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Night Shift by Stephen King

Night Shift (original 1978; edition 1993)

by Stephen King

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5,62973759 (3.8)120
Title:Night Shift
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Doubleday (1993), Edition: Reissue, Hardcover, 368 pages
Collections:Your library

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Night Shift by Stephen King (1978)

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Showing 1-5 of 68 (next | show all)
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 |
First read this collection when I was... twenty, I think. Not sure. Does it matter? Probably not. Three things to mention before hitting you with my one sentence reviews: I forgot how much of King's early work tied into these stories, and how much I enjoyed his non-horror outings. Truth be told, I probably didn't like the more literary stories that I read once upon a when because I was a tried and true idiot in those days (I'm still an idiot, but my wife turned me into a functioning idiot, and I say thankee sai). Finally, this is probably the most fun anyone will ever have with a King collection. There are stories in here that are simply fucking cool. The concepts are fun, even if they are a tad bit violent, but there's a heaping helping of humor to go along with the sadness and the terror. I don't think any other collection, novella, or novel of his can match the sheer entertainment factor of this, his first published collection. You might disagree; and if you do, give some examples in the comment section. Once again, I know there's scarier and more moving stories of his out there, but do you think any of them are thing much fun?

On with the single-sentence reviews:

"Jerusalem's Lot" - King's first attempt at Lovecraft fan fiction is a three-star outing for me because of the epistolary style, which I don't like.

"Graveyard Shift" - Four stars worth of nasty fun that shows King's not opposed to the time-tested rule of get in, get dirty, and get out.

"Night Surf" - A four-star jaunt back into a Captain Trips-ravaged world that I dug quite a bit.

"I am the Doorway" - A tasty tidbit of sci fi horror that gets under your skin and explains that the cover you see above is quite literal in this four-star outing.

"The Mangler" - Five demon-possessed pieces of industrial laundry equipment out of five for being the goriest thing I've read all year.

"Grey Matter" - I'm going deeper into this one. I believe this story was the catalyst to great many things in the King-verse. The "Grays" from Tommyknockers and Dreamcatcher make an appearance, as well as a little story about a man going into a Bangor sewer to find a giant spider. The man comes out with his hair white as snow, and dies two years later, crazy as a shithouse rat. Of course these are only my theories, but I'm giving this story five stars based on possible coolness factor alone.

"Battleground" - Ten pages and four star's worth of big fun that any kid who's ever played with little green army men will enjoy.

"Trucks" - Three stars for the story that inspired the movie Maximum Overdrive, that B-movie masterpiece penned by King himself.

"Sometimes They Come Back" - Two stars for this predictable little ditty that never has struck the right chord with me.

"Strawberry Spring" - This five-star number is probably up there in my top ten Stephen King shorts; short stories, not the man's knickers.

"The Ledge" - A different kind of three-star thriller that makes me wonder why King has written two tales (the novel Cujo, and this seventeen-page story) about a woman who has an affair with her tennis instructor.

"The Lawnmower Man" - This two-star pile of offal was turned into a movie so horrible, King himself requested his name be stricken from the credits, but the story was just as bad as the movie, even though neither one had shit to do with the other.

"Quitters, Inc" - I honestly cannot believe that the same man who wrote "The Lawnmower Man" wrote "Quitters, Inc.", because this five-star tale of willpower and familial love is altogether a horse of a different color.

"I Know What You Need" - This three-star read first appeared in Cosmopolitan, and that's all I have to say about that.

"Children of the Corn" - My favorite story in this collection easily gets all the stars, because kids and corn are scary, yo!

"The Last Rung on the Ladder" - Well that one was a mule kick to the feels, so I guess it gets all the stars too.

"The Man Who Loves Flowers" - Gets four stars based on nostalgia factor alone, as I believe it's the first short story of King's that I ever sampled.

"One for the Road" - The second to last story in this collection gets four stars simply for being a companion to 'Salem's Lot.

"The Woman in the Room" - Is an emotionally driven four-star effort that hits a little too close to home for me.

Notable names:

This time around, King references his other books in multiple ways, but mostly by the towns that would come to host some of his most famous works. Below you will find a list of these towns, and any names that struck a chord with me.

Hemingford Home
Jerusalem's Lot
Gates Falls

Patrick Hockstetter (this name pops up all throughout the King-verse, but I don't think it's the same person every time, mainly because, when he's just a teen, Hockstetter dies at the hands of Pennywise, yet he goes on to write a book that's referenced in Carrie then becomes a scientist in Firestarter.)

In summation: Probably the most fun you will have with Stephen King. From animated army men to great beasts that tromp behind the rows, this collection is sure to please. Highly ecommended.

(Author's note: I said I wouldn't be doing his collections during my massive reread of King's catalog, but I'm well ahead of schedule, so here you go. I plan on doing a decade of Kingly works every three months. I started in October, and have read everything he published between 1974 and 1984. Aside from Different Seasons, I'm all caught up with that time period. I think I'll do the audio books of those next...) ( )
  Edward.Lorn | Feb 13, 2015 |
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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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Let's talk, you and I. Let's talk about fear.
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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
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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)

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