"Nightmares and Dreamscapes" by Stephen King

As some of you have read here over the past couple of months, I’ve been exploring the work of Stephen King, a writer who I had basically avoided reading for many years.  While I enjoyed some of those I have read over the past year or so, I can’t say that I was all that thrilled with this collection of short stories.  Like with any collection of stories, it can sometimes be a case of hit and miss - some stories being really good, others not so good, and others that just won’t do anything for you.  While I won’t say that all the stories in this book missed with me, a good number of them did.  I’m sure the reason for this is the fact that a good number of these stories are what would be considered “horror” stories, a genre that I am not all that thrilled with to begin with.  But King as surprised me in the past, his “horror stories” being more psychological than anything else.  The stories in this collection lie somewhere between “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” and “The Twilight Zone,” which isn’t a bad thing of course (I’ve always been a fan of both, especially “The Twilight Zone.”)  But I didn’t find any of these stories on par with them although it is clear to me where the influences behind most (but not all) of these stories lie.  


However, there were a couple of stories that I did enjoy very much:  “The End of The Whole Mess” with its post-apocalyptic overtones and original way of telling the story about how a man who desired peace on Earth wound up doing more harm than good; “Dedication,” which is a brilliant story about two older women reminiscing over the life of a famous writer, who’s character was "flawed" to say the least - apparently inspired by a true life event when King met a "very famous author" who turned out to be a real prick (he doesn't say who); “It Grows On You,” - a simple, “New England” tale with all the pleasures and especially the ‘warts’ that come with living in a small town; “Dolan’s Cadillac,” with its “noir” sensibility, a story of revenge was enjoyable, although I found the plot a little far fetched, but it reminded me of those old noir type stories one would have read in the early pulp magazines like Black Mask. 


I admit that my bias for King’s work leans more towards his non-horror stories and it’s a great misconception that horror is all King writes about.  Add to this that he’s got a great gift for storytelling in general.  For those who love horror and fantasy, you can’t go wrong here, but most of them just didn’t do it for me this time around.  

Source: http://www.juliangallo66.blogspot.com