The Bazaar of Bad Dreams by Stephen King is a book of short stories. None of the stories are truly scary, in the way Stephen King can leave you too frightened to get up in the night to go to the toilet at night without putting the light on, in the way of It, Cujo or Christine (at least they were for me), but the stories are still good enough to leave you thinking about the plot or twist or even some of the characters after you finish reading.
I prefer Stephen King’s longer short stories or books, and think some of these stories could have been stretched out a bit more.
The following stories were my favourites.
Morality is a story of temptation. If a dying man who offered you a fortune to carry out an act of violence on his behalf, would you do it? How much money would be enough, if you were to do it? I’m not comfortable thinking too deeply about these questions, because that implies that I might do something terrible for money.
The Dune is the story of an elderly judge, who visits a magical place where he is sees the names of people about to die. I can understand why visiting this place to see the names could become addictive.
I particularly loved Batman and Robin have an Altercation, which is a story about the relationship between a man and his elderly father, who has dementia. The affection these characters have for each other comes through despite their difficulties.
Summer Thunder is the last story in the collection, and is an end of the world story reminiscent of On the Beach by Neville Shute. I hate thinking the end of the world could come in this way during our time, but it is possible, and that makes Summer Thunder the story that will stick in my head.
I can recommend The Bazaar of Bad Dreams to Stephen King fans and to readers who don’t enjoy horror, or the supernatural.