Bobbi Anderson and the other good folks of Haven, Maine, have sold their souls to reap the rewards of the most deadly evil this side of Hell.
©1988 Stephen King (P)2010 Penguin
"Yet another mammoth horror novel from King, this dark tale depicts a small town's fatal encounter with creatures from outer space. Events start with Roberta Anderson, a writer of Old West novels, unearthing a flying saucer on her remote wooded property....While this is not one of King's more original novels, it does have plenty of blood and guts, macabre humor, and a well-wrought realization of the New England countryside." (Library Journal)
I'm just a dumb troglodyte who like reading. Me feel good after I read book.
In 1987, at the height of Stephen King's cocaine and alcohol addiction, he wrote the Tommyknockers (TK). A quick unscientific online search reveals that many King fans rank the “TK” toward the very bottom of his 62 published works. In 1999 in an editorial for the Onion, King reported that he had almost no recollection of this novel about an alien spacecraft that slowly takes over the minds and bodies of the citizenry of Haven, Maine. Although “TK” cannot compare to The Stand, Salem’s Lot, or The Dome, it's surprisingly entertaining.
The TK has a strong start which allows for the development of the main characters: a writer, Bobbie Anderson, and poet, Jim Gardner. These recluses have the unique ability to tolerate each other. One day when running in the woods, Bobbie trips over a piece of metal protruding slightly from the ground. This seemingly inconsequential event starts off a series of changes that lead us through the “TK”. I love that King is willing and unafraid to uncover the world's greatest discovery in such a happenstance manner. It reminds me of King's time travel concept in “11-22-63”, where the time travel vehicle is a dirty cleaning closet at a local dinner. Only Stephen King can get away with this level of ludicrousness. With any other author most readers would throw down the book saying, “You expect me to buy this malarkey”.
If you can make the leap and accept the ridiculous manner in which the spacecraft is discovered, you can lock in and go on an exciting ride. It's amazing that King writes so clearly and fluidly for a man at the height of addiction. His writing is always clear and he vividly brings horrific scenes to the reader's consciousness. Overall, there are many King books better than the “TK”. A much better book about alien invasion mind control is “The Cell.” However, if you are a rabid King fan, like me, and want to study all the works, the “TK” is fun and revealing. Of the 87 books I have read over the last two years, TK is ranked 41.
Say something about yourself!
I normally love Stephen King, but this book was just plain BAD! It was boring. Very boring. There was never a time when the book pulled me in. You spent the entire book waiting for something to happen... It finally would, but it was too little too late in most cases. Too many words with too little to say. If this was my first Stephen King book, I seriously doubt I would have ever read another one.
Tell us about yourself!
I am a big fan of Stephen King, and really enjoy most of his work. This one was a chore to listen to. The performance was done well, but I couldn't keep going. This could have been an interesting story if about half of the details and plot lines were deleted.
Normally I enjoy deep character development but this just lasted too long.
Artist/crafter and writer
It grab me from the start! Sometimes hard to put down! I enjoyed this book very much, and will consider reading it again and again! Edward Hermann voice was a perfect match for this book, and he was very easy to listen to. Love those character voices!
For some reason, I had avoided this book for years. Maybe it was the length, maybe just the odd title. I am so glad I broke down and chose it. It is a long, entertaining, wild ride. It is rather campy, cartoony, compared to other King books, and I was delighted to see that facet of his amazing talent.
This is one of my favorite SK stories. I have owned the book for years and I am thrilled to add it to my Audible library. I love the way the story deals with the all the characters in and around Haven. It is an old style SK novel, dealing with all the good and the bad that comes with living in a small town where things start to happen.
The audio performance is fantastic. Edward Hermann brings you into the world of Haven and doesnt let you go. It was great to hear the regional accents come to life, but never in a way that distracted you from the story.
This is not King at his best, but even King at his worst is better than 95% of the stuff out there. As a horror story I would rank it fair, as a morality tale with some aliens I would rank it great. The story takes its time building, and the use of metaphor is pretty heavy handed, but I did enjoy it.
It's a pretty good book, but it contains a lot of the old stuff that made King seem like an immature writer in the past. He's too enamored with gross-out scenes, especially involving bodily functions, and he randomly tosses out improbable and unbelievable details and numbers. Whole busloads of people die casually in wrecks, and no one seems to have any sense when it comes to seeing the obvious developments around them. Characters aren't very sophisticated or overly original, but they are still interesting and reflect regional idiosyncrasies well--that may be King's greatest strength. His earlier works were better at creating characters from the outside, whereas his later works paid more attention to their inner workings, too.
Still, this is a good, imaginative tale of something that seems like a cross between aliens and supernatural beings, and there are lots of creepy moments and sustained suspense to keep you listening well after bedtime. The narrator is good, too. Overall, a good, long listen. If you like the early King, you'll love this one. If you don't like that King, you may still like this one a lot.
Do you remember those old episodes of Star Trek where they would beam down to a planet not knowing what to expect. Amongst the main characters would be that unknown Ensign or Cadet whom you just knew would get killed. You would know if Stephen King were to have ever written an episode of Star Trek as that unknown Ensign or Cadet would likely be the only one to survive in the end. Several characters whom I thought "This will be the one who becomes the hero, just ended up as another fatality. At times this book lost my interest but I dare not give up on it as I was stumped to find which, if any of the characters would make it to the end.
Artist living & working in the SF Bay Area
I'm a huge King fan - I'm the first to admit i'd probably read his grocery list if he had running commentary in it. However there's something really wrong with this novel - he's doing his usual stuff - oddball Characters, nods to his other novels and small town secrets leading to the big 'monster'. But there's something really wrong - none of it seems to work if you compare it to other novels he's done. Novels like "IT" sing - but this faulters. Don't know if he was giving up smoking or kicking the booze or drugs at the time but whatever was going on in his life - this novel was really phoned in. Its almost like it was done by a shadow/copycat author whos pretending to be King and doesn't get it right.
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