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First line :
I am often given the big smiling handshake at parties (which I avoid attending whenever possible) by someone who then, with an air of gleeful conspiracy, wil say, 'You know, I've always wanted to write.'

Notes :
Two of the stories had themes that were later expanded upon by King into full-fledged novels. Jerusalem's Lot became the basis (in a very loose sense) for the novel 'Salem's Lot. Night Surf became the basis for The Stand.

Night Shift (1978) is the first collection of short stories by Stephen King. Many of King's most famous short stories were included in this collection.

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  • Written : 1976, 1977, 1978
  • Night Shift consists of 20 short stories...

  • Night Shift includes stories that were the inspiration for the films: Cat's Eye, Children of the Corn and Graveyard Shift...
  • Synopsis :
    Stephen King has brought together nineteen of his most unsettline short pieces--bizarre tales of dark doing and unthinkable acts from the twilight regions where horror and madness take on errie, unearthly forms...where noises in the walls and shadows by the bed are always signs of something dreadful on the prowl. The settings are familiar and unsuspected--a high school, a factory, a truck stop, a laundry, a field of Nebraska corn. But in Stephen King's world any place can serve as devil's ground...if the time of night is propitious, and the forces of darkness are strong, and the victims are caught just slightly off their guard...

    Night Shift was one of first King books I ever owned, and the first "regular" book I ever read at least part of (though Cycle of the Werewolf and Creepshow came first.) I remeber being shaken by the twist ending of "The Man Who Loved Flowers," realizing that there was a darker world out there in what we see every day. I read my first Night Shift stories when I was twelve, at the cusp of reading as an adult. It wasn't a bad place to start.
    This is King's shortest short fiction collection. His later such collections -- Skeleton Crew and Nightmares & Dreamscapes) were far bigger, containing larger stories and more complex interlockings. While I consider Skeleton Crew King's best collection (mainly due to the interweaving of several stories and the absolute stellar quality of its good stories), that book had some clunkers that brought the overall work down (see "Beachworld.") Night Shift remains King's only collection in which every story is a winner on some level. There's not a bad tale in the bunch.
    Those seeking an introduction to early King, there really is no better place to start. At this stage of his career, he was focusing on updating old horror ideas to modern settings; most of his novels' themes pre-1985 can be seen in miniature in this collection (especially the direct precursor to The Stand, "Night Surf." And don't overlook the pre- and sequal to 'Salem's Lot, "Jerusalem's Lot" and "One for the Road.") New and more complex themes King will explore later; for now, he's keeping things simple and at this point, that's all that matters.


    Doubleday 1978.

    "First Edition" on copyright page
    Date code "S52" on page 336

    12,000 First print.
    Dust Jacket price: $8.95


    New English Library 1979.
    409 pages.
    ISBN 0 450 04268 5.
    On Copyright Page: 30

    Copyright © Stephen King, 1976, 1977, 1978.

    Fiction: Horror
    Illustration: Paul Davies



    Introduction, by John D. MacDonald


    Jerusalem's Lot

    Graveyard Shift

    Night Surf

    I Am the Doorway

    The Mangler

    The Boogeyman

    Grey Matter



    Sometimes They Come Back

    Strawberry Spring

    The Ledge

    The Lawnmower Man

    Quitters, Inc.

    I Know What You Need

    Children of the Corn

    The Last Rung on the Ladder

    The Man Who Loved Flowers

    One for the Road

    The Woman in the Room


    A collection of terrifying stories that reveal a shudderingly detailed map of the dark places that lie behind our waking, rational world.
    These are tales to invade and paralyse the mind as the safe light of day is infiltrated by the creeping, peopled shadows of night. As you read, the clutching fingers of terror brush lightly across the nape of the neck, reach round from behind to clutch and lock themselves, white-knuckled, around the throat.
    This is the horror of ordinary people and everyday objects that become strangely altered; a world where nothing is ever quite what it seems, where the familiar and friendly lure and deceive. A world where madness and blind panic become the only reality.


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