That’s it. What would you say is your favorite story. Just curious, as I consider this collection to be his best and most seminal.
Fine, I’ll just have Survivor Type since you took The Jaunt, so there!
Yup! Use all your might to narrow it down, Constant Reader.
Feel free to elaborate on your runner-ups though!
Horribly unfair question, I’ll be back to actually answer when I’ve narrowed it down to 5. Then I’ll just pick one at random and vote
The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands has possibly one of the dumber endings in Western Literature.
I voted for The Mist.
Evil runs thick in my blood.
The Mist, Survivor Type, Word Processor of the Gods were all ones I had to arm wrestle my brain over. But ultimately, I decided The Jaunt is the perfect blend of science fiction, haunting philosophical horror, and tragic ending that couldn’t have ended any other way.
Also, I consider Stephen King highly under-appreciated for his science fiction.
The Jaunt wins.
I had to go with The Jaunt, because that one effed me up in the best way when I was about 14, but I really love at least half of these and enjoy 90% of the rest. This is easily some of the best short work King’s ever done.
Survivor Type, with an honorable mention for The Jaunt.
When I first read it (maybe 20 years ago), I wasn’t impressed by The Jaunt, but I reread Skeleton Crew last year and I liked it. I also warmed a bit on The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet, which I thought was stupid as a kid.
Yeh, actually, I remember reading all these for the first time when I was 14, and liked his more approachable stuff more then. I remember thinking I was missing something with Ballad of the Flexible Bullet when I was young, but appreciated it. Now, I think it’s my “favorite non-fav”.
I think I recently chose The Jaunt in a thread about your five favorite short stories. I also really love Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut, it’s so atmospheric and sweet. Nona’s just bizarre, but it grew on me after a few WTFs. The Raft always seemed so plausible and terrifying, likewise Gramma. (Hey, if you knew my Grandma, you’d be scared too). I think Steve says in the foreword that he was just stricken with glee when he came up with the idea for Survivor Type, and it is just a super-fun story idea with a nice punchline. So, um…those, and then the rest of them in some order.
Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut is one of my all-time faves. Only slightly gruesome, but if you look at it just a little cross-eyed, you get just a hint of Cyclopean horrors just offstage…
So many good ones. The Jaunt, of course, and Survivor Type, and The Raft, and Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut, and The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet…
But I went ahead and cast my vote for The Monkey. King has a way with getting into the mind of young boys and the characterization was fleshed out a bit more in this story than, say, The Jaunt.
Love The Raft and The Mist but The Reach is my favorite. And it’s not even a horror story.
*The Raft *is the one that stuck in my mind, “Oh, was that one in Skeleton Crew or Monkey Shines?” So many compilations of short stories.
I really want to read this one again. I remember Survivor Type being very… disturbing, yet a fascinating read, and I loved The Mist as well. I forget The Jaunt, but I suspect it’s one of my favorites too, because so many have mentioned it here.
But every time I’m swimming near a dock or raft or something (wooden platform made of boards with cracks in between), I think of The Raft and if anyone else is with me, I’ll re-tell the story.
Gah! I should’ve known. It’s what I get for not searching. But still, I never got to vote.
No worries, cmyk. I goofed when I made that original poll, and made it possible to choose more than one option. Yours will be more scientific.
I chose The Raft, although The Jaunt came in a very, very close second. I like The Mist, too, but it has a little bit of bloat that knocks it down a few notches IMHO.
I opted for Nona though there are so many good stories in Crew it is hard to choose.
I think it comes down to the mood of the story. It just hits the perfect feel of creepy. In fact, I wrote a song right after reading this story that I think catches the feel quite well.
So tough to choose! I finally had to go with Survivor Type because it was so disturbing, and at the same time, so darkly funny. But I also love Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut, The Mist, The Jaunt, The Raft, Gramma. . .OK, it’s my favorite King collection, let’s leave it at that!