STEPHEN KING - SKELETON CREW (1985) Signet Books

 

A collection of short stories, with one novella (The Mist, which I have given a review to itself) and a few poems. Itís a real shame King didnít write more short stories. Perhaps the best-known story here is The Raft, which was used in the Film Creepshow Two (which King helped make). It concerns a group of students who go to an idyllic lake where there is a wooden raft floating in the middle. The gang decide to swim out and lark about in the water and on the raft. Once there, they find that there is a terrible oil slick like monster in the lake. It swims under and around the raft, but it doesnít seem able to get on. The youngsters are trapped there. They have seen it kill one of their friends and so they know how malevolent the creature is. Slowly, as they get cold and tired, the creature proves able to get through the cracks in the wooden planks on the raft and when it touches flesh, the person this caught, is doomed. It sucks them down inside itself. Finally, the last survivor makes a swim for it. Will he make it? Read and see. Survivor Type is a grim little fable about a drug-dealing surgeon who gets marooned on a desert island. This isnít some tropical paradise. It is a lump of barren rock. With only his heroin for sustenance, he decides to eat himself. He uses his surgical skills to remove his feet, then his lower legs, and more and more of himself in a desperate bid for survival. Hoe knows however, as he takes off one of his hands, that he canít possibly now amputate the other one, or any more of him. Delightfully revolting stuff. The Jaunt is a rare step into science fiction for King. IT is set in a time when teleportation booths are commonplace. A young traveller is terrified of going through, though accidents are now rare. It wasnít always so, as in tests mice sent thorough came out the other end dead, or even cut in two. The one thing the travellers, *as frequent as airline passengers are now) are warned is to avoid looking, as the sights of the dimensions betwenthem jaunts drive people insane. Unable not to look, the hero of the story makes the Jaunt in full open-eyed consciousness, with inevitable results. A classic collection, and a great contrast to Kingís bigger blockbuster novels.

 

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