[ Free Reading ] Skeleton Crew Author Stephen King – Andy-palmer.co.uk

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 573 pages
  • Skeleton Crew
  • Stephen King
  • English
  • 06 January 2017
  • 9780451142931

10 thoughts on “Skeleton Crew

  1. says:

    I love his short stories, although the quality and style are varying, best to see when comparing publication date with probable intoxication.

    The strange thing is, that there isn´t always the correlation of drug induced boo or jay and therefore the quality of the work, it´s more a result of King´s working method of letting the characters and his subconsciousness tell the story. This can go luckily well, average, or, rare exception and seen with pink fanboy goggles, average average, because there exists no bad in King´s work, ok?. Possibly, some really aren´t that great, maybe the ones the wrote in ultra stoned blackouts and can´t remember like the whole novel Cujo.

    I have to sometimes also think about the family guy episode and the potentially true grain of überproductivity in it.
    This could play in here too a little.

    But seriously (of course not), I want to reread it and check the publication date before because there is this timeless debate about stoned inspiration, ingenuity, and creativity, and some of King's books were made when he was a multi drug using alcoholic, so… if you want to be successful. No, really, I am so looking towards reading all of his works and compare the pre drug era, the drug era, and the later periods and dissect what makes the difference.

    I´ve read most of King´s short story collections and wouldn´t suggest beginning with this one, better take one of the later works where he was a sober, super professional, and talented writing prodigy.

    If you are a picky reader, I would suggest checking the single ratings of the reviewers who are so ambitious to rate every single short story and thereby extract the best of the best, I honestly can´t remember which one´s were the most disturbing and mind penetrating, because I read it a while ago. Except „Survivor type“, because (view spoiler)[hard drugs and autocannibalism (hide spoiler)]

  2. says:

    There will be some of you that think three stars is kinda harsh for this collection. After all, it includes such amazing tales as The Mist and The Jaunt. It must be amazeballs, right? Not so much. Even the epically awesome stories in this collection need to be trimmed down. Most of them start slower than a Lars Von Trier movie, and over half of them never really pay off. There are some serious WTF stories within this collection; stories I didn't understand ten years ago and still do not understand today. In other words, the reread didn't help. That doesn't mean your experience will not be different. It does not mean you will not understand the Milkman stories or appreciate King's cute-ass poem about anthropomorphized fruit that he wrote for his youngest son Owen. I understand why they are in this collection, but that doesn't mean I have to like them. Mostly, this collection is tedious. But, some of the time, if you can wade through the first unmpteen pages of bullshit, you might find a scare or two, or a meaningful story surrounded by bloat.

    Here are my one-sentence reviews of each story. Feel free to discuss your favorites in the comment section.

    The Mist - Five epically-awesome stars for this tale of mist-borne monsters and flawed fathers.

    Here There Be Tygers - Three stars for this story about toileting tygers and tasty teachers.

    The Monkey - Two stars for this mostly mediocre, meandering monkey, because this one has never really scared me, but it sure has bored me.

    Cain Rose Up - Three confused stars because I don't know why this story is still in publication and Rage is not.

    Mrs. Todd's Shortcut - Four stars for what could be the inspiration for Lisey's Story, because Boo'ya Moon could very well be Mrs. Todd's escape route.

    The Jaunt - Five stars for this tale that takes cues from The Langoliers.

    The Wedding Gig - Four stars for this story that fits the Hard Case Crimes series better than both The
    Colorado Kid and Joyland put together.

    Paranoid: A Chant - I'm sure this piece is brilliant and I'm just too stupid to understand it, but yeah, one star.

    The Raft - All the stars (Five, Six... Ten... a Hundred) for what continues to be one of my favorite stories of all time.

    The Word Processor of the Gods - Gets three stars for being The Monkey's Paw with a happy ending.

    The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands - Finds three stars because the boys from 249B East 35th are still telling tales, even after Emlyn McCarron told them about The Breathing Method.

    Beachworld - Beachfront property this ain't, but one helluva four-star story it is.

    The Reaper's Image - This three-star story seems like the inspiration for that horrible Oculus movie.

    Nona - Gets four-stars for being darkly dubious.

    For Owen - If I were King's kid I would expect something better than this two-star cutesy crap from my old man.

    Survivor Type - While you'll never see Richard Pine on Food Network, his cooking gets five stars.

    Uncle Otto's Truck - Two stars for this done-to-death concept about a killer car.

    Morning Deliveries (Milkman #1) - One star for this outline of an idea for a possible short story.

    Big Wheels: A Tale of the Laundry Game (Milkman #2) - If someone would like to explain this story and its predecessor to me, I might give it more than one star.

    Gramma - Four-stars for this creepy motherfucker because the beginning is slow as hell, but that ending... *shivers*

    The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet - This one starts even slower than Gramma but its payoff only raises it into three-star territory.

    The Reach - Stephen King says he wants to be remembered for this four-star beauty of a story, but he's done much better, at least in my opinion he has.

    In summation: Skeleton Crew has a few gems, but is, overall, just okay.

    Final Judgment: I'd rather take a jaunt on a raft through the mist.

  3. says:

    You can find this review and more at Novel Notions.

    Stephen King is such a master storyteller. I’ve come to love him over the past few years, and I now count him among my favorite authors. I have to agree with the masses, however; King tends to fall flat when it comes to endings. Thankfully, that’s not really an issue when it comes to short stories. They’re not supposed to really end, which I think is a huge boon in King’s favor. As with Night Shift, the first of King’s short story collections I read, Skeleton Crew was chockfull of the interesting, terrifying, and uncomfortable. While not every story was a resounding success, there were far more hits among these twenty two installments than there were misses, and a handful of these stories will be staying with me for a good long while.

    The first selection in this collection is one of King’s novellas, The Mist, my review of which you can read here. Beyond that, the stories that resonated the most with me were The Monkey, The Jaunt, Word Processor of the Gods, Nona, Survivor Type, The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet, Gramma, and The Reach. All of these stories I would have rated anywhere from 4 to 5 stars, which I think is a pretty high percentage for a short story collection. Some of these story were scary, while others were merely uncomfortable. Only one story actually gave me nightmares, and that was a tale of self-cannibalism that included not a single supernatural element. It was absolutely horrifying. Then there’s The Reach, which was a poignant way to close out the collection. Also, there were a handful of Castle Rock stories, which is always fun to come across if you’re one of King’s Constant Readers, which I’m beginning to consider myself. One thing that I think King should steer clear of though is poetry. There were two poems in this collection and they just didn’t land.

    If you’ve never read Stephen King and would like to give his work a try, I cannot suggest highly enough picking up one of his short story collections. You’ll get a taste for his style, and there’s something about King’s storytelling in short form that I find a good deal scarier than some of his novels. Whether he’s spinning a tale that spans a dozen pages or more than a thousand, King is undoubtably the master of the horror genre, at least in my eyes. Long live the King!

  4. says:

    There are two short stories that I read over and over. The Mist has always been a favorite, and I can't believe how many people haven't read Survivor Type! It's awesome!

    I've lost three copies of this from lending it out. Don't ask--you can't borrow it! ;o)

  5. says:

    Skeleton Crew is my least favorite Stephen King story collection. Its not a bad collection, but something just felt off. The six stories I loved are probably some of my favorite Stephen King stories but the rest were just blah!

    The Good:
    1)The Raft is my favorite story in this collection. A group of friends on a raft find themselves being picked off by some mysterious black slug in the water.
    2)Word Processor of the Gods. A man who hates his life discovers he can delete or add people and things in his life through his new Word Processor.
    3)The Reapers Image is one of King's best stories period. As someone who actually has seen an inexplicable image in a mirror, I love scary stories involving mirrors.
    4)Survivor Type is so disturbing that while I loved it, I will never read it again. A surgeon is stranded on a island and finds that one particular meat is tastier than the rest.
    5)Uncle Otto's Truck, Stephen King loves a haunted car and I think this story is best of all of his haunted car stories.
    6) Gramma I've heard or read this story before but I can't remember where. Gramma never dies.

    I'm not going to go into detail on the bottom 3 because I just don't care enough.
    The Mist was a disappointment because I had such high hopes.
    The Wedding Gift was pointless and not funny in the least.
    Beachworld was boring.

    Skeleton Crew is a good collection but with Stephen King I've come to expect greatness. If you love Stephen King I would still recommend this but for the casual King reader maybe skip it.

    Hooked On Books September Read-A-Thon

  6. says:

    Skeleton Crew. What a great name for this book of short stories. Many pack a scare. Some not so much. I thought I’d just highlight a few of my favorites:

    The Mist - It’s by far the longest “short story” in the collection. Really, it could be called a novella. I’m glad it was included here instead of a novella collection (something that SK has become famous for doing). The Mist starts things off with a bang, or should I say a storm. After the storm comes the mist, and within that mist is the stuff of children’s nightmares. A crowd of people end up in turmoil together against that stuff, and at first there’s only a feeling that something terrible is hidden in the mist. Call it the calm before the shit hits the fan. At this point SK explores some of the characters involved. It’s just what I love to see, and here I am pleasantly reminded of a few of SK’s other full length novels. The Mist is just long enough to glimpse some personalities. Enough to get me invested even a second time around.
    The Monkey - Holy shit did this toy monkey ever sell from the store’s shelf again after this story? And for those who already owned one think about it lying inside a box in the upstairs attic, eyes wide open, cymbals poised? This scary good story may be the reason I never owned one myself.
    The Raft - The title alone sets your mind to wondering. A raft. Water. Isolation. King’s imagination takes you beyond the norm. Give me a shark to contend with. I want off this raft. And what could be the most terrifying part of this story, is that fact that I felt like the fifth person on that raft, just trying to figure a way to shore.
    Word Processor of the Gods - This is so good because it is the reimagining of the genie in the bottle, or “The Monkey’s Paw” by WW Jacobs. Again, it became the question of “What would I do?”, while at the same time telling its main character to STOP, or at least SLOW DOWN because I need time to think first. Fun and thrilling.
    The Reaper’s Image - An antique mirror, or looking-glass as it was called, is locked away in the attic for a good reason. Some people cannot help themselves. Maybe that’s because it’s priceless, or maybe something else. The story is short, and seems to have been purposely written with little crisis, but then end gets me all the same.
    Survivor Type - This one proved that it’s possible to hate the protagonist yet still love the story. For me, that is a rarity. Maybe that’s what King set out to do. Provide a desperate situation that keeps the reader riveted and place a dirtball in the center of it. I don’t know. The shock value counts for a lot here, and I wonder, “Would I like the story even more with a character I cared for, or less?”
    The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet - Again, what a great title. It’s the Crew’s second longest story. Not it’s best. Much of the first three-fourths succumb to a slow pace. All I can say is you got to make it through to the end because that’s where the payoff occurs. Saved by a great finale.

    King includes a nice afterward, at least in the 1985 HC edition, in what he calls such things that might interest the casual reader. He includes a few notes for a few of the stories describing how each came about. I love a peak into his mind. Even SK is stumped for an idea at times, but then a most mundane experience occurs, and a story is born from real life.

  7. says:

    Out of all the stories in this collection, it’s The Mist that’s not only the longest but strongest and well known - it also possibly overshadowed the others for me.

    The novella length tale easily makes this collection worth reading, whilst some of the other stories that have also been adapted were the pick of the rest.
    ‘The Raft’ (from Creepshow 2) was my next favourite along with ‘Gramma’ being creepily good.

    Out of the stories that I’d had no prior knowledge, the diary entries by Richard Pine in ‘Survivor Type’ really stood out.
    It was also great to see King try Sci-Fi as ‘The Jaunt’ was pretty memorable too.

  8. says:

    Revisiting Skeleton Crew, Stephen King's collection of twenty-two short stories published in 1985, for the first time since I was in 7th grade -- a time when I was trying to dress like Don Johnson and get Madonna's Into the Groove out of my head -- was a wonderful experience. The horror stories I loved as a 12-year-old were each better than I remember. A couple I didn't have the patience for back then became new discoveries. A lot of the stories I never cottoned to are still terrible.

    Five stars:

    The Mist. This novella of apocalyptic doom and ravenous monsters at the threshold may be the most terrifying thing I've ever read. Imaginative and horrible, The Alamo meets H.P. Lovecraft, I've reread certain passages to make sure I read what I imagined I did. King's depiction of how quickly good folk descend into a mob when confronted by their own mortality is one of his finest pieces ever. I've never looked at supermarkets the same way again.

    Mrs. Todd's Shortcut. One of the stories I skipped at age 12. No monsters, no boogeymen, but love stuff? Gross! King's creativity bloomed for me this time around, as did his unabashed romance for Ophelia Todd, one of the more compelling characters in what usually amounts to a rogue's gallery for him.

    The Jaunt. Spellbinding science fiction tale that documents the invention of teleportation (in 1987!) and how a family preparing for a jaunt to Mars hundreds of years later comes out the other end with a valuable lesson about space-time travel. This one still blows my mind.

    The Raft. Another one of King's most primal and terrifying tales. In a lot of King's stories, I can imagine myself getting out of the predicament with logic and abundant knowledge of horror movie cliches, but this is one story I want no participation in whatsoever.

    Uncle Otto's Truck. This was another story I skipped over when I was younger. Since, I've come to appreciate a great yarn. Everyone has a story to tell and I can hardly resist a first-person account by a character who seems to be whispering to the reader that they have something they really want to get off their chest, something we might not believe, but really happened.

    Four stars:

    The Monkey. Not quite as scary as I remember it, but still wonderfully written. A windup monkey with crashing cymbals doesn't quite scare me, but the journey the protagonist takes from orphaned boy to adult and his battle with this evil thing is compelling.

    Nona. Bumpy at the beginning, this is another terrific yarn, a jailhouse confessional by a convicted killer whose account of his raven haired, irresistible accomplice cannot be verified by any witness. It's quite creepy. The tie-in to The Body was an unexpected treat.

    Survivor Type. Not terribly suspenseful, more of a gross-out story, but the lengths King goes to describe how a rogue doctor ended up marooned with surgical equipment and heroin is imaginative as hell.

    The other stories range from decent (The Reaper's Image, Word Processor of the Gods) to godawful messes (I can't even begin to unravel what the hell is going on in Milkman #1 or Milkman #2. I now remember why after The Raft, why Skeleton Crew becomes something of a chore to power through and finish. There's junk mixed amid the treasures, but part of the fun was dumpster diving here and discovering that for myself.

  9. says:

    While this definitely isn’t my favourite collection of King short stories, it does have some gems that I really loved. My favourite by far were Nona, The Mist and The Monkey. Something about each of those three stories really got to me and sunk their claws deep into me. The rest of the stories were quite enjoyable as well but they just didn’t leave me with the same delicious feeling of unease as the three stories I mentioned above.

  10. says:

    I finished Skeleton Crew with tears in my eyes. I thought I'd read The Reach — the story that closes out this collection — before, but I guess I hadn't. It was an entirely new experience for me, and it packed quite the emotional wallop. As I write this review I'm still trying to mentally recover from that one, so pardon me if my thoughts are a little scattered. My Fornit died, and I'm stuck doing the job myself.

    By the time this collection was published in 1985, Stephen King was a bona-fide literary rock star. His fame was gargantuan, beaten in size only by his addiction to dope and alcohol. According to the man himself, his study was the site of nightly parties for one, where the beer flowed and nose candy was always available. Yeah, King wasn't in a great state of mind for most of the eighties. He warns the reader in this book's introduction that the act of writing short stories hadn't gotten easier for him over the years — instead, it had gotten harder. Novel deadlines made it difficult to carve out time for shorter tales, and everything the man put into his Word Processor of the Gods wanted to be six hundred pages in length. If this reviewer is being honest, that's painfully apparent with this collection. A handful of the tales presented here should've never made it off the cutting room floor and several others could have been trimmed a bit. Most of what the reader is presented with is great (hence the four stars), but King overwrites like crazy here. That's my problem with a lot of his output from this decade — excess verbosity.

    After the reliably folksy, mood-setting introduction to this collection from Sai King himself, things get rolling with The Mist, the first (but not last) story in Skeleton Crew about ordinary people stranded and facing likely death, due to out-of-this-world circumstances. The Mist is a novella, and I always enjoy every word of it. Yeah, King overwrites in several places in this book . . . but this story ain't one of 'em. I have quite the fear of mist, thanks to this story. Other favorites of mine include The Ballad Of The Flexible Bullet, a delightfully paranoid story King could have never written before or after cocaine; The Raft, which was my very favorite in this collection for a long time; The Monkey, a story that doesn't get as much love as it deserves; The Reach, the previously mentioned story that moved me to tears; The Jaunt, which, for my money, contains King's most haunting story ending yet; and Cain Rose Up, a story that other reviewers like to rag on but I can't help but dig.

    All that said, there are several stories here that should have gotten canned. Here There Be Tygers makes no sense and is downright gimmicky; the two Milkman stories also don't make much sense and go nowhere. Uncle Otto's Truck, a story about (you guessed it) a haunted truck, feels worn out and old — King has touched on this theme so many times in his career. I also don't like For Owen at all, and Paranoid: A Chant should have been folded into The Ballad Of The Flexible Bullet where it belongs. It's a shame this collection is somewhat weighed down by so many DOA entries, because there are several genuine classics here. This one just isn't very consistent, and if that's what you're looking for might I recommend Night Shift or Just After Sunset?

    All in all, this is very much a collection worth checking out. It was released during King's classic period, so of course it's worth a purchase. The theme of external isolation and humanity's will to save itself is done really well in The Mist, Beachworld, Survivor Type, and The Raft. I also like this book's Do you love? motif — it makes this collection hang together much better than it probably should. This is definitely a strong read, and I will come back to my favorites for years to come.

    King connections:

    (I tried to take actual notes for this one, as I knew there are connections to the King universe all over the place. I know I missed some, but here's what I caught while reading. Sorry my notes are a little scattered.)

    The Mist

    P. 94 - David Clayton, our main character, thinks of a character as looking like a crazy gunslinger in an existential comedy.
    It is theorized that The Shop is at least partially responsible for the mist. I could totally see that.
    I'm not sure if this is a connection or not, but when David and a few others make the courageous trek to the pharmacy next door, they encounter an otherworldly presence that takes the shape of a spider . . . though they know it's something more. Any relation to IT? Totally possible, as that book was published the following year.

    Mrs. Todd's Shortcut

    It takes place in Castle Rock, home of several King novels and short stories.
    P. 182 - Joe Camber of Cujo is mentioned.
    P. 186 - Haven gets a shout out!

    The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands

    This one could be could be seen as a spiritual successor to The Breathing Method, even going so far as to reference that earlier novella. It revoles around the same, strange story-telling club that we first met in Different Seasons.


    It takes place in Castle Rock, firmly placing it in the same universe as Mrs. Todd's Shortcut as well as several other King stories.
    The narrator of Nona mentions once getting messed up by Ace Merrill, the local baddie — an antagonist in The Body and Needful Things.
    The narrator lets the reader know he grew up in Harlow, Maine — the setting of N. and Revival.
    P. 347 — Vern Tessio of The Body gets a brief mention. Cool!

    Uncle Otto's Truck

    Both Derry and Castle Rock play an important role in this one.


    P. 421 - Cora Simard and Henrietta Dodd are mentioned. George, the protagonist in Gramma, listens to one of the ladies' phone conversations on a party line. Cora's daughter, Rhonda, was a student of Ewen High School and was among Carrie White's tormentors. Henrietta Dodd was the mother of Frank Dodd, as seen in The Dead Zone and mentioned in various other Castle Rock stories.
    Joe Camber gets another mention! This story takes place near Castle Rock in 1977-ish (I think), so before the major events of Carrie and Cujo. Hmm.

    Favorite story:

    The Ballad Of The Flexible Bullet

    Least favorite story:

    Big Wheels: A Tale Of The Laundry Game (Milkman #2)

    Favorite quote:

    “I sit on the bench in front of Bell's Market and think about Homer Buckland and about the beautiful girl who leaned over to open his door when he come down that path with the full red gasoline can in his right hand - she looked like a girl of no more than sixteen, a girl on her learner's permit, and her beauty was terrible, but I believe it would no longer kill the man it turned itself on; for a moment her eyes lit on me, I was not killed, although a part of me died at her feet.
    (from Mrs. Todd's Shortcut)

    Up next:

    It's everything you ever were afraid of. It's . . . IT.

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Skeleton CrewLibrarian's note: There is an Alternate Cover Edition for this edition of this book hereWelcome to the world of terror! Let the one and only Stephen King take you into a wold where a macabre mist traps humanity in its swirling horror…where a beautiful young girl offers satanic seduction…where a child’s toy becomes the ultimate instrument of evil…where a man is given a devilish machine that grans him godlike powers…where nothing is what it seems and nowhere is safe…Stephen King takes you into this world—and the skill that makes him the most spellbinding storyteller of our time will not let you escape before the final fearful turn of the page—back coverContents:The Mist Here There Be Tygers The Monkey Cain Rose Up Mrs Todd's Shortcut The Jaunt The Wedding Gig Paranoid: A Chant The Raft Word Processor of the Gods The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands The Reaper's Image Nona For Owen Survivor Type Uncle Otto's Truck Morning Deliveries Big Wheels: A Tale of the Laundry Game Gramma The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet The Reach

About the Author: Stephen King

Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.