While I see many best story collections threads, I didn't see a particular list of the King's best loved short stories. Now let's list the ten best/ most loved stories by the King according to us. Think it something like a greatest hits album. I would like to confine the list to ten stories, but considering there are more than 100 stories maybe it can be expanded later:
1. The Mist- absolute best story from King bar none. It was my first read King ever and I was instantly hooked. This may be a factor but still I cannot imagine any other horror short that gave me this kind of creeps, including Lovecraft stories.
2. Jaunt- Another score from Skeleton Crew. So little pages so much punched terror and shivers.
3. Strawberry Spring- I know this may sound like an odd selection but the atmospheric terror almost suffocated me when I read it. I probably identified the campus with the college that I was having education then but still shivers go up and down my spine when I think about the foggy nights in the story.
4. Raft- Perfect small-cut horror. Again probably I identified that coast with our summer house resort. Now I live in a metropolitan port and whenever I see an oil slick from a ship's sludge I immediately ask myself what will happen if I touch it.
5. Ten O'clock People- Not pure horror but as effective as one. I remember my eyes grew like saucers when the door of the place wherever these hapless people met was opened with a bang.
6. Crouch End- A Lovecraft storys better than anything Lovecraft wrote. This story made me afraid to walk around suburbians after sunset for a long time and I am not joking.
7. Children of the Corn- An instant classic and hit for me. And how the movie butchered it.
8. Grey Matter- One of the most original stories I have ever read. I am still having nightmares about the boy's times spent with his disgusting father.
9. A Good Marriage- A recent time triumph. Maybe not horrific but it is pure compulsive read with an impleccable pace.
10. Library Policeman- I know this may sound again as an odd pick as it is not a favorite even among King fans but it was in the vein of IT and I had shivers when I read it.
Honorary Mention: Apt's Pupil (which I initially hated but grew to love it later), the Monkey, One for the Road, Suffer the Little Children and Rainy Season.
So it is not a bad list, is it? Note that I tend to love pure horror King and there is no entry from his latest two collections, EE and JAS (I simply hated EE and JAs was a huge improvement over it but there was material scary enough to shake me up and down),
Just off the top of my head, and inn no particular order:
The Last Rung on the Ladder: Not the usual fare, but a very straightforward and compelling drama with a far more recognizable conflict (to most of us) than we might be accustomed to encountering in the King catalogue.
Here There Be Tygers: Not much to this story, but a personal favorite of mine nonetheless. I mean . . . who can't get behind the idea of the cratchety (is that a word?) old teacher/nemesis beging gobbled up by a tiger. This one reminds me of pleasant evenings at my grandmother's knee as she spun the tale of Little Black Sambo (that one had tigers in it, too).
The Man Who Loved Flowers: Anyone who has ever loved someone who didn't love them back (and isn't that just about everyone?) has probably played some version of this story out in their heads, at least in passing. Or is that just me?
Nona: Simply chilling and with a similar draw as the above story, although in this one the hero gets the girl . . . or does he?
I Know What You Need: Sticking with the theme of unrequited lover, with a little juju thrown in for good measure.
Strawberry Spring: Okay . . . okay . . . I'm fixating on the women . . . I know.
Sneakers: Just the image itself -- the sneakers visibile under the stall door -- is enough to sell this one.
Survivor Type: The very idea!
Mrs. Todd's Shortcut: After all, it's what we all secretly want, isn't it?
and, of course . . .
Trucks: Not because it's particularly good (or bad) but because this is the story that points out in embarrassing detail how difficult it actually is even for the best of writers to keep track of what they're doing.
You know, looking at this list, it occurs to me that I probably need to re-read some of the newer shorts.
Everything's Eventual: Dinky Earnshaw and I have a similar sense of humor. I just loved his special ability - I thought it was just so original.
The End of the Whole Mess: It doesn't get much better than this. Writing about something that could (almost) happen makes it all the creepier.
N -'Nuff said
Ten 'O-Clock People
Also, would anyone judge me too harshly if I said that I didn't "get" the Man in the Black Suit and why it's so popular? If anyone wants to share some insight on this story that I may have missed, I'm listening.