People, Places and Things


People, Places and Things

People, Places and Things is a self-published magazine sized collection of short stories by US author Stephen King, written in 1960 together with his friend Chris Chesley and published using their own press. It comprises a mere 18 stapeled together pages, yet can offer a glimpse into King's very early imagination (he wrote the oldest story at the age of 12). Copies were sold to school friends for about $0.10 to $0.25 each

The original collection consists of 8 short stories by Stephen King, nine by Chris Chesley, and one co-production; according to King only one copy of about ten is left – he owns it himself.

The stories

Only the titles, but not the contents, of the stories I'm falling and The Dimension Warp are known.

  • The Hotel at the End of the Road

Two gangsters, Tommy Riviera and Kelso Black, find rescue in an old hotel whose ominous proprietor doesn't want money. He wants the men themselves – as part of his private museum of the dead.

  • I've got to get away

It's like waking up, but the dreamer remembers nothing, not even his name. Shocked, he realizes that he's working at a conveyor belt and knows only one thing: He's got to get away. But he is immediately arrested by guards who reprogram him – for the dreamer is nothing but a faulty robot who seems to lapse into humanhood from time to time.

  • The Thing at the Bottom of the Well

A small boy enjoys torturing animals: He tears out the wings of flies, kills worms or maltreats a dog with needles. One day, he is lured to a well by a strange voice and climbs down mesmerized. When his body is found, his arms are severed from the body and there are needles in his eyes.

  • The Stranger

A thief and murderer is waylaid by the Reaper himself.

  • The Cursed Expedition

Two astronauts land on Venus, finding an Earth-like atmosphere and believing to have found Eden. There is delicious fruit, the temperature is perfect. But when one of the crew is found dead, the survivor is too late in realizing that the planet itself – or at least its surface – is alive, finally swallowing him and his rocket.

  • The Other Side of the Fog

A mysterious fog serves as a door between dimensions. Pete Jacobs involuntarily travels into the future (the year 2007) and eventually to a world inhabited by dinosaurs. Helpless, he wanders from one dimension to the next, searching for his own.

  • Never Look Behind You

The short story written together with his friend tells about a mysterious woman killing in a most peculiar way.

Annotations

  • Three of the stories are like sketches for later works by Stephen King:
1) Animal torturing Patrick Hockstetter in It is very similar to the boy in the story of the well; moreover, George Denbrough is also lured by a friendly voice, to be killed by losing an arm.
2) In Beachworld (Skeleton Crew), astronauts are landing on a living planet the sand of which proves to be of deadly intelligence.
3) The Mist (Skeleton Crew) is a major development of The Other Side of the Fog – even the dinosaurs are recycled.
  • Early on, King likes to create his own world: Delinquent Kelso Black dies twice – in Hotel at the End of the Road and The Stranger.
  • King's story about the robot is strongly reminiscent of Isaac Asimov, whose books King devoured as a child.

Source

  • Beahm, George. Stephen King from A to Z – An Encyclopedia of his Life and Work. Kansas City, 1998.

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