First edition cover
|June 21, 1985|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
Skeleton Crew is the second collection of short fiction by 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.
The collection features 22 works, which includes nineteen short stories, a novella ("The Mist"), 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 television
"Word Processor of the Gods" (1984 Laurel TV, directed by Michael Gornic) was a 22-minute episode of Tales from the Darkside.
Dollar Baby adaptations
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
Other media adaptations
The collection Skeleton Crew made an appearance in a public service poster encouraging Americans to patronize their local libraries, where a series of celebrities would be seen with books. In this poster, Michael J. Fox is holding a copy of Skeleton Crew while a ghostly hand is on his shoulder. The poster reads "Michael J. Fox for America's Libraries".
- King, Stephen, "Introduction" to Skeleton Crew, Putnam Press 1985 pp. 13
- 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
- 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.