Skeleton Crew is Stephen King’s second collection of short stories following the publication of his first successful short story collection, Night Shift. The collection also includes the King classic short, The Mist, which was later turned into a theatrical audio book featuring what claimed to be “3D sound.”
The Mist itself surrounds a group of people who attempt to escape an incoming mist that carries something evil within its make-up. It’s this story that sets the tone for Skeleton Crew, which reminds one, as do many of King’s tales, of the classic stories that brought the original Twilight Zone television series to life.
The Monkey, which was the inspiration for much of the early artwork that accompanied Skeleton Crew’s covers, is a story that takes those odd items that always gave you the chills and puts a fictional reasoning behind those creeps. In this instance, the item in question is the oft seen, but rarely coveted, monkey with cymbals toy. Each time the monkey clasps his cymbals together, someone is doomed to death. It’s a story that the reader can understand as you’ll find more readers who dislike the eerie collectible than enjoy it.
The Jaunt plays with the idea of time travel and adds an element of horror to the realm of science fiction. The story takes place in a future where the concept of time and inter-planetary travel has been made real. In order to travel millions of miles through space and time, the traveler must go through a tunnel termed a “jaunt.” The only stipulation is that the traveler must be rendered unconscious in order to survive the trip. When a family plans a trip to Mars through the jaunt, one member discovers, much to his one detriment, what truly lies within the jaunt.
It’s the horrific paired with the fantastic that make this collection of classic King tales stand the test of time over twenty years after its initial publication. For a King fan, this collection is a must. For those new to King, they will soon discover through this collection alone what makes King’s work so fascinating.
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