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Skeleton Crew Paperback – 8 May 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Paperback, 8 May 2006
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Product details

  • Paperback: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks; New edition edition (8 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340899085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340899083
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 17.9 x 3.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,712,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

In the introduction to Skeleton Crew, his second collection of stories, King pokes fun at his penchant for "literary elephantiasis," makes scatological jokes about his muse, confesses how much money he makes (gross and net), and tells a story about getting arrested once when he was "suffused with the sort of towering, righteous rage that only drunk undergraduates can feel." He winds up with an invitation to a scary voyage: "Grab onto my arm now. Hold tight. We are going into a number of dark places, but I think I know the way."

And he certainly does. Skeleton Crew contains a superb novella ("The Mist") that alone is worth the price of admission, plus two forgettable poems and 20 short stories on such themes as an evil toy monkey, a human-eating water slick, a machine that avenges murder, and unnatural creatures that inhabit the thick woods near Castle Rock, Maine. The short tales range from simply enjoyable to surprisingly good.

In addition to "The Mist," the real standout is "The Reach," a beautifully subtle story about a great-grandmother who was born on a small island off the coast of Maine and has lived there her whole life. She has never been across "the Reach," the body of water between island and mainland. This is the story that King fans give to their friends who don't read horror in order to show them how literate, how charming a storyteller he can be. Don't miss it. --Fiona Webster --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Liable to leave the reader in a state of shock (Sunday Telegraph)

Deliciously scary (Cosmopolitan)

As a storyteller King is unbeatable (Mirror)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is by far the best collection of short stories King has released to date. Don't expect any great literary behemoths (I'm sure you weren't from Stephen King anyway) but do expect excellent, if highly implausible, bedtime tales of horror and fantasy that will both scare the pants off you and fill you with warmth. The Mist is almost a book in its own right and is one of the best things he has written (but it is kind of like the film The Fog). The Reach shows King at his haunting best, the sort of King you find guiding the pen over such excellent stories as The Body (from another excellent anthology of mini novels), Rita Hayworth & Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. Inbetween these two masterpieces lie roughly 20 little slices of death that range from all-out horror (Gramma, The Raft) to dabblings in sci-fi (The Jaunt, Wordprocessor of the Gods) to just great little tales of interest (Mrs Todd's Shorcut - one of my favourites - , The Wedding Party and the Ballad of the Flexible Bullet.).
For first timers and constant readers alike.
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I sometimes think that Stephen King is better with his short stories than his longer novels! Quirky and just plain inventive, he never fails to deliver. The Jaunt is an eerie sci fi tale, The Reach a real human interest story, more of a story that people tell on a cold winter's evening than a straight up horror (Stephen King can write incredibly beautiful non-horror and this tale is a good place to start if you aren't already acquainted with the Master...) and Word Processor of the Gods is my favourite, showing that just once, maybe, the amazing can and does happen...how does he think up these stories?! Read and enjoy!
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Having read Just after sunset recently, I was eager to read some of Stephen King's earlier short story compilations. With the birth of a new born baby, it was the perfect book to just pick and put down again.
Skeleton Crew consists of a variety of stories that encompass mainly horror tales with the odd sci-fi story thrown in for good measure. The stories also vary wildly in length, from 1 or 2 pages to one novella (the mist).
It is said novella that is the stand out story in the book for me. I had seen the film before reading this collection and so knew all about the Mist and how the end had been tweaked (brilliantly I might add) in the film. Normally, this would mean I would find reading the story a chore. Not so with the Mist. This is one of the best books that Stephen King has written. It is a terrific study of the human psyche under pressure. Atmosphere just oozes of the pages and although I prefer Frank Darabont's conclusion to the tale, Kings works very effectively just the same.
There are other stand outs in Skeleton Crew. The sci-fi story, "the Jaunt" is a superb piece of work, as a man tries to placate his family before the teleport for the first time by telling them out teleportation was invented. The other 10 out of 10 story is "the Raft." 4 friends decided to drunkenly swim out to a raft where they discover a rather unpleasant entity.
Special mention to other very good stories goes to: "Survivor Type," "Gramma" and "Word processor of the Gods."
Most of the other stories fall into the "good" category and there are only a few (mostly the flash fiction pieces) that fail to evoke any sort of emotion.
Overall, Skeleton Crew is a very good collection of stories with a few standouts, that really are top notch writing.
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Format: Paperback
Usually I'm not a big fan of short story collections but this set of tales from Stephen King really did impress me. There are over 600 pages in this book, split over roughly twenty stories. Whilst one or two don't merit much discussion (Here There be Tigers and the few included poems, for example) the majority of the stories will keep you hooked enough to read each tale through to its conclusion in one sitting. There are a mixture of horror and sci-fi tales included in here and the science fiction stories, although not based on actual fact, are interesting enough anyway. The Jaunt, a tale about teleporting human beings, really was an enjoyable read despite the science being rather wonky (as King admits himself in the notes).

For me the stand out efforts of the book are Mrs Todd's Shortcut which follows a woman obsessed with saving time who finds an impossible shortcut between two cities that, whilst dangerous, has its benefits; The Monkey which follows a father who desperately tries to dispose of a cursed object that has haunted him since his childhood; The Jaunt, the aforementioned sci-fi effort about the discovery of human teleportation and a family moments away from their first trip using it; and Survivor Type, the disturbing tale of a surgeon stranded on a tiny desert isle who must resort to drastic measures to ensure his survival. King also returns to the mystifying building frequented by storytellers at 249B East 35th in The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands; the group of narrators and their freaky host are visited in another of King's short story collections, Different Seasons, and it was nice to return for another weird tale from that otherworldly building.

Some of the tales are showing their age now (some are older than I am!) but they are worth a read nonetheless. These bitesized tales are highly recommended for reading on the plane, in the bath or on the go. King fans who haven't read this tome yet will lap these offerings up.
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