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Published: 1980 (originally appeared in Skeleton Crew)
Length: 230 pages
Genre: Sci-Fi, Horror, Mystery
Start date: Winter 2008-9
Finished date: Winter 2008-9
Where From: Xmas 2008-9
Why Read: I’m a Stephen King junkie and thought the movie was so chilly. I was curious about the book’s alternate ending.
Summary: A group of strangers cooped up in a grocery store attempt to survive a spreading fog that has released killer creatures into the invisible town without using up all their available resources or becoming victims to each other.
The story begins with the tense relationship between David, a commercial artist and soon an unlikely hero, and his neighbour after a property border dispute is settled. A trip to the grocery store during a heat-infused thunderstorm leaves a group of people, including David’s young son Billy, the neighbour, store managers, employees, a religious zealot, a young woman who becomes a kind of romantic interest for David, two military soldiers, an elderly schoolteacher, and some out-of-towners, trapped against the outside fog.
After a tentacled creature kills a bagboy, two alliances are formed—those who believe what happened and those who don’t. Some decide to venture into the mist to return home, some choose to kneel at the feet of the evangelistic Mrs. Carmody who believes that only a human sacrifice will free them from God’s wrath, and some choose to protect themselves & possibly fight back. A series of escalated attempts to leave the store to get help increases the tension of this horrific thrill ride, which ends ambiguously (as compared to the sudden, wrenching end of the movie version) but with a lingering sense of potential for surviving the creature-infested mist that grows, seemingly encapsulating the world.
It is one of Stephen King’s scariest, but also most thought-provoking works about our society—that when people are under undue pressure and physically constrained, their own survival becomes priority and it is everyone for themselves. King makes this scenario seem scarier than any deadly creature that he could invent and the message this sends about our current state of humanity is a frightening concept. Keep repeating to yourself: It’s only a story. It’s only a story. Even the most minor of King fans will eat this up. If you can stomach this brand of horror, you’ll be hooked!
Rank: (A)- Highly recommend