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The Tommyknockers

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Librarian's Note: This is alternate cover edition #2
ISBN 10: 0451156609
ISBN13: 9780451156600

See: Original Record Here

Late Last Night and the Night Before ...
... Tommyknockers, tommyknockers, knocking at the door.

Something was happening in Bobbi Anderson's idyllic small town of Haven, Maine. Something that gave every man, woman, and child in town powers far beyond ordinary mortals. Something that turned the town into a death trap for all outsiders. Something that came from a metal object, buried for millennia, that Bobbi accidentally stumbled across.

It wasn't that Bobbi and the other good folks of Haven had sold their souls to reap the rewards of the most deadly evil this side of hell. It was more like a diabolical takeover...an invasion of body and soul--and mind....

Note: All information herein, such as number of pages, publisher, etc., refer to this alternate cover edition and may or may not coincide with the main entry for this ISBN or any other alternate covers.


747 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published November 10, 1987

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About the author

Stephen King

2,612 books818k followers
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, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the 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.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,570 reviews
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,536 reviews9,779 followers
May 28, 2023
Okay, okay, I know what some of you may be thinking. This isn't a perfect book, how could I give it five stars?

The truth is, I'm not a critical reader; a book doesn't need to be technically perfect in order for me to love it.

I rate books based upon my reading experience and I absolutely loved my time rereading The Tommyknockers.

This SciFi-Horror novel, first published in 1987, is set in the small town of Haven, Maine.

One day while walking in the woods of her rather large property, local woman, Bobbi Anderson, quite literally stumbles upon a mysterious metal object protruding from the ground.

Unable to understand what she is seeing, Bobbi quickly becomes obsessed with freeing it.

The longer she's around the object however, the more she notices disturbing side effects suffered by both herself, and her old dog, Peter.

Regardless, Bobbi continues to feel the pull of the object in the woods.

Around the same time Bobbi has developed this new obsession, her old friend, Jim Gardener, known as Gard, finds himself in the depths of a true alcoholic bender.

On a morning where he is moments from ending it all, Gard experiences an overwhelming feeling that Bobbi, his one true friend, is in real danger; he needs to call her.

Unable to get through on the phone, he does what anyone would do. He hitchhikes to her house.

Once there, Gard finds Bobbi in a state of, shall we say, disrepair.

Bobbi gives Gard a run-down of all she has been up to; including showing him the mysterious object.

She enlists his help in her mission to free it. Although he has his reservations, Gard loves Bobbi and ultimately decides to stick around and help her out.

From there, we meet the town of Haven. Though they don't know why, the other locals have begun to feel the effects of the object's greater exposure.

The fallout seems to be effecting the health and wellness of the entire town. Incidentally, it also has a significant effect on anyone passing through.

Written towards the end of the Cold War, at a time when discussions of nuclear weapons, power and nonproliferation evoked a lot of passion amongst people, that influence can be felt here.

The fact that I am using the word, fallout, as an apt way to describe what was happening to the citizens of Haven, exemplifies that.

In addition to the social commentary, which I feel King is genuinely good at weaving into his stories, he also incorporates various other elements he seems to enjoy exploring.

There's author protagonists, both Bobbi and Gard are writers, alcoholism, mental telepathy, revivalist preachers, dolls, rats, bats, creepy kids and a fantastic array of body horror. It really has it all.

Also, as usual, this story is full of witty humor and characters that are so well-developed you feel like you've known them your whole life.

As a Maine native, I can tell you this story is full of Mainerism, as well!

Overall, I had such a fun time sinking my teeth into this one again. I had forgotten so much.

Additionally, I picked up many more connections to the greater Kingverse than the first time around; having an additional 20-years to read his stories.

I think this one is underrated. Not just underrated, it gets a solidly bad rap.

However, I humbly disagree. I think if you love King, and love SciFi, you can love this book as well.

Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51k followers
October 15, 2022
This seems to be one of Stephen King's less known and less liked novels.

I really liked it. Not 5* blown away liked, but a good solid 4* really liked.

I think my difference from the majority here is two-fold:

Firstly, I've discovered many people want all of a story to be good. If the end lets it down, they feel the whole book is a waste of time. Well... the end did let it down, but the story itself is packed with good stuff. There were so many scenes, characters, ideas and descriptions that all shone with the best that King has to offer that I felt I got my money's worth and more.

Yes it fell apart a bit - yes, that took the shine off. I guess one way of looking at it is if you saw the series Lost. Loads of great individual episodes, great characters, a fascinating/maddening mystery relentlessly building ... and an ending that made you go 'whuh?' - I never counted the time I spent watching those early episodes wasted. But yes, a good ending would have been wonderful.

Secondly, I read this at a time when I was thinking a lot about the mechanics and techniques of writing and story telling. It's the first time I really remember marveling not only at a story, but at the writing on the small and medium scale, and truly appreciating what magic was being worked, and how.

So - to the book. In brief it's like most other King books. He presents you with brilliantly realized real people, one of who is generally a writer (and is in this case), one of whom (often the writer - as in this case) has some drug dependency (often alcohol - as in this case) and into the small town /rural community comes some very weird shit (as in this case) which slowly unfolds and develops (in this case it is literally dug out of the ground over the course of the book).

The tale encompasses sci-fi rather than horror weirdness and once again King shows us through the eroding and changing relationships how a small community is subverted and transformed by the 'intruder/s' and how particular elements in that community (all richly presented with their own demons to battle before they can fight the demons/aliens/wotnot) make their stand.

Recommended. Although it has been a frighteningly long time since I read it.

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Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,813 followers
December 12, 2016
I mean, The Tommyknockers is an awful book. That was the last one I wrote before I cleaned up my act. And I've thought about it a lot lately and said to myself, "There's really a good book in here, underneath all the sort of spurious energy that cocaine provides, and I ought to go back." The book is about 700 pages long, and I'm thinking, "There's probably a good 350-page novel in there."

- Stephen King in a Rolling Stone interview.

You got that right, Uncle Stevie.

Bobbi Anderson is a writer living outside a small Maine town who trips over a hunk of metal sticking out of the ground while walking in the woods with her dog. She finds herself strangely compelled to dig it up, and she soon realizes that she’s stumbled across a flying saucer that has been buried for thousands of years.

Bobbi’s friend Jim Gardner is a poet with a love of booze and a deep hatred of nuclear power. After going on an epic bender Gardner visits Bobbi and finds that she has worked herself ragged and lost several teeth while digging up the ship. She’s also started making all sorts of home improvements like fixing her aging water heater up with what appears to be a fusion reactor. Bobbi convinces Gardner that they need to excavate the ship themselves, and he agrees to help. But the ship’s influence grows as it is unearthed to the point where the nearby townsfolk also start spitting teeth and coming up with clever ideas of their own.

The King quote I led with really sums up this book. There’s an intriguing idea at the heart of it and some nice character stuff particularly when it comes to Gardner. However, its coke-fueled writing is so evident that you expect to see leftover powder and dried blood spots from King’s nose on every page. There’s just too many tangents that go in useless directions, and it really gets out of control when he starts telling all the stories happening in the nearby town of Haven.

Detailing the takeover of the population of a small town via snapshots of the locals is something King does well in other books like Salem’s Lot, but he could never draw the line here between relevant character details and useless information. In fact, it almost seems at times like he was starting different novels. One has a beloved civic leader coming to suspect that there is something very wrong happening and doing her best to hold out from it. Another has a reporter starting to unravel the mystery of what happens in Haven, but since all he is doing is uncovering what we already know his whole thread is pretty much useless anyhow so learning all about his relationship with his passive aggressive mother is especially pointless.

King also has problems in dealing with things logically from a plot standpoint. He prefers vague supernatural threats that he can routinely increase or reduce the powers of as needed, but when he has to put physical rules to them things fly apart. Here he can’t even nail down exactly how the Tommyknockers are transforming the people. It’s definitely a gas that seems to come off the skin of the ship as it’s exposed. That’s a good concept (Although why aliens would coat the outside of their ship with something that would spread on contact with Earth air is a valid question.) but the ship also exudes something akin to electromagnetism that effects electronics and radio waves.

You could make the argument that there’s no reason it can’t be pumping out both gas and some weird alien radiation. Which is true, but it gets messy when it comes exactly which thing is doing what, and King practically broke his back trying to draw parallels to the TK ship and nuclear reactors so that theme is clear. However, Gardner is immune to the Tommyknocker transformation because he has a metal plate in his head so that seems to indicate that it isn’t caused by the gas, but it is repeatedly shown that others can avoid its effects by not breathing the air. It just isn't consistent at all. There is also a whopper of a continuity error right at the heart of this that shows that King wasn’t thinking through the details.

He also didn’t think through the implications of including the usual Easter eggs to his other works. The town of Derry exists here along with a direct reference to IT as well as other books, and that seems harmless enough at first. However, the end of this one would literally be the biggest story in human history. So that means the Stephen King universe should include it and the aftermath, but it doesn’t. Yeah, yeah, I know. The Dark Tower has many levels, blah, blah, blah. You can believe that if you want, but it increasingly feels to me that the references aren't so much clever winks to reader as they are lazy tricks that undermine the story King is trying to tell at the moment.

Plus, Stephen King just plain sucks at writing about aliens. He proved it again in Dreamcatcher, and if you read that whole interview I linked to you’ll see that he also doesn’t like that one much either and blames the Oxycontin he was on following being struck by a car. So that’s two bad books about evil aliens he wrote under the influence. I’m sensing a trend here.

Aside from the drugs though there’s an element of King’s personal outlook that makes him trying to do an alien invasion story problematic. Like a lot of Baby Boomers he has a general distrust of the guvment, and Uncle Stevie’s distaste is so strong that he just can’t imagine them doing the right thing. He also has some anti-tech tendencies and doesn’t think much of science. (The Stand is a prime example of this.) So the aliens are evil, but he also doesn’t think you could trust anyone in authority or with scientific expertise to do anything about them. That’s when King’s anti-establishment nature is at war with his own plot. It's like his alien stories are trying to be both E.T. and The Thing at the same time, and it just doesn't work like that.

For example, we get a long conversation when Bobbi (Who is part-Tommyknocker at this point.) is trying to convince Gardner that they can’t call ‘the Dallas police’, and that’s a big point that wins him over because he’s an anti-nuke protestor who doesn’t trust the powers that be with an alien ship. So that means that an alien influenced western writer and a drunken poet who shot his own wife are supposed to be the ones we trust to deal with the discovery of aliens? And yeah, I get that this is a con job to get Gardner to help dig up the ship, but that thread of thinking that the Feds would somehow be even worse than murderous aliens runs through this and Dreamcatcher in defiance of internal plot logic.

I mean, do we really believe that some idiot would be so distrustful of government agencies and science as well as have such a strong belief in crazy conspiracy theories that he would shun the system and instead choose to side with a hideous monster in human form who is telling him nothing but lies? Oh….. Never mind.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
234 reviews204 followers
October 20, 2022
"Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door."

There's something strange in the woods in Haven, Maine. Bobbi Anderson, out walking her dog quite literally stumbles over it. A few weeks later when Jim Gardener, poet and drunk decides to visit Bobbi, his only real friend, he finds a woman who's changed. Obsessed, intense, she's inventing things, making things happen. She's developed telepathic powers. But oddest and most ominous of all is what she's discovered buried down beyond the end of her garden.

In my opinion this is the type of story Stephen King does best, horror in a small town. What I liked most about The Tommyknockers was the vast and complex plot featuring lots of gruesome imagery and the building anticipation surrounding the meaning behind a mysterious object and what the consequences of its discovery will be.

The first half of this book is pure character development, the second half is all action. Is it a little overwritten? Maybe, but I still really enjoyed it. So it has some super weird bits (I’ll never look at a Coke vending machine the same way ever again) but I love that. Small town residents go crazy, nastiness, extreme gore and aliens! No one destroys a whole town like Stephen King!

If you like strange and unusual, you'll like this. If you are a slow/impatient reader, I wouldn’t recommend this one.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,560 reviews855 followers
August 6, 2021
Is this a horror novel hiding in a speculative fiction book, or a speculative fiction read pretending to be a horror novel? Something's happening in New Haven, Maine, something strange and unsettling and only one man can save the day, but he's a drunk, suicidal and once shot his ex wife in the face!

Still a good read, despite being written when King was himself struggling with addiction, which is evident in the leading themes! Big yay for me, with The Shop making an appearance. 8 out of 12.
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,195 reviews40.6k followers
July 1, 2021
“Late last night and the night before, tommyknockers, tommyknockers knocking on my door. I wanna go out, don't know if I can 'cuz I'm so afraid of the tommyknocker man.”

Well said Mr King! This quote really freaks me out! When I was a little child, I mumbled this quote at several times till my mother throws her slippers at me and screams at me to shut the hell up!

I chose one of my favorite and also the most underrated and unliked works of king of the authors for this flashback Saturday reading!

The first time I read I was eleven and interestingly the main broken writer characters who have special love- hate relationship, Bobbie Anderson’s obsession with the metal object she has found and deterrence of her mental health as her longtime lover/ friend/ enemy Jim tries to save her as he is struggling with his own vices captivated me. My kid mind interpreted it as a real sad love story meets close encounters to the third kind.

As usual there are nearly one hundred supporting characters and their perfectly crafted, detailed back stories are involved in this book like any other King stories. That’s why the book was thicker than Dostoevsky books. But interestingly my 11 years old mind didn’t care because my mind was clearer at those days and I could catalog each character’s name and back stories easily without turning back to remember it.

When I read it again I caught his past books’ references including Dead zone, Shining ( at one chapter Jack Nicholson’s famous quote “Here’s Johnny! “ is also mentioned) IT by mentioning the town Derry and I realized out we can catch the reflections of Mr. King’s delicate mental state and struggles via his Jim Gardner character. At the time SK wrote the novel, he was also suffering from drug addiction so he found the best realistic way to tell Jim’s inner fight with demons by his own experiences.

Most people might have disliked this book because of its dramatic ending. Maybe after investing for a book as long as encyclopedias, the readers wanted to see more light, less dark conclusion. But I think the eerie and foreboding sensation the author gave us at the beginning truly gave us how the story would conclude and to be honest that was the best ending choice.

I still insist this book is one of his greatest works and it deserves to be reread and it deserves to get another more objective chance from its readers!
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,820 followers
June 7, 2022
Tommyknockers on my first read – 3 stars
Tommyknockers on my reread – 3 stars

I remembered this not being one of my favorite Stephen King books and I remembered correctly.

Even Stephen King regards this as one of his least favorite novels. He was quoted in a Rolling Stone interview as saying it “is an awful book”. I may not go that far, but I cannot say that it is great, either.

For me, it just never gets really going. At times it feels like the plot is moving towards a breakthrough, but then it just stagnates. And, because the book is so long, the stagnation leads to repetition. If this book had been half as long, I think it would have been much better.

I wouldn’t really recommend this book to new King readers, and I wouldn’t recommend it to King fans. I would only recommend this to hardcore Stephen King completists.
Profile Image for Nataliya.
743 reviews11.8k followers
November 27, 2021
I love Stephen King, but… Is this book a clunker? Well, let’s have Stephen King himself answer, in a 2014 Rolling Stone interview (https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/... ):

“I mean, The Tommyknockers is an awful book. That was the last one I wrote before I cleaned up my act. And I’ve thought about it a lot lately and said to myself, “There’s really a good book in here, underneath all the sort of spurious energy that cocaine provides, and I ought to go back.” The book is about 700 pages long, and I’m thinking, “There’s probably a good 350-page novel in there.”

And who am I to argue with Uncle Stevie?
Profile Image for Vit Babenco.
1,423 reviews3,375 followers
March 22, 2023
The Tommyknockers is a scary tale… However it made me laugh…
For want of a shoe, the kingdom was lost… for the choice of a path, the ship was found.

Wisdom is simply murderous… Finders keepers, losers weepers… Or, probably, vice versa…
Advanced technology… Unearthly wonders…
Not a spaceship, or an alien craft, or an extraterrestrial vehicle. It was a flying saucer. They had been debunked by the Air Force, by thinking scientists, by psychologists. No self-respecting science-fiction writer would put one in his story, and if he did, no self-respecting editor would touch it with a ten-foot pole. Flying saucers had gone out of vogue in the genre at roughly the same time as Edgar Rice Burroughs and Otis Adelbert Kline. It was the oldest wheeze in the book. Flying saucers were more than passé; the idea itself was a joke, given mental house-room these days only by crackpots, religious eccentrics, and, of course, the tabloid newspapers, where any week’s budget of news had to include at least one saucer story…

But even funny flying saucers can be dangerous… Aliens bring terror… Aliens carry nothing but horror…
Nonetheless, there is a solid moral to the story: if you find in your backyard an alien spaceship don’t ever try to enter it.
Profile Image for Paul O’Neill.
Author 3 books174 followers
June 22, 2022
Reread - June 2022. - I'm downgrading from four to three stars. Still a good read, and a solid idea but it's just so weighty. There are about 400 pages that could be cut from this and it would be fine (imo).

Late last night and the night before, tommyknockers tommyknockers knocking at your door

I can make a couple of guesses to explain why this book only has a rating of 3.46, which it doesn't deserve. I thought it was great. Interesting and very different to Kings usual books. That being said, all the elements of a King book are here, great characters, unusual story and great dialogue.

I've read a few reviews saying that the ending is rubbish. I don't agree with this and there are definitely worse King endings out there *cough*Under the dome*cough cough*.

It is a bit long in the tooth but I don't think that can be helped. It does suffer a bit in the middle whilst King builds the blocks for latter stages in the book, so I can see people switching off, but I didn't think it was that bad.

Above all, this is a King fanboy book, the references to his other works (if you've read a lot of King) make this book worth reading.

Another solid story from the King of Kings :)
Profile Image for Cody | CodysBookshelf.
723 reviews209 followers
March 24, 2021
2021 Update
Buddy read with Layton and Rayne! What a journey this book takes me on, every time . . . and every time I find new things to enjoy, and appreciate, and consider.

2018 update: I am bumping my rating up to five stars because.... well, this book is simply one of King’s best.

2016 Review
The Tommyknockers is about Pandora's box, and what happens once it's open — and it's also about failed (missed? unrequited?) love. Our two main characters are Bobbi Anderson, a moderately successful writer of western novels, and Jim Gardener, a published poet and struggling alcoholic. The two are friends, and in the past have been lovers, enemies . . . and everything in between. Their relationship is endlessly intriguing, and it's what makes this flawed novel work — for me. While walking in the woods behind her home, Bobbi literally stumbles over what turns out to be part of an alien spaceship that has been buried for millennia, and is immediately intrigued. Her dig begins, and soon Jim comes to her after sensing something is wrong with her — wrong with her situation, and perhaps the town of Haven, Maine in general. The story expands out from there.

This is very much a "big" King novel. It feels big. The focus is only on Bobbi and Gardener for the first two hundred pages or so; the perspective is then expanded to include the goings-on of the townsfolk in part two, "Tales of Haven". It is this section most readers have problems with, I have noticed — and I can't disagree. While a few of the chapters (specifically the ones that focus on 'Becka Paulson, Hilly Brown, and Ruth McCausland) do a good job of painting a searing picture of foreboding, others — such as the pages-long chapter about the history of the town's name that has almost nothing to do with the story — act as speed bumps, and that's unfortunate; King is at his most inventive here, but he often gets in his own way.

I certainly held this novel in higher esteem before this reread. While some aspects of the story (Jim and Bobbi's relationship and the many guises it takes, Ev Hillman's character, the ending) actually improved for me, large chunks of the prose were slogs to get through. I don't usually accuse King of overwriting, but overwrite he did here. Maybe I am only realizing it now because I've been rereading his works in order. After taut, entrancing stories like Misery and Cujo, The Tommyknockers just feels bloated. It's like comparing 1968 and 1977 Elvis — the talent and goods are still there, but boy... a little weight could stand to be lost.

At its core, this is a white hot story written by a man who seems very, very tired. It's well-documented that SK was at the height of his drug addiction during the writing of this novel, and it certainly shows. He was a gargantuan success by then, though, and I guess no editor could stand up to the King. He would come back a couple of years later with The Dark Half, a novel that lacks the fat of this one . . . as well as the inventive spark. This one is a hot mess, but it's a whole lotta fun (and pretty creepy, too!). 3.5 stars rounded up.

King connections (buckle in for a long ride!):

Bobbi Anderson lived in Cleaves Mills (a town that has popped up in several Stephen King novels, most noticeably The Dead Zone) before moving to Haven.

P. 92 - Derry is mentioned. In fact, Derry pops up a lot in this one.

P. 97 - Jim Gardener, when doing a poetry reading, is facing stage fright and fears the audience sucking out his soul, his ka.

Pg. 144 - Jim uses the phrase 'lighting out for the territories,' a throwback to The Talisman.

Pg. 150 - Jim wakes up on a beach after a jag, only to run into a teenage boy. He has a conversation with the kid, and is it turns out it's Jack Sawyer, of The Talisman.

Pg. 159 - Jim hitches a ride in a van with a few druggie teens. One of said teens is named Beaver. Could it be the Beaver who appears in 2001's Dreamcatcher? I'd say it's likely. Like that novel, a good chunk of this one is set in Derry. And the timeline seems right. As well, it's not like the name (or nickname, rather) 'Beaver' is very common.

Pg. 265 - The Shop gets a mention, and will become important near the novel's end. Charlie McGee from Firestarter is referenced in connection to The Shop.

Pg. 476 - David Bright (from the Dead Zone and several short stories) enters the scene.

Pg. 479 - Ev Hillman, Hilly's grandfather, hears chuckles in the drains of his hotel room in Derry.

Pg. 479 - While in Derry, Ev goes to a local bar and hears the story of The Dead Zone's Johnny Smith.

Pg. 492 - Starting here, some history of the woods surrounding Bobbi Anderson's home is given. It is confirmed that the area — once called Big Injun Woods — was populated by the Micmacs, giving this book a firm connection to Pet Sematary.

Pg. 498 - King breaks the fourth wall and has a character hold this opinion: "Bobbi Anderson wrote good old western stories you could really sink your teeth into, not all full of make-believe monsters and a bunch of dirty words, like that fellow who lived up in Bangor wrote."

Pg. 735 - When contemplating how to break into Bobbi's shed, he makes a mental reference to Jack Nicholson's performance in The Shining — particularly, the infamous "Here's Johnny!" scene.

Okay . . . Let's talk about something, shall we? Let's discuss what universe this novel takes place in, because I'm very sure on a different level of the Tower than most of King's other stories.

In the Tommyknockers universe, King is an established author, and characters make references to him — and, by association, Peter Straub. At one point, Bobbi asks Jim if he's ever read Straub's 1983 novel Floating Dragon. Therefore, it would do to assume that The Talisman, the novel co-written by King and Straub, also exists in this world.

But! Jim runs into Jack Sawyer, the main character from The Talisman, on a beach. They even converse! Very similarly to Father Callahan's entry into the Dark Tower series despite existing as a book character in that very same world, it looks like Jack (and Stephen King and Peter Straub, I'd assume) exists both as a fictional and real character. Trippy, huh?

It doesn't stop there. There are references to Derry and Pennywise the Clown all over the place, and any King reader knows how intertwined IT is in the Dark Tower series. Is it safe to say The Tommyknockers is, therefore, Dark Tower-related? Not just in a tangential way, either? I'd say yes, though King has never said so.

And what about The Dead Zone? That novel is referenced here more than any other. Bobbi once lived in Cleaves Mill. David Bright, a reporter from that story, shows up here in a pretty significant way. If one will recall, in a climatic scene in that earlier book a character makes a reference to Brian DePalma's film Carrie — "This is just like that movie Carrie!" she says, thus, King is breaking the fourth wall and firmly establishing that work of fiction outside the realm of the rest of his stories . . . The Tommyknockers does the same thing. A character actually makes a reference to King as a living being and a writer, and Jim thinks about Stanley Kubrick's cinematic adaptation of The Shining.

But that's pretty messy, isn't it? Especially when one considers the fact that The Dead Zone is a Castle Rock story, thus making references made in and to that novel inherently contradictory. Same here; in fact, the references King makes in The Tommyknockers are contradictory in and of themselves, and often work against each other. Is it on purpose? Was he just throwing out random Easter eggs to please the crowd and inflate himself? Maybe it's a little of both. I don't know, nor do I pretend to. And I'm sure there are many, many references in this one that I missed, for I took only the briefest of notes.

Alright, now to pull myself out of the rabbit hole and finish this thing . . .

Favorite quote:

“The trouble with living alone, she had discovered-and the reason why most people she knew didn't like to be alone even for a little while-was that the longer you lived alone, the louder the voices on the right side of your brain got.”

Up next:

It's The Dark Half! ....ugh.
Profile Image for Gabriel.
484 reviews639 followers
December 10, 2021
La historia va de cómo la protagonista, mejor conocida como Bobbie, tropieza con algo hecho de metal. Desde allí, ella genera una obsesión por desenterrar el objeto y descubrir de qué se trata a pesar de que sospecha y tiene idea de lo que puede ser. La premisa es interesante y más aún cuando todo el pueblo se va a ver implicado por ese misterioso objeto que les afectará las vidas. Pero la historia es demasiado lenta y pesada. Yo entendería perfectamente que a mucha gente no llegue a gustarle esta historia por esa razón. Empecemos por cómo esta dividida la obra, la cual está constituida por tres partes.

La primera trata solamente sobre Bobbie y Jim Gardener, un poeta con el que tiene una relación de amigos con derechos. Narran ambos, hay un poco (demasiado) de su historia y mucho, mucho divague en sus pensamientos y acciones. Esta parte es la más pesada de leer en mi opinión y tiene la prueba directa para hacer que el lector siga o quiera desistir de leer. No por nada se lleva casi la tercera parte de toda la historia.

La segunda es más sobre las historias de Haven, la ciudad y como sus habitantes sufren por el extraño objeto que intenta desenterrar Bobbi, con ayuda de Jim. Esta parte es más adictiva y hay muchas historias como la de una mujer religiosa a la que Jesús le habla; un niño que quiere ser mago y un truco le sale mal; el abuelo Ev, desesperado y culpable; Ruth, delegada policial con muñecas que susurran, etc. Aquí ya se ve que la novela es coral y para quienes un reparto extenso es su debilidad, despierta el interés rápidamente.

En la tercera y última parte siguen apareciendo más personajes y ya ahí me llegué a marear pero, yo entiendo que era necesario para que el final no tuviera deus ex machina y es en definitiva la parte más adictiva.

Sin embargo, para mí es una historia muy pero muy normal. Es un libro que te lees rápido o lento (dependiendo del gusto del lector), pero que deja con un sentimiento de vacío. Es una historia regular de esas que olvidaré en algunos meses. La chicha está en sus personajes (Ev, Ruth y Anne, la bruja hermana de Bobbie, los mejores personajes secundarios para mí) y no tanto en los principales que llegan a cansar.
Profile Image for Stepheny.
381 reviews541 followers
October 20, 2014

Let me tell you a story. (Jason, Dustin- you guys have probably heard me tell this enough times you’re sick of it so you guys can skip ahead!)

Many years ago I first read the Tommyknockers. It was a huge brick of a book- a hardcover version no less. I was fascinated with it. I was a new Stephen King fan and after picking up the first book of his I ever read, I had to grab another and another and another.

The Tommyknockers had this great build- up, it was intense, there was so much going on. There was an entire town communicating telepathically. There were aliens, disappearing children, a spaceship buried in the ground and lots and lots of menstruation. What’s not to love?!

Well, I’ll tell you. The ending. I had never in my life felt so ripped off about an ending in a book. So, I did what any pissed off teenager would do- I chucked my hard cover book across the room. It hit the wall at high speeds and left a softball sized hole in the wall in my bedroom.

I can tell you one thing- Mom and Dad were not impressed.

I decided to do a re-read this year on audio in hopes of letting go of some of that anger. It was a fail of epic proportions. I ended up disliking this book more this time around than I did the first time. I think, now that I am older, I am more aware of hidden messages in books. I hate that. I felt like Gard’s obsession with nuclear power plants and the endless drunken rants was King’s way of expressing his own views. Now, I don’t know that for a fact, but I don’t care. It was annoying and was so prevalent that I kept waiting for the nuke to occur.

Another thing that annoyed me- useless shit. This book contained so much useless filler that I found myself trying to keep track of everything only to find that none of it fucking mattered.

There are FEW books (under five) written by Stephen King that leave me with this awful taste in my mouth, but when they do it’s just unbearable. I feel that way about this one and if you could see the look of disgust on my face while even writing this review, you would know the truth of what I say.

So why 2.5 stars and not 1? Well, let’s face it- it’s King. And as any King fan will tell you- even a bad Stephen King book is better than most others. Also- there were still some aspects that I loved. The disappearing act at the magic show remains to be one of my favorite King moments. I also greatly enjoy the doll scene. There were moments of greatness hidden in this tome. It is evident that King was lacking direction in this one though and was in severe need of a strict editor. Not one of his best, by any means…but an ok book.
Profile Image for Gareth Is Haunted.
315 reviews34 followers
May 18, 2023
The Tommyknockers is a book that often gets a bad rap, but I think it deserves more praise than it receives. It's not flawless but is still a remarkable novel.

'Insanity is refusing to go down certain paths of speculation even though the logic is there . . . like a token for the turnstile.'

It is a gripping and terrifying story of how an ancient alien force that lies hidden in the woods takes over a small town in Maine and awakens its latent abilities and changes them into something else. The book is full of suspense, horror, humour and emotion, as we follow the fates of the townspeople, especially the two main characters: Bobbi Anderson, a writer of Westerns who stumbles upon the spaceship and becomes consumed with excavating it; and Jim Gardener, her old friend and lover, who is an alcoholic poet with a metal plate in his head that protects him from the alien influence.

'In that brief movement he could see how it would look coming out of the ground – he could see its shadow rippling slowly over the ground as it came up and out, could hear the unearthly wailing of its hull scraping over the bones of bedrock, could sense everyone in Haven looking this way as it rose into the sky, hot and glittering, a monstrous silver coin slowly heeling over to the horizontal for the first time in millennia, floating soundlessly in the sky, floating free . .'

This was such a rich novel, blending so many different stories into one huge captivating story. For me, Book Two: Tales of Haven was a standout of the book, which I couldn't help but compare with Needful Things in the way that it linked multiple stories and showed the real consequences of Bobbi's discovery in the woods.
For me Gardener was the star of the book, he made me chuckle, gasp and feel a few very moving moments. He was a nuanced and imperfect character, struggling with alcoholism and alien influence, but also showing courage and loyalty. I loved his sarcastic remarks and his bond with Bobbi. A fantastic anti-hero if there ever was one. Hee also provided a great background of paranoia and scepticism which then added to the tense and uncertain nature of events.

"It sounds like a bad ethnic joke. Imagine yourself driving along an American thruway – I-95 or I-70, maybe – and coming up on a sign that says PLEASE CLOSE ALL WINDOWS, TURN OFF ALL VENTILATION ACCESSORIES, AND DRIVE AS FAST AS YOUR CAR WILL GO FOR THE NEXT TWENTY MILES."

The book explores themes of addiction, creativity, identity and power, as well as the risks of technology and nuclear war. The book also pays homage to many classic works of science fiction and horror, such as The War of the Worlds, The Thing and The Twilight Zone.

'It looked like the surface of a harsh, dead world. The gray earth was dry and cold; cracks gaped like dead reptilian mouths. They went zigzagging away in every direction. Overhead was a sky blacker than jewelers’ velvet, and a billion stars screamed down – they were brighter than the stars anyone on the surface of the earth had ever seen, because the place Hilly was looking at with the wide, horrified eye of his imagination was almost or totally airless.'

The Tommyknockers is a splendid and inventive work of fiction that will keep you engrossed and horrified until the end.
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
643 reviews4,260 followers
April 29, 2020
“Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door.”

The Tommyknockers is a wild ride from start to finish. I wanted to get off so many times, but the sheer insanity had me holding on white-knuckled until the very end.

Bobbi Anderson is out walking her dog in the area behind her house one day when she trips over a metal object buried in the ground. She becomes compelled to dig it up, discovering a flying saucer that has been buried for thousands of years....

The Tommyknockers is a bit all over the place - and this is of course easily explained by the fact that King wrote this under a haze of cocaine and alcohol, it was at the height of his addiction - some parts were SO GOOD, and I could easily fly through huge chunks. And then the pacing would slow waaaayyyy down, pages bloated with lots of unnecessary descriptions of batteries and Jim Gardener’s conspiracy theories... it was painful.

I feel like there’s a good story in here. Somewhere. I love when King focuses on a small town and all its inhabitants, and the potential is there in Haven, but it’s never fully executed for me. A lot of the characters simply merged together and I couldn’t differentiate one from the next, apart from Bobbi and Jim.

I have to say though, I thought the ending was fantastic. The book is split into three parts and the final section was the strongest, I felt. King also managed to use a vending machine in one of the most entertaining ways possible - and there were SO MANY fun Easter eggs! From The Talisman to The Dead Zone to IT and so forth. I enjoyed the hell out of these!

However, to be honest, as I was writing this review and thinking back over what happened in this novel, I’m still fucking confused as to what the hell was going on...my brain just didn’t retain some parts? I’d say a reread would really help, but I can’t look at this one for at least another decade... 2.5 stars.

Thanks to @skipbassman for the most well-coordinated buddy read! I’m glad we had each other during this one!
Profile Image for Michael || TheNeverendingTBR.
467 reviews161 followers
June 21, 2022
Damn, I've been in such a slump because of this book.

Anyway, I'm back! Finally! 😅

Long story short, this book was dreadful. I just couldn't get into it and I never connected with any of the characters, which is a first for a King novel I've read.

I think it's good going though because this is my 61st Stephen King book and I've only disliked this and Revival.

Two stars might seem harsh but compared to King's other works, I think The Tommyknockers is well below par.

Even Stephen King himself agrees so....
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,135 followers
December 9, 2020
It's FINALLY over!

"There's a lot going on in Haven" after IT is unearthed....and you won't want to read the half of it....well at least I didn't. I can't believe how much time I wasted reading this slow....long....laborious....drawn-out tale. What a nightmare....and I don't mean scary! 747 pages seemed like 5,000. IF YOU ARE A NEWBIE TO STEPHEN KING. PLEASE DO NOT READ THIS ONE FIRST! It is such a poor example of his wonderful storytelling ability with way too much gobble-(belated Happy Thanksgiving)-de-gook and too many characters.

I liked ~ Bobbi (at first) and Gard, brothers Hilly and David, Ev (gramps), Constable Ruth and Big Ralph the cop....and my heart went out to poor old Pete the dog.

I liked ~ the comment about about the good old western stories Bobbi wrote. "Not all full of make-believe monsters and a bunch of dirty words, like the ones that fellow who lived up in Bangor wrote." And thought the news reporter's mom was pretty funny....beware of microbes in diners!

I disliked ~ the unnecessary dialogue, overdone repetitive talk of Bobbi's heavy female bleeding, (we get the point already), penis talk obsession and fowl language. I am not easily offended; it was just so lame!

I disliked ~ that it took so long to get to the shed, and so so long to the hatch....to get anywhere for that matter. And something was missing with the telepathy making it drawn out and boring.

And, after all that, it was easy to guess the end! By far, my worst Stephen King read!

Profile Image for Tim.
2,131 reviews200 followers
May 9, 2021
Another well written '87 horror novel from Mr. King that could have been scarrier had he wished. 7 of 10 stars
May 26, 2023
Well, this is one of those mediocre 'King' moments for me. 'The TommyKnockers' seems to have mixed reviews on here, with many ratings being in the middle, and that's where I am. It wasn't spellbinding, nor did I absolutely love it, but there were some interesting chapters in here containing some wild characters who I enjoyed reading about. I just don't think Sci-fi 'King' is for me, at least this one wasn't.

I thought the novel began extremely well. We learn of Bobbi Anderson taking a walk in the woods, and while she is there, she stumbles over some metal sticking out from the ground. Due to Bobbi's curiousness she begins digging this up and by doing so, she lays a curse over the town of Haven, in Maine.

The novel develops and we meet Gardner, and various other interesting and somewhat vibrant characters, and this is all terribly grand, until the plot turns into a quite a confusing mess. King switches the narration frequently which made my reading experience rather irritating, and certainly not enjoyable. I had to reread parts in order to keep track of what was happening, and considering this book is quite a beast, one can imagine the time that took. I think if just over a hundred pages were reedited, this book would have read a lot smoother.

However, I must state, there were a couple of classic King scenes in here, one being, that cocktail party with Gardner as our lead. That was some mind-blowingly crazy scene! It was like King was on a roll and I felt like that as he wrote it, he wrote with pure anger. It was pretty damn wonderful, and that is the King I enjoy most.

I think this book had a few engrossing chapters in it, but the jumpy narrative left me rather frustrated, and feeling rather cold, but if one loves sci-fi and King, I'd definitely recommend.
Profile Image for Liz.
191 reviews57 followers
September 17, 2016
Please allow me to preface this review.

I love to read. I’ve been escaping by burying my nose in books for as long as I can remember and this particular book has taken me back to where it all began. Reading this book again after nearly 28 years has vividly reminded me of those early days when a 600 page book was such a huge part of my life, and the newest Stephen King hardcover was the BEST Christmas present ever! I say all of this to make clear that I’m probably unable to separate my sentimental attachment to this book from the critical aspects of reviewing it, and since I found myself equally enamored this time around, it gets all five stars from me. As a kid and a teenager, I devoured King’s entire library in the 80s/early 90s, a true Constant Reader during that time. Though I eventually branched out to other authors and genres, for me Stephen King and those magnificent books will always hold a special place in this reader’s heart.

Enough gushing. Let’s talk Tommyknockers.

First, I must respectfully disagree with others who feel that this is King’s attempt at sci-fi. This, to me, is pure horror suspense. I understand the comparison, what with that gigantic, most-likely-from-outer-space thing buried in the earth... but to me that’s where the similarity ends. I would argue that this story is much more about the slow build-up of suspense. The at first curious, then frightening, then horrifying things that are happening around town and how they’re all related to that buried thing. The way that people in town are suddenly feeling a little more connected with one another, undergoing bizarre changes, coming up with brilliant and terrifying new technology. It’s all about the Becoming. And it’s super creepy!

I was unaware until recently that this book had gotten such widely varying reviews and that so many people were disappointed by it. That really surprised me because every time I picked it up I ended up completely absorbed. Granted, the writing in Tommyknockers is much edgier and less polished than I remember his later works being, which could have turned some readers off. Personally, I found it bracing - downright comical at times.

And then there’s Jim Gardener. A.K.A. Gard. He’s absolutely my favorite character in this book from his first page, which brings me to what I’ve said before but bears repeating: what King does best is his characters. Throughout this book we see Gard at his best, worst and everything in between. He’s at times deplorable, at times exceedingly passionate, snide, funny, melancholy, and at all times indisputably genuine. It’s easy to underestimate him but I knew what was in store for him and it was not an easy path. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just leave this here as warning for the Tommyknockers…

You got no fear of the underdog
That's why you will not survive

The Underdog

Thanks to my friends in the Eclectic Club for another super fun group read!
Profile Image for Jamie Stewart.
Author 10 books159 followers
October 3, 2020
1.5 Stars

Yes, I did it! I finished rereading The Tommyknockers and boy was it one rollercoaster of a ride. Like Misery before it King tries something new: science fictional horror. Does it work? Short answer: nope!

Before I give my review I’d like to give a little history first. It’s been seventeen years since I first tried to read this. I got as far as the first hundred pages and put it aside feeling like the story didn’t seemed to be going anywhere. For some reason, maybe because I was then hooked on King’s work that I was digesting each book one by one, I went back a year later and read the whole thing. In the sixteen years since then whenever anyone would ask me what I rated this book I’d say 5 stars despite only being able to remember two scenes from its seven hundred page length. Oh, how that has changed.

The Tommyknockers starts okay. Bobbi Anderson trips over a piece of metal poking out of the ground while walking her dog, Peter, in the woods behind her house. Can she leave it alone? Of course not and as such she discovers a spaceship buried under the earth. I was already getting hints of the books excess in this section, however, I pushed them off as the story started gaining traction with the introduction of Bobbi’s friend, Jim Gardener, and man what traction it is. If you thought Jack Torrance was complex think again.

Gard is a mess of a character, an alcoholic and after fifty pages in his head suicidal. His introduction involves one of the two scenes that I can remember from my original read, in which Gard confronts Ted The Power Man who does PR for a nuclear power plant. Nuclear power is something that’s been on Gard’s mind, especially as he considers those in charge of it to be as careless and mistake prone as any human. A theme, which drives him through the novel as he joins Bobbi in digging up the discovered ship, or so we are supposed to believe. And despite how over the top his confrontation is with Ted, which is so over the top it’s hilarious, in the novels later stages his motivation doesn’t fully stand up. But more on that later.

As I’ve already mentioned this book is excessive. After Gard crawls back to Bobbi believing that she is in trouble the novel seems to have an identity crisis.

The reader is given the history of Haven, Bobbi’s home town, a section that showcases King’s interest in false preachers that he would eventually write about in Revival decades later. Then the reader is given three lengthy short stories and a novel length section dedicated to several characters in Haven. These serve to show the effect the ship has on Haven’s population as they become telepathic and begin to create ingenious and destructive devices, which are all incredibly imaginative.

The only problem with these sections is this. They are too fucking long!!!

The reader spends too much time away from Bobbi and Gard that they begin to think their reading a collections of stories about how the discovery of this spaceship affects a rural Maine town bookended by the two characters actually digging it up not an actually novel. An idea that I actually think would have worked better if it had been presented this way as the reader spends all of the books middle away from the two protagonists that it set up in the first part. To make matters worse when it starts to go back to those characters, who are the most interesting in the book, it continues to introduce new characters in overly long sections that make you wonder did I really need to read this? It makes you feel like the story is circling the drain, like the overall aim has been forgotten about.

The Tommyknockers is notorious for being four hundred pages too long, however, that is not it’s worst trait. It’s the excess. In someways this book would be the most Die Hard King fans favourite one because it overdoes all his writing ticks. Every character has a lengthy backstory. There is constant foreshadowing. Whole chapters are written in one paragraph while others contain only one word. Plus, dozens of references to previous works including King himself.

There is no restraint. Like the creations of the The Tommyknockers in the book, which the people of Haven being to morph into there is no invention too ridiculous.

There are good points too. The scares are there, twice I’ve found myself waking up at night, the first from hearing The Tommyknocker rhythm in my sleep and the second from being in some weird situation building devices powered by batteries. Gard is a unique protagonist, a deeply flawed human being who we are supposed to think is helping dig up this thing to end the power race that is going on between nations, despite how toxic it has made everyone around him. He is immune because of a metal plate in his head. Yet, really he’s self-destructive and almost incapable of acting in a way that would better him self or anyone.

Bobbi, on the other hand, and like the rest of Haven are poorly developed. We never know the truth of Bobbi’s struggle as she becomes a Tommyknocker as it’s seen mostly through Gard. (This is not a good point but it came to me) The explanation behind The Tommyknockers is a stroke of genius. So are all the inventions made by Haven’s population. The problem is it’s mired in too many tangents, in King’s need to make sure the reader knows everything about everyone even though they all sound a like, especially the supporting cast. King usually has a flair for making the individuals in small roles stand out, but not here. Everyone feels like a clone even before the hive-mind like conversion.

The imagination behind this book is something to admire, but it will have you yelling at the walls, “who edited this thing.” Which brings me back to giving it 5 Stars all those years. Back then King got me into reading that I immediately thought everything he wrote was a masterpiece. Now, reading this today I can say my tastes have matured. I still feel sad that I didn’t find the quality I found as a teen in this story but I can move on knowing I might find something in my next reread I didn’t find the first time.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
2,921 reviews10.6k followers
June 25, 2009
Bobbie Anderson finds an object buried in the woods that happens to be the tip of an alien craft. After she tampers with it sufficiently, the whole town gradually begins changing into aliens.

A guy I used to work with kept urging me to read this one. He read half of it during a week long stint in the brig while in the navy, then rescued the book from destruction while he was throwing the ship's trash in the ocean a week later. Was it worth it? Hell yes. King novels don't usually affect me but I dreamed about this one twice while I was reading it. There's an underlying creepiness to this book, similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

It's also my second favorite book with the word 'knockers' in the title...
Profile Image for Dustin.
439 reviews153 followers
October 22, 2012

Prior to going into my second reading of The Tommyknockers, I wasn't sure that I even wanted to read it. Needful Things, Lisey's Story, or The Talisman would have been preferable, as those three novels have been on my mind a lot lately. The only reason I decided to go with The Tommyknockers is because it won the SK group read for September, and I'd never participated in a group read, and wanted to be a part of it.
Having said that, I am so glad that I did!

I finished last night, and what can I say? For the most part, I loved every word, although I do think it drags a bit here and there. That final scene with Hilly and David served as the icing on the cake for me. It's such a tender moment, and very sweet, too.
Also, a lot of readers don't particularly care for Book II, but it's my personal favorite. The town's history is fascinating, and I loved the "now-let's-eavesdrop-on-our-fellow-neighbors" feel of it, which is very reminiscent of Under the Dome. In all earnestness, I don't feel that the middle section is disjointed, clunk, or otherwise disconnected to the rest of the novel. On the contrary, every aspect seems to be in direct (or indirect) relation to everything else.
Additionally, I love intricate stories with a plethora of characters, and this is no exception... especially Ruth McCausland and Hilly Brown. They are easily my two favorite characters. I really got into young Hilly as an individual, mostly because he and I share some similar attributes. And he is HILARIOUS. I literally laughed aloud at some of the things he got himself into!

As King's epic tome comes to a close, there are several scenes that stick out very much, one in which I won't forget any time soon. For instance, the Shed People's various inventions, or modifications, if you will. Then there's the classic Coke machine and the maniacal smoke detector, soaring through the woods like something out of Star Wars.
Finally, there's Gard's ascension, and most importantly, the dire circumstances behind it. I LOVE how it's fueled by virtually
everything and everyone around him. It's a very powerful scene, IMO.

There are so many other aspects of the novel that I could go on and on about, but I won't, for fear of spoiling the story to those that haven't read it yet.

Profile Image for Brett C(urrently overseas again).
784 reviews165 followers
May 2, 2021
This was an OK story. I've read other books by Stephen King (Carrie, 'Salem's Lot, and The Shining) and really enjoyed them. I think I like more of Stephen King's horror genre than this type. The story is not bad but I had a hard time getting into it. I also found some parts long, boring, and could have been resolved quicker. I would recommend 'Salem's Lot or the Shining to anyone wishing to read a creepy story. Thanks!
Profile Image for Dave Edmunds.
262 reviews55 followers
April 30, 2021

"Late last night and the night before, tommyknockers, tommyknockers knocking on my door. I wanna go out, don't know if I can 'cuz I'm so afraid of the tommyknocker man."

There's a lot of negativity surrounding this book. King himself called this a bad book, although stating there was a good three hundred page novel in there somewhere. He wrote this one at the height of his cocaine/alcohol addiction and that may explain his penchant for over writing and wandering in certain aspects of this book. Indeed, this was the first King novel I tried to read, at the tender age of thirteen, and it put me off him for years.

Fast forward twenty seven years and I have reached the stage of true enlightenment and am now a fully trained reading Jedi master. So I return to this book of dread without fear and true faith in my ability to overcome.

I don't know what I was worried about. It was an absolute blast. I absolutely love Sci Fi horror and this is full on sci fi horror. The premise, the set up the characters...are all top notch. Ok, putting my critique hat on this book does slooooooow down in the middle. It introduces and explores a range of characters and this is the main reason this book gets the flack it does. I didn't mind it at all. I love, love, love King's writing and the way he delves into a character and brings them to life. However, I'd love King to go back now and edit this one and see how it functions as a fast paced thriller. Maybe it could be one of his greatest books ever and get more recognition amongst the reading community.

"The trouble with living alone, she had discovered-and the reason why most people she knew didn't like to be alone even for a little while-was that the longer you lived alone, the louder the voices on the right side of your brain got."

The premise in this one. Alien device located in the woods in the town of Haven starts taking over people. Some it makes geniuses, most it sends crazy. It's certainly not original, we've had it in Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. But in the hands of a supremely talented writer it's certainly an interesting concept to explore.

Like I've said the characters in this one are great. The two central ones, Bobbi and Gard are fantastic with some very interesting goings on in their individual psyche. Very underrated in the King pantheon of awesome characters. The plot does get a wee bit choppy as King riffs about exploring the effects of this alien presence throughout the town. But you know what, I enjoyed that.

"Overhead was a sky blacker than jewlers' velvet, and a billion stars screamed down..."

So for me the book was still an awesome read. A special mention has to go to how King ends his novel. It's a misconception that he doesn't know how to end a story and once again he disproves that theory in this one. Without spoilers, its action packed, brutal and horrific. But that's what you paid your​ money for. It then ends with a really sweet moment that I enjoyed.

Overall I'm giving this a 4.5 rounded up to 5. Goodreads, if you're listening, time to update your rating system and give a little bit more flexibility. I was very, very tempted to give this a full five, but again, it does bog down a tad in the middle. But in the end, a fantastic reading experience.
Profile Image for Don.
76 reviews26 followers
January 15, 2020
"Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers knocking at my door"

The Tommyknockers, not one of Stephen King's most popular novels, often appearing on the lower end of his ranked books, but the storyline intrigued me, with some similarities to the great Sci-fi film(s) Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers, I had to check this one out.

The story begins in the small town of Haven, Maine, with famous author Bobbi Anderson along with her beloved Dog, finds something strange buried in her backyard, she decides to dig it further, and it soon becomes apparent that this should have stayed buried, it causes strange occurrences and Bobbi herself, despite pining for her good friend "Gard" to come home, she seems to display extremely strange tendencies and suddenly becomes an expert in fixing and assembling technical equipment without seemingly realising why.

Strange occurrences and other rapidly eccentric behaviour affects the other residents of the town and its obvious something sinister and otherworldly is causing these transformations, which seem to be irreversible.

When Bobbi's best friend "Gard" (James Gardner) an alcoholic poet, does finally return, he immediately senses something is amiss, Gard, thanks to a steel plate in his skull (from the result of a skiing accident in his youth) seems to be immune from the transformations taking place, somehow he knows of The Tommyknockers, and senses they are responsible, and tries in his way to put a stop to this madness, which has completely taken over the town.

I enjoyed this book, it's not for everyone, and it is too long, but there are parts of the story that are extremely engaging and entertaining, some genuinely frightening (Altair 4), and character's you care about, and character's you despise (Annie Anderson, for instance), like with horror films, this book is best read at night, it has a kind of fever dream vibe about it, which can't be replicated in the daytime, i would personally recommend this to people who like good stories, and dont mind long books, there is a lot of filler, but the good stuff is really good.

3.5 Stars, Recommended.
Profile Image for Ashley Daviau.
1,757 reviews753 followers
January 20, 2019
So this is most definitely NOT my favourite King book. In fact, it was quite painful to read at times and took me ages to get through. Some parts were really interesting but on a whole, this book was a huge drag to read. It’s painful for me to give a King book such a low rating because I love his writing so much but this is some of his worst work in my opinion. I think it could have done well as a short story but as a novel it just didn’t do it for me!
April 9, 2023
This is the lowest rating I have ever given to a Stephen King book, this one jut really wasn't for me.

I always get nervous when there is a dog in a book or film, especially an older dog. I knew going into this that this isn't known as one of SK's best book so I didn't know what to expect. There are quite a few mentions of other SK's book including 'Ka' from The Dark Tower and someone seeing a clown in a sewer drain.

I thought Bobbi reading Watchers by Dean Koontz was pretty funny as they always get compared. Weirdly I did get a strong Dean Koortz vibe from this with all the talk about conspiracies and the Sc-Fi plot line. This takes such a long time to get going it's a 992 page book which in my opinion could have been a short story.

Having said that there is some good body horror and some pretty creepy moments but overall I didn't think it was scary just a bit odd. The characters that I thought were actually interesting (unlike our main characters) were in and out of the book within a chapter or two.

I ended up being really disappointed in this book but I will always love Stephen King and I will carry on reading his books.
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387 reviews89 followers
September 16, 2016
Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door. I want to go out, don't know if I can, 'cause I'm so afraid of the Tommyknocker man

So that’s a little creepy. Ever heard that childhood poem? I had not. Nor have I read much of H.P. Lovecraft, the horror author who influenced King’s writing of The Tommyknockers. King has said that his idea for the novel was based from “The Colour Out of Space”, a short story by Lovecraft. Tommyknockers is not the only novel written by King, or many an author for that matter, that owe a debt to the man from the past.

Strange things happen (a very Stephen King statement if there ever was one) after Bobbi Thompson starts digging up her backyard. After tripping over, then touching a piece of metal, buried in the ground back there, she becomes consumed with unearthing the thing that seems to have no end. Whatever it is, it’s big, and really King doesn’t try to hide what it might be. He pretty much tells the reader right off. What he does hide is just why and how it has taken control of people’s lives. Oh yeah, and most importantly, what’s the end game. This is interesting, sometimes fun and a little wacky. Once again, things happen that personally I could not have thought up (that’s why I read folks). People do some of the craziest things here. At this point, I was reminded of books like The Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Puppet Masters. But King’s take on the theme is unique, never a copy.

Like many of his books, subtly or not, King touches on the certain things affecting our world, whether it is war, or guns, or whatever. Here in The Tommyknockers, it is Nuclear Power. Is it good? Is it bad? The Chernobyl crisis had just occurred in Russia. Add to that the partial nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. It was on his mind, and shaped the story. Is that why the color green is used here? I don’t know, but green is everywhere.

The lowdown: Quite a number of fans have said that The Tommyknockers is among their least favorite King novels. Me, I liked it. It not his best and King uses up a lot of pages before the story gets to really rockin’. I found the final 150 pages to be an absolute thrill ride. From the point that Gard walks into the Tommyknocker shed to the last page was simply outstanding, and I experienced so many feelings for this character nicknamed Gard.

One of last thing. King has not-so-subtly hidden a load of “easter eggs” throughout the story. I can’t recall another book of King’s that has cross-referenced so many of his other works, and personal likes. Oh, and a buddy-read increases the fun of the egg hunt, as well as the terror of the dig. QED folks.

Shout out and a thanks to my buddies in the Eclectic Club!
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