Dark Visions Paperback – Aug 10 2000
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About the Author
Stephen King is the author of more than 40 novels and 200 short stories. In 2003 he received the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives with his wife, the novelist Tabitha King, in Bangor, Maine.
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First off King's works are as good as always, both entertaining (Reploids, Sneakers), disturbing (Dedication) and thought-provoking.
Dan Simmons' contributions were an unexpected surprise. "Metastasis" had me on the edge of my seat, and "Vanni Fucci is Alive and Well and Living in Hell" had me laughing out loud and shouting triumpantly at the same time. Bravo, Mr. Simmons!
George R.R. Martin's "The Skin Trade" definitely saves the best for last. This short story has become my favorite horror tale of all time, hands down. As of my writing this, I have read it at least twenty times, and it hasn't lost a bit of its appeal. For those of you who only know Mr. Martin through his "Song of Ice and Fire" series, this will show you why he is one of the greatest storytellers of our generation. It is a must-have for any reader's shelf.
It includes 3 short stories by Stephen King, 3 more by Dan Simmons, and one by George R.R. Martin.
King's contributions are "Reploids", "Sneakers", and "Dedication." Reploids is very short and goes nowhere. "Sneakers" is okay. Some parts are pretty cool. It's basically about a haunted men's room. (I kid you not.) "Dedication" is pretty gross. (As part of a black magic spell, a woman eats a man's congealing semen off of his sheets.) It gets points for the originality of its disgusting premise, but it's not a great story. Plus, if I'm not mistaken, all three stories are reprinted in King's collection "Nightmares & Dreamscapes."
Dan Simmons' contributions are "Metastasis" -- which is great -- "Vanni Fucci is Alive and Well and Living in Hell", and "Iverson's Pits." Metastasis is about supernatural slug-like creatures that cause cancer. They're usually invisible. Only one man is able to see them, and he invents a technique for drawing them out of their victims. "Vanni Fucci" is about a damned man and is slightly comedic. It's an okay story. A lot of Dan Simmons' fans think "Iverson's Pits" is the best of the three, but I liked it least. It's about Civil War ghosts, I think. (It's been a while since I read it.) Like Stephen King's stories, these three Dan Simmons stories were reprinted elsewhere. I think they're in the collection "Prayers to Broken Stones."
The best story is the last and also the longest. It's George R.R. Martin's werewolf story "The Skin Trade." I don't remember the whole plot, but I remember the story was *good*. And I don't think this story is available in another book.