Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Mist

As promised, I am making a seperate blog entry for The Mist by Stephen King. This is the first "short story" in his Skeleton Crew collection. It runs about 150 pages or so, making it a novella by definition. And of course there has been a movie adaptation recently released thus sparking a seperate publication of this story in a stand-alone book. I haven't seen the movie but may rent it now that I've read the story.

This story was among the best I've read by Stephen King (and I've read a lot of his work). Many people have said that Mr King occasionally runs long in his descriptions and can sometimes use a good editor. I don't always agree because I just love the way he writes so much that it's hard to get too much of it. Nevertheless, this story is quite the opposite. Some might think that it is simply an extended version of a short story, that he has done it again by padding the actual story to make it longer. I think just the opposite is the is a very tightly woven story, if anything, a novel condensed down to the bare essentials. The characterization is superb; we get to know and understand the main characters in a remarkably short time. The actual time line of the story takes place over just a few days and we live every moment with them. The structure is a rather basic "bunch of people trapped in a single location with the horror element just waiting for them to come out." But the way in which he builds the horror is pure vintage King. Never too many details to bring the horror into focus and thus diminish the impact but rather crafting the unknown in such a way that the character's imaginations fill in the details and increase the horror that much further. I've never been one to love blatent splatter horror at the expense of true suspenseful horror and King does not disappoint. In fact there is no big discovery of just what the horror in the mist really is nor where it came from. Although we do get just enough of the "tentacle", "leathery wings", "horrid smell" stuff to put us in the proper mood.

My only disappointment comes with the brief sex scene in the middle. At the beginning of the story the protagonist is deeply in love with his wife and yet only 36 hours later, not knowing if she is still alive or not, he and another trapped victim have sexual intercourse. I think the point was that they both "needed something" at that point and the future looked bleak but I found it a bit of a stretch.

All in all a great start to this short story collection and I can't wait to get to more between my other novel reading. And speaking of that I've begun Dave Duncan's fantasy novel Paragon Lost, another in his "King's Blades" series.

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Top 10 Books in no particular order (Well Known Authors)

  • "The Stand" by Stephen King
  • "Kane and Able" by Jeffrey Archer
  • "The Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara
  • "The Dark Elf Trilogy" by RA Salvatore
  • "Name of the Wind" by Patrick Rothfuss
  • "River God" by Wilbur Smith
  • "Mortalis" by RA Salvatore
  • "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card
  • "Centennial" by James A Michener
  • "The Repairman Jack" series by F. Paul Wilson

Top Books/ Series in no particular order (Lesser Known Authors)

  • "The Sculpter" by Gregory Funaro
  • "Power Down" by Ben Coes
  • "Revolution at Sea Saga" by James L. Nelson
  • "Black Rain" by Graham Brown
  • "Top Producer" by Norb Vonnegut
  • "Prairie" by Anna Lee Waldo
  • "The Wild Blue" by W. Boyne & S Thompson
  • "Unsolicited" series by Julie Kaewert
  • "Freedom" by William Safire