  I had to go back to Wikipedia and reread the summary to understand it all.

My second caution is about Sometimes They Come Back.  Now, I haven’t watched the whole movie, but I can tell you that there are differences that I think are better in the movie (I haven’t watched the whole thing because I’d been watching it at the gym on the recumbent bike, and I haven’t been able to get a gym membership since I didn’t have a job…until last night!).  Jim doesn’t go back to the town where it all started in the story.  He just goes to some random town where he got a teaching position, and all the supernatural stuff starts.  I remember reading the Wikipedia for the movie and there being more difference than that, but hey, I’m only 30 minutes into the movie.  It’s still sitting on my phone waiting for me.  Maybe I’ll finish it one day.  Other than that, the story is really cool.  I’m a big fan of it (and Tim Matheson, who is the reason I was interested in the movie.  My mom suggested it because I sort of have a huge crush on Brick Breeland).

I don’t really remember any of the stories really other than the very first one from Just After Sunset.  However, I think Night Shift has made a huge impact on me.  This one will go down on my list of favorite Stephen King books.  I would suggest this one to a diehard King fan, someone who has never read his stuff before, or someone who doesn’t have a positive opinion of his work.  It’s that good.

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