Cemetery Dance Limited Edition AGE Night Shift By Stephen King is a deserving fine press production of the author’s first collection of short stories, and there are two added bonus shorts included that were not published by the Doubleday edition!
The short stories are all extraordinary and many are wholly groundbreaking for what horror could evolve to be.
Better put, Sai King’s stories hit on so many different levels and are so impactful that many traditional views of literary prowess were thrown out of the window screaming.
Most of these stories were originally published as stand-alone pieces in men’s magazines.
One exception is the very first story Stephen King got paid for, “The Glass Floor,” that was originally published in the Autumn 1967 issue of Startling Mystery Stories.
That and the introduction in the Bonus section of CD’s Night Shift, alone, is worth the price of admission.
Cemetery Dance Night Shift SPOILERS ahead*
To hear the writer talk about his experience getting rejections and receiving that first check is just remarkable.
This review will touch on two of the short stories held within and give an in-depth look at the small press production of the book itself, the limited deluxe Artist Gift Edition of Night Shift, masterfully produced by Cemetery Dance Publications.
And we will look at two of the weirdest and most fun shorts!
Enter “The Lawnmower Man.”
Easily as strange and hilarious and horrific a tale as can be constructed on ancient mythic gods and modern civilization’s obsession with keeping the home’s grass meticulously tended, “The Lawnmower Man” offers mystery, suspense, humor, and an otherworldly sense of dreaming while awake.
How or why someone decided to make a movie using the title alone and throwing out the insanity of the nude grass gobbling antagonist that makes the story is beyond all rational thought, but it happened.
This story proved that like Lovecraft and Poe, King could touch on ancient gods of yore, or wholly make up his own mythology in the modern world, and the charm of it all comes down to the characters caught within.
To date, I can think of no other story remotely like “The Lawnmower Man” – one of the highest compliments I give.
The next work is another favorite of mine that was touched on by TFF before in the One Of Us review, here: “I Am The Doorway.”
Another innovative tale is spawned circa the Space Race to the moon and beyond.
It merges science-fiction and the macabre in a painfully realistic manner.
Why does realism come to mind?
Space seems to be a lifeless void and a quiet vacuum, but the reaches outside the earth’s atmosphere are the truest unknown.
The astronaut here recalls little of his voyage to Venus that might note any apparent cause for his current murderous predicament.
But it is the only explanation.
Unlike so many sci-fi voyages and tales, Stephen King attaches the things beyond human understanding.
What could be more terrifying than intelligent entities, that manifest themselves like alien spores, a disease, or a parasite, in the form of eyes that continue to sprout from the searing, itching fingers of their space traveling host.
We cannot send life into space, but that does not mean that rabid rabies-like pathogens, or non-carbon-based life forms cannot live there, cannot hunt there for a way onto the earth to feed.
The astronaut is their doorway to the earth, and as far-fetched as that terrifying premise may seem, its sheer plausibility is solidified in that we cannot for sure say that the Eyes outside Venus’ atmosphere are an impossibility.
Truth be told, I would have loved to hear more about the astronaut in space in the story, but what King leaves to the imagination has me thinking about this one as I reread it again and again, shivering and itching between my thumb and forefinger.
All of the varying dark and spectacular shorts – from “Jerusalem’s Lot” to “Children of the Corn” to “Weeds” (the last bonus story in the volume) – are worth rereading and enjoying alongside the stunning artwork of Chris Odgers in CD’s Night Shift AGE.
For the $95 price-point CD’s Night Shift AGE gets an 11/10 score.
Limited to just 3000 books, each of the short stories feature well thought out and deeply impactful original art from Chris Odgers, and they stand out in the oversized deluxe design of 7 X 10 inches.
The faux leather brown of the book and the matching slipcase make the green and gold foil stamping really pop, as does the offset two color interior printing, and the thick, quality paper.
There are many bonus materials deservingly given to this book, a piece of literary history, including:
- a foreword by Stephen King
- an introduction by John D. MacDonald
- a brand new afterword by Stewart O’Nan
- two bonus stories (“The Glass Floor” and “Weeds”) that have never appeared in any edition anywhere in the world
And as CD’s Night Shift Artist Gift Edition is meant to highlight the tales with the paired art, the black and white illustrations are fine art that perfectly encompass the respective works being emanated to strong and stark imagery.
The Forgotten Fiction Grade: YEA (read it!)
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“Cemetery Dance Limited Edition AGE NIGHT SHIFT By Stephen King” was written by R.J. Huneke