I recently finished Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King. It is a collection of twenty four short stories and novellas. Some are horror. Some are suspense/pulp. One is an essay on little league baseball. And one is a poem. As is common in most collections, the book as a whole was uneven. Some of the stories were very good and some were not so good. I would actually skip this one if you want to read a book cover to cover.
These are the stories that I liked (there were a lot of them and I read this book over several months so my memory is shaky):
- Dolan's Cadillac is about an ordinary man seeking to avenge his murdered wife against a powerful mob boss. I really liked this one. It was probably the best in the lot.
- The End of the Whole Mess is about a drug that people create to enhance humans but in the end, it ends up destroying them. This one was pretty good.
- Suffer the Little Children is about a school teacher that is convinced her students are aliens.
- Popsy is about a child-kidnapper that takes the wrong kid.
- Chattery Teeth is about a toy set of metal teeth that saves the main character's life.
- The Moving Finger is about a finger that comes out of the toilet.
- You Know They Got A Hell Of A Band is about a couple that find a town with a surprise.
- Rainy Season is about a couple that arrives at a small town during the rainy season to find that water is not what falls from the sky.
- The Ten O'Clock People is about a group of people that are trying to quit smoking. But the specific amount of nicotine in their bodies allow them to see what others cannot, people in powerful positions are actually monsters.
- The House on Maple Street is about an abusive step-dad and the transformation of a house.
- Umney's Last Case is about an author entering the book world trying to take over one of his character's lives.
- Head Down is an essay on little league baseball. This essay was fantastic!
If I were only to read three, it would probably be Dolan's Cadillac (Suspense), Umney's Last Case (Fantasy/Pulp) and Head Down (Essay).
There is a lot of content in Stephen King's writing so if content affects you, please skip this book.
Overall, the writing is pretty good but King tends to be a wordy (but I kind of like that about him). About half of the stories were good, the other half were okay. The pacing is different with each story; some are fast paced and other took their time. I would recommend with reservation Nightmares and Dreamscapes, mostly because of the unevenness of the collection of stories. Until next time...