Stephen King, publish your laundry list instead. (RE:After The Sunset)

I read many years ago that Stephen King was told that if he published his laundry list, his fans would buy it. Well after reading this collection of stories, I almost would have rather read his laundry list, his shopping list, or even his “laminated list.”


Willa: Sounds like a retelling of That thing you can only say in French. Ok, so it is a different way to deal with dead people, but same idea. Maybe in his next collection they will end up in the Cooler of Doom.

Gingerbread Girl: Slasher fiction meets Runners World. No real story like I would expect given 60 friggin pages to tell a tale.

Harvey’s Dream: Sorry, right number, all over again, just not as good. This was one of two dream stories in the book, and not the only time SRN was retold.

The Things They Left Behind/Graduation Afternoon: Ok, deal with 9/11. I am good with that, but you have a story in this book that is over 20 years old that has never been in a collection. Why did you have to bring up your view of 9/11 all these years later and back-to-back. In The Things They Left Behind, I understand that people died and died horribly, but this is seven years later. Thanks for being timely Steve-O.

The New York Times at Special Bargin Rates: Sorry, Right Number, again.

Mute: Would have been better told by Bachman. Hell, that would have made a great George Stark, Alexis Machine story. As a King story it kind of fell short.

Now look, I am a true Constant Reader, off and on. I have lived for his short stories however. The Jaunt, The Raft, Survivor Type, Hell, even Here There be Tygers, and many other of his stories are great fiction, but all of these tales fall short. Am I the only one who thinks King should hang it up?

SSG Schwartz

I stopped reading him after Lisey’s Story (“Baby-Luv”).

I couldn’t get the book into the garbage can fast enough.

Went back to Koontz and am loving the *Odd Thomas *books.

If I were Steve-O, I’d get out of the mass-market “rat-race” and concentrate on my masterpiece.

I feel sure there’s another Stand in him.


I haven’t read anything by Steven King since I finished up the Dark Tower series. I figure if he can screw up something he seemed to really care about that badly, I don’t ever want to read something he’s indifferent towards. I’ve never been more disappointed in a book/series in my life. He’s just lost it, completely lost it.

The worst story is, surprisingly, N. Surprisingly because it started looking like the books strongest piece, and then…

Horror is a lot like humor. Both narratives need a twist over our reality, and both depend on the timing. Now, imagine a guy that tells you the same joke three times, with barely a variation. And he makes it all part of the same joke: three different bar patrons, they all ask the same exact question to the barman and they all get the same hilarious answer. Almost the same story with the same punchline. That’s what he does here. It’s absurdly clumsy and amateurish and makes me wonder where the hell was his editor.

The ones that I quite enjoyed were his suspense tales, Gingerbread girl and A very tight place. Not great literature, but hell, did he had me with my pulse racing.

Books like Skeleton Crew had its clunkers too. All in all, it’s not such a disappointment.

I thought that most of the short stories weren’t that bad. My least favorite was Graduation Afternoon. As for being timely, I believe most were previously published.

I really think a lot of King’s work has gone downhill since he was hit by the car. Duma Key was pretty good, but most of the rest wasn’t up to his usual standards. Especially the last three books in the Dark Tower series. Lisey’s Story was a chore, the best thing about it was the hardcover design. Dreamcatcher was too long. * The Cell* could have been better. The only way that one could have been worse is if someone other than King had written the book.

That being said, I hope Under the Dome is worth the 1500 pages it is rumored to be.

I’ve begun listening to King again on unabridged audio after a long break. I’m finding that he has moved beyond describing scenes microsecond by microsecond and is now describing them microsecond by microsecond my microsecond, rewinding, and doing the description over again, microsecond by microsecond, now with a different emphasis. It’s getting depressing – as if Stephen King had written Groundhog Day, only with even more depressing thoughts and a hint of the supernatural.

If I make it through Lisey’s Story alive, I think I’ll take another break from King.

The Colorado Kid was interesting in parts, but I disagree with King’s premise that there are mysteries the newspapers won’t print because they can’t find a plausible solution, and that annoys people. But I do find it annoying when writers of fiction print a mystery without a plausible solution.

I agree that After the Sunset sucked. I decided, as an antidote, to read his son Joe Hill’s short story collection Twentieth Century Ghosts. It was outstanding. Check it out if you’re interested in creepy, modern horror.

I used to buy anything with S. King’s name on it, but not anymore. I liked Lisey’s Story mostly because it was different, but I probably won’t read it twice. I was very unhappy with the conclusion of the Dark Tower series. (One cool Dark Tower related book, however, was Black House written with Peter Straub. That one I liked.)
As for future S.K. purchases, I will wait for positive reviews.

After reading The Cell, I don’t think I’ll be able to read anything else by him. I got to the end of it and wondered where the rest of the story was. I know all about “leave them wanting more” but sheesh, at least finish the book.

I enjoyed N. the most, it’s the kind of short fiction I used to love from him in the 80s. But all the stories, N. included, don’t have any of the resonance his stories had in his prime. I was hoping for a little more science fiction, because I really like the ideas he works into SF, when he chooses to go there. There’s always an element of tragedy or abject horror to it (e.g. The Jaunt, The Long Walk, The Langoliers, etc.)

But still, I’m a sucker for his short fiction, they’re like seeing a good artist’s sketches, which are sometimes more interesting in and of themselves than an epic, finished work. At least I was entertained.

I agree, the collection in Everything’s Eventual was better. I still would like to see a movie made out of that story. That said, King has had more good books than bad and I’m willing to keep reading him.

Dean Koontz, on the other hand, lost me. For some reason, I can never remember the titles of his books. Maybe because they’re all basically the same? I did like the one with the genius Golden Retriever…that was good.

The Watchers. Dean Koontz is a much better writer. S. King used to be the better story-teller.

Not so much anymore.

I kind of agree. I thought that Koontz’s books Velocity, The Good Guy and The Husband were all pretty much the same thing.