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Night Shift by Stephen King

Night Shift (original 1978; edition 1993)

by Stephen King

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5,64174755 (3.81)120
Title:Night Shift
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Doubleday (1993), Edition: Reissue, Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Night Shift by Stephen King (1978)

  1. 50
    The Bachman Books by Stephen King (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Another collection of King's early fiction where the rough edges are still intact.
  2. 20
    Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison (artturnerjr)
  3. 20
    Blue World by Robert McCammon (GWoloszczuk)
    GWoloszczuk: Mccammon's Short stories are very reminiscent of this collection of early King stories
  4. 10
    Skeleton Crew by Stephen King (sturlington)

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English (69)  Italian (1)  French (1)  Danish (1)  German (1)  Polish (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
I reread this because I heard a bunch of references recently to "Children of the Corn" and as long as I was rereading *that*, I figured I'd go all the way.

This collection really stands the test of time. "Children of the Corn" is (still) brilliant, but I think my favorite is (still) "Quitters, Inc."

What I really enjoyed was reading this as an adult and catching the various literary references and influences. Now that I've read plenty of H.P. Lovecraft, I can see that King was practically channeling him. But there are other, more surprising influences. If you've read "David Copperfield," read "The Last Rung On The Ladder" with that in mind -- the story is basically a rewrite of one aspect of D.C.

And there was some unexpected humor. "Sometimes They Come Back" is still a wrenching and terrifying story. But I love the fact that the main character fends off a supernatural attack with the help of a book called "Raising Demons." Sounds scary. But that's the title of one of Shirley Jackson's hilariously funny books about her family. And King was almost as heavily influenced by Jackson as he was by Lovecraft.

This book used to scare the bejabbers out of me. Now it just gives me a pleasant case of the shivers. ( )
  Deborah_Markus | Aug 8, 2015 |
Found some exceptionally good stories in this collection. Some of the stories later on ended up as movies from this book as well, and I have to say the original story of 'Children of the Corn' is much much more interesting. I've not read much of King, I must admit. But every time I read something of his, I realize what a good story-teller he is. This collection has science fiction to ghost stories, supernatural to plain human criminal or social mind. His ability to keep the reader engaged throughout the flow of each individual story seemed unique to me. I took my time finishing the book, reading one story at a time. A very Good read indeed. ( )
  PsYcHe_Sufi | Jul 12, 2015 |
Uneven, but there's some good stuff in here, particularly toward the end of the book - "The Lawnmower Man," "Children of the Corn," "The Woman in the Room" especially. I also liked "The Boogeyman" and "The Ledge," although they were a little too tidy for my tastes. ( )
  jen.e.moore | Jul 6, 2015 |
The only Stephen King that I’ve read before this was 'The Gunslinger', and I wasn’t terribly impressed. I’ve heard a lot of people swear by his books, but it just didn’t click with me. Then again, fantasy isn’t really my thing, so I figured I’d give some of his short fiction a shot. I think short fiction is where he really shines. He has more good stories than bad ones, and this is a solid little collection.

Out of the 20 stories, there are 4 excellent ones, 4 really good ones, 7 decent ones, and 5 mediocre ones. My overall average rating for the stories ended up being 3.35/5 which I rounded up to 4, because the ‘hits’, the ones that are 4 and 5 star stories make this collection completely worth the 'misses' that it includes.

The standout stories for me where: 'Sometimes They Come Back', 'The Ledge', 'Quitter’s Inc.', 'I Know What You Need’, and ‘Night Surf’.

The only one that actually creeped me out a little bit was ‘Jerusalem’s Lot’.

Individual Reviews:

Jerusalem’s Lot: 4/5
I loved the format of written letters and journal entries. There were a couple of “oh wow that’s creepy” moments in it for me, which is always a plus.

Graveyard Shift: 2/5
Stephen King has a thing with rats it seems.

Night Surf: 4/5
Post-Apocylptic kids wandering on a beach. I’m pretty sure this is in the same universe as The Stand, but I’ve never read it. I really liked this one.

I Am the Doorway: 3/5
Former astronaut brings something back inside of him.

The Mangler: 2/5
I watched the film adaptation of this last year. The short story is better, as usual. Still not great, but better.

The Boogeyman: 3/5
Engaging enough to be entertaining. The subtle character development was a nice touch.

Gray Matter: 3/5
Cheap beer gone bad.

Battleground: 3/5
A pitman receives an unusual package. This one was a fun little story, almost humorous. Minus 1 star because it relies too much on an ending that you can see coming from a mile away.

Trucks: 3/5
I watched Maximum Overdrive last year. The only movie that Stephen King ever directed, and obviously based on this short. This was a little better. The somber nature of the last 2-3 pages make it a solid 3/5.

Sometimes They Come Back: 5/5
Yes. This one right here is perfect. Creepy, relatable, amazing pacing and conclusion.

Strawberry Spring: 4/5
Obvious ending, but still a really well crafted atmosphere in this one.

The Ledge: 5/5
A tightly constructed, gripping thriller of a story. Mafioso goes to great lengths to humiliate the man who cuckolded him.

The Lawnmower Man: 3/5
Weird little story, rich characters, but it kind of jumped the shark a bit. I can see why King wanted his name removed from the movie of the same title. It has absolutely nothing to do with this story.

Quitters Inc: 5/5
Very engaging tale of a man trying to quit smoking by pragmatic means. Of course, he bites off more than he was thinking… and has to chew it.

I Know What You Need: 5/5
I didn’t realize that Stephen King ever got quite this existential in his writing. this one is right up there with some of the best episodes of The Twilight Zone. It has an eeriness to it, but it’s never full-on frightening. There isn’t an immediate threat, it’s just creepy from beginning to end. I love it.

Children of the Corn: 4/5
A shitty couple drives into the wrong town while on a trip to 'save their marriage'. Creepy little Old Testament/pagan cult children are sacrificing adults to 'He Who Walks Behind the Stalks’.

The Last Rung on the Ladder: 3/5
Cautionary tale about siblings drifting apart. Just a sad little story. Well written.

The Man Who Loved Flowers: 2/5
A cheap gimmick of a story, thankfully it was very short. 2 stars for describing spring weather very passionately.

One for the Road: 2/5
I’m not really one for vampire stories. I did think it was funny how every character, regardless of religious belief, would fall back on their Catholic tokens to ward them off though. Stupid vampires.

The Woman in the Room: 2/5
A son contemplates killing his mother.
( )
  heradas | May 31, 2015 |
I have a fondness for this collection. King's early stories are his best, and this one is a great mix of all-out WTF horror and more atmospheric, creepier offerings. Two stories tie into Salem's Lot and The Stand. Many were the basis for some of the campier King movie adaptations. Not as good as Skeleton Crew, but still well worth reading. ( )
  sturlington | Feb 27, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (45 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Murail, LorrisTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Halvorsen, Thor DagTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heidkamp, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herrmann, IngridTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalvas, ReijoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacDonald, John DIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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ISBN 0373588585 is for Night Shift by Nora Roberts; large print edition.
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Book description
Short story collection containing the following stories:

Introduction by John D. MacDonald
Jerusalem's Lot
Graveyard Shift
Night Surf
I Am the Doorway
The Mangler
The Boogeyman
Gray Matter
Sometimes They Come Back
Strawberry Spring
The Ledge
The Lawnmower Man
Quitters, Inc.
I Know What You Need
Children of the Corn
The Last Rung on the Ladder
The Man Who Loved Flowers
One for the Road
The Woman in the Room
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451170113, Mass Market Paperback)

From the depths of darkness, where hideous rats defend their empire, to dizzying heights, where a beautiful girl hangs by a hair above a hellish fate, this chilling collection of twenty short stories will plunge readers into the subterranean labyrinth of the most spine-tingling, eerie imagination of our time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:44 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"Nineteen of [King's] most unsettling short pieces: bizarre tales of dark doings and unthinkable acts from the twilight regions where horror and madness take on eerie, unearthly forms, where noises in the walls and shadows by the bed are always signs of something dreadful on the prowl"--Dust flap.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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