Stephen King: The Bazaar of Bad Dreams

When I first picked this book up I had quite high hopes. Stephen King is one of those author’s who always seems to truck out ridiculously good books that everyone reads, all except me! I’ve never read a single King novel (though I did watch most of the first series of Under the Dome on Amazon Prime!) and I’m slightly ashamed to admit that. But, having read this collection of short stories and poems, I’m not all too sure that I should be. *MAY BE CONTROVERSIAL HERE*

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams is a collection of short stories and poems from King’s illustrious career. Some of these works were originally thought up or written down decades ago, others – more recently. Each story/poem has a small page where King explains how his thought processes on each came about and what inspired him to write them. The stories range from science fiction, dystopian, contemporary etc – it shows King’s wide range of writing.

This may be a bit controversial – but I wasn’t all that bothered by this book. Yes, there were some stories that I found really quite interesting such as ‘Mile 81,’ ‘Obits,’ and ‘Summer Thunder.’ Ironically these are all the science fiction/fantasy/dystopian short stories, a genre that I frequently find myself reading. I found that these short stories had a bit more depth to them, the writing was more fluid, and the image that King was trying to paint came across a lot easier than others such as ‘Blockade Billy’ which was about baseball (meh!). I think because of the different genres that were mishmashed into this book, I found it took me a lot longer than I was anticipating to finish the book as I found the stories that I wasn’t completely enamored with dragging on for pages and pages.

That being said, I can understand why King is a highly read author. As mentioned, he brilliantly brings depth and fluidity to his writing and his characters are very three-dimensional, but they didn’t all grip my attention. Last but not least, the collection of stories is described as being ‘thrilling’ and put under the genre of ‘horror fiction’ which I really don’t believe is the case. Some may have been ‘thrilling,’ in particular ‘Mile 81,’ but at no point did I find myself in horror at a piece of work.


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