Skeleton Crew

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Although Stephen King’s tales are the stuff of which myth is made, they are not written for an assumed posterity. They are contemporary, with frequent references to products, events, and current attitudes toward life and social events. Indeed, this fascination with the contemporary marks the King’s fiction and separates it from the traditional tale of horror. His stories are seldom of exotic places and remote times. His style is not that of Edgar Allan Poe or H.P. Lovecraft but of a local newspaper columnist. In fact, King is not a stylist but a storyteller, a storyteller who does not underline his art.

The unassuming art of Stephen King is, however, both various and quite effective in this collection, as are his preoccupations, which include the threat of danger to children, the horror that lurks in the ordinary person or object, and the fear and distrust of authority. King’s protagonists, who often become heroes, are seldom extraordinary people, but they are people who must face extraordinary threats.

In “The Mist,” an inexplicable mist drifts across the land bringing creatures from another dimension. Trapped in a supermarket, David Drayton and his son Billy must quickly adjust to this new world and learn to survive or try to survive. In “Here There Be Tygers,” a mysterious tiger appears in a first-grade washroom to dispose of a disbelieving teacher.

In “The Monkey,” a windup toy monkey that claps tiny cymbals...

(The entire section is 419 words.)