Title: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams
Author: Stephen King
Genre: Short Stories, Adult Fiction, Horror, Suspense, Thriller
The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is the most recent collection of Stephen King’s short stories and poems. This collection of twenty entries is quite a large, chunky book, almost reaching five-hundred pages.
The thing I like most about King’s collections of short stories and novellas are that they really showcase how diverse an author King really is. Sure, we all know he can terrify us if he wants to (check out It and The Shining if you need proof), but he is also capable of so much more. Before each entry in this collection, King includes a short narrative that provides insight to the writing or conceiving of the story or even just a peek into the life of a famous horror writer.
As one of King’s “Constant Readers,” I know that King is capable of uplifting and moving stories such as the novella on which the movie The Shawshank Redemption is based. It amazes me that people do not know that King writes more than just what we consider to be a scary story.
In The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, we get a little of everything.
Mile 81 – 3.5/5 stars
“Mile 81” is a creepy and haunting tale of a monster who preys on the goodness in people. I enjoyed this story well enough, including the process of getting the readers to Mile 81 in the first place. I wasn’t thrilled with the cheesy solution or the ending of the story, but the rest of the story made up for it.
Premium Harmony – 3/5 stars
This one was alright. It told the story of a married couple that obviously has their fair share of couple’s spats. Anything else I could say would spoil the story. It was okay.
Batman and Robin Have an Altercation – 4/5 stars
I enjoyed this one quite a bit. It tells the story of a father and son, the father losing his grip on reality and his son nostalgic for the good ol’ days.
The Dune – 4/5 stars
A man sees harrowing predictions written in a sand dune. This is one of those stories where as you’re reading, you think, “King…I know what you’re doing…”
But you don’t have a clue.
Bad Little Kid – 4/5 stars
While I expected more from this, I was ultimately pleased with this story as a whole. This is about an evil kid who is evil for the sake of being evil.
A Death – 5/5 stars
This story was an unexpected love of mine and if I hadn’t known that King wrote it, I would have guessed. It is about a man on trial to be hanged for a crime for which he claims his innocence.
The Bone Church – 1/5 stars
This is a poem. Yep, a poem. I didn’t like it. After I finished reading, I couldn’t tell you about anything that I had just read. The parts that do stick out to me a little tell me that I may have enjoyed this as a fleshed out story rather than a poem.
Morality – 3/5 stars
This story was another that was okay. A dying reverend wants to commit a sin by proxy and makes an offer that a woman cannot refuse. This one got a little twisted, but overall left me feeling, “meh.”
Afterlife – 4/5 stars
I very much enjoyed this story about a man who reaches the end of his life and finds out that he can either move on or relive his life again. Which would you choose?
Ur – 4/5 stars
I read this one first when it was released as a promotion for the Amazon Kindle. I really liked that this story was included with an note from King about how he didn’t want to advertise for this product, but after being asked, this story just flowed from him. It is about a man who receives a pink Kindle that appears to predict the future.
Herman Wouk is Still Alive – 3/5 stars
I honestly don’t remember much about this one even though I read it less than twenty-four hours ago. I was able to predict most of the story and then the story just stopped. To me, this story didn’t have a real ending.
Under the Weather – 4/5 stars
A man takes care of the house and business while his wife is sick in bed. This one is creepy in a perfectly King kind of way. This was a favorite of the collection.
Blockade Billy – 5/5 stars
This is another that I have previously read. I read this as an e-book on my mother’s e-reader ages ago. I enjoyed it both times I read it. It’s baseball with a creepy twist.
Mister Yummy – 5/5 stars
This story was…cute, which is a weird description for a Stephen King story. Set in a retirement home, the residents cope with their lives coming to an end.
Tommy – 1/5 stars
This was another poem. While it was written in a way I was able to comprehend, I don’t understand why it had to be in a poetic format. Honestly, I don’t “get” poetry. I’m sure poetry fans would have different views on King’s poetry.
The Little Green God of Agony – 3/5 stars
This story was very King-like in writing style and plot development. Paired along with his story about surviving being hit by a car, this story really puts you as much into King’s experiences with pain as you can get. Too bad I wasn’t happy with the ending.
That Bus is Another World – 5/5 stars
A man is in a taxi cab and running very late to an important meeting. When he witnesses a crime in the bus sitting next to his taxi in traffic, he must decide what is more important: his meeting or taking action.
Obits – 5/5 stars
This story is the story I was looking forward to reading most in this collection and I was not let down. A reporter for a trashy news site discovers that he can kill people by writing them an obituary. I enjoyed this from beginning to end, leaving me wanting nothing more.
Drunken Fireworks – 5/5 stars
This story involved a Hatfields vs. McCoys type of rivalry. A family of rednecks compete with a family of mobsters in a battle of the best fireworks. I liked the style in which this story was told, from one side of the feud. I especially appreciated how this story was brought to a close.
Summer Thunder – 5/5 stars
This was the perfect ending to the collection, a story about the end of the world and a man’s final days in a nuclear fallout.
Total Score: 76.5/100, avg. 3.82/5
I’m giving this collection four stars. I enjoyed reading it as a whole, even though there were entries that I could have done without. Stephen King has done it again and I can’t wait to read his next release. I am, as you know, one of his Constant Readers.
P.S. If anyone in the UK/Europe wants to send me this BEAUTIFUL edition, I’d much appreciate it. 😉
It’s so pretty!
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