Any time you hand me a book of 20 Stephen King stories, I’m going to be pretty happy. The Bazaar of Bad Dreams was no exception.
Some of the stories are updated versions of work he’s published somewhere else, so I’d already gotten to read some, like UR, Mile 81, and Under the Weather.
Most of them were new reads, and while they weren’t all his best, there were some pretty good ones.
Some of the standouts:
Mile 81 – A monster no one would expect (how does he think this stuff up? Seriously?) A heroic young protagonist that’s able to see the supernatural problem in a way the adults around him never could. Classic Stephen King.
Obits – A tabloid obituary columnist who discovers that when he writes an obit about a living person, it actually comes true.
Drunken Fireworks – This was a great character develoment piece. Everyone thinks of horror when they think of King, but what he’s really good at is building characters that are amazingly real. A mother and her adult son with a small cabin on a lake get wrapped up in an annual fireworks competition with a wealthy family across the water. It doesn’t end well. One thing I loved about this one was that it was hard to predict how it would end. You think you know. Then you wonder if there’s a curve ball coming. Then it goes in a different direction at the last moment. Not a surprise ending, but not what I was expecting either.
Summer Thunder – If you like stories about the end of the world, this one’s pretty good. Imagine if the worst happened and there were only a few people left (literally a few – there are only two characters in this story). What would it be like for them, at the end?
If you’re a King fan, and you’re looking for something that’s good to pick up for short bursts of reading, this collection is a good way to go!