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Book Review: The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams: Stories By Stephen King
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The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories
Hardcover | Paperback | Kindle | Audible Audiobook | Audio CD
By Stephen King
Scribner Books | Simon & Schuster
Release Date: November 3, 2015

The newest Stephen King is always a literary event, and today is no exception. The Bazaar Of Bad Dreams brings us a collection of visits to the dark side – the side of no happy endings. Although my favorite Stephen King creations are his giant 1,000+ pagers where you get lost inside the perilous journey, he tells these little stories very well too. His short stories are always like little scary appetizers that almost always end ambiguously. For you movie-over-books people (nothing wrong with that), they are like the tales in Creepshow – short and eerie, with bad, weird, or worse endings left to your own imagination.

Check out the synopsis and the list of stories below.

Each story comes with its own little memoir, where King reveals the motivation, the inspiration, the explanation behind the narratives.

Some stories are new, and some have been released before. King says in his Author’s Note, “Until a writer retires or dies, the work is not finished; it can always use another polish and a few more revisions.” One of the stories in the collection, “A Death,” was released back in March to The New Yorker, and the ending of that one was a complete surprise. Another, “Mile 81,” about an evil demon chewing car, was released in an E-Book format only in September, 2011. “Drunken Fireworks” was released inan audio format back in June, and his 2010 novella, “Blockade Billy” is also included.

My personal favorites? Definitely “Dune” and “Afterlife” (which is a nod to The Dark Tower series, an ever so subtle nod).

There was one or two I couldn’t get into, but I’ll let you judge what those are for yourself.

So check out this Table of Contents (and my two cents):

1- Mile 81: Makes Christine look gentle.
2- Premium Harmony: Marriage can lead to death? Maybe that’s just what I thought about it.
3- Batman and Robin Have An Altercation: Scary because it’s possible.
4- The Dune: Shivers.
5- Bad Little Kid: Creepy taunting kids always make a good story.
6- A Death: Surprise at the end.
7- The Bone Church: King is a poet and didn’t even know it.
8- Morality: This was crazy and just wrong. Designed to make you uncomfortable.
9. Afterlife: Loved the ending.
10- Ur: My dream Kindle (or nightmare?)
11- Herman Wouk Is Still Alive: Complete tragedy
12- Under The Weather: Might be the creepiest one of the lot.
13- Blockade Billy: Can’t decide if I want to say “Bad Call” or “Baseball Forgives Everything.”
14- Mister Yummy: The title freaked me out.
15- Tommy: Poetic tribute
16- The Little Green God Of Agony: Pain is a monster.
17- That Bus Is Another World: I used to feel the same way walking by well-lit homes, thinking about the other lives happening in that instance.
18- Obits: The ultimate addictive evil power of a writer.
19- Drunken Fireworks: An arms race.
20- Summer Thunder: The end of days (and dedicated to Kurt Sutter)

This book is a fantastic audition for anyone who wants to start reading Stephen King, but doesn’t want to commit to a novel just yet. I will usually recommend Misery, Pet Semetery, or Carrie to those Stephen King virgins, but this can join the rotation. King, in his intro, admits he is a “novelist by nature,” and we all know that, but these 20 stories are perfect for those who cannot find a nice length of time to sit down and read, but want a brief quality word excursion. I found the anecdotes preceding each story almost as compelling as the stories themselves.

Enjoy, Constant Readers!

Synopsis:

A master storyteller at his best—the O. Henry Prize winner Stephen King delivers a generous collection of stories, several of them brand-new, featuring revelatory autobiographical comments on when, why, and how he came to write (or rewrite) each story.

Since his first collection, Nightshift, published thirty-five years ago, Stephen King has dazzled readers with his genius as a writer of short fiction. In this new collection he assembles, for the first time, recent stories that have never been published in a book. He introduces each with a passage about its origins or his motivations for writing it.

There are thrilling connections between stories; themes of morality, the afterlife, guilt, what we would do differently if we could see into the future or correct the mistakes of the past. “Afterlife” is about a man who died of colon cancer and keeps reliving the same life, repeating his mistakes over and over again. Several stories feature characters at the end of life, revisiting their crimes and misdemeanors. Other stories address what happens when someone discovers that he has supernatural powers—the columnist who kills people by writing their obituaries in “Obits;” the old judge in “The Dune” who, as a boy, canoed to a deserted island and saw names written in the sand, the names of people who then died in freak accidents. In “Morality,” King looks at how a marriage and two lives fall apart after the wife and husband enter into what seems, at first, a devil’s pact they can win.

Magnificent, eerie, utterly compelling, these stories comprise one of King’s finest gifts to his constant reader—“I made them especially for you,” says King. “Feel free to examine them, but please be careful. The best of them have teeth.”

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