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First line :
From An Introductory Note:
Well, look at this - we're all here.

Notes :
The Langoliers
- _none_

Secret Window, Secret Garden
- _none_

The Library Policeman
- _none_

The Sun Dog
- written as a prologue to the final Castle Rock Novel, Needful Things, you may find many familiar people, and animals, with which to share this story.

Places :
The Langoliers
- Bangor

Secret Window, Secret Garden
- Tashmore Lake

The Library Policeman
- Junction City, Iowa

The Sun Dog
- Castle Rock, Maine

Quotes :
_coming soon_
previous title: the stand, complete & undcut | needful things :next title
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  • Written : July, 1989 in Bangor, Maine.
  • Four Past Midtnight is a collection of four novellas.

  • Synopsis :
    The Langoliers - a group of travelers on a red-eye flight from California to Maine wake up to discover that most of their fellow passengers have vanished mid-flight, along with the pilots and flight attendants.
    Secret Window, Secret Garden - a man accuses author Mort Rainey of stealing one of his story ideas. Rainey, who is going through an ugly divorce, attempts to prove to his accuser that his own story was published first, but all evidence to support his argument begins to disappear, along with the people who might confirm his case.
    The Library Policeman - when a man forgets to return some books he borrowed from the library while writing a speech, and later accidentally destroys them, the phantom librarian who lent him the books sends the library policemen to terrorize him.
    The Sun Dog - a young boy receives a Polaroid camera for his birthday. There's something wrong with his gift, though. Every picture features a menacing dog that approaches the foreground in each subsequent photograph.

    The Langoliers
    Perhaps one of King's best stories ever, this one is almost straight science fiction, one of King's only forays into the genre. An impressive display of King's strongest pointsm, this tale incorporates his knack for characterization, his ability to weave the utterly unbelievable with the real, and is able to conjure such darkness in the most familiar of settings. This novella begins on an airplane, American Pride Flight 29. Among its passangers are Brian Engle, a pilot whose ex-wife recently died; Nick Hopewell, a "soldier" for the British government; Dinah Bellman, a blind girl on her way to a hopeful operation; and Craig Toomy, a dangerous psychopath intent on getting to Boston at any cost. Something interferes with his plans. The passangers of Flight 29 come to realize that, while they slept, the airplane seems to have travelled back in time. And the past is not pleasant: they arrive in a static world, devoid of any inhabitants save for themselves. Eventually, they learn that time gets "used up", i.e. each past moment is frozen in time, unable to be relived. But that's not the worst. For Dinah and the others soon begin to hear strange crunching sounds just over the hills...
    King uses the theme of pressure here to wonderful lengths. It's interesting when you read "The Langoliers" and think about how pressure puts the survivors of Flight 29 in grave danger, and how the release of same is the only way to save them. "The Langoliers" is a wonderful novella, one of his best tales ever. Recalling stories such as "The Mist," "The Raft," and the novel Rage, this will stand among King's finest achievements.

    Secret Window, Secret Garden
    Secret Window, Secret Garden is like having some devil's food cake right before bed, knowing it will give you nightmares but relishing the sweet taste. A story about guilt, redemption, and, yes, pressure, this is one of those you don't dare to forget about.
    It concerns a man named Morton Rainey, a mildly successful writer who has had a not-so-successful marriage. One day, while at his summer home, he awakens to a knock at the door. Outside, a man with a Souther drawl and the unlikely name or John Shooter tells Mort: "You stole my story."
    And so it begins. Shooter claims Rainey stole a story of his, an original draft of a tale later known as "Sowing Season." Shooter's draft, of course, is called "Secret Window, Secret Garden." Rainey vehemantly denies the charge, and goes about trying to find proof of his innocence. The dog of it is, all shreds of proof are being lost: stolen, burned, or otherwise. Rainey begins to fear for his sanity, and his life, and by the outcome of this layered tale of suspense, we discover he has reason for both. Adapting a paranoid writing style, this novella shows King at the top of his form. The completion of the "Writing Triumverate" begun with Miseryand continuing through The Dark Half this dark exploration into the world of writing and writers makes a worthy (and may I say, demented) addition to King's work.

    The Library Policeman
    A strange tale, and one of King's most disturbing, "The Library Policeman" begins ordinarily enough. Sam Peebles needs to take some books out of the library. Then, when he is done using them, he goes to bring them back, realizing too late that they're missing. There comes a rap upon the door. It's a Library Policeman, one of the more scary childhood boogeymen, come to take full payment for the books (and it ain't money.)
    What could have been a ridiculous premise turns into something dark and scary. You see, The Policeman is simply a minion of the librarian, Ardelia Lurtz, a creature not of this earth (but apparently related to It of the novel It, who can reach into a person's mind and actualize their worst memory. Peebles is forced to relive his worst childhood trauma, in a scene later echoed in the twin volumes Gerald’s Game and Dolores Claiborne. Haunting and freakish, this one will make sure you return your library books.

    The Sun Dog
    "The Sun Dog" is the least of the Four Past Midnight novellas, which is strange, because it seems to have all the classic King elements in it: the young hero, both nature and machine against man, and that old King fave, Castle Rock. What's wrong with it? It's too darn long!
    It starts out as the story of Kevin Delevan, who, for his 15th birthday, recieved a Sun: an automatic camera. But something is not right with the camera. It seems to be taking pictures of only one thing: a snarling, growling dog. And the dog seems to be getting closer.
    A good concept, but it just doesn't play out. Michael Collings mentions in Beahm's Stephen King Companion (revised) that King goes several pages into the act of buying film. Good detail is one thing; too much of a good thing turns sour. Still, there are some effective scenery peices, and the last scene in the novella is quite scary, so though not a total washout, is a weak ending to a fine collection.

    Stephen King Book Covers FIRST EDITION

    Viking 1990.

    "First Published in 1990 by Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin books USA Inc" on copyright page.
    "10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1" on copyright page.

    1.5 million first print.
    Dust Jacket price: $22.95

    First state has SK in gold on front cover. Second state lacks gold.


    New English Library.

    930 pages.
    ISBN 0 450 54288 2.
    "New English Library Early Export Edition 1991" on copyright page.

    Copyright © Stephen King, 1990.
    Fiction: Horror.


    This is for Joe, another white-knockle

    This is for Chuck Verrill.

    This is for the staff and patrons of the
    Pasadena Public Library.

    This is in memory of
    John D. MacDonald.
    I miss you, old friend
    - and you were right
    about the tigers.


    An Introductory Note

    The Langoliers

    Secret Window, Secret Garden

    The Library Policeman

    The Sun Dog


    From the author of THE DARK HALF and
    NEEDFUL THINGS - the world's greatest
    writer of horror fiction.


    At midtnight comes the point of balance.
    Of danger. The instant of utter stillness
    when between two beats of the heart, an
    alternative reality can slip through, like a
    blade between the ribs, and switch you into
    a new and terrifying world.

    Four Past Midtnight: four heart-stopping
    accounts of that moment when the familiar
    world fractures beyond sense, the fragments
    spinning away from the desperate,
    clutching reach of sanity...


    Efter Midnat (Denmark)
    Nachts + Langoliers (Germany)
    De engelieren (The Langoliers) (The Netherlands)
    Het geheime raam (Secret Window, Secret Garden) (The Netherlands)
    De man met het litteken (The Library Policeman)
    Spookfoto's (The Sun Dog)
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