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Four Past Midnight

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  81,087 Ratings  ·  1,015 Reviews
The scary story has never been the same since. An extraordinary quartet of full-length novellas: The Langoliers, Secret Window, Secret Garden, The Library Policeman, and The Sun Dog.
ebook, 768 pages
Published September 3rd 1991 by Signet Book (first published September 1990)
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Community Reviews

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Mar 25, 2013 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A re-read after more than twenty years. Will it stand up?

Short answer: Absolutely. :)

The Langoliers fits snugly in the New Weird category, pretty much entirely esoteric SF with gremlin-types, alternate dimenions and/or time travel on a plane... There are no snakes here! :) The characters are a blast and we've got a firm horror vibe going on here where we are kept guessing as to who among all these random sleepers will make it to the end. Thoroughly enjoyable novella, but not my favorite. It's pr
Edward Lorn
Jan 28, 2015 Edward Lorn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror fans
Recommended to Edward by: Mom and Dick
The overall theme of this collection, whether Stephen King realizes it or not, is that lazy little sin we call sloth. If you're a no-account layabout, the Langoliers will come and eat you up. If you're too lazy to write your own material, John Shooter might come calling. Can't be bother to take back that library book? Here comes the Library Policeman to suck you dry. And if you wanna make a fortune not by working but by profiting off other people's misfortune, the Sun dog might make you a Scooby ...more
Feb 11, 2012 Hassinger rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: do-not-reread

Four Past Midnight is a collection containing the following "short" stories:

1. The Langoliers (233 pages)

2. Secret Window, Secret Garden (146 pages)

3. The Library Policeman (195 pages)

4. The Sun Dog (149 pages)

Generally speaking, Stephen King begins with amazing concepts that are soon dragged down by poor execution. To make it more fun, look for the following the next time you read a King novel and see how many you can find:

- FLAT, IMPARTIAL TONE. Whether he is describing the main character's mo
Nov 25, 2011 Helen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Langoliers: Twilight Zone type scenario, only more horrific. Not for those with a fear of flying, or you don't have aerophobia, you may well develop it after reading this. That,and a perfectly logical fear of toothy existence-devouring beasties!

Secret Window, Secret Garden: Having already seen and enjoyed the film adaptation, I wasn't sure what to expect from the original novel. I found the story to be more intense and claustrophobic, one of those rare tales that stays with you and gets unde
Sadegh Davoudi
Jul 01, 2007 Sadegh Davoudi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is consisted of 4 short stories (app. 200 pages each) and as all of King's works, the super-natural has a very important role in them.
1) The first one is called "The Langoliers" and is about a group of people who wake up in an deserted plane. Your in an unknown world where you don't know the rules. Fascinating. (I give it 4/5)
2) The second one is called "Secret Window, Secret Garden". I found this story somehow boring. It's about a writer which someone accuses him of stealing his stor
Feb 14, 2017 Cody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
There is an old Family Guy cutaway which depicts Stephen King meeting with his publisher to pitch his next novel. Obviously desperate for an idea, King quickly looks around the office and grabs the publisher's desk lamp. "So this family gets attacked by . . . a lamp monster! Ooooh!" he waves his hands, trying to convey the scariness and shock of his laughably bad offering. Of course the skit is satirizing King's prolificacy. The publisher sighs, defeated, and asks when he can have the manuscript ...more
This is yet another re-read for me, and oh, I'd say it's been at least 8 or 9 years since I've read it, but I remember liking it a lot back then, my friend had a copy and I didn't, I had dark thoughts of booknapping and possible ransom. Happily, I have my own copy nowadays to read whenever I please. I don't know why it's taken me so long to re-read this book, but I'm glad it's been patiently waiting for me.
So far:
"The Langoliers" was excellent. SK does the "small-group of survivors coping with a
Thomas Strömquist
Stephen King (re-)read #28. For some reason I remembered this collection less than I thought I would. And it's certainly not because it's forgettable! I did read it in Swedish the first time around and I think that this is much better in original language. Four stories, three great ones.

The Langoliers was actually the greatest surprise for me, I had but a really dim remembrance of the movie that was based off this and had totally forgotten about what a great story it is. Brilliant cast of charac
Sep 16, 2015 F.R. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having read and loved 'Full Dark, No Star's' earlier this year, I was eagerly looking forward to another collection of four Stephen King novellas. Although this time I've been distinctly disappointed. I've detailed my thoughts on each individual story below, but suffice to say this really is a second string collection.

The Langoliers
First things first, Stephen King really can’t write an English accent. In Nick Hopewell, who is a kind of jaded, SAS-graduate James Bond, King tries to give us an En
Antonio Rosato
Questo lavoro di King, pubblicato per la prima volta nel 1990, entra nel novero dei suoi pochi libri che mi hanno lasciato con l'amaro in bocca. Per la verità, non si tratta di un romanzo vero e proprio, ma è solo una raccolta di quattro racconti brevi in cui lo stesso scrittore rende omaggio, diciamo così, alla sua professione ed al suo stesso estro creativo. I primi tre racconti, ad essere onesti, mi son piaciuti ma senza entusiasmarmi; il quarto ed ultimo, invece, mi ha completamente deluso t ...more
Mafalda Fernandes
update Fev. 2017
One Past Midnight: The Langoliers - 4*
This was a gripping roller-coaster of emotions and actions!
I couldn't put the book down, I really need to find out what would happen to the characters.

Two Past Midnight: Secret Window, Secret Garden - 4*
This one was the novel I was more excited to read. I was expecting to like more than I did. I'm not sure if it was the end, or something else.

Three Past Midnight: The Library Policeman - 5*
Can a Stephen King story have a happy ending? Seems t
Jason P
Jul 07, 2014 Jason P rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I thoroughly enjoyed this compilation of Kings, it had the perfect cheesiness that is Sai King. I know some may not like his stuff and say that his work goes to you, not you to it, and somehow that makes his writing terrible? Sure, sure - you're just a scaredy cat who can't take the boogeyman. Admit it - go on, do it. I'll wait...


OK, good. Here's the low down:

The Langoliers...

How cheesy was this? People wake up on a a plane with the rest of the passengers gone, disappeared. All that's left
Chester Dean

Para mi siempre es un placer leer a Stephen King, y últimamente la editorial me ha consentido con dos de sus libros y eso me tiene loca de contenta. El primero que leí fue "Las cuatro después de medianoche" que consta de dos historias cortas, una se llama El policía de la biblioteca y el segundo El perro de la polaroid.

Como buen libro de Stephen King (se nota enseguida su pasión por escribir) comienza con un mensaje del autor para sus lectores frecuentes, donde nos cuenta sobre el libro y la
Apr 09, 2012 seak marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stephen-king
This is a novel containing for completely different stories. Only Stephen King can have a collection of stories that average 200 pages a piece. Am I right?

I'm taking my time with it, so I'll be reviewing one at a time for an unspecified amount of time.

The Langoliers Years ago, I was flipping channels and saw a part of this movie. It happened to be the one part where they were explaining what was happening, but I'm proud to report that it did nothing to diminish the suspense of this story. At t
Adam Light
Five big, fat ones for this collection of four of King's best novellas. I loved it when he first released it, and it was even better these many years later. I had nearly forgotten the last two, so they were almost new reads for me. The Langoliers has always been one of my favorites.
Wayne Barrett
Actual rating; 3.5 stars
A collection of four short stories:
The Langoliers
Secret Window, Secret Garden
The Library Policeman
The Sun Dog
This collection doesn't quite stack up to the King quartet; Different Seasons, but it is still classic Stephen King.
Ruth Turner

Audiobook – Narrated by - Various.

I love the stories in this book but I have to say that some of the narrators didn’t do them justice and the background music drove me nuts!

Secret Window, Secret Garden – Narrated by James Woods.

The Sun Dog – Narrated by Tim Sample.

The Library Policeman – Narrated Ken Howard.

The Langoliers – Narrated by Willem Dafoe.



Although I worked out what was happening early in the story it in no way detracted from my e
Strawberry Fields
Nov 04, 2012 Strawberry Fields rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So I decided this year I'm going to re-read some books I haven't read for years, even though my TBR is ever growing. I am glad this is one of the ones I chose.

It is as good as I remember. My favorite stories were The Library Police and Secret Window. Still not a huge fan of The Langoliers. I know that is in contrast with a lot of opinions!

Stephen King's short stories and novellas are just as captivating as the 1000+ page novels he has written so well. I would be afraid to live inside his head fo
Sarah Anne
The first two stories were on the boring side, mostly because I had seen the movies. The third story, The Library Policeman, was actually pretty good up until one moment that involves trigger warnings (view spoiler). The fourth story, The Sun Dog, was the only one that I actually enjoyed out of the four.
Andrew Pritchard
Jan 16, 2013 Andrew Pritchard rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was the book that turned me off Stephen King forever. Normally he is a great writer, if not a very original one, but the stories here are nothing more than rewritten Twilight Zone episodes and rather badly rewritten at that. Stephen King has said in an interview that he is the fast food of literature, well he certainly is the junk food of literature and Four Past Midnight is just a regurgitation of lame story plots.
Ole Imsen
Jun 28, 2010 Ole Imsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This is a collection of four novellas. So first I'm going to give you my review of the individual novellas, and then at the end I'm going to give you my thoughts on the collection/book as a whole.

The Langoliers

As a lot of King's horror, this story has a lot of science fiction elements. Here one element straight out of science fiction is central to the plot.
The Langoliers is not a slow starter, it doesn't take many pages before you are drawn into the story. The shorter length, at 234 pages it
Jun 25, 2015 Lindsey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I know this does not have the highest ratings for a Stephen King book but for me it was great. It was a mixture of classic King with a different King. He has written a set of short stories that combines a little horror with a little mystery with a little comedy with a little romance with a little shock/awe. It's a book that has a lot written into but it works rather than not.

It's four short stories combined together to take the readers on a ride in one big book!

The Langoliers This for me gets a
Eve Nolon
I read all of these this summer but as novellas instead of the collection. I thought I had my favorites figured from what I knew of the stories (mostly due to the movies made from them) but I was wrong. My favorite, by far, was THE SUN DOG followed by THE LANGOLIERS and then THE LIBRARY POLICEMAN, and finally SECRET WINDOW, SECRET GARDEN, and although it's last, I enjoyed it a ton more that I thought I would based on my experience with the film. They're all solid "novellas" even though at least ...more
Jan 02, 2009 I.haveanidea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
The Langoliers: One of my favourite novellas ever, the one just kept me reading and I couldn't put down. Every aspect such as the blind girl, the crazy man, the "coincidence" of the pilot being there, and in fact the entire concept up to the end (which is rare for King stories). And of course the langoliers themselves. Loved this one. 5/5

Secret Window, Secret Garden: Great concept/idea, love the entire plot, but in this case I think the movie might have exceeded the novella, but I'm sure if it w
This anthology of "King-sized" novellas (because for anyone else, they'd be full sized novels) kept me enthralled for a couple of weeks.

The Langoliers - a flight to another dimension leaves a handful of passengers struggling to return to their own world.

Secret Window, Secret Garden - an author accused of plagiarism finds himself embroiled in a maddening fight for authenticity, and for his life.

The Library Police - make sure you return your books on time kiddies!
(On an aside, yesterday I was ca
Jun 27, 2015 Charles rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
This huge book, 732 pages, contains four horror novellas by King, The Langoliers, Secret Window Secret Garden, The Library Policeman, and The Sun Dog. The first two have been filmed, but not the last two. Overall, I liked these pretty well. The films of the first two stayed very close to the source material and since I'd seen the films I knew what was going to happen. It was still good to see how things worked out.

There are good twists and turns throughout the stories, and I liked the endings o
Asghar Abbas
Nov 29, 2015 Asghar Abbas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fine collection of tall tales. Very entertaining.
Beregond 3019
I borrowed this indiscriminately from a friend in anticipation of a long Greyhound bus ride (uncannily similar behavior to that of John Shooter, a character in the second novella of four within this volume). Seeing the name on the cover, I knew it would at least hold my interest, if not contain some real storytelling gold. I was mostly correct. The novellas in "Four Past Midnight" certainly keep the reader going and, with varying levels of depth, one finds that they remember these stories after ...more
Mar 15, 2017 Abby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
These novellas certainly weren't Stephen King's best. All of them are pretty strange and not necessarily in a good way. My favorite was Secret Window, Secret Garden. This was a classic psychological thriller and I enjoyed what happened with Morty and "John Shooter". Worst was The Sun Dog, where a picture of a dog slowly starts emerging from the camera. Yeah, the actual dog. Really weird story. And The Langoliers and The Library Policeman were somewhere in the middle.
Whenever I sit down to review a book I do it in the company of my cat, Eric, who usually plonks himself firmly on the keyboard in front of me or, more usually, evicts me from the chair entirely so that I’m left attempting to type while kneeling in front of the desk as he stretches out on the chair.

Stephen King has his Constant Reader, and for nearly twelve years now Eric has been my Constant Companion. I spend most of the time I’m not working at home, and rather a lot of that time reading. As w
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Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, M ...more
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“A woman who would steal your love when your love was really all you had to give was not much of a woman.” 57 likes
“I still believe in the resilience of the human heart and the essential validity of love;I still believe that connections between people can be made and that the spirits which inhabit us sometimes touch. I still believe that the cost of these connections is horribly, outrageously high... and I still believe that the value received far outweighs the price which must be paid. (From introductory notes.)” 55 likes
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