Sunday, March 1, 2009
Firestarter Part 1
Firestarter Part 2
Firestarter Part 3
Firestarter Part 4
Firestarter Part 5
In this second story Steven Davis' wife Diane has left him abruptly with no warning and he finds himself in a messy divorce. He discovers how desperately he wants Diane back and then he discovers how much Diane hates his guts. On top of it all he gives up smoking, going cold turkey from between 20 and 40 cigarettes a day to zero, and is suffering from nicotine withdrawal both physically and psychologically, as well as insomnia. He's a complete mess.
A luncheon meeting is suggested by Diane's lawyer, and Steven Davis wants so badly to see Diane again that he goes to the meeting against the advice of his own lawyer. Lunch at the Gotham Café starts off badly with Steven and Diane tearing into each other emotionally. And then things go completely crazy, in a horrible and totally unexpected way.
Again, there is no supernatural involved, just plain old human insanity, including the kinds of insanity commonly known as love and hate. It could happen to you or me.
Both of these stories are very good. They both feature the standard Stephen King ingredients: very believable, fairly ordinary, people, suddenly confronted with a very horrible situation, a situation way beyond the horrors most of us will ever encounter. We empathize with these people and root for them, although we know that they may not survive the horror they've encountered.
Lunch at Gotham Cafe Part 1
Lunch at Gotham Cafe Part 2
Lunch at Gotham Cafe Part 3
Lunch at Gotham Cafe Part 4
"In the Deathroom"
This story takes place in a Central American dictatorship and pits Fletcher, a New York Times reporter, against the head of the local secret police, who intends to torture and then kill Fletcher. Fletcher's chances of survival are approximately zero, and the major question seems to concern the way in which he will die.
There is nothing supernatural involved in this story. All the horror comes from a man-made situation and features simple human evil. What kind of people can torture human beings and find enjoyment in it?
Incidentally, I'm fairly sure that the background for this story is Stephen King's outrage over the rape and murder of three American nuns in El Salvador in 1980. There is a certain anger in his writing that is understandable when taking that real-life occurrence into account.
In The Deathroom
His first collection of short stories since the release of Nightmares & Dreamscapes in 1993, Everything's Eventual represents King at his most undiluted. The short story format showcases King's ability to spook readers using the most mundane settings (a yard sale) and comfortable memories (a boyhood fishing excursion). The dark tales collected here are some of King's finest, including an O. Henry Prize winner and "Riding the Bullet," published originally as an e-book and at one time expected by some to be the death knell of the physical publishing world. True to form, each of these stories draws the reader into King's slightly off-center world from the first page, developing characters and atmosphere more fully in the span of 50 pages than many authors can in a full novel.
For most rabid King fans, chief among the tales in this volume will be "The Little Sisters of Eluria," a novella that first appeared in the fantasy collection Legends, set in King's ever-expanding Dark Tower universe. In this story, set prior to the first Dark Tower volume, the reader finds Gunslinger Roland of Gilead wounded and under the care of nurses with very dubious intentions. Also included in this collection are "That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French," the story of a woman's personal hell; "1408," in which a writer of haunted tour guides finally encounters the real thing; "Everything's Eventual," the title story, about a boy with a dream job that turns out to be more of a nightmare; and "L.T.'s Theory of Pets," a story of divorce with a bloody surprise ending.King also includes an introductory essay on the lost art of short fiction and brief explanatory notes that give the reader background on his intentions and inspirations for each story. As with any occasion when King directly addresses his dear Constant Readers, his tone is that of a camp counselor who's almost apologetic for the scare his fireside tales are about to throw into his charges, yet unwilling to soften the blow. And any campers gathered around this author's fire would be wise to heed his warnings, for when King goes bump in the night, it's never just a branch on the window. --Benjamin Reese
Everything's Eventual (Short Story)
Recipient of the Grand Master distinction from the Mystery Writers of America, Stephen King deftly explores the frightening connection between creative and destructive impulses. When self-made millionaire Edgar Freemantle is mangled in an accident, his life falls into disarray. Prone to fits of rage, Edgar moves to Duma Key, a secluded area on the Florida coast where he can paint and that's when his nightmare begins.
Duma Key Part 1
Duma Key Part 2
Duma Key Part 3