Monday, June 01, 2009

Just After Sunset by Stephen King

"Just After Sunset" is the first collection of short stories by Stephen King I've read straight through. A book of short stories seemed fitting for my busy schedule, since that gave me bits of great readings by Stephen King in short spats.

I cannot compare this collection with any of his others, sadly, but I can compare it to his other writings.

The stories do not necessarily scare. I haven't been "scared" by King since "Cell," when I thought he retired from writing and was surprised to see another novel sitting on the shelf by him. The stories, however, come in all shapes and sizes. Three of the stories that stand out in my head, why, I'm not entirely sure, are: N., The Cat From Hell, and A Very Tight Place.

N. features psychology, epistolary stylings (like Dracula) and a touch of H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos. It's one of King's newest stories, and he pulls you in with the use of the ideas behind obsessive compulsive disorders. In the end, much like Salem's Lot, it's not the Big Bad that scares you necessarily, but what the Big Bad does to people. Reading how the OCD started to mess up the characters. It's one of King's stories that stays with you.

The Cat From Hell is just classic King. You can tell it was written eons before he was hit by the van, which seemed to change his life and literary stylings. It's quick. There's some black humor. It ends and you're a bit grossed out. After reading Salem's Lot, I realized how much I enjoyed his older-style of writing, and this was a nice throwback.

A Very Tight Place is great revenge fantasy. But, it also takes place, mostly, in a collapsed port-a-potty, so the pooh runs thick with nasty description in this one. King just goes further and further in that one, and I enjoyed it, not because of the description, but because King just didn't care what his readers thought. He didn't care what anyone thought. He just dove right in. Literally. We need to take a note from that. If we love something (not port-a-potties, mind you, but activities, hobbies, things in life) enough, we need to jump right in.

There are plenty of other stories that will "get your goat" as they say. But, those were the three I wanted to write about. Enjoy.