Four Past Midnight – Stephen King

A collection of stories that all have a twist

King has published a few of these collections.Different SeasonsHearts In AtlantisFull Dark No Stars, even the Bachman Books – each features pieces that, for many writers, would be published as individual books. Four Past Midnight is no exception: four stories that cover many different facets of King’s writing, but all intrinsically tied to this stage of King’s career.

Jules’ Review: Suspense, Action

Rating: 4/5
4 Past Midnight is a collection of short stories by Stephen King.

The Langoliers

This is the story of the survivors of a mysterious phenomenon which had made 90% of an airplane (crew + passengers) disappear because they happened to be awake. The suvivors find themselves on a colourless alternate universe where everything is lifeless.
Not even the matches would light up. The apathy is caused by a set of creatures who feed on the life essence itself and find madness super sweet.
They decide to fly back through the same worm hole they came in but a few problem arise when the fuel won’t flow, then when it might not light, then the creatures are coming for them and at last, they can’t fall asleep again.
It’s a very good story and it got me thinking once I finished it … because it just happened that I was on an airplane.

It’s a great idea, with the execution both grounded and terrifying. Several of our natural fears are preyed upon – flying, being alone, creatures with scary teeth – but there’s a great second level of terror being worked into the story: the fear of losing (or wasting) time. (The concepts of wasting time and losing control are almost the primary antagonists in this story.)

The secret window

Yes, this 60 page novel has been turned into a 2h boring movie with Johnny Depp.
The difference between the book and the novel is the fact that the endings are completely different! In the movie, Johnny, after going mad (and having a split personality caused by the writer’s block), kills his wife and burries her under some corn in his back yard. In the book, the wife is saved by the sherriff who come to see him as he was acting odd. The writer dies and the wife sees that all of this was caused by an old hat her ex bought which caused the personality split. It’s a good novel, too bad they made that horrid movie from it..

The Sun Dog

sundogA Castle Rock-set prelude of sorts to the grotesquely underrated Needful Things (coming up in a few weeks’ time,), it features a camera that, whenever it takes a photograph, shows an unsettling black dog (another of King’s recurring themes, especially relevant in his post-addiction times) The dog comes closer and closer to the camera with each new picture, until it eventually breaks free of the camera itself. Again, it’smaterial that King had played with before, and would do again – the possession (no pun intended) that gives the user more than they ever wanted, exposing them to a terror that they push themselves to explore through their own curiosity – but it’s done succinctly here, and with real control. The inevitability is what pushes the story along – we want to see the dog escape, as horrifying as we know that will be.

Four Past Midnight - 03 The Library Policeman title page [illustration by Lars Hokanson]

The Library Policeman

This is the third gripping tale in the four-part audio series from Stephen King’s best-selling book Four Past Midnight.
Set in Junction City, Iowa, The Library Policeman is the story of Sam Peebles, a middle-aged businessman who happens to have some overdue books. It seems a minor offense—but not to Junction City’s malevolent monster of a librarian. What follows is spine-tingling suspense as only Stephen King can deliver it.

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