Clocking in at close to 21 hours this was an Audible steal for myself and my first such purchase, and gave me opportunity to catch up on several of Mister King’s novellas that I’ve missed over the years. I listened whilst driving, which was perfect, as many of these are set on dark, though familiar highways of King Country. I picked my favourites.
First up was the novella Mile 81 which King sets up as a traditional David vs Goliath story as a young lad finds himself up against an otherworldly, evil car (it’s Stephen King, there’s a car, of course it had potential for evil). The set up for this turns wonderfully as death follows death, but I felt a little cheated by the somewhat silly bizarro ending, which felt a little close to the way Under the Dome ties itself up. Still, the ride is nice, shame about the destination.
Afterlife takes us that metaphysical of all places, a limbo waiting room of the afterlife as a man finds himself repeated the same mistakes. An amusing musing on what might come next for all of us.
In the introduction to Batman and Robin Have an Altercation, King gives us his thought on how stories come about, namely the handle and the cup of how stories are bloomed. Each introduction gives the listener a little insight into the whole story birthing process and this one is no exception. A touching and wonderfully amusing story, which steps away from the supernatural in a welcome slice of an everyday beat ‘em up.
Bad Little Kid King shoots himself in the foot with this one. In the intro, he states that he wanted to create a just a bad kid, but not supernatural. You can tell he’s trying to conjure a Pennywise like monstrosity, though he doesn’t succeed in creating a greater monster, but an annoying little brat that defies the aging process as a lifelong antagonist to hero.
Morality gives us the age old quandary of what you’d do for xxxxxx amount of cold, hard cash. The question isn’t what you’ll do, but how you’ll feel about it afterwards.
A magic Kindle linked to the dark tower? Yes please! Ur gives us a gateway to another world and the endless possibilities presented if author lived on in alternate dimensions. But like every treasure, there’s always certainly a dark side to such a gift, and the question, what do you do with it if you could change the world.
An agonising slice of car crash soap opera as one women decides that life just isn’t worth the effort Herman Wouk Is Still Alive, barrels along into a tense and abrupt ending.
I’m not a fan of sports, but the baseball mystery drama Blockade Billy kept my attention throughout (despite all the sports stats) and came through to a satisfying closure.
Obits gives us an likely superpower, as a journalist finds himself with peculiar ability that just can’t be a coincidence.
Drunken Fireworks is an amusing confessional as a two warring families attempt to outdo each other with spectacular results.
Summer Thunder is wonderfully narrated by Will Patton in a worn gristle fashion, as the last man alive lolls in melancholy as radiation takes everything left he holds dear. There’s only one this is going.
The multitude of narrators helps keep things fresh. King even narrates a few as well as providing the humorous introductions, so each story takes on its own personality. There’s less supernatural action here, a few murderers, a poem or two, but all in all I enjoyed it. King doesn’t always hit the nail on the head (he’s only human, one assumes), but when he does get it right, it’s a great ride.