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The Tommyknockers

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
8,26074833 (3.31)1 / 145
Something was happening in Bobbi Anderson's idyllic small town of Haven, Maine. Something that gave every man, woman, and child in town powers far beyond ordinary mortals. Something that turned the town into a death trap for all outsiders. Something that came from a metal object, buried for millennia, that Bobbi stumbled across. It wasn't that Bobbi and the other good folks of Haven had sold their souls to reap the rewards of the most deadly evil this side of hell ...… (more)
  1. 60
    The Harvest by Scott Nicholson (jseger9000)
    jseger9000: Both books deal with an alien force slowly taking over a rural community.
  2. 40
    Invasion of the Body Snatchers by Jack Finney (jseger9000)
    jseger9000: Another book that deals with a sinister alien force that slowly possesses a small town.
  3. 30
    Brain Wave by Poul Anderson (jseger9000)
    jseger9000: King references Brain Wave in The Tommyknockers and with good reasons. Both books deal (in part) with people whose intelligence is suddenly and unexpectedly increased dramatically.
  4. 10
    Strangers by Dean Koontz (sturlington)
  5. 01
    Cross County by Tim Waggoner (beckylynn)
  6. 13
    Prey by Michael Crichton (Hedgepeth)
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» See also 145 mentions

English (66)  Dutch (3)  Danish (1)  Finnish (1)  Hungarian (1)  Catalan (1)  French (1)  All languages (74)
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
this is the first King book that I remember abandoning in disgust in what an awful book it was. Since then I've learnt that it was around this time that King was in the midst of his cocaine habit and that goes a long way to explain the results - but does nothing to explain why the publishers accepted (and published) it. Could they not just have shoved it in a drawer somewhere?
  nordie | Apr 18, 2022 |
The first time I read this novel, 30 years ago, it was the first time I'd experienced any major disappointment with Stephen King's writing. Every single novel before this--with the exception of [b:The Eyes of the Dragon|10611|The Eyes of the Dragon|Stephen King|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1430121758l/10611._SY75_.jpg|3083085], which could be pushed to the side due to it being a bit of a YA experiment--had been, to varying degrees, all winners.

Then came The Tommyknockers. Hoo boy.

Back then, I was disappointed with the novel, but couldn't put my finger on exactly why. Maybe it was all the pseudoscience involving batteries and vacuum cleaners. Maybe it was the SF elements. Whatever it was, I wasn't crazy about it.

It was with some trepidation that I came back around to this one, having nothing but those feelings of disappointment, and they were only increased from the tragic image I still carry in my mind of Jimmy Smits fighting a big rubber alien in the movie version of this story. The movie did us no favours.

Yet, when I started the book, the entire opening, first with Bobbi, then the extended (and far too long) breakaway to Gard old Gard, then their coming together was actually quite good, if a little bloated.

But then the book breaks away and leaves them to focus on a series of different townsfolk for a few hundred pages, comes back to Gard, skips away again, gives us scenes that could have--and should have--been excised from the final draft.

And through all that, some of King's pseudoscience that had, at the beginning, not been too horribly out of whack (okay, well, yes, if you looked at it askance, eyes squinted, tongue at precisely the right angle, and brain in a very low gear), just seemed to get dumber and dumber as the novel progressed.

Provisionally, Gard is the main character, but that doesn't truly become apparent until about the last third of the book. Prior to that, the reader is thrown all these stories with all these characters, some deserving our empathy, most not, and we're left to puzzle out what it's all about.

It's about, like many of King's novels from [b:The Shining|11588|The Shining (The Shining, #1)|Stephen King|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1353277730l/11588._SY75_.jpg|849585] on, about addiction. Unfortunately, I also think this was when his own was developing a life of its own.

This novel's a hot mess. There's a decent novella in there about Bobbi and Gard and Peter the dog, if you strip out most of the supporting characters and wonky science and make it more about the horror of slowly being consumed by your addiction while isolated from the world.

There's also an excellent creepy little story about a boy who accidentally makes his brother disappear and the toll it takes on him afterward.

And the rest? Sorry, for the most part, while there's some well-written showpiece scenes--this is King we're talking about here--the bulk of this novel is, I'm sorry to say, absolute shit.

It was bad the first time around. While I saw some glints of the King brilliance in the re-read, for the most part it was even worse the second time around. It's still a disappointment. ( )
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
Rolling Stone: Did the quality of your writing start to go down?
SK: Yeah, it did. I mean, The Tommyknockers is an awful book. That was the last one I wrote before I cleaned up my act. And I've thought about it a lot lately and said to myself, "There's really a good book in here, underneath all the sort of spurious energy that cocaine provides, and I ought to go back." The book is about 700 pages long, and I'm thinking, "There's probably a good 350-page novel in there." https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-features/stephen-king-the-rolling-s....... ( )
  Seayla2020 | Aug 22, 2021 |
Officially a 3.5/5

This is only my second attempt at reading Stephen King. As I still feel the man is a writing genius both of the books I have read of his have fallen a bit short for my own personal tastes. I think the amount of sexuality described in both of his books I've read at this point are a bit of a turn off for me. As I still love the stories the author comes up with to put within the pages, I'll continue to read more of his work without a doubt. The character development and world building is always amazing with Stephen King from what I've seen. By the end of this one I really could almost feel myself becoming and checking my teeth. Even though visiting Maine and doing some hiking is still on my wish list someday I might be looking a little more closely for metal on the ground if I'm up hiking through some woods! ( )
  Chad.M.Barnard | Jul 25, 2021 |
Not my favorite Stephen King book, but it certainly checked all the boxes for a fun read. It has great, if not crazy, characters, lots and lots of blood, green stuff, and explosions galore. Maybe King got a little carried away with the gory details, but that's just how he is. I liked the ending when my favorite character, Gard, flies off (literally) into the sunset. ( )
  PaulaGalvan | Mar 29, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
The first third of ''The Tommyknockers'' is wonderful. With his usual eerie effortlessness, Mr. King attaches us to Bobbi and Gard, taunting us with menace neither they nor we can define. When evil starts gobbling Haven with a vengeance, swollen prose and comic-book grue spurt out one authentic gem (a little boy's magic show) and instill in us a creeping terror of good country folks. The last third of the novel is Armageddon, as is usual with Mr. King.
 

» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Körber, JoachimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Late last night and the night before,
Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers,
knocking at the door.
I want to go out, don't know if I can,
'cause I'm so afraid
of the Tommyknocker man.

—TRADITIONAL
Well we picked up Harry Truman, floating down from Independence,
We said, "What about the war?"
He said, "Good riddance!"
We said, "What about the bomb? Are you sorry that you did it?"
He said, "Pass me that bottle and mind your own bidness."


—THE RAINMAKERS,
"Downstream"
The terrorist got bombed!
The President got hit!
Security was tight!
The Secret Service got lit!
And everybody's drunk,
Everybody's wasted,
Everybody's stoned,
And there's nothin gonna change it,
Cause everybody's drunk,
Everybody's wasted,
Everybody's drinkin on the job.


—THE RAINMAKERS,
"Drinkin' on the Job"
Then he ran all the way to town, screamin
"It came out of the sky!"


—CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL,
"It Came Out of the Sky"
Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

—THE WHO,
"Won't Get Fooled Again"
Dedication
FOR TABITHA KING

"...promises to keep."
First words
For want of a nail the kingdom was lost—that's how the catechism goes when you boil it down.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Do not combine the movie with the book; not the same work.
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Canonical LCC
Something was happening in Bobbi Anderson's idyllic small town of Haven, Maine. Something that gave every man, woman, and child in town powers far beyond ordinary mortals. Something that turned the town into a death trap for all outsiders. Something that came from a metal object, buried for millennia, that Bobbi stumbled across. It wasn't that Bobbi and the other good folks of Haven had sold their souls to reap the rewards of the most deadly evil this side of hell ...

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Average: (3.31)
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