Skeleton Crew Paperback – 8 May 2006
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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.
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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Top Customer Reviews
For first timers and constant readers alike.
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some of Mr kings short stories are very entertaining but some are dreadful
Ok for a poolside read.
But dont expect Shawshank !
remind me to never, ever, buy a hardback printed in Italy....the print job on the hardback version I bought was just so bad it was beyond laughable..... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Christopher Copp
Brilliant book of short stories. Don't start reading the longer ones at bedtime because you may find the book hard to put down.Published 5 months ago by AnnaEsse
The Mist is by far the best story here. Although I thought The Jaunt was terrifying. The Raft & Survivor Type are great too. Excellent read.Published 9 months ago by Leon
This collection of short stories is enjoyable with some excellent tales. I've only read full Stephen King novels before this and I think I prefer the longer format as it gives you... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Odessa47