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A re read after than twenty years Will it stand up Short answer Absolutely The Langoliers fits snugly in the New Weird category, pretty much entirely esoteric SF with gremlin types, alternate dimenions and or time travel on a plane There are no snakes here The characters are a blast and we ve got a firm horror vibe going on here where we are kept guessing as to who among all these random sleepers will make it to the end Thoroughly enjoyable novella, but not my favorite It s probably best that it was relegated to a TV movie My favorite is a toss up between Secret Window, Secret Garden, and The Library Police.First, though, Secret Window, Secret Garden, which only slightly resembles the movie with Johnny Depp, or at least or less This one was pretty fantastic for the writing insights, the plagiarism scare, the descent into paranoia, and the general ultimate break from reality What s better than a writer being driven completely crazy by a story and or a man with a definite grudge over a story No spoilers, but so many wonderful twists happen, couldn t help but fall in love all over again.And then there s The Library Police, which is a wonderful twist on early childhood nightmares, a diatribe on fear, Red Licorice, and a cool twist on vampirism It was definitely probably the most effective and convoluted of all the novellas in this book, I think, and also the most scarily fantastic, diving into some of the most weird and eerie escapades, even outdoing Secret Window, Secret Garden on several levels, but maybe not as much for the MC The last novella, The Sun Dog, is classic SK not only for setting dropping and character dropping, but also in the twist he s known for turning everyday objects into a nightmare of continuing and evolving proportions, driving all those involved into a deeper and deeper despair and fear Does SK have a think about mad dogs Even Cujo was referenced here But the dog in the photograph has got to be even better in this novella It s absolutely elusive and menacing, giving up on immediate danger and far off menace for a much paranormal and evil menace that gave me, at least, a pervasive and ongoing fear It also happened to be my least favorite of the bunch, but it was still effective The middle two were plainly amazing, though. This isn t my favourite King collection but it does have some spectacular stories despite that I love the first three stories and I think they each stand out for very different reasons They re all very unique stories but I think The Library Policeman has to be my favourite out of the four, mainly because I actually used to have nightmares about getting arrested for not returning my books when I was a kid so it provides a bit of a nostalgic scare for me The Sun Dog is definitely the story I enjoyed the least, I thought it was so predictable and unnecessarily long I just wanted King to get to the damn point with that one and it s why I can t give this collection 5 stars, it drove me nuts The overall theme of this collection, whether Stephen King realizes it or not, is that lazy little sin we call sloth If you re a no account layabout, the Langoliers will come and eat you up If you re too lazy to write your own material, John Shooter might come calling Can t be bother to take back that library book Here comes the Library Policeman to suck you dry And if you wanna make a fortune not by working but by profiting off other people s misfortune, the Sun dog might make you a Scooby snack.I do have a personal favorite here, along with a personal story for each of these short novels, but I must ask your pardon, because both shall remain a mystery Two of these books bring back memories of people whom I d rather not name I will be obtuse when mentioning them, perhaps not telling you even as much as their sex Let the rumor mill run The LangoliersFive stars Craig Toomy is one of King s classically flawed characters All too often King writes about over the top baddies of both the supernatural and real world variety Where Toomy deviates from King s normal build is that you actually feel bad for him He was a little boy raised by a tyrannical father Then his over protective mother stepped in If there s a recipe to build a sociopath, I don t know a better one The tale itself is fantastic and fantastical, with a clear theme Seize the day, or something is liable to run away with it Secret Window, Secret Garden I have a very special memory attached to the movie version of this one That memory involves activities in a movie theater I still haven t seen the end of the film adaptation, and I don t plan to I d much rather remember what happened in that theater The book itself is a kind of fraternal twin of The Dark Half To tell you why would be to spoil the book, and I will not Suffice it to say that Secret Window, Secret Garden will always be an important story to me and one of King s twistier tales Five balls of gas for this one, too The Library Policeman This is probably my favorite horror novella from King It s his creepiest by far, and I believe that the creature herein shares several traits with Derry s infamous dancing clown The mystery element is handled well, and the denouement is one of King s best Five easy stars The Sun Dog I was fine until I got to this story I cannot read or speak about it without crying The story itself is not a tear jerker far from it , it s the emotional baggage I carry, events in my life that just happened to go down while I was reading this book for the first time The Sun Dog is an extended prologue to Needful Things, and if you want to travel down a long and windy road, I suggest starting with The Dark Half, moving to The Sun Dog, and then finally coming to a stop at the end of Needful Things One helluva journey, if you ask meI miss you, my friend I miss you so fucking much When these moments pass, I m good for a while But when that wound is reopened, I bleed And, goddamn it, does it hurtsAll the stars In summation To the average reader, this collection might not seem as good as Different Seasons, but to me, it means so much than the words on the page And, while I sit here remembering and swiping at my eyes, I m returned to a time best forgotten I will always fondly remember the back row of a cinema in Montgomery, Alabama, but I will also forever wish I could have a certain friend back So there s some pleasure with the pain, and not one without the other Final Judgment Who stole the Kleenex 3.5 StarsI m not sure Uncle Stevie knows the definition of a short story The four stories in these collection are like novellas or short novels As with all story collections the ratings vary The Langoliers 2 StarsThe first story was my least favorite The premise is great several passengers on airplane awaken to find everyone else on board has vanished That sounded great but after the first 50 pages the story just dragged and the story was overly long It just wasn t a fun read Secret Window, Secret Garden 4 stars This was my favorite story out of the collection even if it was a little predictable A writer dealing with a divorce and writers block opens his door to a man claiming the writer plagiarized his story.The Library Policeman 3.5 StarsA man pays an unforgettable and terrifying visit to his local library.So close to being my favorite but just overly long The Sun Dog 3 StarsA boy receives a very strange camera for his 15 the birthday.The only true horror story in this collection but like a lot of Stephen King works the ending was a little Meh Four Past Midnight was a good collection but not one of his greats Its still a great addition to your King collection. This book is consisted of 4 short stories app 200 pages each and as all of King s works, the super natural has a very important role in them.1 The first one is called The Langoliers and is about a group of people who wake up in an deserted plane Your in an unknown world where you don t know the rules Fascinating I give it 4 5 2 The second one is called Secret Window, Secret Garden I found this story somehow boring It s about a writer which someone accuses him of stealing his story I d give it 2 5 3 The third story is called The Library Policeman This was a story I couldn t put down The writing was magnificent As the years go by, I find it harder to find books which you can t stop reading It s about a guy who borrows two books from the town library but fails to return them on time and the librarian sends the library police to him I give this one 5 5 4 The last but not least, is a story called The Sun Dog I can clearly say, this is by far the scariest story I ve read King has put in some very detailed paragraphs which gives you the goosebumps all over you This is a story which I m ashamed to say, gave me a nightmare It s about a camera that takes pictures of some unknown place 5 5 is my opinion At the end, my average grade is 4 5 for this book This is a great book The Library Policeman scared the shit out of me Thinking about that nasty man with the lisp sends a shiver down my spine |EBOOK ♹ Four Past Midnight ⚖ At Midnight Comes The Point Of Balance Of Danger The Instang Of Utter Stillness When Between Two Beats Of The Heart, An Alternative Reality Can Slip Through, Like A Blade Between The Ribs, And Swithc You Into A New And Terrifying WorldFour Past Midnight 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 Back Cover Actual rating 3.5 starsA collection of four short stories The LangoliersSecret Window, Secret GardenThe Library PolicemanThe Sun DogThis collection doesn t quite stack up to the King quartet Different Seasons, but it is still classic Stephen King. Four Past Midnight is a collection containing the following short stories 1 The Langoliers 233 pages 2 Secret Window, Secret Garden 146 pages 3 The Library Policeman 195 pages 4 The Sun Dog 149 pages Generally speaking, Stephen King begins with amazing concepts that are soon dragged down by poor execution To make it fun, look for the following the next time you read a King novel and see how many you can find FLAT, IMPARTIAL TONE Whether he is describing the main character s morning routine or the final climactic moment where he or she is on the verge of death, battling a fierce supernatural creature, King just takes it all down like a courtroom stenographer He sprinkles in some flashy similes, occasional pop culture references and, rarely, a few words of truly good writing, but these bits and pieces stand out against a bland background It is easy to picture him coming up with one such gem suddenly in the shower, at the only moment when he isn t actually trying, and racing across the house, naked and soapy, to jot it down before he can forget it again REDUNDANCY After rinsing and drying off, King lovingly coddles his favourite inventions He uses and reuses words, phrases, references, and concepts among his books and there s nothing wrong with that, per se, but he will also use the same word or phrase multiple times in a paragraph or even in a sentence SELF REFERENCE It might not happen in every story, but King tends to reference his own works a fair bit You can decide for yourself whether this is actually witty or just egotistical UNREALISTIC DIALOGUE Spoken ideas are not constructed the same way as ideas that are written down unless you re a character in a King novel King s character dialogue is or less just like the surrounding narration, which makes his characters sound scripted STORY ABOUT A WRITER King s books are almost always about authors If the main character is not an author, another significant character will be UNECESSARY MONSTERS King loves to invent monsters for his stories, but they aren t usually necessary It is much thrilling to imagine familiar creatures and objects acting strangely or violently than it is to watch monsters, which one would naturally expect to behave that way It is also disruptive because King s monsters tend to be complex, sparsely described, and in a constant state of metamorphosis, making it extremely difficult to form a mental image of them KNOWLEDGE WITH NO LOGICAL SOURCE Rather than take the time to construct a path for the characters to obtain knowledge in a reasonable way, King relies almost completely on intuition and gut feelings, psychic connections between people, the influence of supernatural objects or beings, and tremendous leaps in logic DEUS EX MACHINA When it looks like all the character s problems are about to be over, but you re only halfway through the book s length, hold on to your pants a supernatural force is about to seize control and knock the story back on track On the other side of the coin, if it all looks hopeless for the characters, then someone is probably about to win the battle by spontaneously obtaining knowledge, as mentioned before RAPID AGING Being a character in a story falling under the genre of thriller or horror is understandably stressful, but King s characters take it especially hard Watch for characters whose hair turns white or grey overnight or who otherwise display outward signs of having had several years taken off of their lives during the course of the story due to trauma WARNING THE REST OF THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS The following reviews contain examples of the above listed, spoilers, and a fair bit of bashing.THE LANGOLIERS The writer in The Langoliers is Jenkins and he is also the main character gaining knowledge with no logical source Jenkins explains just about every aspect of the characters situation with theories based on his experience in writing mystery novels Fact and fiction collide every time he opens his mouth but, for the most part, the other characters buy right into it The only thing maddening than their incredible suspension of disbelief is how Jenkins always manages to be right, even though most of his ideas seem to come from nowhere and can hardly be justified by the I ve written a lot of stories excuse Dinah also knows too much, coming to a variety of her own conclusions using intuition or by spontaneously gaining knowledge She can also hear the langoliers long before anyone else can, can look through other people s eyes, and appears as an apparition because, in this story universe, being blind apparently gives you superpowers.Overall, it is difficult to take The Langoliers seriously The dialogue isn t bad, for a King novel, but the character relationships, the plotline, and the actual premise of the story are heavily contrived The story generally lacks substance and contains two especially painful bits The first is that Albert has an imaginary alter ego Ace Kaussner, the fastest Jew west of the Mississippi This could have been cute if the character were a little kid with a vivid imagination, but why is a seventeen year old, college bound individual who is sound of mind and described as being fiercely bright wandering around leaking out so much cheese The second is a bit of stumbling prolongation after successfully passing through the rip in space time, one would expect the characters to find themselves back in the normal world Instead, King forces the suspense to pointlessly continue several pages with the justification that time somehow hasn t caught up with the characters yet It is as if King could tell the story was lacking something and was afraid to end it, but didn t know how to fix the problem.The langoliers, themselves, are King s typical difficult to imagine, vicious without a cause critters Their nature is largely explained by the only character in the story who isn t of sound mind They aren t terribly impressive to read about and the story would probably have been better without them SECRET WINDOW, SECRET GARDEN Secret Window, Secret Garden was easily the best story in this collection Perhaps it was only a fluke, but King managed to compose a story that was thrilling without involving a steaming pile of surreal fantasy and bad logic The writing was very tight Every aspect of the story is explained, though the reader still must suffer a minor touch of deus ex machina just as Mort is about to kill Amy, Evans seems to appear out of nowhere to rescue her His reasons for being there are later explained, but it is still a bit thin, especially when you consider that he made himself known at the last possible second and not before, allowing Mort to do some serious damage This point aside, King ties up all the loose ends quite nicely The main character is still a writer, but the characters aren t bad, the dialogue could be worse, and there is an utter lack of poorly constructed monsters Secret Window, Secret Garden was actually a good story, though King was one upped by the movie version, which had a much improved ending it made sense, it was cleaner, it cut out the dull epilogue, and it was both creepier and memorable THE LIBRARY POLICEMAN Sam is the writer in this story the reason he visits the library in the first place is to check out some books to help him compose a speech Fortunately, the speech is not included in the story, which is dull enough on its own The real meat of it is contained in the forty pages or so that Dave spends explaining everything Even though he was apparently completely sotted the entire time he was interacting with Ardelia and even though his knowledge of what she really was is extremely limited, Dave manages to give a very detailed account of his dealings with her and is absolutely certain of what s going to happen next After Dave is finished pulling correct explanations out of his hat, Sam defeats the monster, relying entirely on intuition His method and its origins are completely outlandish, but the best idea to defeat a monster in a King novel is apparently to just have no idea what you re doing while you re doing it Basically everything surrounding Dave s story and Sam s face off with the monster is filler In addition to being difficult to form a mental image of, the monster turns out to be a pretty big let down, since the creature receives a very great deal of build up for how brief the final battle is and how little it manages to fight back This story probably would have been better if King had invested in the library policeman and the idea that it could be a real being and less in Ardelia These were really creatures of two different stories who somehow got thrown in together to fight over the spotlight.THE SUN DOG The Sun Dog starts off as being downright chilling, but starts to go downhill when the dog in the photographs begins morphing unnecessarily into yet another poorly described monster The dog monster s origins and motivations remain completely unexplored throughout the course of the story and this is no great loss, but the final show down between Kevin and the monster is awkward, at best Rather than having the dog lunge spectacularly out of an image, King dives into a bizarre metaphor for child labor In the process, he melts a camera, kills a man in an indeterminate way, and stretches the size of a photograph far beyond the limits of the reasonable Kevin defeats the monster thanks to a little dose of sourceless knowledge after a series of nightmares, he knows that Pops still has the camera He doesn t have a hunch or want to check to soothe his nerves, he just KNOWS, even though he destroyed the camera, himself After finding that Pops does, indeed, still have the camera in his possession, Kevin knows exactly how to defeat the dog monster with no explanation at all The predictable ending to this story was for Kevin to take a picture of the dog monster to return it to the Polaroid world and then destroy the camera For once, it was a let down to see a story behave unpredictably When Kevin takes the monster s picture, it randomly turns to stone and then falls back through the photograph it was born of, which smolders dramatically away into nothing Father and son share a mushy moment of poor dialogue and then we get a painful epilogue in which a completely unrelated electronic device threatens Kevin, telling him that the dog monster is alive and well and angry Wow. The Langoliers Twilight Zone type scenario, only horrific Not for those with a fear of flying, or you don t have aerophobia, you may well develop it after reading this That,and a perfectly logical fear of toothy existence devouring beasties Secret Window, Secret Garden Having already seen and enjoyed the film adaptation, I wasn t sure what to expect from the original novel I found the story to be intense and claustrophobic, one of those rare tales that stays with you and gets under your skin you ARE poor Mort, slowly but surely losing his marbles as his grip on reality loosens Think I may have preferred the film ending though, that was unusually for Hollywood somewhat darker.The Library Policeman I have a feeling this will be my favourite story in this collection Not so much about the scare potential of libraries and librarians though I can see how both can be quite creepy , and about the deepest childhood fears we all have.That said, the way Ardelia Lortz draws on these fears is BLOODY SCARY And remember kids, renew or return your books in good time, or the Library Policeman just might pay you a visit The Sun Dog Cameras are sort of strange Even when you know the technology behind it, the idea that a moment, a place, a person can be frozen in time is still almost other worldly if you ponder such things for long enough, I guess But what if this wondrous creation turns against you, manipulates you and tries to take on a life of its own And what if the malevolent creature within is a monstrous dog beast A select few residents of a small town find out And I never was much of a dog person , anyway Overall, a great collection My personal favourite was The Library Policeman.