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Night Shift (1978)

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,288107866 (3.82)178
More than twenty-five stories of horror and nightmarish fantasy transform everyday situations into experiences of compelling terror in the worlds of the living, the dying, and the nonliving.
  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 R. McCammon (GWoloszczuk)
    GWoloszczuk: Mccammon's Short stories are very reminiscent of this collection of early King stories
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Showing 1-5 of 97 (next | show all)
Many readers consider this book to be one of Stephen King's most popular short story collections, and I can't disagree with that opinion ... mostly because it's only the second anthology by King I have read so far. Many original horror stories are included in this collection, with most of them having been adapted into classic horror movies like "Children of the Corn", "Graveyard Shift" or "The Mangler". In its entirety, however, I consider "Night Shift" to be a rather weak collection of short stories, and critics will certainly find affirmation that King is also able to write true crap. But on the other hand, some of the best short stories which might be discovered in King's writing universe are included here.

In the following, I will list a short overview on the particular stories with my opinions on them. Because well, it's impossible for me to review this collection without taking a look at each of the stories itself, with so many crappy and so many fantastic short stories combined in one book.


1) Jerusalem's Lot (2,5/5 stars)
The first short story in Stephen King's first anthology deals with the origins of the fictional town Jerusalem's Lot which the reader already knows from [b:'Salem's Lot|11590|'Salem's Lot|Stephen King|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327891565s/11590.jpg|3048937]. However, the story hasn't a lot in common with the novel counterpart, and whoever expects to find the roots of Kurt Barlow and the vampires will end up being disappointed. In epistolary form, Stephen King allows us to take a look at the story of a man called Charles Boone, who inherits the estate Chapelwaite and soon realizes that something with his new residence is not quite the way it should be.
Nothing felt particularly outstanding in this story except for the epistolary structure, and as an introduction to the anthology it was a little bit deterring to me.

2) Graveyard Shift (3/5 stars)
Imagine working in a mill. No light except for electric torches. A bullying foreman who wants you to keep working, no matter what happens. And big, fat rats straying through the mill ...
I'll give a piece of advice to you: Don't read this story if you have a rat phobia. Don't read this story if you like your protagonists realistic and without weird changes in behaviour. And definitely don't read this story if you intend to enter a cave or a mill anytime soon. It might not be your wisest idea in those cases.
"Graveyard Shift" was a good story with creepy moments, but certainly with too much build-up in the beginning and too much speed in the ending.

3) Night Surf (1/5 stars)
»Even his big radio/tape-player was hardly more than a nice-looking hunk of junk.« I'll borrow that quote from King's own story and apply it here to describe it. 'Hunk of junk' is actually pretty appropriate. I can't even explain what this story is about because it frustrated and bored me so much.

4) I am the Doorway (4/5 stars)
A crossover between the genres Horror and Sci-Fi, this story fantastically explores the effects of a confrontation of one human being with alien powers. I was hooked from the beginning and suffered vicariously my way through to the ending along with a hardly remarkable protagonist who turned into an interesting character because of his fate - as, after being exposed to a certain mutagen, tiny eyeballs break out on his fingertips ...

5) The Mangler (1/5 stars)
Ridiculous attempt to write about a haunted laundry. Let's better forget this story even exists.

6) The Boogeyman (3/5 stars)
A father who has lost all three of his children to 'the boogeyman' visits a psychiatrist to tell about the terrifying deeds which have been committed against his family.
One of the more frightening stories, but certainly also belonging to the more forgettable ones in this collection.

7) Grey Matter (1/5 stars)
This one just didn't catch my attention or attract my interest. I forgot what it was about ten minutes after reading it.

8) Battleground (1/5 stars)
I didn't get what this was supposed to be. A man attacked by tiny soldiers one inch and a half big?
...
Seriously? Was Mr. King on drugs while he wrote this?

9) Trucks (1/5 stars)
A small town is attacked by haunted trucks, that's the basic essence of this short story. It may be used as the exact definition of ridiculousness. No soul behind these words; no sense behind this plot; no characteristics behind these appearing persons. Just another stupid story to be forgotten.


You may think that I was so frustrated after those first nine stories that I was tempted to give up on it? Well, yes, I certainly was. But I kept telling myself to continue, not to abandon this, to believe in the power of King's writing ...
And he proved me right.


10) Sometimes they come back (3,5/5 stars)
In one of the longest stories of the collection, Stephen King explores the life of a teacher for English literature who has been marked by a traumatic event of his past. Now, one after another, new students enter his class. And they look exactly like the teenagers who have attacked and killed his brother - about fifteen years ago ...
A very good story with a lot of action, insight and interesting twists and turns. I would have liked to read a full-length novel of this with a more fleshed-out protagonist; the potential was clearly visible.

11) Strawberry Spring (4/5 stars)
Do you know this feeling when you're reading a mystery and suddenly have an idea on the potential outcome, which is so unlikely you immediately pass it, but then you realize the author has actually chosen this outcome for his story? I experienced it here, and it made me love the story even more. One of King's less-known stories, but definitely a fine piece of writing. The ending can be spoiled so easily that I will not even attempt to give you an idea of what it is about.

12) The Ledge (5/5 stars)
In "The Ledge", a rich man is cheated on by his wife with her tennis instructor. The two men are confronted with each other in the penthouse of a skyscraper. And the husband has to settle a score - he comes up with a plan you will not believe that a human being is able to create.
So, so good. This story is one of my favorites from King's works - action, drama, suspense, unbearable tension, believable character motivations, a unique idea and a wonderfully interesting plot - "The Ledge" has everything a good short story is supposed to have.

13) The Lawnmover Man (0/5 stars)
Forget it, forget it, forget it.
One of the worst short stories ever written. I will introduce zero stars to Goodreads ratings extra for this story.

14) Quitters, Inc. (5/5 stars)
A middle-aged man wants to quit smoking and visits someone who claims to be able to make him do so. The man doubts these claims - until he realizes whereupon he got himself into ...
This short story is perfect; it's as simple as that. No supernatural elements, but instead chilling and suspenseful writing with an ending which made me swallow more than once. Easily one of my favorite short stories of all time.

15) I Know What You Need (3,5/5 stars)
At university, a young woman meets another man who she falls in love with, not knowing how dangerous this connection may turn out to be.
Another very good story. Stephen King knows what he is writing, that's for sure (well, if you ignore certain stories like some of those I've mentioned above). I really liked the complex plot and the hidden appearance of supernatural elements.

16) Children of the Corn (3/5 stars)
A married couple enters a deserted village with only children inhabiting it - and they clearly have no idea of how to welcome strangers with politeness.
Of all the twenty stories in this collection, the one I was most excited about didn't work at all for me. It was scary, yes, scary and thrilling with the religious fanatiscism included, very atmospheric and creepy. Maybe it should have been longer - the potential for a full-length novel was clearly present. Everything felt a little bit too underdeveloped for me.

17) The Last Rung on the Ladder (3,5/5 stars)
This story deals with the adventures of a young boy and his sister in their childhood. Too short to be really able to explore the characters, but with a surprising twist, a realistic story and suspenseful writing. It's interesting to see how King is able to delve deep into a character's mind within only seven pages. Definitely one of his better stories.

18) The Man Who Loved Flowers (2,5/5 stars)
It's impossible to say what this story is about without spoiling it. King came up with an interesting concept and an unexpected turn, but on only four pages it was nearly impossible to get into the story.

19) One for the Road (4/5 stars)
A deserted town. A heavy snowstorm. Vampires lurking in the dark. Sounds like everyone would want to be right in the middle of this scenario, doesn't it?
This story creeped me out. It is by far the scariest one in the entire collection. You should avoid reading it in the middle of the night, just like I should have done.

20) The Woman in the Room (3/5 stars)
A very serious and highly relevant issue portrayed with very weird writing. From a writing point, this story might be worst executed in comparison to all the other stories (if you ignore the Lawnmover Man). It profits from emotion and potential alike.


In conclusion, "Night Shift" did not live up to my expectations, but it also didn't disappoint me. Even if you are not interested in Horror or King's writing in general, you should give either "The Ledge" or "Quitters, Inc" a try. Both stories don't include any paranormal activities, but they cover interesting subjects and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

It's a must-read for fans of Stephen King's writing and the Horror genre in general, but if you don't consider yourself to belong to one of those parties, then you might think about skipping these stories (apart from "The Ledge" and "Quitters, Inc", of course). But then, with readers raving about this collection everywhere, maybe I'm not the one to trust in this matter ... ( )
  Councillor3004 | Sep 1, 2022 |
Contains:
Jerusalem's lot --
Graveyard shift --
Night surf --
I am the doorway --
The mangler --
The boogeyman --
Gray matter --
Battleground --
Trucks --
Sometimes they come back --
Strawberry spring --
The ledge --
The lawnmover 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.
  Lemeritus | Nov 18, 2021 |
I managed to finish it after three crushing months. I in no way blame the book itself. Truth is I started it right before finals, and God himself knows I can't read stuff when I'm supposed to be studying, and then I was in a SK slump and I just couldn't pick it up for whatever reason.
HOWEVER. When I did pick it up yesterday, only three stories in, I couldn't put it down. And by this I mean I could, but I didn't really want to.
I liked it overall. I loved three of the stories above the rest. Some of the others I couldn't /get/. I was very indifferent towards one or two.
More than anything, I enjoyed it considerably. It has a nice variety and even some of the tales are pretty realistic, which is a nice change.
(In any case, I must admit that what I liked most about it was the fact that I already, finally, finished it.) ( )
  ssuprnova | Nov 3, 2021 |
Review: Night Shift by Stephen King.

This is a book of twenty great stories by a great writer Stephen King always seems to amaze his fans. I have followed this author over the years and he never lets me down even when some stories have a quirky ending. Most of the stories have been made into movies attracting his followers with a more enthusiasm appeal of his written work. The anthology contains a little about everything.

There are many stories to give you a tad-bit about each one but that would give away a piece of each one and I don’t want to spoil any of these stories to the next reader. I will say that you will be thrilled with short burst each story prevails. I know this is one of Kings old books but it’s worth the read. ( )
  Juan-banjo | Oct 26, 2021 |
This is only the second full read-through of this collection. Over the years, I've revisited the odd story here and there, but never the entire collection.

This is the collection that really made me aware of short stories and the strange power they hold. And I don't think King ever collected a better batch than this one.

I have to admit, though, I find it interesting the stories that I initially dismissed, such as Gray Matter, Strawberry Spring, I Know What You Need, The Last Rung On The Ladder and the heartbreaking The Woman In The Room now resonated so much more with me, while others, such as Battleground, while fun, don't grab me anywhere near as much as they once did.

Then there's the ones like Night Surf, I Am The Doorway, and One For The Road that were just as amazing as I remember them to be.

Love this collection.
  TobinElliott | Sep 3, 2021 |
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Halvorsen, Thor DagTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heidkamp, BarbaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Herrmann, IngridTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kalvas, ReijoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacDonald, John DIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Murail, LorrisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Proshkova, VeselaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Let's talk, you and I. Let's talk about fear.
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So nice!
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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ISBN 0373588585 is for Night Shift by Nora Roberts; large print edition.
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Wikipedia in English (4)

More than twenty-five stories of horror and nightmarish fantasy transform everyday situations into experiences of compelling terror in the worlds of the living, the dying, and the nonliving.

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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
Battleground
Trucks
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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