18 February, 2012

Short (Story) King

Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Stephen King
I’m pretty sure that i have written previously about my preference for Stephen King’s short stories over his full-length (and “length” is the operative term) novels; just in case, let me now reiterate that as a short story writer he is almost without parallel in the current crop of active and popular writers. He holds his reader carefully, builds the plot and characters skilfully, and lets the story develop to create the effect he wants which, being King, is always some form of horror or fear. I find him much more readable in the small doses (even in this very large [900+ page] collection), than in the novels he manages to produce with such enviable regularity. The only story in the collection, in fact, which i did not enjoy as much as i would have liked is, funnily enough, the one he identifies as his favourite, a parody of Raymond Chandler given the special King twist, which for me simply doesn’t work ~ perhaps because there are too many Chandler parodies already ~ and i found it dragging and wishing it would end. On the other hand, one of my favourite pieces is a story told as a teleplay, apparently written and planned that way from the beginning; it works, perhaps even better than it would as a simple prose story, and had me chilled and sad at the same time. Lastly, there is a lovely piece of non-fiction writing, sports-writing, covering a Little League team’s journey through the end of season playoffs, which King wrote apparently because his son was on the team; it scarcely fits the title of the book (unless because their journey was a dream come true for them), but i am delighted that it is included. In fact, i’m lead to wonder, has he done more non-fiction?

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