Skeleton Crew Mass Market Paperback – Jun 3 1986
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In the introduction to Skeleton Crew (1985), 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 one time 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 sure does. Skeleton Crew contains a superb short novel ("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
From Publishers Weekly
This hefty sampler of King's shorter works, from all stages of the horror master's career, demonstrates the range of his abilities. Some of the stories here rank among his best, and "even the less successful ones are fun," PW observed.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The result is a collection with more range than the first collection -- Night Shift -- but a certain drop in intensity and consistency. One negative is the inclusion of two of King's science-fiction horror stories, "The Jaunt" and "Beachworld," neither of which are particularly scary or well-imagined. The science fiction of interplanetary travel and robots and alien planets is not an area in which King is especially good. But by God, he's going to keep trying to write it even if doing so kills either him or us or possibly both.
Thankfully, both the straightforward horror and the darkly fantastic are handled a lot better. "The Reach" is probably King's best tale of non-horrific supernatural doings, a meditation on mortality set off the coast of Maine. "Mrs. Todd's Shortcut", a more Bradburyian effort, is also a lot of fun, while "The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet" is a solid examination of madness and writing.
On the horror front, we get the Lovecraft-by-way-of-the-drive-in romp "The Mist." "The Monkey" and "The Raft" are the best of the horror stories here, turning the mundane (a wind-up monkey toy, a popular swimming destination just a bit out of season) into the terrible. That wind-up monkey is one of King's best distillations of strange, explanation-resistant horror.Read more ›
Interestingly enough, these are three of my favourites. I was a bit disappointed by the end of "The Mist," with a proper ending and more detail in between, it could've been a standalone novella. As it is, the ending leaves a lot - too much, in my opinion - to the imagination. We want to know what happens in the end, but that's largely unexplained. Still, it's a great story. "The Raft" is simply King at his gruesome, unforgiving best.
Stories like "Here There Be Tygers" and "Cain Rose Up" held my interest, but at the end I found myself thinking "What's he trying to say with this?"
In my opinion, there are no outright stinkers in the bunch, although I would say my least favourite is the sci-fi attempt "Beachworld." Another that I liked less was "The Reach."
On the other hand, my favourite story of all is the other one with a sci-fi feel, called "The Jaunt." Some have called it a cautionary tale, I call it just plain brilliant. In my opinion, it's got some of the funnier moments of the whole book, but these are contrasted with some of the most frightening, which is what makes the story superior. Highly recommend it.
In fact I highly recommend the whole collection.
One of my favorite books by Steve-o is Skeleton Crew, his second collection of short stories, including the novella "The Mist." And as in any collection of short fiction, some of the 22 stories stand head and shoulders above the rest.
The creepiest, by far, is "The Mist," which begins with, as in all good King works, with a seemingly normal event (a storm) and a routine occurrence (a trip to the supermarket) and slowly but surely morphs into a situation which becomes scarier as the story progresses. While not wanting to give anything away, I can tell you this much -- I'll never go to the Kash n' Karry and look at it quite the same way again, particularly in the spaghetti sauce section.
"Survivor Type" is King's take on Robinson Crusoe. Its protagonist is Richard Pine, a surgeon who, unfortunately, has also been involved in the narcotics "business." Now, after he is shipwrecked and marooned on a desert isle, Pine is forced to face his inner demons and, by the way, cope with the problem of what to eat in a place where there is no viable food source. Suffice it to say that in his desperation he will have to use his surgical training to solve this dicey problem.
While there are other stories that give me the willies, I am always drawn to "Word Processor of the Gods.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Book was delivered exactly as I expected.
The Book cover should be as shown not as just Skeleton crew.
Delivery was quick.
Very satisfied. The preface alone is Worth the buy. Some stories are better than others. But for 10$, it's money well spent....Published on Dec 5 2013 by Joelle
I've read most of the stories in this book and can safely say that this is a very diverse collection of stories from King (with whom I am a fan). Read morePublished on Feb. 8 2006 by ZappBranigan
wow - this book has some of the creepiest stories ever..the mist especially so..don't read it at night when you are home alone!Published on June 14 2004
As someone who's read almost every Stephen King book, I can safely say that his short story collections are by far the best things he's ever done. Read morePublished on May 31 2004 by Denny Gibbons
Stephen King's best book yet! One of the stories in the book, "The Mist", is the best short story I've ever read! Read morePublished on May 28 2004 by Justin W. Thole
Read this book if you have any interest in King what-so-ever.
His short stories...though many aren't all that short... Read more
Skeleton crew is a highly recommendable collection of short stories by Stephen King, including a large variety of little masterpieces that are worth reading more than once. Read morePublished on Sept. 7 2003 by michael maisch