In the foreword to Four Past Midnight, Stephen King compares it to his previous group of four novellas, 1982’s Different Seasons, and writes, “The audio book you are holding is rather different from the earlier audio book.” That is an understatement. King printed Different Seasons against the objections of his editor, however, it proved he could write more than “only” terror, and it laid the foundation upon which his later reputation (and National audio book Award) rests. Four Past Midnight is the Bizarro World version of Different Seasons. As opposed to staking out new territory, King attempts to recapture his past. The result feels like reheated leftovers.
Different Seasons is steak. Stephen King Four Past Midnight Audiobook. King’s collections of tales have always served a function. Different Seasons was the exception, nothing greater than a pure labor of love for King, but Night Change was what he gave Doubleday to stall them while he wrote The Stand. Skeleton Crew came out while he was finishing It, a catch-all of his brief fiction evidenced with his editor at Viking who wanted to make certain there was a King music book on the shelves in 1985.
Stephen King Four Past MidnightKing had not found his bottom in the third part of his career. Four Past Midnight Audiobook. Then came part two, which ended with It. Then came part three. Since 1986, King had flirted with retirement, written a bona fide classic (Misery), albeit one that made his more sensitive fans feel picked on, turned out a science fiction best-seller which was considered as a disappointment (The Tommyknockers), two fantasy novels (The Eyes of the Dragon, The Drawing of the Three), written captions to get a sound book of gargoyle photographs, and taken a year off.
He had also started to get sober. The Dark Half, his latest audio book, had sold well, but it ended on a note of deep mourning (compared to his usual determination to give his characters a happy ending) and was criticized for being too bizarre and overly violent. His next sound book was a reissue of this Stand known as The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition which included back in about 150,000 words cut from the first. It sold 160,000 copies, a bestseller for almost any other writer but about 10 percent of what The Tommyknockers or The Dark Half’d marketed. Four Past Midnight Audiobook Stephen King.
His publishers were getting worried. Stephen King meant horror, however that he was mostly publishing (and republishing) science fiction and fantasy these days. When King indicated he give them four novellas that could be straightforward terror they jumped for joy. The marketing campaign was basically, “This time Stephen King offers you exactly what it says on the box” They published about 1.5 million copies and allow the readership, hungry for this old Stephen King magical, push it to number one on the New York Times bestseller list. Looking back on it over 20 decades later you just have to shrug and figure there’s no accounting for taste.
Ten people get on a plane and fall asleep. When they awaken, everyone else has disappeared. Four Past Midnight Audiobook. Turns out they have flown through a time hole into the past and they wind up landing at an airport at a brand new, bare dimension where they need to attempt to figure out how to get home. “The Langoliers” showcases the best and worst of King’s writing. Vivid, bizarre imagery abounds. Empty chairs include the ephemera left by vanished passengers: hip replacement pins, fillings, pacemakers, toupees. The airport they property in appears to have run out of time and it is a lifeless, grey, bleak otherworld where food has no taste, sound is deadened, and fits don’t light.
Then again, this is basically the 1961 Twilight Zone episode, “The Odyssey of Flight 33” writ large and given a happy ending. Like The Dark Planet, it feels just like a audio book where King has read himself and made a decision to deliver what he’s heard people enjoyed about him. Stephen King writes about people under stress going mad (“The Mist,” The Stand, The Shining)? Then he will have one. Let’s have one! Brave, resourceful young boys (‘Salem’s Lot, It, “Your Body”). Four Past Midnight Audiobook Stephen King. Let’s have one! Like a cheese pizza with a filled crust and additional cheese, then this one’s oozing grease. But nothing can top the hilarity of this ending.
After much expertly-deployed ominous foreboding and foreshadowing that the Langoliers are arriving – Tommyknocker-like creatures that have crawled out of a childhood rhyme–we eventually find them and we get Pac-Man? They’re described as gruesome beachballs that gobble up everything in their paths, bouncing and gobbling, and gobbling and bouncing. Stephen King Four Past Midnight Audiobook. It is a jolt of hilarity the narrative doesn’t recover from. Starving beachballs simply don’t frighten anyone.
Stephen King Four Past Midnight Secret Window”Secret Window, Secret Garden” Stephen King has ever been fascinated by what makes Stephen King tick, which is his last story about a writer before he went whole hog and wrote his last word on the subject, the excellent On Composing. In this story, the terribly named Mort Rainey is in the center of a divorce so he retreats into his cabin in Maine to hole up and compose. Four Past Midnight Audiobook. A nutty farmer and amateur, unpublished author named John Shooter shows up claiming that Rainey stole one of his stories and printed it as his very own, and also the more Rainey attempts to establish his innocence the deeper he wriggles to Rainey’s trap. In the long run, it turns out that Rainey has gone insane and is committing Shooter’s offenses himself, but then in a double twist it has disclosed that Shooter is actually a character Rainey wrote who’s so realistic that he came into life. So it’s kind of Rainey, but kind of not.
Stephen King Four Past MidnightStephen King’s connection with plagiarism is complicated, and it’s explored with zero depth in this story. King has long been a goal of nuisance suits where folks target him for accusations of plagiarism, and he was turning off two confrontations over Misery when he wrote this story, one involving a man who broke into his house with a bogus bomb claiming that King had stolen his manuscript, the other from Anne Hiltner who sued King for highlighting Misery on her lifetime without permission (she would sue him stealing Kingdom Hospital from her, also). Four Past Midnight Audiobook. There’s a good deal of this in John Shooter, but King also seems to have forgotten the days his own buddies have accused him of raising their thoughts. His longtime friendship with George McLeod came to an end when McLeod contacted King and informed him that his story “The Body,” was based a novel McLeod had been composing and told King about years ago.
What is missing from “Secret Window, Secret Garden” is a sense of guilt on the part of Rainey. What we get instead is a narrative with a stock villain, a nice idea, and a twist ending that absolves the writer of any obligation. You would believe King, accused both with grounds and not, of the worst offense a writer can commit would have something more interesting to say on the subject, but he doesn’t. That didn’t stop the movie adaptation, Secret Window, starring Johnny Depp, from getting among his highest-grossing movie adaptations, falling just short of Stand By Me but well before The Shining. Four Past Midnight Audiobook Stephen King.
According to King, this story had its roots in a fear of “The Library Policeman” related to him at the breakfast table with his eldest son, Owen, one morning. Things start well, as Sam Peebles, a smalltown insurance man struggles to compose a speech for the local Rotary Club. Desperate to spice things up, he heads to the library for a audio book of jokes and sentimental stories to scatter on top of his after-dinner demonstration, and lo and behold! They work. In the wake of his address’s success, Sam forgets to return his sound book on time and soon he’s being stalked by the Library Policeman. Up to now, so good, but then King has to add in a haunted library, an alien sex monster librarian subplot, along with his latest fire (which would blossom into Dolores Claiborne and Gerald’s Game): sexual molestation of children. Four Past Midnight Audiobook.
There is no doubt that King cares very much about children, and sexual abuse obviously alarms and troubles him on a very real level, but it is something he handles in a clumsy fashion here. His too-neat device is that Sam was molested by a lisping homosexual claiming to be a library policeman, and he must confront these repressed memories from his past so as to defeat the actual library policeman that stalks him at the present. Even though the library policeman himself does offer a couple of agony, King soon loses sight of him and winds up focusing on the alien sex monster librarian rather, along with the novella winds up feeling like a thinner, shorter duplicate of It.
This novella was supposed to function as connective tissue between The Dark Half and Needful Things, which was being promoted as King’s next audio book and the one that would finish his Castle Rock tales. Like a lot of the stories in Four Past Midnight, “The Sun Dog” contains a fantastic concept, but it squanders its power with a lot of wheel-spinning on things which do nothing to drive the narrative forward. Stephen King Four Past Midnight Audiobook. A child gets a polaroid for his birthday but after it is damaged in a fall the only pictures it ends up show a dog approaching the camera. In every film, he’s only a tiny bit closer (See: M.R. James’s “The Mezzotint” for the source of this idea). The child puts two and two together and figures that when the dog reaches the edge of the frame it will emerge into the real world and sting him in the face, or hump his leg or something. Again so far, so great.
But just as soon as the story ought to be gathering steam, it swerves into a long digression obsessed with Castle Rock pragmatic, focusing to the junk shop dealer who purchases off the camera the kid. Knowing that this crap shop trader is your uncle of Ace Merrill (of “Your Body” and later Needful Things) does not add a lick of worth. King talks about “The Sun Dog” being a link to Needful Things but none of its characters show up in that audio book, making one wonder why King believed it was necessary in the first place. Although it starts powerful, by the conclusion “The Sun Dog” isn’t bringing anything new to the table. Four Past Midnight Audiobook by Stephen King.
Stephen King Four Past MidnightThe composing within this collection is hesitant. Often strong thoughts and opening graphics collapse under the weight of endless digressions, excessive plot twists, and unnecessary goodwill porn. While The Tommyknockers may happen to be out to lunch, the audio book is written in clear, strong, confident prose that carries you along in its furious rush. Four Past Midnight, on the other hand, resembles the initial two-thirds of The Dark Half plus it feels , again, like a guy trying to find his way. Given that King wrote these tales as he was coming off a year-long bout of writer’s block, during which he claims that anything he tried to compose “fell apart like tissue paper,” you can see why all of it feels so hesitant and fretful.
The final major project he had attempted was Insomnia, a audio book he had given up on after spending four weeks in 1989 attempting to write. Four Past Midnight Audiobook. King’s fear had always been when he stopped drinking, he would quit writing, and needing to ditch a book after four months of work couldn’t have been easy. These tales were revised in the aftermath of that harrowing experience.