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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 2 May 2004
King gives us four novellas in this 1990 collection, all are without doubt superb and highlight Kings originality and brilliant characterisation as well as his ability to scare the living daylights out of you.
The first story (The Langoliers) is part horror story and part homage to the golden age of science fiction. A commercial jet travels through a strange vortex in the sky leaving only a handful of passengers alive to land the plane in a deserted airport where they find out what really happens to the past.
The second novella (Secret window, secret garden) is one of Kings best. Morton Rainey (Played by Johnny depp in the up coming movie) goes to his quite lakeside home to escape his divorce and work on his writer's block, things take a nasty turn when a sinister individual shows up at his door accusing him of plagiarism. This story also provides fans with a very telling insight into some of King's own thoughts and feelings as a best-selling author.
'The Library policeman' is an enjoyable little shocker, everything from eye sucking monsters to alien librarians grace the pages of Kings third story. After reading this you'll never return Library books late again.
The last story in the collection 'The Sun Dog' is my personnel favourite. Kevin Delevan receives a polaroid camera for his 15th birthday, every photo he takes yields the same image, that of a monstrous black dog, with picture taken the dog seems to be getting closer and closer to it's viewer. Cool
This is a brilliant collection, every story presents King at his very best.
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on 14 December 2014
Whilst this was quite good with some interesting stories, I have to say that I didn't find it as compelling as some of his other short story compilations. A lot of the material in this book almost felt "Experimental", and a few of the stories left me somewhat underwhelmed. One or two classics in the mix, but not enough to make this volume anything special for me.
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on 2 July 2016
Having read many Stephen King books this is my first time in reading his short stories and they are all excellent.

Two are well known from the films, the other two are just as good if not even better.

All the stories are about telling stories and life and death.

Recommend this book to all. Definitely going to read more of Stephen King's short stories now.
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on 10 November 2015
Be advised that this volume contains one short story (the last one), and three novellas. I didn't quite realize this until I was wondering if the second story would ever end; Not because it wasn't good, but because I was primed for the longer story. Having said all this , although categorized as a'horror' writer, Stephen King is really a brilliant storyteller who loves humour as well (much like Charles Dickens). I think this aspect of his writing comes out really well in his 'short' story collections.
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VINE VOICEon 11 August 2006
Different Seasons is a collection of 4 novellas, and is notable for seeing King beginning to stretch away from writing just horror tales, though there is certainly enough macabre moments contained here to keep the more bloodthirsty fans happy. `Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption' tells the story of a wrongly convicted murderer and his escape from prison, seemingly a tale told so many times there's nothing more to add, but King transforms this into a beautifully moving character study. `Apt Pupil', while containing no supernatural elements, is certainly close to King's horror territory, being a disturbing a tale about a young boys blackmail of an ex-Nazi concentration camp commandant. A trifle overlong perhaps (this `novella' is around the same length of King's debut novel Carrie) but the bizarre double-blackmail relationship between the two characters is compulsive, and the dispassionate finale is memorable. `The Body' is undoubtedly the highlight of the collection, and certainly one of the best things King has ever written - a thinly-disguised childhood reminiscence fictionalised as a successful authors thinly-disguised childhood reminiscence - it captures brilliantly the coming of age from childhood to adulthood, and features some of King's best prose. Finally `The Breathing Method' is a back to basics old-fashioned horror story - all the basic tropes are familiar genre favourites: the mysterious gentleman's club where Lovecraftian things slither out of sight in upstairs rooms; the Victorian-style Christmas fireside ghost story - but King injects some modern-day grand guignol splatter horror to keep things fresh - slightly ridiculous, but good fun.

With four long stories in different genres, and every one in it's own way is successful, this is an excellent collection, and one of King's best books.
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on 15 January 2015
A great collection of very bizarre, surreal stories. I think my favourites were popsy, the moving finger and umney's last case (took a while to figure that story out!). I really wasn't keen on 'head down', the baseball story. I know King is a huge baseball fan but it's really not that interesting to me and I had to skip it (the first time I've ever done that with a Stephen King book). The other stories more than made up for it though. A good read!
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on 1 August 2014
when I read this book I thought the first two stories were brilliant. then I got to the camera story and was so disappointed with it. chapter two was repeated twice and the story dragged so bad it was like waiting for the last five mins of the story to get interesting then it ended just like that,thought it would have been a bit better to carry it on just a tad as it ended with his computer sayin the dog was not sleep in it was waiting. baaaaaad story and such a let down. love stephen king normally but this story wasn't my cup of tea :-( hachey wachey xx
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on 17 July 2004
I just recently read this book and although I really enjoyed the stories The Langoliers, Secret Window Secret Garden, and The Sun Dog I didn't really enjoy The Library Policeman. I thought it was a bit off the wall, and not in a good way. However I do rate this book 4 stars because of the other 3 good stories in the book. The Langoliers is one of the most interesting short stories I've ever read. I would definitely reccommend this book.
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on 14 August 2001
I picked this book up a couple of years ago with the intention of using my own imagination to re-structure two of my favourite films, Shawshank Redemption and Stand by me. However, on finishing the anthology, I was struck by, as a first time King reader, the man's extraordinary gift of involving his audience, both spiritually and emotionally. Shawshank proved better than its celluloid counterpart, with a greater sense of character evoked in both Andy and Red. The Breathing Method proved a revelation, a tightly maintained and chilling tale. Admittedly I found Apt Pupil a little long winded, I felt that the story lacked the same superior character driven element as the other tales. For me the real triumph was The Body. As someone who has lost a dear friend, I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried when reading King's description of Chris's death, as it's poignancy and sensitivity was beautifully crafted and handled. Buy this book now...
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on 27 June 2013
Simply put, this is why Stephen King is the master of his craft.

What we have here are four novellas; The Langoliers which is about an aircraft that finds itself in parallel (sort of) universe; "Secret Window..." which is about an author facing an impossible charge of plagiarism; "The Library Policeman" which about an ancient evil feeding off the fears of others; and it all finishes with "The Sun Dog", which about a photo coming to life (again, sort of).

My favourites were "Langoliers" and "Sun Dog", although that is not to take anything away from the other stories.

I once read a quote attributed to Stephen King, where he claimed to write the fast-food version of stories.

I could not disagree more. Don't get me wrong, this is not Hemmingway or Fitzgerald... but I'm not reading it for that. I'm reading it for fantastical escapism.

The characters have depth and nice (although uncomfortable) back stories. The plot has twists and intrigue, and it difficult to tell you how much I loved "The Sun Dog". As soon as I finished it, I read it again.

There are weak spots. If I am honest, "Secret Window..." did not set the heather on fire. Stephen King has written a number of stories about plagiarism and the fear of accusation. Personally I don't think this story added anything, and the idea of mental voices being made flesh has been explored before (in Skeleton Crew I think).

Equally, "The Library Policeman" reminded me of some cross between "It" and "The Tommyknockers". It was readable, but it was not original.

That said, "The Langoliers" and "The Sun Dog" are worth the cover price alone, and if you want to creep yourself out you could do far worse than this.

Recommended.
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