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Night Shift

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Never trust your heart to the New York Times bestselling master of suspense, Stephen King. Especially with an anthology that features the classic stories "Children of the Corn," "The Lawnmower Man," "Graveyard Shift," "The Mangler," and "Sometimes They Come Back"-which were all made into hit horror films.

From the depths of darkness, where hideous rats defend their empire, to dizzying heights, where a beautiful girl hangs by a hair above a hellish fate, this chilling collection of twenty short stories will plunge readers into the subterranean labyrinth of the most spine-tingling, eerie imagination of our time.


· Introduction · John D. MacDonald · in
· Foreword · fw
· Jerusalem’s Lot · nv Night Shift, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978
· Graveyard Shift · ss Cavalier Oct ’70
· Night Surf · ss Cavalier Aug ’74
· I Am the Doorway · ss Cavalier Mar ’71
· The Mangler · nv Cavalier Dec ’72
· The Boogeyman · ss Cavalier Mar ’73
· Gray Matter · ss Cavalier Oct ’73
· Battleground · ss Cavalier Sep ’72
· Trucks · ss Cavalier Jun ’73
· Sometimes They Come Back · nv Cavalier Mar ’74
· Strawberry Spring · ss Ubris Fll ’68; Cavalier Nov ’75
· The Ledge · ss Penthouse Jul ’76
· The Lawnmower Man · ss Cavalier May ’75
· Quitters, Inc. · ss Night Shift, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978
· I Know What You Need · nv Cosmopolitan Sep ’76
· Children of the Corn · nv Penthouse Mar ’77
· The Last Rung on the Ladder · ss Night Shift, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978
· The Man Who Loved Flowers · ss Gallery Aug ’77
· One for the Road · ss Maine Mar ’77
· The Woman in the Room · ss Night Shift, Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1978

370 pages, Kindle Edition

First published February 17, 1978

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About the author

Stephen King

2,692 books819k 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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60,562 (35%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,074 reviews
Profile Image for Wil Wheaton.
Author 89 books198k followers
September 13, 2019
I reread this book, because I'm about to start working on my own collection of short stories, and I wanted to reconnect to the book that inspired me to be a writer, 35 years ago.

I enjoyed it so much more as an adult than I did as a kid, because I have lived more and have more of my own experiences to relate to the stories, characters, and experiences in the different chapters.

But the thing I loved the most about this was how much it inspired me to write my own stories, and how much it reminded me about plot, structure, and narrative in stories that are about 5000 words, each.

Really glad I read this again. Thanks, Stephen King!
Profile Image for R..
897 reviews111 followers
July 14, 2007
What I learned from Night Shift:

It ain't easy to quit smoking.
That I know what you need.
That I am the doorway.
That he walks behind the rows.
That sometimes they come back.
It ain't over in 'Salem's Lot.
Don't drink bad beer.
Get off your ass and mow your own lawn, goddammit.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,827 followers
May 15, 2019
King's first short story collection comes in at 4.125 stars. As you can see below, I rated and reviewed each story. Then, I added all the ratings together and took the average to get my overall rating.

This was my second time through and better than I remembered. A few stories that could be skipped, but you might as well read them all to get the full experience!


Jerusalem's Lot - 4.5 stars
And earlier story of the same town and environs found in the novel 'Salem's Lot. Written in a style - letters and journal entries - that reminded me a lot of horror classics like Dracula and Frankenstein. This is a nice little taste of demonic shenanigans and eerie foreshadowing. A great way to start off a short story collection!

Graveyard Shift - 5 stars
Time for some spring cleaning! Nature is crazy sometimes. Your boss can be a jerk sometimes. Combine the two and you get this terrifying story of revenge. I spent most of the time cringing!

Night Surf - 2.5 stars
Not bad, but not really a full story. As it takes place in the world from The Stand, it feels more like a writing exercise that King used to help build the bigger story. Or, maybe an anecdote he was thinking about including, but pulled it out of the final product. Without knowing the backstory of The Stand, I am not sure this story will mean much to a reader.

I Am The Doorway - 5 stars
This story explains the cover of the edition I am reading. Great horror sci-fi. King does a great job jamming a lot of content in ten pages or so. I also love it when the very last sentence of a story hits just as hard as the whole rest of the story. Awesome stuff here!

The Mangler - 5 stars
More demonic possession - I am sensing a theme here! I am pretty sure that most King fans consider this short story one of his classics. It led to a series of what I am sure are very cheesy horror movies. I never saw them, but I have read this short story many times and I know that I love it!

The Boogeyman - 4 stars
This is an allegorical tale about a racist, sexist, generally unpleasant man who is willing to judge others but cannot see his own faults. But, you can't hide from the boogeyman!

Gray Matter - 4 stars
Does this taste a little bit off to you? In an age of e-coli and biohazard scares, this story will play off your fears about what might be out there waiting to get you from the inside out. 10 out of 10 on the gross meter!

Battleground - 5 stars
Definitely one of my top 5 favorite Stephen King short stories. Probably the best King ending of any of his stories. This story is short but sweet and worth reading even if you don't read the rest of the book.

Trucks - 5 stars
The basis for King's only directorial endeavor, the classic Maximum Overdrive (yeah, I said classic! FIGHT ME!) They also made another movie based on it, but I am not sure why. What if all those semis on the interstate took over? Maybe they're mad? There is a nostalgic place in my heart for this story!

Sometimes They Come Back - 3.5 stars
You guessed it - demons again! This was the longest short story so far in the collection. When reading short stories I feel like they have to be crafted perfectly to get in, get out, BOOM! You end up blown away in just a few words. While I enjoyed this one, I think it rambled on just a little bit too long and the end was probably the least shocking of any so far in the book.

Strawberry Spring - 4 stars
I like the story telling in this one a lot. I also think is is interesting how the rumor mill and media twisting of stories we see today was just as big of an issue back in the 1970s; everyone had a different take and everyone believed it 100%. A bit of a cheesy twist at the end, but overall, not bad!

The Ledge - 5 stars
This is another short story favorite of mine. Also, this is one that made its way to the big screen in the 80s classic Cat's Eye. No demons or monsters in this one, just humans pushing morality and fear to the limit in the name of money and pride."

The Lawnmower Man - 3 stars
I remember reading this story a long time ago and it is always what I think of when I think of King short stories that I do not like quite as much as the others. It is just out there; kind of creepy, but not super enthralling (to me). They also (for some reason) made a terrible movie based on this that was mainly just the same title.

Quitters, Inc. - 5 stars
Another classic King short story and probably one of his most well known. Like the previously discussed story, The Ledge, this is also one featured in the 80's King movie Cat's Eye. The plot of this one is just so oddly cool and the means to an end so logically maniacal that you can't help but say "That's f#%$ed up! But, kinda makes sense!"

I Know What You Need - 4 stars
Stephen King's version of the movie What Women Want. But, of course, it isn't a comedy!

Children of the Corn - 4.5 stars
Kids can be super creepy! You won't taking driving through the country-side for granted after this one. This is another classic King that I think most people have heard of. Also, I believe it has led to more movies than any other King story or novel. I just checked and there have been 10 - the earliest in 1984, the most recent in 2018.

The Last Rung on the Ladder - 2 stars
Meh. Not a bad story, but just kinda doesn't feel right in the context of this book. So far, my least favorite in this collection.

The Man Who Loved Flowers - 4.5 stars
Now that is an awesome way to tell a whole story in 6 pages. Well executed and mysterious. To be blunt, young love can be painful!

One for the Road - 4.5 stars
We've been here before . . . many times . . . and we will definitely go here again someday. But, whenever we go, evil is sure to follow. A very creepy sequel!

The Woman in the Room - 2.5 stars
As my mother is in a nursing home, I struggled a bit with this one. Kind of an unexpected end to this collection. I think it would have done better to end on the story before this one.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
795 reviews3,613 followers
March 28, 2021
The very young King´s first short story collection, a Bradburyian and Lovecraftian overkill of short, sharp, and vicious terror pearls.

King likes to talk about the art, mentioned the influence of these authors on his work several times, talked about imitating them in his book On writing, and how his short fiction changed over the years is amazing, especially seen under this perspective. It would be interesting to check if his other reads, he openly lists each year, had a similar influence if these authors' voices can be seen in the works of the King. I´ve already talked about this and have a redundancy problem, so just try it yourself and mix old, middle age, and fresh short stories or novels from his collections together and see how he evolves. Or disturbingly mutates, that´s a more appropriate word and what we Kingheads are desperately looking for.

Some of this was created in his twenties, quickly written before his success and full writing career. Some cynical fans and critics might say where there is the difference between the full job writing King mass producing books and the young King not having enough time to edit his work as often as other authors do, but I guess a bit of envy and suspicion how a normal person is capable of producing so much amazing work plays in here too. How a single man should be able to create so many masterpieces by just letting the characters tell their story, not knowing a definitive ending, not plotting, whiteboarding, storyboarding, just jumping into fantasy land mode, and imagining art of an unknown dimension.

What´s amazing, and a shame at the same time, is that King is so creative that Hollywood desperately took any grain of premise to make a movie out of it, as if there were no directors, screenwriters, and other authors capable of creating a short story or novel that could be made a movie. Also, a proof of that the book is always better, which might be a subjective obsessive reader´s opinion and not the universal, forever wisdom I am famous for. Fart joke, lol.

Magazines lost much of their importance for young authors to become popular, but at least they made a King writing in the shortest format ever possible, distilling the horror to the absolute minimum necessary and enabling something even the devil deemed impossible. Making him write in short, not wordy, form.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,465 reviews9,620 followers
October 11, 2020
4.5 Stars ⭐️

1. Jerusalem’s Lot - 3 Stars ⭐️

2. Graveyard Shift - 4 Stars ⭐️

3. Night Surf - 3 Stars ⭐️

4. I Am The Doorway - 4.5 Stars ⭐️

5. The Mangler - 4.5 Stars ⭐️

6. The Bogeyman - 5 Awesome Stars ⭐️

7. Battleground - 3 Stars ⭐️

8. Gray Matter - 3 Stars ⭐️

9. Trucks - 4.5 Stars ⭐️

10. Sometimes They Come Back - 2 Stars ⭐️

11. Strawberry Spring - 5 Stars ⭐️

12. The Ledge - 2 Stars ⭐️

13. The Lawnmower Man - 2 Stars ⭐️

14. Quitters, Inc. - 4.5 Stars ⭐️

15. I Know What You Need - 2 Stars ⭐️

16. Children Of The Corn - 2 Stars ⭐️

17. The Last Wrung On The Ladder - 2 Stars ⭐️

18. The Man Who Loved Flowers - 3.5 Stars ⭐️

19. One For The Road - 3 Stars ⭐️

20. The Woman In The Room - 3 Stars ⭐️

Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,566 reviews56.6k followers
April 16, 2022
Night Shift, Stephen King

Night Shift is the first collection of short stories by Stephen King, first published in 1978. In 1980, Night Shift received the Balrog Award for Best Collection, and in 1979 it was nominated as best collection for the Locus Award and the World Fantasy Award. Many of King's most famous short stories were included in this collection.

Jerusalem's Lot,
Graveyard Shift,
Night Surf,
I Am the Doorway,
The Mangler,
The Boogeyman,
Gray Matte,
Sometimes They Come Back,
Strawberry Spring,
The Ledge,
The Lawnmower Man,
Quitters, Inc.,
I Know What You Need,
Children of the Corn,
The Last Rung on the Ladder,
The Man Who Loved Flowers,
One for the Road,
The Woman in the Room.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز نخست ماه مارس سال2021میلادی

عنوان: شیقت شب و داستانهای دیگر؛ نویسنده استیفن (استیون) کینگ؛ موضوع داستانهای کوتاه ترسناک از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا، سده20م

عنوان: بعضی وقت‌ها برمی‌گردند: داستان؛ نویسنده استیفن کینگ؛ مترجم سمیه جعفری‌نژاد؛ ویراستار: رویا روحی؛ تهران، آواز، سال1398؛ در52ص؛ شابک9786008698500؛

داستان «بعضی وقت‌ها برمی‌گردند» به روایت داستان «جیم»، معلم مدرسه‌ ی سی و شش ساله‌ ای می‌پردازد که اسیر رویدادی شده که سال‌ها پیش برای او و برادرش رخ داده، و زندگی هر دو را دگرگون کرده است؛ «جیم» کوچک است و همراه برادرش، به سمت کتابخانه می‌روند، تا کتابشان را پس بدهند؛ در همان لحظه، چند نفر به آن‌ها حمله می‌کنند....؛ «جیم» نجات پیدا می‌کند، اما تمام تلاش‌های «جیم» برای داشتن یک زندگی عادی بی نتیجه میماند؛ بگذشته نه تنها در پی اوست و نمی‌گذارد آب خوش از گلویش پایین برود، بلکه تا می‌تواند آدم‌های حال را هم نابود می‌کند؛ پس «ج��م» تصمیم می‌گیرد تا با قربانی کردن آینده ‌اش، از بگذشته انتقام بگیرد

نقل از متن داستان بعضی وقتها برمیگردند: (موضوع رابطه پیچیده بین خود، مادرش و برادرش مایک (مایک بیچاره که به قتل رسیده بود) ر�� کنار گذاشت و ادامه داد: «همان کاری را کردم که مادرم می‌خواست؛ هفته دوم تدریس کارآموزی‌ام، نامزدم تصادف کرد؛ راننده به او زده بود و فرار کرده بود؛ راننده یک بچه با ماشین شکاری بود؛ پلیس هیچ وقت نتوانست دستگیرش کند.»؛

سیمونز صدای ضعیفی از خود درآورد و او را به ادامه دادن تشویق کرد

- رفتم پیشش؛ چارهٔ دیگری نداشتم؛ او خیلی درد داشت؛ استخوان یکی از پاهایش بدجور شکسته بود، و چهارتا از دنده‌هایش ترک برداشته بود، اما به خیر گذشته بود؛ واقعاً نمی‌دانستم که تحت چه فشاری هستم

به خود گفت: «حالا دقت کن، حالا هر لحظه ممکن است سر بخوری و بیفتی.»؛

جیم گفت: «وارد دبیرستان فنی حرفه ‌ای سنتر استریت شدم.»؛

فنتون گفت: «آن‌جا را می‌شناسم؛ مثل باغ وحش می‌ماند. پر از چاقوی ضامن‌دار و پوتین‌های موتور سواری؛ در کمد بچه‌ها حتی تپانچه دست‌ساز هم پیدا می‌شود؛ برای محافظت از پول ناهارت باید با چوب بیسبال کتک‌کاری بکنی، و هر کس مشغول فروختن مواد به دو نفر دیگر است.»؛

جیم گفت: «دانش‌آموزی به اسم «مک زیمِرمَن» آن‌جا بود؛ بچه ی حساسی بود حتی گیتار هم می‌زد؛ در کلاس انشاء، سوگلی من بود؛ یک روز صبح وقتی وارد کلاس شدم، دیدم دو نفر او را نگه ‌داشته‌ اند و سومی گیتارِ یاماهایش را به رادیاتور می‌کوبد؛ «زیمِرمَن» فریاد می‌کشید؛ من سرشان داد زدم، گفتم که بس کنند و گیتار را به من بدهند؛ داشتم به طرف‌شان می‌رفتم که کسی من را با مشت زد.»؛

جیم شانه ‌ای بالا انداخت و ادامه داد: «همش همین بود، استعفا دادم؛ هیچ خبری از جیغ‌های ترسناک یا مخفی شدن در یک گوشه نیست؛ فقط دیگر نمی‌توانستم برگردم؛ وقتی به مدرسه نزدیک می‌شدم، قفسه سینه‌ ام تنگ می‌شد؛ نمی‌توانستم نفس بکشم. عرق سرد می‌کردم.»؛

فنتون با مهربانی گفت: «این اتفاق برای من هم افتاده است.»؛

جیم ادامه داد: «برای تحلیل رفتاری رفتم؛ یک گروه درمانی بود؛ نمی‌توانستم از عهده مخارج روان‌شناس بر بیایم؛ جلسات نتایج خوبی داشت؛ من و «سالی» ازدواج کردیم؛ او کمی لنگ می‌زند، و جای زخمش هنوز باقی مانده، اما بجز این موارد انگار دوباره متولد شده است.»)؛ پایان نقل

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 11/12/1399هجری خورشیدی، 26/01/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Gabby.
1,236 reviews26.6k followers
September 27, 2020
Did an entire reading vlog for this book, you can check it out here: https://youtu.be/HP4vVSk_3Ts

Here are my individual ratings for each story in this collection:
Jerusalem's Lot - 2/5 ⭐️
Graveyard Shift - 4.5/5 ⭐️
Night Surf - 2/5 ⭐️
I am the Doorway - 4/5 ⭐️
The Mangler - 5/5 ⭐️
The Boogeyman - 5/5 ⭐️
Grey Matter - 3/5 ⭐️
Battleground - 4/5 ⭐️
Trucks - 2/5 ⭐️
Sometimes They Come Back - 3/5 ⭐️
Strawberry Spring - 3/5 ⭐️
The Ledge - 4/5 ⭐️
The Lawnmower Man - 4/5 ⭐️
Quitters, Inc - 5/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️
I Know What You Need - 3/5 stars ⭐️
Children of the Corn - 4/5 stars ⭐️
The Last Rung on the Ladder - 2/5 ⭐️
The Man Who Loved Flowers - 2/5 ⭐️
One For the Road - 3/5 ⭐️
The Woman in the Room - 3/5 ⭐️
Profile Image for Fabian.
947 reviews1,562 followers
July 15, 2019
These are short stories (though not truly novellas) which actually serve as delectable intros to popular King mythologies (for a staggering example see [or better yet, don't {with the exception of "Trucks" a.k.a. "Maximum Overdrive" for B-level entertainment and "Children of the Corn" with its quaint moments of childlike chills}] all the movies made from like eight of these tales.) Here, King is at his most bizarre, most morbid. Most of his part-time heroes & (just a few) heroines, end up dead or suffering the loss of a child, wife, mother. Sometimes one story seems to bleed onto another one by motif (corn... rats... snow... death machines... death [duh]). The editing I must admit is masterful. The most avant-garde stories bookend it nicely; it even makes reference to 'Salem's Lot, one book I must admit I still have to read, and there are comical undertones & some misogynist parts (!!!!). I love how un-Stephen King this is, for someone who's used to being satisfied with around 78% of his work.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,560 reviews857 followers
April 23, 2021
Twenty! Yes, I said TWENTY short stories that include some major classics including Trucks, Quitters, Inc, The Mangler, Sometimes They Come Back and The Ledge. This collection includes a Salem's Lot follow up - One for the Road: An Illustrated Story. A classic collection from the 1970s!! A must read for Constant Readers - six Films (including Lawnmower Man nicking the title of one of the short stories!), Four TV Adaptions and ten short films are the legacy of this outrageously commercially successful collection! It was only on later readings did I really appreciate the creativity and cross-book continuity of this collection, especially considering when it was written. 8 out of 12.
Profile Image for Labijose.
958 reviews415 followers
October 8, 2022
No me he podido resistir. Relectura después de tantos años.

Esta colección de relatos del maestro King salió allá por los años 80, y creo que fue si no la primera, una de las primeras lecturas que hice de este genio. Tanto me marcó, que desde entonces he seguido su carrera y sus libros como el conejo persigue a la zanahoria. Y, aún así, aún me quedan unos cuantos libros suyos por leer. Entre estos relatos estaban el archiconocido “los chicos del maíz” y otros muchos tan buenos o más que este. Recuerdo con mucho cariño “los misterios del gusano, “un trago de despedida”, “soy la puerta”, “la trituradora”, “la primavera de fresa” y “el coco”. Pero no tiene ni uno solo malo. Todos los disfruté de principio a fin.

Es, quizás (siempre en mi opinión), el mejor compendio de relatos abarcados en un solo volumen. Aunque eso es mucho decir, dada la cantidad de lecturas de este tipo que ha publicado, y las cuales he disfrutado en su inmensa mayoría.

Y aunque no sea de los que suelen releer cosas que me han gustado mucho en el pasado, con este no me he podido resistir. Y creedme, sigue siendo una recopilación INSUPERABLE.
Profile Image for Coos Burton.
767 reviews1,300 followers
February 4, 2019
Esta es una de esas antologías que logran exitosamente balancear sus relatos al punto de resultar todos buenos, algunos en menor o mayor medida, pero no considero que haya ni uno malo. Honestamente no me había adentrado mucho en las antologías de King, pese a ser uno de mis autores favoritos. Prefiero sus novelas, sin embargo esta recopilación de relatos me dejó aterrada y muy satisfecha. Hay relatos que me parecen totalmente icónicos, y que fue todo un placer leerlos.

Pronto le haré una reseña en mi canal contando cuáles fueron mis relatos favoritos, por si gustan pasar: https://www.youtube.com/coosburton
Profile Image for Will M..
304 reviews615 followers
February 15, 2015
Also posted at my blog: https://killerscorpion.wordpress.com/...

I find it really difficult to review short stories, especially anthologies. Night Shift is a collection of King's short stories, and if I'm not mistaken, this is a collection of the first short stories he wrote in his early years of writing. The most shocking thing you have to know is that the writing is not outdated. That's the thing about King, I've read his first book Carrie and the writing of it still felt like he wrote it months ago. Amazing author indeed.

I'm unsure of what to write here. It would make this review damn long if I were to review each short story, so I'll just list down my favorites, and not so favorites, then give a brief explanation why I liked/disliked it. The ones not mentioned were either likable or boring.

The likes:
Graveyard Shift
Something about mutated rats really caught my interest. I'm not normally afraid of rats, but if ever I see one as big as the ones described in this short story, then I would probably be scared as hell.

Night Surf
The basis for The Stand, which is one of my favorites novels of all time. It was short but quite satisfying. I liked how King introduced the disease that would cause so much havoc in The Stand.

Quitter's Inc
Honestly it would be a sin not to like this. No spoilers along your way though, so all I can say is choose your decisions wisely. It has been proven how addictive smoking is. I've never smoked in my life, and after reading this, I don't think I ever will. The plot presented here is not unlikely to happen in real life, and that's the reason why this was so scary and entertaining at the same time.

The Woman In The Room
Originality might not be the most prominent factor of this short story, but it was executed quite nicely. I liked the main character and it was a satisfying short read.

Sometimes They Come Back
Please don't let them come back. The main character here was really likable, and the supernatural element was creepy as fuck. Good thing I was reading this one in the afternoon. A bit scarier than Pet Sematary if one were to look at the bigger picture.

The Ledge
Who doesn't like to read about gambling/bets? I sure do. The deceiver becomes the deceived.

I Know What You Need
Creepy as fuck if ever I meet a woman of the same kind as the weird man in this one. For me this tackled psychological factors with a pinch of supernatural element/s along the way. Typical King. Amazing.

and last, my favorite of them all, The Boogeyman
I read The Boogeyman at one in the morning. That was the worst decision I've ever made in my reading life, so far (maybe alongside Pet Sematary). This one was fucking scary I had to turn on the lights right after. As none of you know, I'm a bit of a nocturnal person. I'm most productive at night, and being a Stephen King fan doesn't really bode well with the nocturnal life. Really likable characters that were fully developed despite this being a short story. The Boogeyman was fucking scary and the ending scared me the most. The best of the whole collection.

There are the ones that I disliked. I don't think I should do an "in-depth" review of them anymore because the ones that I did like managed to make this review long already. Let me just comment on how much I hated Jerusalem's Lot but really liked One for The Road . Both are related to 'Salem's Lot, a novel that I really didn't like. I was expecting to like JL so that I could have a better reread of 'Salem's Lot in the future, but nope, I hated it just as much. Another noteworthy disappointment would be Gray Matter . I'm sure it was showcased at the back of the book for a reason, but I'm quite unsure of what that reason would be.

4.5/5 stars. Not a perfect collection but some will never be forgotten. This collection was executed beautifully considering this was written in King's early writing years. There's a reason why King is my favorite author, and most of his works prove my point. This is one of those works. Read this if you want to be scared, and I'd recommend reading this at night.

Profile Image for Gareth Is Haunted.
317 reviews34 followers
April 20, 2023
'He took an involuntary step backwards. His face became stained with a sudden unbelieving terror. Lightning slashed out of the sky. Thunder walked in the clouds and the water had gone as black as the river Styx. '

Ask yourself, how good Stephen King can a book get? The simple answer is Night Shift. This book is jammed full of twenty short stories which are all absolutely the definition of King at his creepy, scary and nightmare-inducing best. This book has it all. From serial killers, aliens possessed machines, cults and vampires. You won't be wanting to work night shifts after reading The Graveyard Shift, which made my skin crawl.
My simple conclusion is that this book is the best of the best and an absolute necessity. ;-)
Profile Image for Erin .
1,231 reviews1,140 followers
May 1, 2019
As I continue my Stephen King binge, I seem to be leaning more towards his short story collections. As I've said before Stephen King is one of the best short story writers around.

Night Shift was a bit of a mixed bag but there were way more great stories then bad ones.

My favorite stories were The Boogeyman in which a man learns to keep he's closet doors closed, Grey Matter in which we all learn that beer is bad, Sometimes They Come Back in which a teacher finds out that you can't out run your past, Quitters, Inc. in which a man learns that he should have read the fine print, Children of the Corn kids are monsters and corn is important, and The Man Who Loved Flowers in which we meet a young man who won't give up on love.

I really only had 3 stories I disliked: Number 1 was The Lawnmower Man I don't even want to talk about it. It was awful
Number 2: Trucks, so boring.
Number 3 : Graveyard Shift, damn RATS!

Night Shift is a vintage read and some stories are super dated but as I said before there are more great and timeless stories in this collection then there are clunkers.

No rec. Either you like Stephen King or you don't.
Profile Image for Ginger.
753 reviews373 followers
November 11, 2021
This collection of short stories that was first published in 1978 by Stephen King was great!

I’m glad to finally get to Night Shift! I can see that some of the stories in this collection have been turned into movies or another type of entertainment.

King has been putting out great stuff since the beginning!

My favorites!!:

Jerusalem's Lot – 4.5 stars
Graveyard Shift – 4 stars
I Am the Doorway – 4 stars
The Mangler – 5 stars
The Boogeyman – 4 stars
Battleground – 5 stars
Trucks – 5 stars
Sometimes They Come Back – 5 stars
The Ledge – 5 stars
Quitters, Inc. – 4 stars
One for the Road – 4.5 stars

(The story felt too short for me or I wanted a bit more.)

Strawberry Spring – 3.5 stars
Gray Matter – 3.5 stars
Children of the Corn – 3.5 stars

Below Average:
(The writing was fine, but the plot needed something "more" in my opinion.)

Night Surf – 2.5 stars
The Lawnmower Man – 3 stars
I Know What You Need – 3 stars
The Last Rung on the Ladder – 2.5 stars
The Man Who Loved Flowers – 3 stars
The Woman in the Room – 2.5 stars

I enjoyed every story in the collection, even the weaker ones. Definitely get to this one if you are a Stephen King fan!
October 23, 2019
Πως είναι δυνατόν να σε ζαλίσει η κόκκινη σκοτεινή, γλυκόπικρη μυρωδιά του ΠΟΟΥ ΕΝΤΓΚΑΡ-ΑΛΑΝ (ΠΟΕ), να σε ευφράνει η εξωκοσμική γεύση αστρικών και υποθαλάσσιων ουσιών απέθαντης ζωής του ΛΑΒΚΡΑΦΤ ΧΑΟΥΑΡΝΤ-ΦΙΛΙΠΣ, με τα ελιξίρια της υπέρτατης ηδονής απο το δοχείο της ψυχής του Κίνγκ που πλημμυρίζει απο συλλογές σοκαριστικών στροβιλισμών μεταξύ γήινων και μεταφυσικών καταστάσεων,
απο μια φραουλένια άνοιξη μεχρι
μια νυχτερινή βάρδια συγκλονιστικής βίας
και απίστευτης παραγωγής φρικαλέας μετάλλαξης σε άλλες μορφές ζωής, και να μην αγαπήσεις με πάθος αυτό το βιβλίο.
Ειναι σχεδόν αδύνατον.

Έχω διαβάσει αρκετά βιβλία του βασιλιά,
μα αυτό μόλις πήρε την πρώτη θέση στην καρδιά μου και επιβεβαίωσε περ��τρανα τα μεγαλειώδη διαπιστευτήρια του.

Σε όλες τις ιστορίες έχει μία σταθερά προσανατολισμένη στην φρίκη
αλλά και εκεί που η πυξίδα γυρίζει αντίθετα
πάλι η επιτακτική και ιδιαίτερη ουσία
που αποτυπώνεται στην γραφή του
χύνεται υποδόρια σαν λιπαρό δηλητήριο παρανοϊκής χορδοτομής στο μυαλό, που αδυνατεί να αντισταθμίσει το μακάβριο και απεχθές με την λογική εξήγηση.

Η «Νυχτερινή βάρδια» είναι η πρώτη απο τις συλλογές ανιστόρητων ιστοριών του Κίνγκ που εκδόθηκε το 1976, αλλά σίγουρα πέρασε στο πάνθεον των διαχρονικών διηγημάτων φανταστικής και υπερφυσικής τρομολαγνείας.

Μεταμοσχεύσεις νεκρικής ζωής, ντουλάπες νεκρών μωρών, μεταλλαγμένοι αρουραίοι που αποικούν και εκφυλίζονται στα υπόγεια παλιών κτιρίων, απο αυτά
που φθίνουν απο την υγρασία της σαπίλας και την βρόμα της σήψης απο τα θεμέλια.

Μηχανές σιδερώματος με λυσσαλέες ορέξεις για ανθρώπινο δέρμα.
Μια μοχθηρή συνομοσπονδία απο μηχανές, φορτηγά, νταλίκες, μπουλντόζες και τριαξονικά τέρατα που εφορμούν ενάντια στην ανθρωπότητα.

Μια ομάδα απέθαντων δολοφόνων που επιστρέφει απο τον τάφο για να εκδικηθεί την σχιζοφρενική φοβία του
θύματος -θύτη.
Μάχες ανάμεσα σε στρατιώτες και πολεμικές επιδρομές σε έναν άνθρωπο που πολεμάει με παιχνίδια.

Ο εργαζόμενος στην εταιρεία χλοοκοπτικής υπηρεσίας που ειναι δημιούργημα του μυθικού Θεού Παν.
Η μαφία της εταιρείας του αντίκαπνικού προγράμματος θα στείλει πολλούς καπνιστές στην απόλυτα εθιστική παραλυτική κατάπληξη.

Τα παιδιά του καλαμποκιού και η γυναίκα στο δωμάτιο είναι υπερτέλειες ιστορίες ψυχικού και συνειδησιακού παραληρήματος.

Φυσικά η αρχή και το τέλος τιμούν μεγάλες μορφές του γραπτού τρόμου με την ιερή αφιέρωση στις ιστοριες που αφορούν την ‘διαβόητη’ έπαυλη στο Τζερούσαλεμ’ς Λοτ και αποτελούν αθάνατο φόρο τιμής.

Συνοδευτικά σερβίρονται βουντού και καθημερινοί άνθρωποι που ξαφνικά πραγματοποιούνται οι χειρότεροι φόβοι τους.
Αρκετοί από αυτούς είναι συγγραφείς.
Η δράση διαδραματίζεται σε μικρές, ήσυχες πόλεις, πάντα στην Πολιτεία του Μέιν: οι τρεις φανταστικές πόλεις Ντέρι, Τζερούσαλεμ’ς Λοτ και Καστλ Ροκ γεννούν το κακό σαν τους γοτθικούς έρωτες που το αναπόδραστο απομυζεί αίμα και νυχτερινές σκιές απέθαντων.

5/5 λίγα ειναι.

Καλή ανάγνωση
Πολλούς ασπασμούς
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,127 reviews3,551 followers
September 18, 2018
Stephen King’s first anthology!

The general rating is an average result of each individual rating of the stories contained in the anthology.


Rating: *** ( 3 stars )

This is a short story which serves as an introductory prequel if you later wanted to read Salem’s Lot novel.

Set in 1850, Charles Boones inherited the Chapelwaite manor, which is feared by the people of Preacher’s Corners town, and that has a dark connection with Jerusalem’s Lot, a deserted village, quite near of the manor. When you started to hear something inside the walls…

…it’s the beginning of the end.


Rating: **** ( 4 stars )

During the holiday weekend of Fourth of July, in a mill, it’s offered to several employees to get an extra bonus for cleaning a very old basement that it hasn’t been cleaned for 12 years…

…obviously there are rats, but oddly there aren’t as much as you may expect…

…where have gone the rest of them?


Rating: * ( 1 stars )

A bunch of awful teenagers go to the beach at night, in the middle of an apocalyptical world where the most of population have died due a contagious decease.


Rating: **** ( 4 stars )

In a parallel reality where the NASA space program was able not only reaching the Moon, but also Mars, during a mission to Venus, one of the astronauts suffered an accident, losing the ability to walk, but got in his hands a very twisted and dangerous ability instead.


Rating: ***** ( 5 stars )

In an industrial laundry facility, due an odd series of coincidences, a speed ironer machine tasted blood…

…and it liked it.


Rating: ***** ( 5 stars )

A man goes to the psychiatrist to talk out his strange and deadly past experiences that caused the death of all his children…

…and never lose of sight the closet’s door.


Rating: ** ( 2 stars )

A kid arrived to a bar, and one of the customers offered to take him back to his appartment, where his odd dad is wating.


Rating: *** ( 3 stars )

A profesional hitman suffered the revenge of a toyman whom he killed.


Rating: **** ( 4 stars )

Madness is unleashed in a gas station when trucks and semi-trailers got alive and started to kill any human around, until a small bunch of survivors got trapped in the dinner, part of the gas station facility.


Rating: ***** ( 5 stars )

Two young brothers cross fates with a gang of punks, and after one of the brothers died, the other escapes. Years later, the surviving brother got married and became an English teacher…

…however, after Xmas break, his students started to die, while getting odd replacement students.


Rating: ***** ( 5 stars )

During a “strawberry spring”, a kind of false mini season, provoking fog at nights, perfect ambiance for a serial killer’s murdering spree at New Sharon College…

…the Springheel Jack killer is loose!

Several students are murdered and panic is everywhere at the New Sharon College.

Eight years later, the “strawberry spring” is back, the fog is back, and…

…the Sprinheel Jack killer is back!


Rating: **** ( 4 stars )

Something that you shouldn’t do is having an affair with the wife of a criminal lord…

…and other thing that you shouldn’t try is playing odd bets.


Rating: ***** ( 5 stars )

There is a successful lawnmowing company, however, none client has ever being able to see who s the owner of it, one of the clients decided to take a peek and found out the mystery…

…but there are mystery beyond your wildest nightmares and they should remain unknown.


Rating: ***** ( 5 stars )

Some people say that habits are nasty things…

…but sometimes, quitting those habits can be even nastier things…

…not only for the addict…

…but his/her family too.


Rating: *** ( 3 stars )

In war and love, everything goes…

…but there should be limits for some used stuff.


Rating: ***** ( 5 stars )

Vicky and Burt, are a troubling married couple, doing a road trip through the heart of the United States, hoping to save their fragile marriage. However, when they are traveling alongside of a massive cornfield, they hit a boy with their car, but when they checked the body, they noticed that they boy had his throat already sliced and he was almost dead when hit.

They opted to take the kid’s body to the nearest town which the map says is Gatlin, but when they arrived there, it’s a ghost town and everything seemed to stop 12 years ago…

…however, the town isn’t as deserted as it seemed…

…and zealot kids isn’t the only thing that they should be afraid about.


Rating: **** ( 4 stars )

Heart-breaking tale of two sibbings (brother and sister) and how their strong connection when they were kids was getting weaker and weaker, meanwhile they got older and their paths took separate but kinda of similarly depressing fates.


Rating: **** ( 4 stars )

Love is in the air, but so is murder, and the fateful date of a man with the woman who loves will turn into a tragedy.


Rating: *** ( 3 stars )

This is a short story which serves as a sequel for the Salem’s Lot novel.

Set a couple of years later of the events of Salem’s Lot, in a bar, two men decided to venture into a deadly blizzard to try to save a family stranded just in the middle of the dreadful Jerusalem’s Lot village.


Rating: *** ( 3 stars )

Remorse and guilt overwhelm to a troubling man after deciding to end the suffering of his unhealthy mother.

Profile Image for Raquel Estebaran.
293 reviews174 followers
September 15, 2021
No soy una lectora asidua de este género, pero esta recopilación de relatos me ha encantado. Muy variados en temática y amenos. Leeré más de este señor, que he leído muy poco!
Profile Image for Ethan.
215 reviews236 followers
November 6, 2022
This Halloween season, I wanted to either reread Night Shift, which I read many years ago in high school and haven't reread since, or read Skeleton Crew for the first time. I actually settled on Skeleton Crew, and had even pulled it off the bookshelf, but then I made a last minute decision and put it back in favour of Night Shift, which I had remembered as being a perfect five-star read, and which felt like an old friend to me, I loved it so much. Did it hold up as well as the first time I read it? Well, no, frankly, it didn't. But it's still a very good book.

I loved the tie-ins to his novels in these stories, like the bookend stories for his novel 'Salem's Lot (Jerusalem's Lot, a precursor to the novel set in the 1800s, and One for the Road, which takes place after the events of the novel in the 1970s) and the story Night Surf, which is set in same universe and pandemic as The Stand.

Some of the stories in here are truly superb, and I consider them among the best horror short stories I've ever read. I love how diverse the collection is; there's a bit of everything in here, as Stephen King shows the world what he can do with short fiction for the first time. Stories like Jerusalem's Lot, which is SK doing a Lovecraftian psychological horror story, written in old timey language and with the pervading sense of dread throughout that Lovecraft was known for. King really nailed it. If you erased all my knowledge of 'Salem's Lot and told me Lovecraft himself wrote this story, I would 100% believe you.

Other stories showcase elements of science fiction, post-apocalyptic horror, gory horror, drama, and even comedy. One story in particular, which most people don't seem to like, given its terrible rating on Goodreads as a standalone short story, I absolutely loved. It's called Battleground, and pits a hitman against an army of G.I. Joe toy soldiers that have come to life. It's cute, and so different from everything else I've ever read from King, and honestly it's just such a fun story. I think I had a smile on my face the entire time I was reading it, which is so rare for me. I can't remember the last time I just enjoyed reading as much as when I read that story. It's a new all time favourite for me.

I also really love how you can make a multimedia experience out of a read of Night Shift, as so many of the stories have been made into movies. I had so much fun rewatching King's amazing movie Maximum Overdrive (which is an adaptation of the story Trucks and which no one will ever be able to convince me is a bad movie, even King himself, who disavowed it and now calls it "a moron movie") and watching the movie Graveyard Shift for the first time.

But what didn't I like about Night Shift? I didn't care for the Introduction written by author John D. MacDonald. He seems like one of those self-absorbed literary types who writes flippantly and with an air of false superiority. A snob, basically. That's what his introduction reads like, anyway, so I didn't care for it at all, and it felt really out of place in this humble first short story collection from Stephen King.

Overall, Night Shift isn't the five-star read I remember, where every story is absolutely perfect. There are some downright bad stories in here, and a fair share that are mediocre to average. But the stories that are good in here are great, and some, in my opinion, belong in the "great horror stories of all time" discussion, so I still highly recommend you read this collection. Just know that it isn't perfect, and you'll have to read through some lesser stories as part of experiencing the great ones.

My ratings for each individual story and the book as a whole are below. Don't be discouraged by the low-ish overall star rating. I'm rounding the book up to four stars based on the strength of the several stories I found to be incredible in this collection (any one of which make this entire book worth reading):

Jerusalem's Lot: 5/5
Graveyard Shift: 4.5/5
Night Surf: 3/5
I Am the Doorway: 3.5/5
The Mangler: 4/5
The Boogeyman: 4/5
Gray Matter: 3.5/5
Battleground: 5/5
Trucks: 3.5/5
Sometimes They Come Back: 4/5
Strawberry Spring: 3/5
The Ledge: 4.5/5
The Lawnmower Man: 2.5/5
Quitters, Inc.: 4/5
I Know What You Need: 1.5/5
Children of the Corn: 3.5/5
The Last Rung On the Ladder: 5/5
The Man Who Loved Flowers: 3/5
One for the Road: 4.5/5
The Woman in the Room: 1.5/5

= 73/100 = 3.65 stars

(Rounded up to four stars)
Profile Image for Jaclyn.
228 reviews45 followers
May 8, 2023
This is a hard collection for me to review. Night Shift was not what I expected at all. Kurt Vonnegut, Ray Bradbury & HP Lovecraft's influence is crawling all over these stories. A lot of the stories are old fashioned and some use racist language that is not okay.

I read this collection slowly. As I completed each story, I went back and scribbled a star rating above the title. I've taken an average of all my scores.

Jerusalem's Lot: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
The only story I knew for sure would be in Night Shift was Jerusalem's Lot. I was already looking forward to reading it because Salem's Lot is in my opinion, a classic. This short story explores the ancestry of Jerusalem's Lot.

It almost seems that this is a town born bad: but as we learn, all dark things have a moment where darkness takes root.

Set in the 1800's a man named Charles moves into Chapelwaite, a home in Preachers Corners, close to Jerusalem's Lot. It is his ancestral home, and he has inherited it after a string of relatives die in the house. The inhabitants of Chapelwaite have been dying for a long long time, but our narrator is optimistic and not superstitious.

This is a story about ancestry, about the evil we inherit, and about the past we can't escape. The beauty and the genius of this story is the way it is told. The epistolary form is perfect for creating tension as we slowly see the narrator go from "yay I love my new home" to "hmm I think there must be a large rat infestation in the walls" to "umm why won't the townsfolk speak to me" to "um so theres an abandoned town next door suffused with a poisonous miasma." to "oh goodness! I don't think those are rats in the walls" A masterclass in tension, pacing, and atmosphere.

Theres a great sense of Lovecraftian homage with the presence of the worm, and the rats. See:The Rats in the Walls

Graveyard Shift: ⭐⭐⭐
Speaking of Salem's Lot, this story reminded me of one of my least favorite scenes from the book. I hate rats. But I can acknowledge this was well written. Graveyard Shift is a total gross out. It takes hating your boss to an ENTIRELY new level.

Our narrator, Hall, is working a dead end blue collar job and hating it. But even more, he hates his boss, Warwick. He agrees to take a graveyard shift in order to make some extra cash. What none of them expect is the massive, aggressive, rodent infestation in the buildings sub-basement. This story speaks a lot to the blue collar experience, the monotony of having to work a job that is unsatisfying, and having to do things for money that you'd maybe rather not. It also speaks to the level of self loathing that a lot of young, fresh out of college, young adults feel.

Night Surf: ⭐⭐
A group of youths are spending their time bumming around a beach. Our narrator is a particular gem(sarcasm), in that he is constantly fat shaming his girlfriend, abusing her, and being dislikable. All this is going on in the midst of what seems to be a global pandemic, referred to as Captain Trips. As the world has gone seemingly to hell, morality is thrown out the window. The only part of this story that has stuck with me despite my disquiet, is a scene where the group burns a sick man alive, for fun. A sickening bonfire on the beach.

I was disappointed with Night Surf. I could see what King was doing - it reminded me a lot of Lord of the Flies. However, for a precursor to The Stand, I expected more staying power. As it stands this is one of the more forgettable stories. I just find myself thinking - yes, in the face of a seemingly world ending event, humans lose their morality. Okay – but this story does not have enough depth for me to care. It needed more nuance. This is also one of the few I believe could have been improved by a few more pages.

I am The Doorway: ⭐⭐⭐
This short story is the inspiration for my favorite edition of Night Shift. The cover features a Bandaged hand with eyes staring out from gaps in the wrapping. This short story is body horror done the way I like it. Add in space germs, and a hefty dose of Kurt Vonnegut and Ray Bradbury inspo, and you've got a memorable short story. This one feels like heat lightning and thunder after the rain.

The Mangler: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
A short story about a possessed industrial laundry steam press, of all things. King makes this one of the best stories in the collection! The mangler is campy and supernatural. The story comes to a head when the characters try to exorcise the machine. The ending you absolutely cannot predict. I like to imagine this starting out as a satire about what it is like to work in unsafe conditions... Except in this story, the unsafe conditions are supernatural and outside of human control, unlike real unsafe working conditions that are often due to pure human negligence. Beyond this, the story features some really good descriptions.

The Boogeyman: ⭐⭐
I have to commend King for his ability to write truly despicable characters. The narrator of the boogeyman is vile. The plot is this: A man seeks out a therapist to confess how he let each of his children be murdered rather than face his own fears.

I seem to have an unpopular opinion when it comes to The Boogeyman. I have seen mostly positive reviews. A lot of readers seem to think this is the best story in Night Shift! I hated the narrator, and I hated the ending. I thought it was cheesy. It reminded me of the ending to Misery, but at least with Misery I could buy the ending. The ending to the boogeyman on the other hand? I have to roll my eyes.

Thematically this has promise: survivors guilt? Bring it on! The grief of child loss and the ensuing destruction of a marriage? Compelling! But when the narrator is so unlikeable, it takes a toll to read. That paired with the ending makes for an unenjoyable experience.

Gray Matter: ⭐⭐⭐
A wonderful dark sci-fi set on a snow drenched night in Bangor, Maine. Personally, I think this is a fantastic setting for a creature feature. Gray Matter is essentially the blob meets Stephen King.

Everything is normal until a terrified teenager comes to the local package store for help. His father is an alcoholic, and well… lately things have gotten out of control. He enlists the help of the store owner, and things get rather otherworldly.

I really enjoyed the themes of of addiction & alcoholism and thought the monster like transformation was a brilliant way to represent the pain alcoholism can inflict on those around the addict.

Life lesson: don’t drink funky beer. Also: don’t be an alcoholic. It doesn’t end well:
you could turn into a monster.

Battleground: ⭐
An assassin recently killed a toy corporation owner? And now he’s received a box of homicidal toy soldiers? Is this a joke?!

Childish and laughable. I am not the demographic for this story.

Trucks: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
If this is anything like Christine, I can't wait to finally read it! King really shines when writing horror about inanimate objects.

Trucks reminds me a lot of the Mist, except instead of hidden creatures in the mist, you’ve got visible TRUCKS in a parking lot. And instead of a grocery store, it’s a diner. This story feels like the summer sun on asphalt. It makes you think of the sun beating down, and it almost makes you want to wipe sweat from your brow. The characters are stranded, and eventually water becomes scarce. The only thing they have to look to is the glare of the sun and the gleaming metal grill of the trucks that menace seems to exude from. It is a hellish story. Solid, with an ending that feels post apocalyptic and fresh.

Trucks is basically about a group of people trapped in a diner, surrounded by trucks that have suddenly become sentient, and murderous. They have been used and abused for far too long, and now they want to show humanity how it feels to be used. If anyone tries to exit the diner, they got run down. And when the trucks run out of gas, they manage to communicate in morse code that anyone willing to refuel them will be spared.

Seasonality plays a role in a lot of these stories. This one is a pure summer scorcher.

Sometimes They Come Back: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
"teachers have more ulcers than any other professional group, with the exception of air traffic controllers."

Jim Norman is an English teacher with a tragic past. When he was young, he witnessed his brothers murder by some school aged punks. He had long been visited by nightmares replaying his brothers last moments. He's always had this nagging feeling... because the murderers got away with it. Jump forward to adulthood, and Jim has got a happy marriage, and a job he mostly likes. Until new students enter his classroom, that look and act like his worst nightmare.

"After the kids were gone, something old and brooding seemed to settle over the halls and whisper in the empty rooms. Some black, noxious beast, never quite in view."

I imagine this story is influenced by Kings days as an English school teacher, and largely by his troubles teaching similar "slow-learners" and trouble makers. Though, I hope King never had kids quite this bad. There are threats and pranks that escalate to life or death consequences. And all the while, the reader is never really sure whether or not Jim is "cracking up" or if these new students of his really are the resurrected embodiments of his brothers murderers. One thing is for sure though: these kids are creepy and they seem to know more about Jim than they should...

At its' core this is about the struggles of teaching children that don't want to be taught and the struggles of teaching within an administration that isn't willing to help out beyond the basics. It's also about the past, and how things sometimes come back, and how leaving things undone usually leads to more trouble. Oh, and sometimes, dead is better. It is best to leave old skeletons buried.

The ending is wholly supernatural and the second story to feature a kind of exorcism. Unfortunately, I think the exorcism here works less than the one in The Mangler. The ending leaves readers with two questions: Can you escape the past? Can you escape your fate?

Jim is teaching Lord of the Flies, a King favorite and a wonderful accompaniment to a short story about murderous kids.

Strawberry Spring: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Strawberry Spring is both horrific and beautiful! King writes a spring written so sweet, yet a murderer is hiding in the mist. The story takes place on the campus of New Sharon Teachers' College, during the spring of 1968. Our narrator is obsessed with the beauty of the "strawberry spring" and not afraid to venture out into the night, despite a serial killer roaming the campus. The students call the killer Springheel Jack.

I was enchanted. Enchanted by that dark and mist-blown strawberry spring, and by the shadow of violent death that walked through it on those nights eight years ago. The shadow of Springheel Jack."

In this story the cycle of the seasons to mirror the cyclic nature of the serial killer. The narrator muses that perhaps the killings stopped when the strawberry spring ended...and now, eight years later, another strawberry spring is winding up.

This story is psychological, and reminds me of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. If you liked this short story, you'll love it.

Lots of musical references: Hey Jude, Love is Blue, Scarborough Fair.

The Ledge: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
What is not to love about a story that is as fun as it is vindictive? And it stars a hunky tennis instructor taking on a mob boss? Yes, please.

The Ledge begins with our tennis instructor, Mr. Norris, attempting to talk a MOB BOSS into letting him run off with his WIFE. Mr. Norris is head over heels in love, and is not about to let any murderous rich guy stand in his path. Meanwhile, mob boss (Cressner), has plans of his own. They go back and forth for a while, before Cressner lays it out for him. Mr. Norris has TWO options. One: he can leave and be arrested for drug possession, because Cressner has set him up with a LOT of cocaine. He'd never see his love again. or Two: He can attempt to walk along the ledge of the SKY SCRAPER Cressner lives in. If he makes it around the building without dying, Cressner will let him live happily ever after. Sounds totally like something a vindictive mob boss wouldn't back out of, right? Right. Even so, Mr. Norris decides to risk it for it all, and makes his way out on to the ledge.

This story really makes you feel like you are out on the ledge. You feel the wind, You feel the vertigo, the fear!

The ending is the best in Night Shift. The Ledge is vindictive and satisfactory. If you liked the scene in 1408, where the MC is out on the ledge, you will enjoy this.

The Lawnmower Man: ⭐⭐⭐
Picture this: You're enjoying a nice day while your lawn is being mowed by a neighborhood teen. A dog is chasing a cat. Oh no! the dog chases the neighbors cat under the mower! Perfect summer day ruined, white collar bliss decimated. This is the chain of events that precipitates The Lawnmower Man.

Harold Parkette is devastated. He can't stand to look at his poor lawn, and his family is so disturbed that they all collectively ignore the growing weeds and tall grass. Until the neighbors start to complain. So Harold begins looking for a new lawn mowing service. Because he certainly won't be mowing his own lawn.

A man shows up at Harolds door that is the blue collar charming man of his nightmares. He instantly decides this man is both grimy and charming enough to bed his wife and take his money at the same time. No matter, even though Harold feels some misgivings about this strange man, he leaves him to the yard. But this man is strange. He's muttering things about Circe, and oh goodness, is he eating the grass too?

Turns out, Harolds new lawnmower man is a Satyr.

This short story is pure blue collar versus white collar. Add in a heavy dose of Pagan mysticism and you've got a hilariously dark story.

The Lawnmower Man is the variety of cheese I like! I can tell King had fun with it.

Quitters Inc.: ⭐⭐⭐
Morrison's life sucks. He can't quit smoking. He hears about a place that helped a friend quit smoking and changed his life. Morrison decides to check it out. Turns out he gets more than he bargains for.

This story is about addiction and the struggle to sever an addiction.

Lesson: what is more important, your addiction, or your families happiness? If your families safety isn't enough to stop you from smoking, nothing will.

If I could recommend one story to someone struggling with addiction: this would be it.

I Know What You Need:⭐⭐⭐⭐
This story is the least conventionally scary story of the collection, yet it focuses on real horrors. The title itself is chilling; it is very invasive.

Elizabeth is minding her business studying at college. She has a boyfriend she loves and everything is okay. Then a strange boy appears that seems to know everything she needs. At first, she's put off. But eventually, she starts to fall in love with this strange guy and his ability to always predict her needs. He always wants to do what she does, he likes all the same movies, the same foods, he can predict her moods and knows just the right thing to say. Elizabeths roommate Alice is not as enamored with this boy as she is.

"He's made you love him by knowing every secret thing you want and need, and that's not love at all. That's rape."

Everyone needs a friend like Alice: someone that is willing to give you hard truths, even if it risks losing the friendship.

I was impressed with Kings handling of this story. The themes around toxic masculinity, stalking and rape are important and this story highlights them cunningly. The idea of psychological rape is complex, and I hope King expands on this in later works. The ending is a feminist triumph.

Children of the Corn: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
One of the worst husbands ever stars in this absolute classic!

A couple traveling across the country in a last ditch effort to save their marriage end up hoping to save their lives instead. The road trip takes a turn for the worst as they find themselves driving through rural Nebraska, surrounded by corn fields.

Themes of religious fanaticism, rebellion, age, cultish behavior, marriage, and toxic masculinity.

A message to husbands: listen to your wives!

The Last Rung on the Ladder: ⭐⭐
Disappointing and Depressing. A bit of a moral tale. I have to admit, this one did not do much for me. I was not really in the head space to read it.

The Last Rung on the Ladder follows a young man as he navigates the aftermath of his sisters suicide. It goes over their childhood, how they used to play in their barn and jump from the ladder and land in hay. One day, the ladder breaks, and his sister nearly dies, but he saves her life. The message seems to be that he always saves her, and that something is always there to break her fall. In the end, the sister is unable to fight her own demons, and as an adult she reaches out to her brother one final time... but he doesn't reach back.

Important lesson: Check on your loved ones. They might be struggling. And if you wait, it might be too late.

The Man Who Loved Flowers: ⭐⭐
A lot of filler leading up the big reveal that doesn’t have a pay off big enough to justify the filler.

Okay so a man buys flowers for his sweetheart. Only turns out there’s also this hammer murderer running about. Suspicious. Turns out our murderer thinks all women are this one woman named Norma that rejected him, so he gets murdery ever time he’s rejected by strange women that are like “umm sorry I’m not Norma?”

Moral of the story: it’s dangerous to be a woman. Second lesson: entitled men are dangerous even if they do nice things like buy you flowers.

One For the Road: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Another Salem's Lot STUNNER! My favorite of the collection. The atmosphere is the winner here! Set in a blizzard, a man wanders in to Tookey's bar. His family is trapped in a snow drift in the town of Salems' Lot. The bar owner and his friend Booth decide to help this man out but they let him know: IF his family is not in the car when they arrive.. they are leaving. Sure enough, the car is empty...and then the sound of tinkling bells among the howling wind.

"And then there was an answer, a voice coming out of the dark like little tinkling silver bells, and my heart turned cold as ice in a cistern"

The Woman in the Room: ⭐⭐⭐
Forlorn, depressing, real. This story describes the pain of watching a loved one wither away.
Themes: death, grief, age
Profile Image for Beverly.
806 reviews293 followers
October 21, 2018
This is a good, creepy collection. As in lots of short story books, he seemed to place the best ones towards the end. My favorites are the ones that have no supernatural elements at all: "The Ledge", The Last Rung on the Ladder", The Man Who Loved Flowers and the very last story, The Woman in the Room". King is a king of the horror and devastation we feel in real life and that is plenty scary.
Profile Image for Eloy Cryptkeeper.
296 reviews193 followers
February 2, 2021
"Había pasado toda la noche en vela, con la carta(...)Podría haber escrito lo mismo en una postal(...)
había una sola frase. Pero una frase puede decirlo todo. Puede hacerlo todo(...)
Su voz destilaba una pena que me hizo sentir incómodo, porque no la entendía. La entendí mejor después de recibir la carta."

Una carta de una hermana menor a su hermano mayor, un disparador de recuerdos y acontecimientos. Frases y hechos que toman sentido con el tiempo y las circunstancias, y cierran un ciclo de manera trágica.
Un relato simple que contiene lo que a mi parecer son varios de los fuertes de King, al margen del terror, que son el drama, e historias sobre infancia y complicidad.
Profile Image for Jamie Stewart.
Author 10 books158 followers
January 11, 2023
When I got my first copy of Night Shift I thought I was
buying another novel and was immediately disappointed to find I hadn’t. I’ve talked before about how King made me a reader, as such, I never had any exposure to short stories before. Now I’ve come to realise that reading short story collection requires a certain type of mindset. Each individual story in any collection can be completely different in ever single way from the last one. I didn’t know that then so when I attempted to read Night Shift for the first time I quickly found it wasn’t to my taste, especially with Jerusalem’s Lot as the opener. It’s an 80 page ode to Lovecraft told entirely through diary entry’s, completely different from the style King’s books I was reading at the time.

I now love collections for the diversity in story, characters and settings they offer. And Night Shift is one of my favourites, pulpy bundle of great tales. So let’s jump in.

Jerusalem’s Lot - 4 Stars - As I’ve already mentioned this is aLovecraft inspired tale set in an area of Maine that would later become Salem’s Lot. And hey! Wouldn’t you no it, some vampires make an appearance, though that’s not all there is. Heavy on atmosphere this comes across exactly as it is, King mimicking someone else. You can tell when reading it that he’s not fully able to embrace the time period in the language of the story. Still, it’s a creepy.

Graveyard Shift - 3 Stars - Sometimes you just want to read a nasty story about some nasty characters and this is it. Set during the summer in a factory in Maine, the story focuses on a group of men who volunteer to work extra to clean the buildings basement. It’s grim work made grimmer by the discovery that the men aren’t the lords of the basement realm. That title belongs to the rats.

I Am The Doorway - 5 Stars - This is one of my favourite short horror stories of all time. I should say that horror fiction rarely scares me, but this freaks me out. It’s the story of an former astronaut whose been exposed on his last mission to an alien mutagen. King rarely does body horror, yet when he does it’s always excellent and this story contains some of his best as this stories protagonist begins to transform. It’s also unique in King’s cannon for it’s science fiction vibes as King comes across as a perverse Ray Bradbury.

The Boogeyman - 5 Stars - An excellent executed tale about a not so nice guy that has one creepy ending.

Grey Matter - 3.5 Stars - The story about a contaminated beer! Yes, this is pulpy as anything but King makes it more by touching on abusive fathers and children that are trapped by their love for someone whose become a monster.

Trucks - 3 Stars - Vehicles take on a mind of their own and the end of the world ensues.

Strawberry Spring - 5 Stars - This one has a Jack the Ripper vibe to me. I loved the writing in this story. Like Jerusalem’s Lot it’s different from King’s usually style in a trippy LSD type of way.

The Ledge - 4 - King shows his love of wise guys, gangsters and hard-boiled stories. He also shows his flair for describing torturous scenes as this stories protagonist attempts to walk around the ledge of a Manhattan skyscraper.

Children of the Corn - 5 Stars - There’s a reason why this short story spawned 7 films. It’s a shame that none of them have come close to the power of this tale. It’s another nasty tale about nasty people.

The Last Rung on the Ladder - 5 Stars - This is not a horror story, but a story of heartache and sorrow. It showcase King’s range and works as a nice prelude for his novella collection Different Seasons.

One For The Road - 5 Stars - King returns to Salem’s Lot again and in someways this is even better than his fantastic novel because in its short length it contains everything a readers wants on a horror tale about vampires in winter.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Fabian {Councillor}.
231 reviews476 followers
July 23, 2016
Many readers consider this book to be one of Stephen King's most popular short story collections, and I can't disagree with that opinion ... mostly because it's only the second anthology by King I have read so far. Many original horror stories are included in this collection, with most of them having been adapted into classic horror movies like "Children of the Corn", "Graveyard Shift" or "The Mangler". In its entirety, however, I consider "Night Shift" to be a rather weak collection of short stories, and critics will certainly find affirmation that King is also able to write true crap. But on the other hand, some of the best short stories which might be discovered in King's writing universe are included here.

In the following, I will list a short overview on the particular stories with my opinions on them. Because well, it's impossible for me to review this collection without taking a look at each of the stories itself, with so many crappy and so many fantastic short stories combined in one book.

1) Jerusalem's Lot (2,5/5 stars)
The first short story in Stephen King's first anthology deals with the origins of the fictional town Jerusalem's Lot which the reader already knows from 'Salem's Lot. However, the story hasn't a lot in common with the novel counterpart, and whoever expects to find the roots of Kurt Barlow and the vampires will end up being disappointed. In epistolary form, Stephen King allows us to take a look at the story of a man called Charles Boone, who inherits the estate Chapelwaite and soon realizes that something with his new residence is not quite the way it should be.
Nothing felt particularly outstanding in this story except for the epistolary structure, and as an introduction to the anthology it was a little bit deterring to me.

2) Graveyard Shift (3/5 stars)
Imagine working in a mill. No light except for electric torches. A bullying foreman who wants you to keep working, no matter what happens. And big, fat rats straying through the mill ...
I'll give a piece of advice to you: Don't read this story if you have a rat phobia. Don't read this story if you like your protagonists realistic and without weird changes in behaviour. And definitely don't read this story if you intend to enter a cave or a mill anytime soon. It might not be your wisest idea in those cases.
"Graveyard Shift" was a good story with creepy moments, but certainly with too much build-up in the beginning and too much speed in the ending.

3) Night Surf (1/5 stars)
»Even his big radio/tape-player was hardly more than a nice-looking hunk of junk.« I'll borrow that quote from King's own story and apply it here to describe it. 'Hunk of junk' is actually pretty appropriate. I can't even explain what this story is about because it frustrated and bored me so much.

4) I am the Doorway (4/5 stars)
A crossover between the genres Horror and Sci-Fi, this story fantastically explores the effects of a confrontation of one human being with alien powers. I was hooked from the beginning and suffered vicariously my way through to the ending along with a hardly remarkable protagonist who turned into an interesting character because of his fate - as, after being exposed to a certain mutagen, tiny eyeballs break out on his fingertips ...

5) The Mangler (1/5 stars)
Ridiculous attempt to write about a haunted laundry. Let's better forget this story even exists.

6) The Boogeyman (3/5 stars)
A father who has lost all three of his children to 'the boogeyman' visits a psychiatrist to tell about the terrifying deeds which have been committed against his family.
One of the more frightening stories, but certainly also belonging to the more forgettable ones in this collection.

7) Grey Matter (1/5 stars)
This one just didn't catch my attention or attract my interest. I forgot what it was about ten minutes after reading it.

8) Battleground (1/5 stars)
I didn't get what this was supposed to be. A man attacked by tiny soldiers one inch and a half big?
Seriously? Was Mr. King on drugs while he wrote this?

9) Trucks (1/5 stars)
A small town is attacked by haunted trucks, that's the basic essence of this short story. It may be used as the exact definition of ridiculousness. No soul behind these words; no sense behind this plot; no characteristics behind these appearing persons. Just another stupid story to be forgotten.

You may think that I was so frustrated after those first nine stories that I was tempted to give up on it? Well, yes, I certainly was. But I kept telling myself to continue, not to abandon this, to believe in the power of King's writing ...
And he proved me right.

10) Sometimes they come back (3,5/5 stars)
In one of the longest stories of the collection, Stephen King explores the life of a teacher for English literature who has been marked by a traumatic event of his past. Now, one after another, new students enter his class. And they look exactly like the teenagers who have attacked and killed his brother - about fifteen years ago ...
A very good story with a lot of action, insight and interesting twists and turns. I would have liked to read a full-length novel of this with a more fleshed-out protagonist; the potential was clearly visible.

11) Strawberry Spring (4/5 stars)
Do you know this feeling when you're reading a mystery and suddenly have an idea on the potential outcome, which is so unlikely you immediately pass it, but then you realize the author has actually chosen this outcome for his story? I experienced it here, and it made me love the story even more. One of King's less-known stories, but definitely a fine piece of writing. The ending can be spoiled so easily that I will not even attempt to give you an idea of what it is about.

12) The Ledge (5/5 stars)
In "The Ledge", a rich man is cheated on by his wife with her tennis instructor. The two men are confronted with each other in the penthouse of a skyscraper. And the husband has to settle a score - he comes up with a plan you will not believe that a human being is able to create.
So, so good. This story is one of my favorites from King's works - action, drama, suspense, unbearable tension, believable character motivations, a unique idea and a wonderfully interesting plot - "The Ledge" has everything a good short story is supposed to have.

13) The Lawnmover Man (0/5 stars)
Forget it, forget it, forget it.
One of the worst short stories ever written. I will introduce zero stars to Goodreads ratings extra for this story.

14) Quitters, Inc. (5/5 stars)
A middle-aged man wants to quit smoking and visits someone who claims to be able to make him do so. The man doubts these claims - until he realizes whereupon he got himself into ...
This short story is perfect; it's as simple as that. No supernatural elements, but instead chilling and suspenseful writing with an ending which made me swallow more than once. Easily one of my favorite short stories of all time.

15) I Know What You Need (3,5/5 stars)
At university, a young woman meets another man who she falls in love with, not knowing how dangerous this connection may turn out to be.
Another very good story. Stephen King knows what he is writing, that's for sure (well, if you ignore certain stories like some of those I've mentioned above). I really liked the complex plot and the hidden appearance of supernatural elements.

16) Children of the Corn (3/5 stars)
A married couple enters a deserted village with only children inhabiting it - and they clearly have no idea of how to welcome strangers with politeness.
Of all the twenty stories in this collection, the one I was most excited about didn't work at all for me. It was scary, yes, scary and thrilling with the religious fanatiscism included, very atmospheric and creepy. Maybe it should have been longer - the potential for a full-length novel was clearly present. Everything felt a little bit too underdeveloped for me.

17) The Last Rung on the Ladder (3,5/5 stars)
This story deals with the adventures of a young boy and his sister in their childhood. Too short to be really able to explore the characters, but with a surprising twist, a realistic story and suspenseful writing. It's interesting to see how King is able to delve deep into a character's mind within only seven pages. Definitely one of his better stories.

18) The Man Who Loved Flowers (2,5/5 stars)
It's impossible to say what this story is about without spoiling it. King came up with an interesting concept and an unexpected turn, but on only four pages it was nearly impossible to get into the story.

19) One for the Road (4/5 stars)
A deserted town. A heavy snowstorm. Vampires lurking in the dark. Sounds like everyone would want to be right in the middle of this scenario, doesn't it?
This story creeped me out. It is by far the scariest one in the entire collection. You should avoid reading it in the middle of the night, just like I should have done.

20) The Woman in the Room (3/5 stars)
A very serious and highly relevant issue portrayed with very weird writing. From a writing point, this story might be worst executed in comparison to all the other stories (if you ignore the Lawnmover Man). It profits from emotion and potential alike.

In conclusion, "Night Shift" did not live up to my expectations, but it also didn't disappoint me. Even if you are not interested in Horror or King's writing in general, you should give either "The Ledge" or "Quitters, Inc" a try. Both stories don't include any paranormal activities, but they cover interesting subjects and will keep you on the edge of your seat.

It's a must-read for fans of Stephen King's writing and the Horror genre in general, but if you don't consider yourself to belong to one of those parties, then you might think about skipping these stories (apart from "The Ledge" and "Quitters, Inc", of course). But then, with readers raving about this collection everywhere, maybe I'm not the one to trust in this matter ...
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
643 reviews4,264 followers
February 7, 2017
"Let's talk, you and I. Let's talk about fear."

Night Shift was Stephen King's first short story collection, released way back in 1978 and it contains quite a lot of his more popular short stories that ended up becoming movies. The prime examples being Children of the Corn and Sometimes They Come Back.

King is often hailed as the master of the short story. Prior to this collection I had only read Nightmares & Dreamscapes and The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, and I did really enjoy them, but found it odd when people would comment things like "Oh it was good, but it was disappointing compared to earlier ones". Well, now I get it, guys! Now I get it. You can quite literally feel King's hunger for story-telling throughout the entirety of this collection and given these stories were written at the very start of his career, the material is all so fresh with absolutely amazing, outrageous ideas.

I feel like I should reveal that I am not a huge fan of short stories. I want to get lost in a story with the continuing development of a story and its characters. I want to get to know my main characters inside out, back to front. I want to spend days/weeks thinking about the story and the characters and where it's all going, with the anticipation of getting into bed each night to see what happens next. You don't get this with short stories - they're short, that's their nature. You often don't get to find out what happens or why...there's cliffhangers that are never explored again. There isn't that same pull to keep reading and it can take me longer than usual to get through a short story collection. However, Night Shift has completely changed my perspective on short story collections. I WAS thinking about the book all day, but instead wondering what crazy story King has coming next. I DID have the same urge to keep reading. Some characters were memorable, even though I only got to know them for 30 pages or so. This collection was simply out of this world.

I almost don't know where to start reviewing this book, but I guess I can start with my absolute favourites in the collection. I can quite honestly say that there was not a bad story in this entire collection, but the much-anticipated Children of the Corn was as impressive as I imagined and is probably the greatest highlight for me. It was creepy and unsettling and even more terrifying than I could have predicted! Sometimes They Come Back was also a great story, alongside I Am The Doorway, The Mangler, Grey Matter, The Lawnmower Man...okay, I think I'm actually starting to list every single story in the book.

The Last Rung on the Ladder was also surprisingly emotional and almost brought a tear to the eye. Only King could evoke such a reaction in such a short story. I had previously read One for the Road as it was included in my edition of 'Salem's Lot, but it was great to read this story again. The only problem is...it makes me want to revisit 'Salem's Lot!!

Some stories were downright hilarious and just a joy to read, such as Battleground and The Ledge. It's difficult to even pinpoint my least favourite, but if I absolutely had to chose, I'd probably pick The Man Who Loved Flowers - but even then, I really enjoyed this story. It's unusual to not be able to find a flaw in a short story collection, but I've tried and I literally can't.

Definitely my top SK short story collection so far!
Profile Image for Yeferzon Zapata.
106 reviews23 followers
March 7, 2021
Un antología excelente.

"Cuando nuestra hija ha prometido llegar a casa a las once y ya son las doce y cuarto y la nieve azota la ventana como arena seca, nos sentamos y fingimos contemplar el programa de Johnny Carson y miramos de vez en cuando el teléfono silencioso y experimentamos la emoción que nos ciega, la emoción que reduce el proceso intelectual a una piltrafa."

Me despido de un compañero al que solía a visitar antes de dormir. Fue una buena experiencia esta antología, señalada como la mejor de King, y bueno, ¿Por qué diría que no es así? Ya había leído algunos relatos del autor y me habían parecido muy normales, cuestión que me hizo encarar con recelo está antología a pesar de sus buenas críticas, sin embargo, y para mi fortuna, diecinueve de los veinte relatos que se encuentran acá me parecieron muy destacables, obviamente unos me gustaron más que otros, y solo uno me pareció que sí no estuviera no me hubiera perdido de nada, pero ya hablaré de ello más adelante.

King de entrada nos presenta su percepción sobre el miedo, la variedad de miedos que el ser humano puede tener, y como al final nos reduce a apartarnos de la lógica y hacernos entrar en un estado al cual nunca queremos volver a ingresar. Y siento que la mayoría de relatos que están narrados aquí son miedos que el propio autor ha experimentado, o en su defecto, no querría nunca experimentar, además de que están narrados de una forma muy fluida, dándole una extensión justa a cada relato. No les sobra ni les falta páginas. Brillante.

No está de más decir que recomiendo ampliamente esta antología, la van a pasar muy bien en unos casos, o muy mal en otros, todo depende del tipo de miedo que no quieras saborear. Dejaré mi percepción sobre algunos, unos datos sobre otros, y mis favoritos, que de seguro releeré con frecuencia.

Algunas percepciones y datos.

El hombre que amaba las flores: Este relato es el que para mí sí no hubiera estado no me hubiera perdido de nada, es corto por fortuna, pero a comparación del resto es un poco flojo, creo que está ahí para sumar el número redondo a la antología, ya que no sería lo mismo decir que este libro cuenta con diecinueve relatos, a que cuenta con veinte.

Un trago de despedida: Un relato que sucede en Jerusalem's Lot, y que tengo la leve sensación que esta historia trascurre después de los acontecimientos de El misterio de Salem's Lot, no puedo decirlo con certeza porque no he leído esa novela. Pero esa fue la sensación que me generó. Es un buen relato, y me deja con muchas ganas de leer esa novela de King tan aclamada por algunas personas.

Marejada nocturna: Relato que sirvió de inspiración para una de las novelas más conocidas de King. Apocalipsis. He notado que a muy pocas personas les gusta este relato, debo decir que a mí me gustó, Apocalipsis es mi lectura actual y no dejaba de pensar en el relato como una historia dentro de esa novela, para mí fue muy interesante sentir esa sensación.

Los chicos del maíz: Ya había escuchado un audiolibro de este relato, y pensaba que iba a recordar la historia, pero, para mi sorpresa en el audiolibro le cambian la parte final, fue muy diferente al del relato, una buena jugada por parte de los realizadores. Así que volví al audiolibro y leí la descripción donde decían que era una adaptación de dicho relato, así que sí como yo escucharon ese material y no han leído el relato, los invito a que lo lean y comparen, en general ambos me parecen muy buenos, pero el relato está mejor logrado en mi opinión.

Mis relatos favoritos.

Como he dicho anteriormente, unos relatos me gustaron más que otros, así que acá van los que para mí merecen un puesto de honor:

Campo de batalla: Un relato con una idea muy original, ya se ha visto en películas por supuesto, pero King le da un toque más serio y crudo, donde los juguetes cobran vida, pero no esperes que eso salga bien.

Soy la puerta: Me gustó mucho porque es la primera historia del autor que leo donde describe una parte del espacio, y me atrapó inmediatamente, pero, sí algunos viajes terrestres tienen consecuencias, los viajes espaciales no se quedarán atrás.

Basta S.A: Hay métodos para dejar de fumar, pero ninguno tan tétrico como el que encontrarás en Basta S.A.

La trituradora: El relato más sangriento, y uno de tantos donde King explora lo que sucedería sí ciertas máquinas que nos ayudan en labores cotidianas cobraran vida.

El último turno: Lo que habita debajo de una fábrica no será del agrado de algunos lectores, entre ellos mi incluyo. Los roedores están bien lejos de mí.

Camiones: Uno de esos relatos que me hizo ver estos vehículos de otra manera, además de que debo confesar que les tengo un poco de miedo, y con este relato, mi miedo aumentó un poco más.

Los misterios del gusano: Mi relato favorito, sin duda. Aunque King desdibuja un poco su estilo para hacerle un pronunciado homenaje a Lovecraft, debo decir que le imprime algo que le da un gran dinamismo a esta historia, me encantó la ambientación descrita por King, el misterio que le imprime a cada página. Un relato que también sucede en Jerusalem's Lot, y que por la época, se nota que es una historia que pasa antes de lo acontecido en El misterio de Sale's Lot.
Debo agregar que un apartado me recordó mucho al relato El escarabajo de oro de Poe. Pero, sin duda King nos demuestra sus grandes dotes narrativos en este relato. Fenomenal.

Jerusalem's Lot
Profile Image for Roula.
500 reviews139 followers
October 10, 2017
Λοιπον εμενα ο Κινγκ γενικως δε με ενθουσιαζει.δε μπορω την πολυυυυυυυυυλογια του.ενω τα θεματα με τα οποια καταπιανεται με ενδιαφερουν και με αφορουν πολυ και θαυμαζω το γεγονος οτι ο φοβος που προκαλει στον αναγνωστη εχει τις περισσοτερες φορες ενα πολυ λογικο υποβαθρο, ωστοσο με κουραζει η πολυλογια αυτη..με αυτο το βιβλιο λοιπον τον λατρεψα.ιστοριες συντομες, to the point που η καθεμια πραγματευεται κ εναν διαφορετικο τυπο φοβου.καποιες με αγγιξαν (με τα παγωμενα χερια του φοβου) παααρα πολυ, καποιες καθολου.ωστοσο ηταν συντομες και ετσι δεν κουραζαν.καποιες ηταν αληθινα τρομακτικες και καποιες τραβηγμενες ή αδιαφορες.κερασακι στην τουρτα, η τελευταια που ελεγε μια μεγαλη αληθεια..οτι αναμεσα σε βαμπιρ, δαιμονες, τρελους, μηχανες, ζωα κλπ τελικα το πιο τρομακτικο ον ολων, ειναι ο ανθρωπος!!και αυτο ειναι τρομακτικα αληθινο..

τελος πρωτης ιστοριας με τιτλο Τζερουσαλεμς Λοτ.
level of creepiness: 4/5 (αυτα τα "ηχοι μεσα στους τοιχους, γελια, κλαματα κλπ" τυπου Ποε με φρικαρουν ασχημα..

δευτερη ιστορια:η βαρδια του νεκροταφειου
level of creepiness: 2/5 (μεταλλαγμενοι αρουραιοι..μπλιαχ.οχι και τοσο τρομακτικο.σαν να διαβαζα ανατριχιλες)

τριτη ιστορια: νυχτερινο κυμα
level of creepiness:0/5 (ννννννννναι..οκ..)

τεταρτη ιστορια: εγω ειμαι η πυλη
level of creepiness: 3/5 (μια αποστολη στο διαστημα που πηγε πολυυυυυ λαθος)

πεμπτη ιστορια: το μαγκανο
level of creepiness:3/5 (machines coming alive 😱)

εκτη ιστορια: ο μπαμπουλας
level of creepiness: 5/5 (we have a winner!!ο τιτλος ειναι αρκετα επεξηγηματικος...)

εβδομη ιστορια: η γκριζα ουσια
level of creepiness: 2/5 (παλι στυλ ανατριχιλες..)

ογδοη ιστορια: πεδιο μαχης
level of creepiness: 0/5 (στρατιωτακια -killers..νννννναι..οκ)

ενατη ιστορια: οι νταλικες
level of creepiness:4/5 (αυτο που ξεκινησε ως "ελεος τι παραμυθι", εξελιχθηκε σε τρομο!!!

δεκατη ιστορια: μερικες φορες επιστρεφουν
level of creepiness: 5/5 (we have a runner up winner!!bullying μαθητων σε καθηγητη...δε χρειαζεται να πω κατι αλλο..)

ενδεκατη ιστορια:η ανοιξη της φραουλας
level of creepiness: 2/5 (whodunnit καταστασουλα)

δωδεκατη ιστορια: η μαρκιζα
level of creepiness: 4/5 (υψοφοβια και φοβος περιστεριων.ο,τι χειροτερο για μενα...)

δεκατη τριτη ιστορια: ο κηπουρος
level of creepiness : 0/5 (νννννναι...οκ..)

δεκατη τεταρτη ιστορια:αντικαπνιστικη εταιρια
level of creepiness: 5/5 (ακρως αποτελεσματικος τροπος να κοψεις το τσιγαρο...)

δεκατη πεμπτη ιστορια:ξερω τι χρειαζεσαι
level of creepiness: 5/5 (φοβερη ιστορια αν κ το τελος δε μου πολυαρεσε)

δεκατη εκτη ιστορια:τα παιδια του καλαμποκιου
level of creepiness: 5/5 (αυτη που με φρικαρε περισσοτερο ισως)

δεκατη εβδομη ιστορια: το τελευταιο σκαλοπατι
level of creepiness: 1/5(πιο πολυ στενοχωρια μου εφερε, παρα τρομο)

δεκατη ογδοη ιστορια:ο ανθρωπος που αγαπουσε τα λουλουδια
level of creepiness: 3/5 (απροοπτο)

δεκατη ενατη ιστορια: ενα για το δρομο
level of creepiness: 2/5 (βαμπιροκατασταση)

εικοστη ιστορια : η γυναικα στο δωματιο
level of creepiness: 5/5 (το καλυτερο(?)για το τελος.
Profile Image for Christy.
56 reviews108 followers
November 10, 2016
In this book we are treated to much of Stephen King's earliest published writing, a full 10 stories (half of this book), were released in magazines, before his first novel, Carrie, was set loose on us.

I was pleasantly surprised by these early works, as it seems to me King is not one of those authors who needs to develop a lot of skill over time....I have heard/read that often writers do their best work when their bellies are not too full (I am aware that this is a misquote, by King himself...perhaps Duma Key was one of the places), and the case is proven to me here. These are from the period he was trying to feed his young family, as well as get his foot in the door. The earliest published one seems to be Strawberry Spring, published in 1968, six years prior to Carrie (which was meant to be a short story in itself, for another magazine, that his wife Tabitha dug out of the garbage, and encouraged him to turn it into a novel...that story is in my review of Carrie, so I won't bore anyone with further comments on it...except to say...Yay! to Tabitha one more time...she gave him shoves and suggestions all along, good ones, and King's fan's owe her a lot).

The pre-Carrie ones are, for the most, part collected near the beginning of the book, including such hits and misses (depending on the reader, of course) as Graveyard Shift (1970), Night Surf, which is related to The Stand, the amazing book that isn't released until almost a full decade after the magazine article (1969), I am The Doorway (1971), The Mangler (1972), The Boogyman (1973), Grey Matter (1973), Battleground (1972), Trucks (1973), Strawberry Spring (1968), Sometimes They Come Back was published in March of 1974. With Carrie's release being just the next month, It's safe to say that it was probably NOT written Pre-Carrie.

Out of this collection came a large number of movies (9 again), as well. Either for the big screen, or small. I'll talk about those, along with the stories, but again, I was amazed by the number his early work inspired. (Though some are definitely best forgotten!)

This book is *almost* bookended with stories related to one of my favorite King books, 'Salem's Lot, we start out with Jerusalem's Lot, a prequel that seems long, and is written in the epistolary style, I both read and listened to it, and found this story worked best for me when I listened to it, closing my eyes to get a picture of the creepy tale. It is very Lovecraftian in style. The second to last story in the book is the so-called sequel, One for the Road, which is a good story, yet originally disappointing because it did not let us know the outcome of the main characters from the original story. Yet, reading it again, it is good and lets us know The short story is also good at bringing the characters in it to life, in the short pages, and has it's fair share of fear. For those reasons I liked the story.

I am not going to write about each of these stories, mainly because I'm no good at rating each individual story. This book gets 5* from me because of some of the things I mentioned above, and that I really enjoyed reading it. I only plan to mention some of my most and least favorites.

I was going to limit myself to the five I liked best (it was too hard). I liked Graveyard shift (this, and The Mangler are the two movies I have yet to see), The Mangler (I really was surprised how much I liked a story about a stem ironer coming to life! Another cool part of it was a tie-in I noticed to IT, ), I am the Doorway (what a cool story!!! I read this AND listened to it a few times), The Boogyman (again, so incredibly great....and that closet....reminds me of closets in other books, like Cujo, but oh, so good, with one of the best endings in the book! This is another I both read and listened to a few times-I just liked it that much!), The Ledge (this one isn't horror, but it is nerve-racking....and the end is tremendous. Payback is a b*tch! Again, read AND listened to.), Quitters Inc. (One of the best from the entire collection! This one, and The Ledge are both handled very well in the movie Cat's Eye), The Last Wrung on the Ladder (There's a moral to this one: Keep up with your family!!! Well written, yet with a heart-tugging ending).

Finally, The one that hit very close to home for me, The Woman in the Room. It got me, because I can see myself as that woman. I didn't think I could read this one at first. I put it off for days. I can read about all the pain in the world...as long as it's tied to some sort of unrealistic horror. This ad story was only too real. It's not horrific, unless you live with day-to-day chronic--at times unbearable--pain. I was able to read this story, though. I actually had to schedule it into my life. I knew I could deal with it if I had it ready to read after mu afternoon dose of medication (which puts me in the tolerable camp). And I got it read. Mini-triumph for me! It's a sad story, raising a polarizing question. You'll know what that question is is you have read it. Very sad...terrible doctor, that you just hope ends up the same way someday--when you're feeling ugly mad, that is.

The worst story for me was The Lawnmower man, which also had one of the worst movies I've ever seen named after it. Stephen King even sued to have his name removed from it, and really....it had *almost* nothing at all to do with the story at all; in fact it inspired the film Virtuosity, which was released a few years later....and the jump from the short story King wrote to the movie Virtuosity is a long one. I'm surprised Pierce Brosnan was in The Lawnmower Man...it was so ridiculous. King's story wasn't great, but it came nowhere near the absolute horribleness of the movie.

********As for horrible movies based off of these short stories, it would be a great oversight not to mention Maximum Overdrive, based on the story Trucks (which surprised me, actually [the story, that is], in how much I enjoyed it....only King could get me interested in trucks circling a diner!). This movie was so bad, I wasted my rental fee, by turning the idiotic thing off.... YET, this is a most interesting movie to discuss!!!! First off, it was King's first, and only directorial effort, not only did it lose money in the box office, further was lost when King and others were sued. See, there were a few accidents on the set. One was especially ironic AND horrific. During one scene, a radio controlled lawnmower went crazy--Striking a block of wood supporting a camera, which sent chunks of wood flying and cost the director of photography an eye. After the Box-office loss, there went another 18 million. This film was nominated, very deservedly, for a couple of Golden Raspberry Awards. King swore off directing, later admitting to being "coked up" the whole time, not knowing what he was doing. It shows. If you are an AC/DC fan, there is a silver lining....the album Who Made Who was released as the soundtrack to this movie. At least that album had some winners in it, including You Shook Me All Night Long, Hells Bells, and of course the title track.*******

On to the small screen. The story Battleground had an exceptionally well done episode of Nightmares and Dreamscapes based upon it, starring William Hurt...and I swear I recognized one of those tiny soldiers...from somewhere. Very good--worth the watch if you loved the story. One other on television: Sometimes They Come Back, was so-so...not for me, story or movie, though the acting wasn't horrible and I'd say look it up if you did like the story.

There were two stories that weren't bad, but I saw the end from the first page in both of them. Those were the stories Strawberry Spring and The Man who Loved Flowers. Again, not bad at all, I was just hoping I wasn't right and there would be a twist. Still, Strawberry Spring especially is worth the read. Liked the atmosphere even though I saw the end coming...yes, it was still good.

Overall: Great Book. Not to be missed! And interesting side stories everywhere!!!!
Profile Image for Adriana.
83 reviews57 followers
March 30, 2012
Note to self: do not read ANYTHING written by Stephen King after dark. Nothing. Not even if it happens to be comedy, or non-fiction, or freaking poetry. Haven’t you been traumatized enough? You can’t see a clown without pissing yourself! Not that it’s hard to scare me though. I’m the kind of girl that needs to have every light on when she goes downstairs to grab a glass of water, one of those people who knows something’s right behind ready to grab me if I don't reach the second floor as fast as possible and one of these days my mom is going to call and find nothing but shattered glass and nail marks in the wood…

That little show of paranoia should show you that I’m a bit of a masochist when it comes to horror. It should also indicate you that most of the stars given to this short story collection come from King’s talent to scare me shitless. From electronic appliances from hell to the torture of memories, these tales bring to your door a big bag of uncomfortable feelings and triggers for insomnia. Among the ones that impacted me the most are:

- Jerusalem’s Lot:This was the reason I decided to read this book in the first place. It’s a sort of prequel to the events of Salem’s Lot: a man moves into a house that once belonged to his ancestors and progressively discovers an unsettling relation between his family and a ghost town called Jerusalem’s Lot.
The story stands on its own well; it doesn’t require prior knowledge of the novel to enjoy it (although it certainly helps) and the style reminded me a little of Lovecraft and Sheridan Le Fanu. For those of us familiar with Salem’s Lot, it reinforces the idea of the existence of places that attract evil, be it in the form of vampires, serial killers, or even gigantic worms from hell.

- I am the Doorway: An astronaut has to deal with the after effects of an exploration to Venus that goes really, really wrong. This one was creepy as hell, and it plays with the concept of close encounters in a way that I found very original. It made me want to scratch myself all over.

- The Mangler: Here Kings answers the one question we’ve all asked ourselves at one point in our lives: What would happen if a demon possessed a laundry folding machine? What’s that? You don’t believe that anyone could wonder such a thing? They even made a movie!! (Starred by Robert Englund, no less)


But seriously, it’s a good story. Those laundry machines are fucking evil.

- The Boogeyman: This is the reason why I can’t open my closet door during the night. I originally read this story when I was 16 years old, living through my first winter in the house of my host parents, and it scared me so bad I considered the possibility of going upstairs and begging (at that point) virtual strangers to let me sleep with them. Here, let me give you an idea of what I looked like:


In case you’re wondering, this little gem tells the story of a single psychotherapy session with a man who’s convinced that the boogeyman has killed his three children, and is now trying to get him.

- Grey Matter: Have you ever thought about the worst thing that could happen from eating rotten food? The result could turn you into a cross between description and description , so please check the expiration date of everything you eat.

- Sometimes They Come Back:I knew I was going to like this one right from the title. When ghost from the past force a high school teacher to come to terms with some memories buried deep within, he has to employ some drastic measures to preserve what little remains of his sanity. And it also has a movie coming up sometime next year!!

- Strawberry Spring:A serial killer haunts a college campus during the strawberry spring. I saw the ending coming from a mile away, but it was still a pretty good story and I really recommend it.

- The Lawnmower Man: All I can tell you about this story without spoiling it is that you’ll want to get off your lazy ass and take care of your own lawn. This story was weird and wonderful and made me very weary of the man that is in charge of the lawn in my neighbor’s house.

- Quitters, Inc.: “Quitters” is a story that will hold a special appeal to smokers. The proposed method is unorthodox to say the least, and quite chilling, but if that doesn’t cure you then nothing will.

- Children of the Corn:I know this story spawned around seven movies that I don’t plan to see. It’s about a couple on the brink of a painful divorce that gets lost in the middle of nowhere… well, to say it better, in the middle of the Kingdom ruled by “He Who Walks Behind the Rows”. The disturbing factor of “Children of the Corn” is high, probably because it reminded me of kids like this little dude: Mexican Preacher. Little preachers always give me the chills.

- The Last Rung on the Ladder: The following contains spoilers, you’ve been warned:

- One for the Road:
The second reason for picking up this collection is right here. It attempts to give a sort of continuation to the events of Salem’s Lot, but all I could think while reading it was .
I’d like to think the best though, and it is in its own right a good vampire story, so I’m recommending it. And tonight I’m sleeping with my parents, just in case.

- The Woman in the Room: The central theme of this story is terrifying, but not for the reasons you think. If a loved one is suffering from a terminal illness that has taken away the most basic aspects of his dignity, do you let the disease run its course or do you do something about it? I don’t think that SK is trying to pass judgment on either answer here but, for what it’s worth, I think it’s at least important to ask the question. (oh, and the story is also very good, so read it please :) )

In conclusion: please do yourself a favor and read this book. You’re bound to find at least one story that tickles your fancy.
Profile Image for Santy.
77 reviews73 followers
January 19, 2021
"Lo que espera debajo de mi cama para pillarme el tobillo no existe. Lo sé. Y también sé que si tengo la precaución de conservar el pie bajo las sábanas nunca podrá pillarme el tobillo..."

Primera colección de relatos de Stephen King, y esto se siente como un clásico. Ya desde ese prefacio entre el humor y la reflexión captó mi atención, así que ¿realmente es necesario aclarar que todo el resto me gustó un poco mucho? Como libro en sí, su concepto me encanta. Historias que se basan en aquellos miedos infundados, a elementos que sabemos que no existen, pero de igual manera nos mantenemos cautos.

La novela incluye , nada más y nada menos, que VEINTE CUENTOS, por lo que es lógico que el primer concepto que se me venga a la cabeza es variedad. Obviamente se establecen diferencias entre cada relato que van desarrollando preferencias: algunos son brillantes y releibles, y otros son olvidables y evitables. Sorprendente, la mayoría de los relatos me parecieron sólidos e interesantes. Cada uno es muy diferente a otro, y trata diferentes miedos cotidianos: desde los más fantasiosos e irreales (como Soy la Puerta y Camiones) hasta los más reales (como La Mujer de la Habitación y Basta S.A.).

Otra cosa que me gustó fueron los finales. Estaban muy bien realizados, en su mayoría, ingeniosos, concretos, abiertos. El hombre que amaba las flores, campo de batalla, el coco, soy la puerta, etc, son algunos ejemplos.

Literalmente, después de todas estas historias, le tengo miedo a cualquier cosa, es decir, ¿hay algo realmente que no de miedo? Procuraré alejarme de los armarios… ratas… vehículos… mansiones… pueblos…. maizales… juguetes… nieblas… alienígenas… máquinas… cervezas… jardineros… escaleras y… bueno, creo que ya se entendió, necesito terapia (...) Aunque ahora que lo pienso, también hay un cuento sobre los tratamientos y sus métodos oscuros...

A continuación, mi ranking de las historias de mejor a peor, y su calificación aproximada de 1 a 5 estrellas:


1. Soy la puerta (5)
2. El coco (5)
3. Los chicos del maíz (5)
4. Basta, S.A. (5)


5. La cornisa (4.5)
6. Sé lo que necesitas (4.5)
7. El hombre que amaba las flores (4.5)
8. Campo de Batalla (4.5)
9. El último turno (4)
10. Camiones (4)
11. La primavera de fresa (4)
12. La trituradora (4)
13. El último peldaño de la escalera (4)

Tienen sus puntos fuertes

14. A veces vuelven (3.5)
15. Los misterios del gusano (3)
16. Un trago de despedida (3)
17. La mujer de la habitación (3)
18. Materia Gris (3)

No me convencieron

19. Marejada Nocturna (2)
20. El hombre de la cortadora de cesped (1.5)
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