Rage, Night Shift, The Stand

Rage (1977)

This is the first novel that King published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. The plot involves a school shooting and because of its connection to several real-life incidents, it has been allowed to lapse out of print. It is a decent book, not a great one. In spite of a protagonist that isn’t terribly engaging, the tension in the book is palpable. However, the connection to real world school shootings makes it an uncomfortable read.

Night Shift (1978)

King’s first collection or short stories and it is fantastic. There are really no weak points here, King is a master of short fiction and it shows. Readers will recognize the plots from the half dozen film adaptations and handful of tv movies produced from this source material. There are some standout stories here. “Children of the Corn” is delightfully creepy and frightening while “Quitters Inc” is decidely nasty. This is a quick, fun read and a great book to keep on your night stand or in your back pocket to read in 10-15 minute bursts.

The Stand (1978)

After the brisk fun of Night Shift comes King’s post apocalyptic masterpiece. I had read the original version of this one before, so this time around I went with the complete edition, which clocks in at just under 1200 pages. The book is everything you want it to be and more. King created a wonderful mashup of horror, thriller, fantasy, and dystopian fiction and the result is one of the best books I have ever read. In spite of its length, the novel moves at a great pace. There are a couple lf pretty good TV adaptations of this one, but neither are as rich an experience as King’s prose. This is also a timely read, given the current pandemic, seeing as how King’s novel kicks off with a government-created super-virus being accidentally unleashed upon the public and spreading like wildfire, permanently altering life as we know it.

Seriously, look at the size of this thing. Worth every page

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