Selected and Introduced by Stephen King
Hodder eBook, out now
The six winners of the short story competition tied in to King’s Bazaar of Bad Dreams…
As Stephen King notes in his introduction to this sextet of scary tales, agreeing to judge a writing competition (or any form of open door entry) can be a mixed blessing. You may find something amazing; more likely, unfortunately, you’ll find a lot of dross. However, for this competition tied in to King’s most recent set of short stories (which is coming out in paperback shortly), there were some quite careful gatekeepers before the final stories reached King himself… and it’s clear that the standard blew him away.
Now you can judge for yourself. Each of these stories had to be inspired by King’s line, “There’s something to be said for a shorter, more intense experience. It can be invigorating, sometimes even shocking, like a waltz with a stranger you will never see again, or a kiss in the dark, or a beautiful curio for sale at a street bazaar.” And you can tell that they have been, even if they’re very different in scope.
I wouldn’t dream of spoiling the contents but each is a self-contained tale that may induce a shudder down the spine, or conjure up an image that will stay with you for some time (the winning story, Elodie Harper’s Wild Swimming, certainly did). There’s a darkness in each that bodes well for the writers’ future works…
Verdict: The stories had to be original, gripping and chilling. All six of these are! 9/10