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From The Desk Of

Book Review: Nightmares And Dreamscapes

Updated: Apr 4, 2022

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“For me, the imagination which so often kept me awake and in terror as a child has seen me through some terrible bouts of stark raving reality as an adult.”

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As most anthologies go, there are hits and misses in this collection. I'll give a little blurb on each, but know that overall I rate Nightmares & Dreamscapes as second best collection (that I've read), just after Night Shift. Also, while most of these stories aren't exactly horror, most barely even borderline frightening, that's because this collection was presented as more of a 'fairy tale' approach. Stories of the strange and unusual instead of outright terror. Though there are spome spooky ones too.

Home Delivery -- When presented with the idea of George Romero's 'of the living dead' universe; Night Of, Dawn Of, Day Of, King wrote his take on what that world would be like in a small Maine town.

Rainy Season -- A peculiar short story involving another small town and a strange event that occurs every few years. Borderline silly, but balanced with the body horror that happens at the end.

My Pretty Pony -- A more literary story, some might find this one boring. Well written and sentimental.

Sorry, Right Number -- One of my favorite stories in this collection, though written as a teleplay for the Tales From The Darkside TV show. I loved the ending twist.

The Ten O'Clock People -- While a great seed of an idea, and leads to a power-packed ending, I felt it dragged on a little long.

Crouch End -- An ode to Lovecraft, and feels really like one. Perfect for Lovecraft fans.

The House on Maple Street -- A good 'kids vs authority' story, though I got a little confused by the house itself.

The Fifth Quarter -- A crime caper that feels more like a Richard Bachman story. Well done in that flavor.

The Doctor's Case -- A Sherlock Holmes story through and through. Well-written, but if you're not a Holmes fan it might not be for you.

Umney's Last Case -- A cool meta-style fiction story. The approach to it makes it perhaps my favorite story in the collection.

Head Down -- Not a story per say, more of an essay on little league baseball in the Maine area. Quaint, with some real heart to it.

Brooklyn August -- A poem, also based on baseball.

Dolan's Cadillac -- Another Bachman-feeling tale. A good caper story with a great villain punishment sequence. I see there is a movie adaptation which I've never seen so I'd better check that out.

The End Of The Whole Mess -- A great technique was used in this story to convey the failing of the narrator's cognizance. Actually quite sad.

Suffer The Little Children -- Classic King, like it could have been in the ?Nightshift collection. I won't spoil anything, but I do wonder if most teachers feel this way sometimes...

The Night Flier -- Another favorite of this collection, I was impressed with the final scene and some... mechanics... King came up with regarding Vampires.

Popsy -- Another great one, which I have to agree with King in his end notes; that perhaps this and Night Flier are tied together...

It Grows On You -- Elements of this story reminded me of the Rose Red tv miniseries, and wonder if they are indeed connected?

Chattery Teeth -- Wasn't a fan of this one personally. Just a little too silly for my liking.

Dedication -- Another literary short, but an eyebrow raiser of one too.

The Moving Finger-- Another Nightshift style story which doesn't explain the why of things happening, just a strange and macabre tale.

Sneakers -- A neat ghost story, with a great way of describing the actual ghost. Totally knew the ending payoff too early though.

You Know They Got A Hell Of A Band -- Starts out unnerving, gets kind of whimsical, ends as a slightly weak horror tale. This feels like something that deserved to be on The Twilight Zone, and am conflicted on whether I really liked it or not...

So yes, overall this is a great collection which I recommend, even if only for a handful of them.

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