I have obtained this from a free library (one of those little birdhouse things in my neighborhood.) It's a collection of short stories.

I love Stephen King but not his propensity for grossouts or body horror. In fact, I shied off his short stories after reading two Ultimate Body Horror Grossout stories, "The Cat From Hell" and that goddamn story about the surgeon stranded on a desert island UGH UGH UGH.

Given that, which of these should I read, and which should I avoid? I'm OK with scary and with violence that isn't revoltingly graphic.

Dolan's cadillac
The end of the whole mess
Suffer the little children
The night flier
Popsy
It grows on you
Chattery teeth
Dedication
The moving finger
Sneakers
You know they got a hell of a band
Home delivery
Rainy season
My pretty pony
Sorry, right number
The ten o'clock people
Crouch end
The house on Maple Street
The fifth quarter
The doctor's case
Umney's last chance
Head down
Brooklyn August.
cyphomandra: boats in Auckland Harbour. Blue, blocky, cheerful (boats)

From: [personal profile] cyphomandra


This is my least favourite of King's collections (I do like the title!) and really the only ones I would recommend are The House on Maple Street, The Doctor's Case, and Umney's Last Case, all of which are non-gory and all three of which, now that I think about it, are fanfiction. Second-tier would be Dolan's Cadillac (revenge story, mild gore; I like the author's note on this one more than the story), My Pretty Pony (no gore, oddly compelling despite nothing happening), and The Ten O'Clock People (some gore). None of these really do body horror.

I am curious what you'd think of Dedication, which is the story from this collection that stuck with me. It's not really body horror although it has something repulsive; it has some great bits and some not so great bits and some bits where I am just boggled about what he was thinking. I can give more spoilers if it helps.

I did make notes on non body horror for his earlier collections, and this reminded me! In Skeleton Crew I love Mrs Todd's Shortcut (save distance enough and you'll save time), Word Processor of the Gods (pretty much all there in the title) and Ballad of the Flexible Bullet (where do writers get their ideas from?). The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands is set in the same gentlemen's club for weird stories as The Breathing Method in Different Season, and also lacks body horror. You can avoid pretty much everything else (especially Survivor Type) although he wrote The Reaper's Image is at 18 and it's interesting seeing what he was doing that early (and it's non gory - much more British-style ghost story rather than horror).

Night Shift - really, I'd just read The Last Rung of the Ladder (it's about relying on people and it often makes me cry) and put it down again. Maybe Quitters Inc., which is the ultimate stopping smoking program. I do like quite a few of the other stories, but there's a lot of body horror.
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