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Skeleton Crew is a collection of short fiction by American writer Stephen King, published by Putnam in June 1985. A limited edition of a thousand copies was published by Scream/Press in October 1985 (ISBN 978-0910489126), illustrated by J. K. Potter, containing an additional short story, "The Revelations of 'Becka Paulson", which had originally appeared in Rolling Stone magazine (July 19 – August 2, 1984), and was later incorporated into King's 1987 novel The Tommyknockers. The original title of this book was Night Moves.
|Genre||Horror, science fiction, poetry, short story|
|June 21, 1985|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
|Preceded by||Different Seasons|
|Followed by||Four Past Midnight|
|#||Title||Originally published in|
|1||The Mist||Dark Forces (1980)|
|2||"Here There Be Tygers"||Spring 1968 issue of Ubris|
|3||"The Monkey"||November 1980 issue of Gallery|
|4||"Cain Rose Up"||Spring 1968 issue of Ubris|
|5||"Mrs. Todd's Shortcut"||May 1984 issue of Redbook|
|6||"The Jaunt"||June 1981 issue of The Twilight Zone Magazine|
|7||"The Wedding Gig"||December 1980 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine|
|8||"Paranoid: A Chant"||Previously unpublished|
|9||"The Raft"||November 1982 issue of Gallery|
|10||"Word Processor of the Gods"||January 1983 issue of Playboy|
|11||"The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands"||Shadows 4 (1981)|
|12||"Beachworld"||Fall 1984 issue of Weird Tales|
|13||"The Reaper's Image"||Spring 1969 issue of Startling Mystery Stories|
|15||"For Owen"||Previously unpublished|
|16||"Survivor Type"||Terrors (1982)|
|17||"Uncle Otto's Truck"||October 1983 issue of Yankee|
|18||"Morning Deliveries (Milkman #1)"||Previously unpublished|
|19||"Big Wheels: A Tale of the Laundry Game (Milkman #2)"||New Terrors (1980)|
|20||"Gramma"||Spring 1984 issue of Weirdbook|
|21||The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet||June 1984 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction|
|22||"The Reach"||November 1981 issue of Yankee|
The collection features 22 works, which includes eighteen short stories, two novellas (The Mist and The Ballad of The Flexible Bullet), and two poems ("Paranoid: A Chant" and "For Owen"). In addition to the introduction, in which King directly addresses his readers in his signature conversational style, Skeleton Crew features an epilogue of sorts entitled "Notes" wherein King discusses the origins of several stories in the collection. The stories are collected from science-fiction and horror anthologies (Dark Forces, Shadows, Terrors, and New Terrors), genre magazine publications (Twilight Zone, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Startling Mystery Stories, Weirdbook and Fantasy and Science Fiction), and popular magazines (Redbook, Gallery, Yankee and Playboy).
Although published in 1985, the stories collected in Skeleton Crew span seventeen years from "The Reaper's Image" (King's second professional sale when he was just eighteen years old) to The Ballad of The Flexible Bullet which was completed in 1983.
The collection also features some more personal works, including "For Owen", the poem he wrote for his son, and "Gramma" a horrific tale from an eleven-year-old boy's perspective that seems to recall King's own horrors living with his invalid grandmother.
Of one of the stories in the collection, King says: "As far as short stories are concerned, I like the grisly ones the best. However the story "Survivor Type" goes a little bit too far, even for me."
Film and televisionEdit
"Gramma" was adapted into an episode of the 1985 iteration of The Twilight Zone, written by Harlan Ellison. In 2014, it was loosely adapted into a film called Mercy, starring Chandler Riggs and Dylan McDermott.
The Mist was adapted into the film The Mist (2007 The Weinstein Company, written and directed by Frank Darabont), which was released on November 21, 2007; it was later adapted as a 2017 Spike TV series.
"Survivor Type" was adapted as an animated segment for a special episode of the 2019 Creepshow TV series.
Dollar Baby adaptationsEdit
The following stories have been adapted as Dollar Baby short films:
- Here There Be Tygers (1988), by Guy Maddin
- Cain Rose Up (1989), by David C. Spillers
- Paranoid (2000), by Jay Holben
- Here There Be Tygers (2003), by James Cochrane
- The Jaunt (2007), by Todd Gorman
- Survivor Type (2011), by Chris Ethridge and Jayson Palmer
- The Reaper's Image (2013) by Sammy Bates
- The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands (2022) by Nicholas Bromund
Other media adaptationsEdit
The Mist was adapted as a 90-minute full-cast audio recording in 1986 in "3-D Sound" from ZBS Productions, released by Simon & Schuster, Inc.
In 1985, the American Library Association issued a series of posters that featured celebrities encouraging Americans to patronize their local libraries. In one of these, Michael J. Fox holds a copy of Skeleton Crew while a skeletal hand rests on his shoulder.
- Review by Faren Miller (1985) in Locus, #291 April 1985
- Review by Michael R. Collings (1985) in Fantasy Review, June 1985
- Review by Doc Kennedy (1985) in Rod Serling's The Twilight Zone Magazine, July-August 1985
- Review by Don D'Ammassa (1985) in Science Fiction Chronicle, #73 October 1985
- Review by Algis Budrys (1985) in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November 1985
- Review by David Pringle (1985) in Interzone, #13 Autumn 1985
- Review by Roz Kaveney (1985) in Foundation, #34 Autumn 1985
- Review by Darrell Schweitzer (1986) in Science Fiction Review, Spring 1986
- Review by Andy Sawyer (1986) in Paperback Inferno, #63
- "The Locus Index to Science Fiction: 1984-1998". Locus. Retrieved 2014-10-11.
This special edition has one extra story, “Becka Paulson,” not found in the trade edition wowza.
- King, Stephen, "Introduction" to Skeleton Crew, Putnam Press 1985 pp. 13
- Spignesi, Stephen J. The Essential Stephen King, New Page Books, 2001, pp. 232
- Grant, Charles L. "Interview with Stephen King " Monsterland Magazine, May/June, 1985.
- "Dylan McDermott Joins Stephen King's 'Mercy'". The Hollywood Reporter. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 2021-10-14.
- "Stephen King's Teleportation Tale "The Jaunt" Will Be A Feature Film". io9.com. Retrieved 2021-10-14.
- Gaiman, Neil (August 1985). "Fantasy Media". Imagine (review). TSR Hobbies (UK), Ltd. (29): 45.
- Beahm, George, The Stephen King Companion, Andrews and McNeel, 1989, pp. 271
- Collings, Michael R., The Annotated Guide to Stephen King, Starmount Press, 1986, pp. 25
- "Title: Skeleton Crew". isfdb.org.