Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Nightmares and Dreamscapes: 8th Sep - 22nd Oct 2012

Another story collection, another collection of disappointments. For so long, I've harped on about my love for the medium but King just hammers in nail after nail. A couple of them were quite creepy - The Moving Finger among them - but my main response to the stories was a shrug and "it was alright."

As I was reading this collection, I wondered whether its downfall is due to the relative quality of ideas. I imagine that, for King, a good idea is worth wringing out to 400-700 pages, while it only takes an average, or more likely a goofy/kooky/throwaway, idea to make a few thousand word story. A lot of the stories feel like he's just trying out his genre chops. Some might see it as an arena where he can be more daring and experimental and maybe that's true but, more often they comes across to me as the half-baked, poor relations to the novels.

I'm painfully aware that I'm doing him a disservice and probably coming across as an ignorant hick. In a away, I think I am actually guilty of laziness and failing to properly engage with the stories as much as I'm usually inclined and as much as they deserve. It didn't help that I took my time with it. Getting a hold of some of Jeff Lemire's works that I hadn't already read as well as re-reading everything I did, won't have helped. As always, his work is fully recommended. Essex County is a fabulous introduction.

Back to the stories before I wrap this up. I liked Dolan's Cadillac . It had a hint of Bachman to it and buzzed with a similar demented unravelling to the chap in Roadwork. I'm now very much looking forward to seeing the film and not just to satisfy the latent man-crush I mentioned previously.

What else...? In fact, fuck it. I was going to go through and pick out some of the ones I dug even a little and say what I didn't about the others. But it feels like as much of a chore as reading them did. And I don't really feel like talking shit about work that I couldn't come close to creating. (My having just started consecutive sentences with 'but' and 'and' should be some indication of my meagre abilities.) So, I'd rather look for the positive and move onto the next thing. From what I've heard, there's a lot to like in Insomnia.
Nightmares and Dreamscapes


  1. We sooooo have opposite opinions on King's short stories man! I mean, obviously I don't like all of them (what was with the one with the woman who ate that evil man's sperms- It was ridiculous AND gross, and ARGH) and I know what you mean with his trying different genres on for size, but still... My Pretty Pony? Umney's Last Case?

    Anyway... Hope Insomnia is better for you! I'm in a bit of a King-slump so you're about to overtake me again!

  2. Haha! I totally forgot about the jizz gobbling. Lovely stuff. My Pretty Pony had a lot of heart, it just dragged a little. Umney's Last Case just struck me as too meta for its own good, especially after The Dark Half.
    I think I'm falling ito the trap of seeing the stories as speed bumps on the long road of his novels. Attitude adjustment needed!