Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King

Stephen King loves to talk about writing and his influences, and THE BAZAAR OF BAD DREAMS is no exception. The audiobook is narrated by a number of excellent performers, including Will Patton, Holter Graham, Dylan Baker, Edward Herrmann, and others. But Stephen King reading and commenting on his stories is most omnipresent. He loves audiobooks, and loves to narrate them too. Does that make him a narcissist? Naw. Some of the stories are old or unpublished prior to this reading, including the first, about a station wagon that is actually a UFO or alien being that eats people who get close to it. King almost never tries to explain his often ridiculous plots, and the fact that these work as stories is testament to his power at sentence construction. With the proper spin and mood control, one can make the reader accept or believe just about anything…at least for the duration of the story. Many of the stories here you will not know about, and others you will. It’s a big collection. After so many books, one wonders how King finds the time to write so much. He was nearly killed by a driver once, and has threatened to retire, but never has. My question for him is not “where do you get your ideas?” I already know the answer to that. Finding the time to collate and actually turn them into stories or novels is the bigger problem. (It’s a lot of work.) My question is, “When do you go on vacation, and where?” Imagine being on a cruise ship and you look over, and there sits Stephen King reading a James Patterson novel in a deck chair. (Like maybe Patterson’s latest, MURDER HOUSE, narrated by the always great Jay Snyder, about a murder-haunted beachfront estate in the Hamptons with a sordid history and a hidden mystery.) Not sure that scenario would ever happen for two reasons, the second being Patterson outsells King even though he’s not as good a writer, and King is probably more likely to be reading a literary novel anyway. It’s all a matter of taste and style. Not everything in King’s new collection is as good as Patterson, but there are stories that are far better, too. The range is vast, as is King’s imagination. A few are funny/silly, some are truly scary, and some are literature. Take the bad with the good, so to speak. Add commentary, and an introduction also read by King, and you have a primer for anyone new to writing, or for those horror fans who eat up every word with a side order of Lovecraft.  

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