A penny saved is ridiculous.

A penny saved is ridiculous.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Don't touch that car!

Kindle Singles are short pieces of writing, including many fiction and non-fiction offerings, that are available for a song on your Kindle. I recently picked up Stephen King's new short story, Mile 81, in this new, popular format. What did I think of it? Glad you asked.

For a longish short story, Mile 81 manages to cram in some decent characterizations (even among the several victims who are only briefly seen) and many scares. The scares, not so incidentally, are generated by a pretty well-crafted piece of imagination: essentially a monster from space who (at least currently) is shaped like a mud-spattered station wagon that's sitting alongside an abandoned rest stop like a Venus Fly Trap, just waiting for curiosity seekers to check it out.

The story reminded me of those small gems that the author would routinely include in his periodic telephone book-sized anthologies of decades past: an efficient little story that gets the job done quickly but not by cheaping out on the richness or drama or that all-important creepiness. In this case, you'll never look at a moldy old station wagon again.

A cool bonus (and possibly the main reason this Kindle Single exists in the first place) is also included with one's purchase: a meaty little promotional excerpt from 11/22/63, Mr. King's novel about the JFK assassination and the time traveler who tries to prevent it. As rich and imaginative as Mr. King's short stories can be, it's his long, ambitious novels where those qualities will most often really shine. And from this excerpt, 11/22/63 doesn't look to be an exception to the rule.

So, if you're at all a fan of Stephen King, you can do worse than spend a few bucks for an early look at both a polished little short story (that will undoubtedly be a highlight of a future King anthology) and a late-career novel that just might be- judging by the subtle, intriguing, and nuanced excerpt seen here- right up there with The Stand in its creativity and memorability. Heck, I'll be more than satisfied if 11/22/63 is as least as good as Mr. King's decent, perfectly satisfying Under the Dome of a couple of years past.

Anyway, Mile 81 is fun, cheap, includes a meaty glimpse of a possibly great novel, and is only a click away on your Kindle. What's stopping you?

Mile 81 is available on your Kindle for $2.99.

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