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Os Tommyknockers

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Algo de muito estranho aconteceu em Haven, uma pequena cidade situada no Maine. Desde que Roberta Anderson descobriu, na floresta, um misterioso objecto metálico, as pessoas transformaram-se inexplicavelmente. Subitamente, homens, mulheres e crianças ganham poderes sobrenaturais. A cidade torna-se uma armadilha mortífera e os seus habitante parecem estar possuídos por uma Algo de muito estranho aconteceu em Haven, uma pequena cidade situada no Maine. Desde que Roberta Anderson descobriu, na floresta, um misterioso objecto metálico, as pessoas transformaram-se inexplicavelmente. Subitamente, homens, mulheres e crianças ganham poderes sobrenaturais. A cidade torna-se uma armadilha mortífera e os seus habitante parecem estar possuídos por uma força diabólica... Está a ocorrer uma invasão do corpo, da mente - e da alma......


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Algo de muito estranho aconteceu em Haven, uma pequena cidade situada no Maine. Desde que Roberta Anderson descobriu, na floresta, um misterioso objecto metálico, as pessoas transformaram-se inexplicavelmente. Subitamente, homens, mulheres e crianças ganham poderes sobrenaturais. A cidade torna-se uma armadilha mortífera e os seus habitante parecem estar possuídos por uma Algo de muito estranho aconteceu em Haven, uma pequena cidade situada no Maine. Desde que Roberta Anderson descobriu, na floresta, um misterioso objecto metálico, as pessoas transformaram-se inexplicavelmente. Subitamente, homens, mulheres e crianças ganham poderes sobrenaturais. A cidade torna-se uma armadilha mortífera e os seus habitante parecem estar possuídos por uma força diabólica... Está a ocorrer uma invasão do corpo, da mente - e da alma......

30 review for Os Tommyknockers

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kemper

    I mean, The Tommyknockers is an awful book. That was the last one I wrote before I cleaned up my act. And I've thought about it a lot lately and said to myself, "There's really a good book in here, underneath all the sort of spurious energy that cocaine provides, and I ought to go back." The book is about 700 pages long, and I'm thinking, "There's probably a good 350-page novel in there." - Stephen King in a Rolling Stone interview. You got that right, Uncle Stevie. Bobbi Anderson is a writer livin I mean, The Tommyknockers is an awful book. That was the last one I wrote before I cleaned up my act. And I've thought about it a lot lately and said to myself, "There's really a good book in here, underneath all the sort of spurious energy that cocaine provides, and I ought to go back." The book is about 700 pages long, and I'm thinking, "There's probably a good 350-page novel in there." - Stephen King in a Rolling Stone interview. You got that right, Uncle Stevie. Bobbi Anderson is a writer living outside a small Maine town who trips over a hunk of metal sticking out of the ground while walking in the woods with her dog. She finds herself strangely compelled to dig it up, and she soon realizes that she’s stumbled across a flying saucer that has been buried for thousands of years. Bobbi’s friend Jim Gardner is a poet with a love of booze and a deep hatred of nuclear power. After going on an epic bender Gardner visits Bobbi and finds that she has worked herself ragged and lost several teeth while digging up the ship. She’s also started making all sorts of home improvements like fixing her aging water heater up with what appears to be a fusion reactor. Bobbi convinces Gardner that they need to excavate the ship themselves, and he agrees to help. But the ship’s influence grows as it is unearthed to the point where the nearby townsfolk also start spitting teeth and coming up with clever ideas of their own. The King quote I led with really sums up this book. There’s an intriguing idea at the heart of it and some nice character stuff particularly when it comes to Gardner. However, its coke-fueled writing is so evident that you expect to see leftover powder and dried blood spots from King’s nose on every page. There’s just too many tangents that go in useless directions, and it really gets out of control when he starts telling all the stories happening in the nearby town of Haven. Detailing the takeover of the population of a small town via snapshots of the locals is something King does well in other books like Salem’s Lot, but he could never draw the line here between relevant character details and useless information. In fact, it almost seems at times like he was starting different novels. One has a beloved civic leader coming to suspect that there is something very wrong happening and doing her best to hold out from it. Another has a reporter starting to unravel the mystery of what happens in Haven, but since all he is doing is uncovering what we already know his whole thread is pretty much useless anyhow so learning all about his relationship with his passive aggressive mother is especially pointless. King also has problems in dealing with things logically from a plot standpoint. He prefers vague supernatural threats that he can routinely increase or reduce the powers of as needed, but when he has to put physical rules to them things fly apart. Here he can’t even nail down exactly how the Tommyknockers are transforming the people. It’s definitely a gas that seems to come off the skin of the ship as it’s exposed. That’s a good concept (Although why aliens would coat the outside of their ship with something that would spread on contact with Earth air is a valid question.) but the ship also exudes something akin to electromagnetism that effects electronics and radio waves. You could make the argument that there’s no reason it can’t be pumping out both gas and some weird alien radiation. Which is true, but it gets messy when it comes exactly which thing is doing what, and King practically broke his back trying to draw parallels to the TK ship and nuclear reactors so that theme is clear. However, Gardner is immune to the Tommyknocker transformation because he has a metal plate in his head so that seems to indicate that it isn’t caused by the gas, but it is repeatedly shown that others can avoid its effects by not breathing the air. It just isn't consistent at all. There is also a whopper of a continuity error right at the heart of this that shows that King wasn’t thinking through the details. (view spoiler)[A huge deal is made out of how the sling that lowers Gardner and Bobbi into the excavation pit requires one person to be up top to operate it, and that element plays a pivotal part in the climax. Yet at the moment when they reach the hatch both of them are down in the hole at the same time with no one else around. Oops (hide spoiler)] He also didn’t think through the implications of including the usual Easter eggs to his other works. The town of Derry exists here along with a direct reference to IT as well as other books, and that seems harmless enough at first. However, the end of this one would literally be the biggest story in human history. So that means the Stephen King universe should include it and the aftermath, but it doesn’t. Yeah, yeah, I know. The Dark Tower has many levels, blah, blah, blah. You can believe that if you want, but it increasingly feels to me that the references aren't so much clever winks to reader as they are lazy tricks that undermine the story King is trying to tell at the moment. Plus, Stephen King just plain sucks at writing about aliens. He proved it again in Dreamcatcher, and if you read that whole interview I linked to you’ll see that he also doesn’t like that one much either and blames the Oxycontin he was on following being struck by a car. So that’s two bad books about evil aliens he wrote under the influence. I’m sensing a trend here. Aside from the drugs though there’s an element of King’s personal outlook that makes him trying to do an alien invasion story problematic. Like a lot of Baby Boomers he has a general distrust of the guvment, and Uncle Stevie’s distaste is so strong that he just can’t imagine them doing the right thing. He also has some anti-tech tendencies and doesn’t think much of science. (The Stand is a prime example of this.) So the aliens are evil, but he also doesn’t think you could trust anyone in authority or with scientific expertise to do anything about them. That’s when King’s anti-establishment nature is at war with his own plot. It's like his alien stories are trying to be both E.T. and The Thing at the same time, and it just doesn't work like that. For example, we get a long conversation when Bobbi (Who is part-Tommyknocker at this point.) is trying to convince Gardner that they can’t call ‘the Dallas police’, and that’s a big point that wins him over because he’s an anti-nuke protestor who doesn’t trust the powers that be with an alien ship. So that means that an alien influenced western writer and a drunken poet who shot his own wife are supposed to be the ones we trust to deal with the discovery of aliens? And yeah, I get that this is a con job to get Gardner to help dig up the ship, but that thread of thinking that the Feds would somehow be even worse than murderous aliens runs through this and Dreamcatcher in defiance of internal plot logic. I mean, do we really believe that some idiot would be so distrustful of government agencies and science as well as have such a strong belief in crazy conspiracy theories that he would shun the system and instead choose to side with a hideous monster in human form who is telling him nothing but lies? Oh….. Never mind.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Mark Lawrence

    This seems to be one of Stephen King's less known and less liked novels. I really liked it. Not 5* blown away liked, but a good solid 4* really liked. I think my difference from the majority here is two-fold: Firstly, I've discovered many people want all of a story to be good. If the end lets it down, they feel the whole book is a waste of time. Well... the end did let it down, but the story itself is packed with good stuff. There were so many scenes, characters, ideas and descriptions that all sho This seems to be one of Stephen King's less known and less liked novels. I really liked it. Not 5* blown away liked, but a good solid 4* really liked. I think my difference from the majority here is two-fold: Firstly, I've discovered many people want all of a story to be good. If the end lets it down, they feel the whole book is a waste of time. Well... the end did let it down, but the story itself is packed with good stuff. There were so many scenes, characters, ideas and descriptions that all shone with the best that King has to offer that I felt I got my money's worth and more. Yes it fell apart a bit - yes, that took the shine off. I guess one way of looking at it is if you saw the series Lost. Loads of great individual episodes, great characters, a fascinating/maddening mystery relentlessly building ... and an ending that made you go 'whuh?' - I never counted the time I spent watching those early episodes wasted. But yes, a good ending would have been wonderful. Secondly, I read this at a time when I was thinking a lot about the mechanics and techniques of writing and story telling. It's the first time I really remember marveling not only at a story, but at the writing on the small and medium scale, and truly appreciating what magic was being worked, and how. So - to the book. In brief it's like most other King books. He presents you with brilliantly realized real people, one of who is generally a writer (and is in this case), one of whom (often the writer - as in this case) has some drug dependency (often alcohol - as in this case) and into the small town /rural community comes some very weird shit (as in this case) which slowly unfolds and develops (in this case it is literally dug out of the ground over the course of the book). The tale encompasses sci-fi rather than horror weirdness and once again King shows us through the eroding and changing relationships how a small community is subverted and transformed by the 'intruder/s' and how particular elements in that community (all richly presented with their own demons to battle before they can fight the demons/aliens/wotnot) make their stand. Recommended. Although it has been a frighteningly long time since I read it. Join my 3-emails-a-year newsletter #prizes ...

  3. 3 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    Happy Reading! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾🎃

  4. 4 out of 5

    Paul O'Neill

    Late last night and the night before, tommyknockers tommyknockers knocking at your door I can make a couple of guesses to explain why this book only has a rating of 3.46, which it doesn't deserve. I thought it was great. Interesting and very different to Kings usual books. That being said, all the elements of a King book are here, great characters, unusual story and great dialogue. I've read a few reviews saying that the ending is rubbish. I don't agree with this and there are definitely worse Kin Late last night and the night before, tommyknockers tommyknockers knocking at your door I can make a couple of guesses to explain why this book only has a rating of 3.46, which it doesn't deserve. I thought it was great. Interesting and very different to Kings usual books. That being said, all the elements of a King book are here, great characters, unusual story and great dialogue. I've read a few reviews saying that the ending is rubbish. I don't agree with this and there are definitely worse King endings out there *cough*Under the dome*cough cough*. It is a bit long in the tooth but I don't think that can be helped. It does suffer a bit in the middle whilst King builds the blocks for latter stages in the book, so I can see people switching off, but I didn't think it was that bad. Above all, this is a King fanboy book, the references to his other works (if you've read a lot of King) make this book worth reading. Another solid story from the King of Kings :)

  5. 3 out of 5

    Stepheny

    2.5 Let me tell you a story. (Jason, Dustin- you guys have probably heard me tell this enough times you’re sick of it so you guys can skip ahead!) Many years ago I first read the Tommyknockers. It was a huge brick of a book- a hardcover version no less. I was fascinated with it. I was a new Stephen King fan and after picking up the first book of his I ever read, I had to grab another and another and another. The Tommyknockers had this great build- up, it was intense, there was so much going on. T 2.5 Let me tell you a story. (Jason, Dustin- you guys have probably heard me tell this enough times you’re sick of it so you guys can skip ahead!) Many years ago I first read the Tommyknockers. It was a huge brick of a book- a hardcover version no less. I was fascinated with it. I was a new Stephen King fan and after picking up the first book of his I ever read, I had to grab another and another and another. The Tommyknockers had this great build- up, it was intense, there was so much going on. There was an entire town communicating telepathically. There were aliens, disappearing children, a spaceship buried in the ground and lots and lots of menstruation. What’s not to love?! Well, I’ll tell you. The ending. I had never in my life felt so ripped off about an ending in a book. So, I did what any pissed off teenager would do- I chucked my hard cover book across the room. It hit the wall at high speeds and left a softball sized hole in the wall in my bedroom. I can tell you one thing- Mom and Dad were not impressed. I decided to do a re-read this year on audio in hopes of letting go of some of that anger. It was a fail of epic proportions. I ended up disliking this book more this time around than I did the first time. I think, now that I am older, I am more aware of hidden messages in books. I hate that. I felt like Gard’s obsession with nuclear power plants and the endless drunken rants was King’s way of expressing his own views. Now, I don’t know that for a fact, but I don’t care. It was annoying and was so prevalent that I kept waiting for the nuke to occur. Another thing that annoyed me- useless shit. This book contained so much useless filler that I found myself trying to keep track of everything only to find that none of it fucking mattered. There are FEW books (under five) written by Stephen King that leave me with this awful taste in my mouth, but when they do it’s just unbearable. I feel that way about this one and if you could see the look of disgust on my face while even writing this review, you would know the truth of what I say. So why 2.5 stars and not 1? Well, let’s face it- it’s King. And as any King fan will tell you- even a bad Stephen King book is better than most others. Also- there were still some aspects that I loved. The disappearing act at the magic show remains to be one of my favorite King moments. I also greatly enjoy the doll scene. There were moments of greatness hidden in this tome. It is evident that King was lacking direction in this one though and was in severe need of a strict editor. Not one of his best, by any means…but an ok book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cody | codysbookshelf

    2018 update: I am bumping my rating up to five stars because.... well, this book is simply one of King’s best. The Tommyknockers is about Pandora's box, and what happens once it's open — and it's also about failed (missed? unrequited?) love. Our two main characters are Bobbi Anderson, a moderately successful writer of western novels, and Jim Gardener, a published poet and struggling alcoholic. The two are friends, and in the past have been lovers, enemies . . . and everything in between. Their re 2018 update: I am bumping my rating up to five stars because.... well, this book is simply one of King’s best. The Tommyknockers is about Pandora's box, and what happens once it's open — and it's also about failed (missed? unrequited?) love. Our two main characters are Bobbi Anderson, a moderately successful writer of western novels, and Jim Gardener, a published poet and struggling alcoholic. The two are friends, and in the past have been lovers, enemies . . . and everything in between. Their relationship is endlessly intriguing, and it's what makes this flawed novel work — for me. While walking in the woods behind her home, Bobbi literally stumbles over what turns out to be part of an alien spaceship that has been buried for millennia, and is immediately intrigued. Her dig begins, and soon Jim comes to her after sensing something is wrong with her — wrong with her situation, and perhaps the town of Haven, Maine in general. The story expands out from there. This is very much a "big" King novel. It feels big. The focus is only on Bobbi and Gardener for the first two hundred pages or so; the perspective is then expanded to include the goings-on of the townsfolk in part two, "Tales of Haven". It is this section most readers have problems with, I have noticed — and I can't disagree. While a few of the chapters (specifically the ones that focus on 'Becka Paulson, Hilly Brown, and Ruth McCausland) do a good job of painting a searing picture of foreboding, others — such as the pages-long chapter about the history of the town's name that has almost nothing to do with the story — act as speed bumps, and that's unfortunate; King is at his most inventive here, but he often gets in his own way. I certainly held this novel in higher esteem before this reread. While some aspects of the story (Jim and Bobbi's relationship and the many guises it takes, Ev Hillman's character, the ending) actually improved for me, large chunks of the prose were slogs to get through. I don't usually accuse King of overwriting, but overwrite he did here. Maybe I am only realizing it now because I've been rereading his works in order. After taut, entrancing stories like Misery and Cujo, The Tommyknockers just feels bloated. It's like comparing 1968 and 1977 Elvis — the talent and goods are still there, but boy... a little weight could stand to be lost. At its core, this is a white hot story written by a man who seems very, very tired. It's well-documented that SK was at the height of his drug addiction during the writing of this novel, and it certainly shows. He was a gargantuan success by then, though, and I guess no editor could stand up to the King. He would come back a couple of years later with The Dark Half, a novel that lacks the fat of this one . . . as well as the inventive spark. This one is a hot mess, but it's a whole lotta fun (and pretty creepy, too!). 3.5 stars rounded up. King connections (buckle in for a long ride!): Bobbi Anderson lived in Cleaves Mills (a town that has popped up in several Stephen King novels, most noticeably The Dead Zone) before moving to Haven. P. 92 - Derry is mentioned. In fact, Derry pops up a lot in this one. P. 97 - Jim Gardener, when doing a poetry reading, is facing stage fright and fears the audience sucking out his soul, his ka. Pg. 144 - Jim uses the phrase 'lighting out for the territories,' a throwback to The Talisman. Pg. 150 - Jim wakes up on a beach after a jag, only to run into a teenage boy. He has a conversation with the kid, and is it turns out it's Jack Sawyer, of The Talisman. Pg. 159 - Jim hitches a ride in a van with a few druggie teens. One of said teens is named Beaver. Could it be the Beaver who appears in 2001's Dreamcatcher? I'd say it's likely. Like that novel, a good chunk of this one is set in Derry. And the timeline seems right. As well, it's not like the name (or nickname, rather) 'Beaver' is very common. Pg. 265 - The Shop gets a mention, and will become important near the novel's end. Charlie McGee from Firestarter is referenced in connection to The Shop. Pg. 476 - David Bright (from the Dead Zone and several short stories) enters the scene. Pg. 479 - Ev Hillman, Hilly's grandfather, hears chuckles in the drains of his hotel room in Derry. Pg. 479 - While in Derry, Ev goes to a local bar and hears the story of The Dead Zone's Johnny Smith. Pg. 492 - Starting here, some history of the woods surrounding Bobbi Anderson's home is given. It is confirmed that the area — once called Big Injun Woods — was populated by the Micmacs, giving this book a firm connection to Pet Sematary. Pg. 498 - King breaks the fourth wall and has a character hold this opinion: "Bobbi Anderson wrote good old western stories you could really sink your teeth into, not all full of make-believe monsters and a bunch of dirty words, like that fellow who lived up in Bangor wrote." Pg. 735 - When contemplating how to break into Bobbi's shed, he makes a mental reference to Jack Nicholson's performance in The Shining — particularly, the infamous "Here's Johnny!" scene. Okay . . . Let's talk about something, shall we? Let's discuss what universe this novel takes place in, because I'm very sure on a different level of the Tower than most of King's other stories. In the Tommyknockers universe, King is an established author, and characters make references to him — and, by association, Peter Straub. At one point, Bobbi asks Jim if he's ever read Straub's 1983 novel Floating Dragon. Therefore, it would do to assume that The Talisman, the novel co-written by King and Straub, also exists in this world. But! Jim runs into Jack Sawyer, the main character from The Talisman, on a beach. They even converse! Very similarly to Father Callahan's entry into the Dark Tower series despite existing as a book character in that very same world, it looks like Jack (and Stephen King and Peter Straub, I'd assume) exists both as a fictional and real character. Trippy, huh? It doesn't stop there. There are references to Derry and Pennywise the Clown all over the place, and any King reader knows how intertwined IT is in the Dark Tower series. Is it safe to say The Tommyknockers is, therefore, Dark Tower-related? Not just in a tangential way, either? I'd say yes, though King has never said so. And what about The Dead Zone? That novel is referenced here more than any other. Bobbi once lived in Cleaves Mill. David Bright, a reporter from that story, shows up here in a pretty significant way. If one will recall, in a climatic scene in that earlier book a character makes a reference to Brian DePalma's film Carrie — "This is just like that movie Carrie!" she says, thus, King is breaking the fourth wall and firmly establishing that work of fiction outside the realm of the rest of his stories . . . The Tommyknockers does the same thing. A character actually makes a reference to King as a living being and a writer, and Jim thinks about Stanley Kubrick's cinematic adaptation of The Shining. But that's pretty messy, isn't it? Especially when one considers the fact that The Dead Zone is a Castle Rock story, thus making references made in and to that novel inherently contradictory. Same here; in fact, the references King makes in The Tommyknockers are contradictory in and of themselves, and often work against each other. Is it on purpose? Was he just throwing out random Easter eggs to please the crowd and inflate himself? Maybe it's a little of both. I don't know, nor do I pretend to. And I'm sure there are many, many references in this one that I missed, for I took only the briefest of notes. Alright, now to pull myself out of the rabbit hole and finish this thing . . . Favorite quote: “The trouble with living alone, she had discovered-and the reason why most people she knew didn't like to be alone even for a little while-was that the longer you lived alone, the louder the voices on the right side of your brain got.” Up next: It's The Dark Half! ....ugh.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    Please allow me to preface this review. I love to read. I’ve been escaping by burying my nose in books for as long as I can remember and this particular book has taken me back to where it all began. Reading this book again after nearly 28 years has vividly reminded me of those early days when a 600 page book was such a huge part of my life, and the newest Stephen King hardcover was the BEST Christmas present ever! I say all of this to make clear that I’m probably unable to separate my sentimenta Please allow me to preface this review. I love to read. I’ve been escaping by burying my nose in books for as long as I can remember and this particular book has taken me back to where it all began. Reading this book again after nearly 28 years has vividly reminded me of those early days when a 600 page book was such a huge part of my life, and the newest Stephen King hardcover was the BEST Christmas present ever! I say all of this to make clear that I’m probably unable to separate my sentimental attachment to this book from the critical aspects of reviewing it, and since I found myself equally enamored this time around, it gets all five stars from me. As a kid and a teenager, I devoured King’s entire library in the 80s/early 90s, a true Constant Reader during that time. Though I eventually branched out to other authors and genres, for me Stephen King and those magnificent books will always hold a special place in this reader’s heart. Enough gushing. Let’s talk Tommyknockers. First, I must respectfully disagree with others who feel that this is King’s attempt at sci-fi. This, to me, is pure horror suspense. I understand the comparison, what with that gigantic, most-likely-from-outer-space thing buried in the earth... but to me that’s where the similarity ends. I would argue that this story is much more about the slow build-up of suspense. The at first curious, then frightening, then horrifying things that are happening around town and how they’re all related to that buried thing. The way that people in town are suddenly feeling a little more connected with one another, undergoing bizarre changes, coming up with brilliant and terrifying new technology. It’s all about the Becoming. And it’s super creepy! I was unaware until recently that this book had gotten such widely varying reviews and that so many people were disappointed by it. That really surprised me because every time I picked it up I ended up completely absorbed. Granted, the writing in Tommyknockers is much edgier and less polished than I remember his later works being, which could have turned some readers off. Personally, I found it bracing - downright comical at times. And then there’s Jim Gardener. A.K.A. Gard. He’s absolutely my favorite character in this book from his first page, which brings me to what I’ve said before but bears repeating: what King does best is his characters. Throughout this book we see Gard at his best, worst and everything in between. He’s at times deplorable, at times exceedingly passionate, snide, funny, melancholy, and at all times indisputably genuine. It’s easy to underestimate him but I knew what was in store for him and it was not an easy path. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just leave this here as warning for the Tommyknockers… You got no fear of the underdog That's why you will not survive Spoon The Underdog Thanks to my friends in the Eclectic Club for another super fun group read!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Edward Lorn

    Well, that was unexpected. First time I read this, I loved the first two-thirds of the book and loathed the last third. This time, it was the exact opposite. I enjoyed the introductions to Bobbi and Gard all right, I guess, but the middle was boring. I almost gave up. In fact, I switched to the audio book so that I could play Minecraft while listening to it. Then, an odd thing happened. I became involved again. (This was after the vagina tentacles.) I started catching reference after reference, a Well, that was unexpected. First time I read this, I loved the first two-thirds of the book and loathed the last third. This time, it was the exact opposite. I enjoyed the introductions to Bobbi and Gard all right, I guess, but the middle was boring. I almost gave up. In fact, I switched to the audio book so that I could play Minecraft while listening to it. Then, an odd thing happened. I became involved again. (This was after the vagina tentacles.) I started catching reference after reference, and the book became a kind of treasure hunt. Fucking awesome, dude. But here's where it gets really weird. All the cool references at the tail-end of the book are for books King hadn't yet written. Specifically, Under the Dome. Usually, I tell people to read King's books in order, but if you plan on reading Under the Dome, you might want to leave The Tommyknockers for after you finish it. There are at least two huge spoilers for Under the Dome in this novel. There are two more, but they are well hidden gems. I also find it terribly rad that King first mentions Haven way back in 'Salem's Lot, yet it would be more than a decade before he actually wrote about the town. Time for the bad news. This book is one of those King novels that feels bloated. There's so much unneeded information in here that I would suspect as much as two-hundred pages could have been left on the cutting room floor and no one would have noticed. King doesn't even like this book. He stated as much in a recent interview that and Dreamcatcher are his least favorite novels because they were both written during periods of recovery (one before and after drug rehab, and the other while recovering from being ran over by a van). To quote King exactly: "The Tommyknockers is a mess, man. So's Dreamcatcher." References to other books: Gard mentions Ka while in deep thought. Gard meets a young boy named Jack outside of the Alhambra H. (Huge reference to The Talisman here) Clown holding balloons is seen in a storm drain. All this further cements my claims that all of King's novels tie-in to the Dark Tower in some way. Even books like Firestarter and Misery, as well as other books that King has not verified as tie-ins. Notable name: Big Injun Woods (Pet Sematary) Derry (It, Insomnia) Johnny Smith (The Dead Zone) There are far more connections to other books in the King-verse but some of them are spoilers and/or I'm saving them for my next Decade with King post. In summation: The Tommyknockers is a big book. It feels like a big book. His novel It doesn't feel half as long as this book, and it's over 400-pages longer. A lot of ideas are rehashed this time around, too, and reading King's library in chronological order makes all these reused concepts stand out like a sore thumb covered in neon pink spray paint and glitter. I wouldn't tell anyone to skip The Tommyknockers, but you can leave it for last. Recommended for King completionists.

  9. 3 out of 5

    Dan Schwent

    Bobbie Anderson finds an object buried in the woods that happens to be the tip of an alien craft. After she tampers with it sufficiently, the whole town gradually begins changing into aliens. A guy I used to work with kept urging me to read this one. He read half of it during a week long stint in the brig while in the navy, then rescued the book from destruction while he was throwing the ship's trash in the ocean a week later. Was it worth it? Hell yes. King novels don't usually affect me but I d Bobbie Anderson finds an object buried in the woods that happens to be the tip of an alien craft. After she tampers with it sufficiently, the whole town gradually begins changing into aliens. A guy I used to work with kept urging me to read this one. He read half of it during a week long stint in the brig while in the navy, then rescued the book from destruction while he was throwing the ship's trash in the ocean a week later. Was it worth it? Hell yes. King novels don't usually affect me but I dreamed about this one twice while I was reading it. There's an underlying creepiness to this book, similar to Invasion of the Body Snatchers. It's also my second favorite book with the word 'knockers' in the title...

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kealan Burke

    This one will be the first book by King I gave up on. I made it to the 50% mark before deciding that I just wasn't having any fun. Instead I was forcing myself to finish it just so I could say that I did. After all, I love King's work and this was an attempt to catch up on the ones I've missed. But...despite some terrific scenes, THE TOMMYKNOCKERS is a sprawling, disjointed, meandering mess of a book. Worse, it's dull and not entirely well-written, something I never thought I'd say about King's This one will be the first book by King I gave up on. I made it to the 50% mark before deciding that I just wasn't having any fun. Instead I was forcing myself to finish it just so I could say that I did. After all, I love King's work and this was an attempt to catch up on the ones I've missed. But...despite some terrific scenes, THE TOMMYKNOCKERS is a sprawling, disjointed, meandering mess of a book. Worse, it's dull and not entirely well-written, something I never thought I'd say about King's work. It kills me to set it aside, but there are simply too many books ahead of me that I'm looking forward to reading when this one isn't floating my boat (or spaceship.)

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dustin

    Prior to going into my second reading of The Tommyknockers, I wasn't sure that I even wanted to read it. Needful Things, Lisey's Story, or The Talisman would have been preferable, as those three novels have been on my mind a lot lately. The only reason I decided to go with The Tommyknockers is because it won the SK group read for September, and I'd never participated in a group read, and wanted to be a part of it. Having said that, I am so glad that I did! I finished last night, and what can I Prior to going into my second reading of The Tommyknockers, I wasn't sure that I even wanted to read it. Needful Things, Lisey's Story, or The Talisman would have been preferable, as those three novels have been on my mind a lot lately. The only reason I decided to go with The Tommyknockers is because it won the SK group read for September, and I'd never participated in a group read, and wanted to be a part of it. Having said that, I am so glad that I did! I finished last night, and what can I say? For the most part, I loved every word, although I do think it drags a bit here and there. That final scene with Hilly and David served as the icing on the cake for me. It's such a tender moment, and very sweet, too. Also, a lot of readers don't particularly care for Book II, but it's my personal favorite. The town's history is fascinating, and I loved the "now-let's-eavesdrop-on-our-fellow-neighbors" feel of it, which is very reminiscent of Under the Dome. In all earnestness, I don't feel that the middle section is disjointed, clunk, or otherwise disconnected to the rest of the novel. On the contrary, every aspect seems to be in direct (or indirect) relation to everything else. Additionally, I love intricate stories with a plethora of characters, and this is no exception... especially Ruth McCausland and Hilly Brown. They are easily my two favorite characters. I really got into young Hilly as an individual, mostly because he and I share some similar attributes. And he is HILARIOUS. I literally laughed aloud at some of the things he got himself into! As King's epic tome comes to a close, there are several scenes that stick out very much, one in which I won't forget any time soon. For instance, the Shed People's various inventions, or modifications, if you will. Then there's the classic Coke machine and the maniacal smoke detector, soaring through the woods like something out of Star Wars. Finally, there's Gard's ascension, and most importantly, the dire circumstances behind it. I LOVE how it's fueled by virtually everything and everyone around him. It's a very powerful scene, IMO. There are so many other aspects of the novel that I could go on and on about, but I won't, for fear of spoiling the story to those that haven't read it yet.

  12. 3 out of 5

    Paul Nash

    4.5 stars (rounded up. GR...why the F do you not have 1/2 stars available? Jesus!!) Wow... awesome book! And classic Stephen King! At 747 pages, it was never boring. There are MANY connections in this book to his other books: The Dead Zone, It, The Talisman, The Shining, The Stand and Firestarter. I also found out that King was inspired by Star Trek: The Motion Picture for certain aspects of the story and in return, Gene Roddenberry was inspired by The Tommyknockers when coming up with the evil B 4.5 stars (rounded up. GR...why the F do you not have 1/2 stars available? Jesus!!) Wow... awesome book! And classic Stephen King! At 747 pages, it was never boring. There are MANY connections in this book to his other books: The Dead Zone, It, The Talisman, The Shining, The Stand and Firestarter. I also found out that King was inspired by Star Trek: The Motion Picture for certain aspects of the story and in return, Gene Roddenberry was inspired by The Tommyknockers when coming up with the evil Borg for The Next Generation. I knew King was a Star Trek fan and this book definitely shows that; I literally read more Trek references in this book than in any other book he's written. I will be honest, and this is just MO, but I'm floored at all the supposed "Constant Readers" negative reviews for this book. I am a Constant Reader and I loved it!! Now I only have 8 more King books to read and that does include his Non-fiction. Overall, a great classic Stephen King book...and it's chunky too! To me, the larger a King book is, the better. This was like the X-Files meets Alien (and I only mention Alien due to the scary/creepy factor). 4.5 extra-terrestrial stars!! I forgot to mention, this was a group read w/The Eclectic Club. Thank you Bill, Liz & Ron. I had a blast reading this with you guys! :)

  13. 3 out of 5

    Ron

    Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door. I want to go out, don't know if I can, 'cause I'm so afraid of the Tommyknocker man So that’s a little creepy. Ever heard that childhood poem? I had not. Nor have I read much of H.P. Lovecraft, the horror author who influenced King’s writing of The Tommyknockers. King has said that his idea for the novel was based from “The Colour Out of Space”, a short story by Lovecraft. Tommyknockers is not the only nov Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door. I want to go out, don't know if I can, 'cause I'm so afraid of the Tommyknocker man So that’s a little creepy. Ever heard that childhood poem? I had not. Nor have I read much of H.P. Lovecraft, the horror author who influenced King’s writing of The Tommyknockers. King has said that his idea for the novel was based from “The Colour Out of Space”, a short story by Lovecraft. Tommyknockers is not the only novel written by King, or many an author for that matter, that owe a debt to the man from the past. Strange things happen (a very Stephen King statement if there ever was one) after Bobbi Thompson starts digging up her backyard. After tripping over, then touching a piece of metal, buried in the ground back there, she becomes consumed with unearthing the thing that seems to have no end. Whatever it is, it’s big, and really King doesn’t try to hide what it might be. He pretty much tells the reader right off. What he does hide is just why and how it has taken control of people’s lives. Oh yeah, and most importantly, what’s the end game. This is interesting, sometimes fun and a little wacky. Once again, things happen that personally I could not have thought up (that’s why I read folks). People do some of the craziest things here. At this point, I was reminded of books like The Invasion of the Body Snatchers and The Puppet Masters. But King’s take on the theme is unique, never a copy. Like many of his books, subtly or not, King touches on the certain things affecting our world, whether it is war, or guns, or whatever. Here in The Tommyknockers, it is Nuclear Power. Is it good? Is it bad? The Chernobyl crisis had just occurred in Russia. Add to that the partial nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. It was on his mind, and shaped the story. Is that why the color green is used here? I don’t know, but green is everywhere. The lowdown: Quite a number of fans have said that The Tommyknockers is among their least favorite King novels. Me, I liked it. It not his best and King uses up a lot of pages before the story gets to really rockin’. I found the final 150 pages to be an absolute thrill ride. From the point that Gard walks into the Tommyknocker shed to the last page was simply outstanding, and I experienced so many feelings for this character nicknamed Gard. One of last thing. King has not-so-subtly hidden a load of “easter eggs” throughout the story. I can’t recall another book of King’s that has cross-referenced so many of his other works, and personal likes. Oh, and a buddy-read increases the fun of the egg hunt, as well as the terror of the dig. QED folks. Shout out and a thanks to my buddies in the Eclectic Club!

  14. 3 out of 5

    Laurel

    Okay, so I may have read this when I was twelve, but I tell you, it fucked my shit up! It's really really long and has violence and intrigue--if you're twelve and you start it in December, you might not finish it until mid-January. The best part was that it was the first book that made reference to location that I had actually been. IT took place in Maine, people, what could be creepier?? This is an underrated classic with possibly the best title of all time. Just say it. Tommyknockers. Awesome.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bill Khaemba

    Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door. I want to go out, don't know if I can, 'Cause I'm so afraid of the Tommyknocker man. By The way, that jingle is really creepy if it was sung by a kid Something is creeping up in Haven, the atmosphere has rapidly changed after Bobbi Anderson stumbles upon something in the woods… It will alter the normalcy of this small town in a very weird way. Before anything this book was another successful buddy read, s Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door. I want to go out, don't know if I can, 'Cause I'm so afraid of the Tommyknocker man. By The way, that jingle is really creepy if it was sung by a kid Something is creeping up in Haven, the atmosphere has rapidly changed after Bobbi Anderson stumbles upon something in the woods… It will alter the normalcy of this small town in a very weird way. Before anything this book was another successful buddy read, shout out to Liz, Ron & Paul  :) Cheers to another trip down the pages. Firstly, this book gets a really bad rep for some apparent reason but in my opinion, it is unjustified. The average rating kind of lowered my expectation for this book and it was quite enjoyable. It was classic King and his take on the Sci-Fi genre, yes I am not an expert on the genre but I am the die-hard fan of King’s writing. The book had a slow burn creepy feeling as you flip through the pages… I was always anticipating something to pounce on the characters, it had a successful build up that paid in the end. The book proved to me such an awesome buddy-read choice because of the small cameo of different characters, quotes or little bit of hints from other King books “And I believe happiness is the exact opposite of sadness, bitterness, and hatred: happiness should remain unexamined as long as possible.” I will have to admit that unlike my reading buddies my experience with the book was not so smooth, Some parts of the book seemed dragged out and could have been cut short. The introduction of many characters was overwhelming at times but it wasn’t that bad as the “critics” point out. “So what he supposed to do? Grab Bobbie's axe and make like Jack Nicholson in The Shinning? He could see it. Smash, crash, bash: Heeeeeeere's GARDENER!” The characters were complex and alive as with every King book, he wrote this book at a very dark time in his life and some characters mirrored his real life struggles, especially with alcoholism. It was also refreshing to see a main female character but what drove the book was the need to find out… I would recommend this to those who enjoyed Stranger Things or have the craving for that 80s aesthetic with that creepy King original style this was solid. P.S. This book kind of sparked the inspiration for one of his best book Under the Dome so go wild. Thanks for reading :)

  16. 3 out of 5

    Ashley Daviau

    So this is most definitely NOT my favourite King book. In fact, it was quite painful to read at times and took me ages to get through. Some parts were really interesting but on a whole, this book was a huge drag to read. It’s painful for me to give a King book such a low rating because I love his writing so much but this is some of his worst work in my opinion. I think it could have done well as a short story but as a novel it just didn’t do it for me!

  17. 5 out of 5

    James Hartley

    This is a fascinating book on many levels. Written at the height of Kings various addictions (with cotton wool stuffed up his nose to stop him bleeding onto the typewriter, apparently) - he wouldnt publish again for another two years - its a look at what happens to a writer when they go out of control. Its almost a master-class, writing-wise, on what NOT to do, but its loveable and fascinating: a drunk wheeling around a bar telling great stories in a scary, about-to-fall-over way. A coke fiends This is a fascinating book on many levels. Written at the height of King´s various addictions (with cotton wool stuffed up his nose to stop him bleeding onto the typewriter, apparently) - he wouldn´t publish again for another two years - it´s a look at what happens to a writer when they go out of control. It´s almost a master-class, writing-wise, on what NOT to do, but it´s loveable and fascinating: a drunk wheeling around a bar telling great stories in a scary, about-to-fall-over way. A coke fiend´s eyes as they come up from yet another line at four in the morning, finger-wagging, wanting to add some detail to some random aside they were telling you a moment ago which also incorporates a rule for understanding humanity. King was obviously a tree-killing, money-making machine at this point which is why no editor or well-read English grad posing in the office dared to step in and cut his ranting, rambling, repetitive, crazed manuscript down to size. That the publishers were happy to put this out in the state it was published in and coin it in just the same tells you everything you need to know about the industry: it´s about the money, baby! King has since called this "an awful book" and, like Cujo, probably can´t remember much about writing it. Perhaps it is bad - it certainly is in places - but King is not a bad writer which means there are books within the book, sections, which shimmer like jewels floating in a green-smoking cesspit. I loved Gard, the boozy writer (written full-on, no holds barred, as though King were putting himself and his problems in the middle of the book and daring them to win), especially his pissed-up campus confrontation with a nuclear-power salesman. There are parts of the book, aspects of it, that shine like the slopes of the submerged ship: sleek, otherwordly, delightful, shocking and entertaining. Although, notoriously, there are pages and pages of meandering, unnecessary dialogue and description, what tends to grate most over the length of the book is King´s seeming insistence on building up to a climax or confrontation or revelation which never comes. I liked the ending, though, though plenty didn´t, but constantly being brought to a point where something interesting was about to happen but didn´t was the type of literary teasing which leads one to think, "You know what? There are plenty of other books that´ll give me thrills so go screw yourself!" The book didn´t scare or me, or even revolt me, so I couldn´t recommend it as either horror or (definitely not) thriller. The Tommyknockers rhyme itself is always, when it pops up, cringey and mawkish. What I would say, though, that the novel is a fascinating document on many other levels - as near a view into the world of King´s true, unedited imagination of that time as we´ll ever get, for example. I was left open-mouthed by some of the pages - not for descriptions of vomit or aliens but just that they existed at all. That an agent hadn´t said anything. That a editor hadn´t said anything. That the publishers hadn´t said anything. That the reviewers gave it "King´s Best!" bullshit. That the readers lapped it up. Truly a world gone mad. Good on King´s wife for getting hold of him after it, at least, and getting her husband back. Having said all that, for me The Tommyknockers will always have a special place in my heart because it fits into a weird (not precious, I promise) habit I have of liking what many people regard as the worst works of art in people´s canons, especially in music. I think Let´s Dance is Bowie´s best album, for example. I think Human Touch is Springsteen´s best album, the Bee Gees are better than the Beach Boys and, in movies, that GI Jane is Ridley Scott´s best film. I think it´s because I like the humanness of all of those ´works´; that element of crappness. I distrust perfection. I like to see failure and wrong-ness in works of art because that´s what I see in life. Whatever it is, I recommend you read this book. It´s perfectly imperfect.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Well, I just finished The Tommyknockers, and to be rather blunt...I'm disappointed. Really disappointed. The beginning was good, entertaining, even hilarious at parts. When I got to Book II, it really started to drag for me. And when I mean drag....I just kept saying in my head as I read, "GET ON WITH IT ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" But also, I felt like it was a little all over the place. I consider myself to be one who at least has half a brain (Hell, I have a Master's degree, I would I hope I have Well, I just finished The Tommyknockers, and to be rather blunt...I'm disappointed. Really disappointed. The beginning was good, entertaining, even hilarious at parts. When I got to Book II, it really started to drag for me. And when I mean drag....I just kept saying in my head as I read, "GET ON WITH IT ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" But also, I felt like it was a little all over the place. I consider myself to be one who at least has half a brain (Hell, I have a Master's degree, I would I hope I have a brain), and consider myself to be someone who pays close attention when reading...but at times, I felt lost and my mind wandered from the story. I put the book down a few times and walked away just thinking I was reading it in the wrong environment or at the wrong time. However, I felt like this the whole time once I got into Book II. Book III picks up, and then I don't know if it is from the slagging of Book II, but it just felt like it kept going on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on...Have you had enough now? I know I have. I guess I expected more to the story. Maybe I didn't enjoy it because I didn't feel anything for the characters, or the story, or just...any of it. I think this story could have been simplified and it would have been a more enjoyable read for me. And maybe, this one just wasn't for me. I LOVE alien crap....I'm an X-Files junkie...but The Tommyknockers just wasn't my cup of tea, I guess.

  19. 3 out of 5

    Tom Swift

    One thing is for sure. I am never moving to a small town in Maine. Strange things happen. Picked this one up at Half Priced Books for $1. Working my way through King's older stuff. Fun ride. A word of advice, don't dig anything up in your backyard, leave it alone.

  20. 3 out of 5

    Jason

    The first Stephen King book I read, and at the time probably the biggest book I had read at that time. This was when I moved away from reading books that were available at the school library and moved on to what I could get at the public library. This probably hasn't aged well but it will always have a place in my heart as the first real adventure I had in literature, will I read it again? probably not, don't want to ruin a good thing. What I can remember from the book, bleeding, headaches, a hum The first Stephen King book I read, and at the time probably the biggest book I had read at that time. This was when I moved away from reading books that were available at the school library and moved on to what I could get at the public library. This probably hasn't aged well but it will always have a place in my heart as the first real adventure I had in literature, will I read it again? probably not, don't want to ruin a good thing. What I can remember from the book, bleeding, headaches, a hum in the woods and the slow revealing on what object was in the woods. If you're new to Stephen King then this is a good place to start.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    I'm an unabashed fan of this book. Through and through. In fact, I'd say it's one of the best books of his that I've ever read. Yes, I'm dead serious. The pace is deliciously slow, building tension in waves and layers, rather than spurts and fits. The cosmic terror is enjoyably vague, yet the nature and logic of its machinations contains some truly eerie implications. And the characters? Don't even get me started...but, since I have already, they're amazing. Not one owner of a name is anything le I'm an unabashed fan of this book. Through and through. In fact, I'd say it's one of the best books of his that I've ever read. Yes, I'm dead serious. The pace is deliciously slow, building tension in waves and layers, rather than spurts and fits. The cosmic terror is enjoyably vague, yet the nature and logic of its machinations contains some truly eerie implications. And the characters? Don't even get me started...but, since I have already, they're amazing. Not one owner of a name is anything less than a real flesh-and-blood person. The red-haired girl who gives a ride to a certain main character hitching a long-distance was especially touching, and one I truly hope King returns to in another story someday. Before, during, and after reading this book, I was well-aware of this book's rocky reputation, and yet I read it without caring...and I was simply allured by it, right up through its final, haunting images. The way I see it - if you just didn't see the genuine charm of this book...well, it's too bad you can't share the breathless conversations about it with me. :)

  22. 3 out of 5

    Marvin

    Let's face it. Stephen King can't write science fiction. I'm not even sure why King even thought Tommyknockers needed to be written. It's bad SF and not as all equal to his horror writings. It doesn't dazzle and it doesn't shine. The best thing I can say for it is that it doesn't feature a rabid Saint Bernard. Update: I might have to change that first sentence. King's 11-23-63 proved that he can write effective science fiction, at least in the speculative history sub-genre. But I still dislike The Let's face it. Stephen King can't write science fiction. I'm not even sure why King even thought Tommyknockers needed to be written. It's bad SF and not as all equal to his horror writings. It doesn't dazzle and it doesn't shine. The best thing I can say for it is that it doesn't feature a rabid Saint Bernard. Update: I might have to change that first sentence. King's 11-23-63 proved that he can write effective science fiction, at least in the speculative history sub-genre. But I still dislike The Tommyknockers.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Maciek

    Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door. I want to go out, don't know if I can, 'Cause I'm so afraid of the Tommyknocker man. When Bobbi Anderson goes for a walk in the woods and trips over a small piece of metal, she doesn't know that she has only seconds left to live. Her life will not end, though; it will change in a way that she, a writer of popular westerns, is not even able to imagine. Determined to see what is in the earth, Bobbi starts digging Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door. I want to go out, don't know if I can, 'Cause I'm so afraid of the Tommyknocker man. When Bobbi Anderson goes for a walk in the woods and trips over a small piece of metal, she doesn't know that she has only seconds left to live. Her life will not end, though; it will change in a way that she, a writer of popular westerns, is not even able to imagine. Determined to see what is in the earth, Bobbi starts digging and unknowingly bestows a curse upon the small town of Haven, maine. Because it's not an old bike or some boat that's sticking out of the ground; it's a spacecraft that has been there for millions of years. Bobbi's old friend, Jim Gardener, senses that she might be in danger and ventures to see her. Now, this sounds great, and truly would be, if the novel didn't go all around the place. Knocking at just over 700 pages, The Tommyknockers often meanders and looses focus, jumping and switching the narration like a drunk switches bars on Saturday night, or any night for that matter. If approximately 50 or a 100 pages were rewritten or edited, the novel would improve dramatically in pacing and plot structure. There's some truly great stuff in The Tommyknockers; Gardener's scene at a poetry recitation combined with a cocktail party is truly great and displays the sheer raw power of King's writing. He wasn't writing with ink, he was writing with rage and it shows. Even though it was written in the 80's it looses none of its power. The usual small-town atmosphere is done well, and there's a lot of allusions to King's other works, such as IT or Firestarter. The change that the town of Haven undergoes, the dramatic conclusion and the beautiful epilogue are the shining points of this novel and deserve praise. It's a surprisingly poignant novel about aging, addiction and change that comes to us all with time. The lack of power to fight these forces is not the reason to stop fighting, even if the end result is almost certainly futile. And the Tommyknockers are real. Like King says in the preface - just watch the evening news. The new boss is the same as the old boss.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michael Jandrok

    Disclaimer: This review is overlong and a bit disjointed and possibly boring in places, just like the subject matter. Continue at your own discretion. Keeping with my September/October obsession with the macabre, I decided to head for the bookstore and pick up a fresh copy of Stephen King’s “The Tommyknockers.” There is a new commercial interest in King as the theatrical version of “It” has now become the highest grossing horror film in cinema history. And I loved reading “It,” but I will also co Disclaimer: This review is overlong and a bit disjointed and possibly boring in places, just like the subject matter. Continue at your own discretion. Keeping with my September/October obsession with the macabre, I decided to head for the bookstore and pick up a fresh copy of Stephen King’s “The Tommyknockers.” There is a new commercial interest in King as the theatrical version of “It” has now become the highest grossing horror film in cinema history. And I loved reading “It,” but I will also confess that I am sort of drawn to King's more obscure works. I remember reading “The Tommyknockers” not long after its release date back in 1987. Having read all of King’s output to that point I was thrilled to get another thick slab of fright from a writer who was clearly on a roll. Except of course, King was not exactly at the top of his game. By his own admission, he was struggling with substance abuse, and this became one of the central themes of the novel. King had attained celebrity status by that time in his career, and his lifestyle was a direct reflection of those heady times. As such, he is on record as describing “The Tommyknockers” as an “awful” book, one which he is ashamed of. And clearly, if you set it up against the rest of the King canon, it does fall short in a lot of areas. But we will discuss those later in this review. I have my own nostalgic reasons for coming back to this book at this particular juncture in my life, and I’ll flat out state right up front that I enjoy the novel despite its many flaws. “Late last night and the night before, Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door.” “Tommyknockers” are supposedly the ghosts of dead miners whose spirits are still knocking on the sides of the mine shafts trying to gain attention to their plight. In some cases, they are known to come out of the mines and knock on people’s doors to get them to come out and help them. It’s a scary enough folk definition, and one that King adapts to his own uses here. In quick summary of the plot: pulp Western writer Bobbi Anderson is out cutting firewood one day on her rural Maine property, when she stumbles over a piece of metal sticking out of the ground on a path she has walked many times before. A quick exploration of the object reveals that it is nothing small nor easy to wrest from the ground. Furthermore, she encounters an odd “vibration” when she touches the thing. She leaves it be for the time being and heads back to her home, to ponder the situation. Meanwhile, her good friend and occasional lover (and former college instructor) Jim Gardener (Gard) is having a physical and emotional breakdown many miles away, a result of falling off of the wagon for the umpteenth time. His drinking prompts a confrontation with a nuclear power company executive at a poetry reading after-party, and Gardener finds himself washed up on a beachfront several days later, despondent and suicidal after a long blackout. His only link to anyone who might help him is his relationship with Bobbi, and he has a suspicion that all is not right with her world. The premonition prompts him to abandon his suicide planning and hitchhike to Bobbi’s home, where he finds things are a bit...different...indeed. Bobbi is acting strangely, is physically emaciated, and has been fiercely making “improvements” around her home. Her old water heater now produces boiling hot steam at the crack of a spigot, and seems to be powered by some sort of small-scale fusion device. Her battered old typewriter appears to be able to read Bobbi’s mind by telepathy, and allows her to write an entire new book with just her thought processes. There are batteries EVERYWHERE, and her old pet beagle Peter seems to be mysteriously missing. Bobbi takes Gard out to what she calls “the dig,” and shows him her secret. She hasn’t stumbled over an old safe or a refrigerator in her yard. No, Bobbi has been working herself to death uncovering what appears to be a genuine flying saucer of immense physical proportions. Meanwhile, the people of the town of Haven, where Bobbi resides, are experiencing their own brainstorms of odd creativity, and find themselves changing (“becoming”) both mentally and physically. They are all losing teeth, and they have all developed a form of telepathy with each other. Odd bits of violence occur, but the “becoming” continues. A young boy accidentally makes his younger brother “disappear” at a backyard magic show, in what may turn out to be a window to an alien world. Gardener has a steel plate in his skull, a byproduct of a ski accident when he was younger. This piece of metal gives him some immunity from what everyone is now calling “the becoming,” but events at Bobbi’s place and in town are progressing at a dangerous pace. Gardener has reluctantly agreed to help Bobbi dig up the saucer, though it drives him back to drink. Events coalesce, and Bobbi and the townsfolk, who now call themselves the “Tommyknockers,” begin to escalate their physical and mental mutation, building to what will literally be an explosive climax. What is in Bobbi’s shed that she won’t let Gard see? What’s with all of the dolls scattered around when the town clock tower lifts off like a bottle rocket? What is going on with all of the sickly green light and all of those damn squishy sounds? Tentacles? Oh, yes…..there are tentacles. “I want to go out, don’t know if I can, ‘cause I’m so afraid of the Tommyknocker man.” I think my liking for “The Tommyknockers” lies with the premise itself. I have a soft spot for science-fiction that intermingles with horror, and the basic plot of the book is straight out of the old pulp sci-fi and horror novels and comics of the 1950s. It’s not an original set of ideas on which to base a novel. King states that the basis of “The Tommyknockers” was ripped off from H. P. Lovecraft’s short story “The Colour out of Space.” (And Lovecraft was the MASTER of mixing science-fiction themes with horror. His entire Cthulhu mythos is premised on a set of interdimensional space entities from the immense distances between the stars.) Fellow writer and critic Kim Newman believes the plot is a rewrite of “Quatermass and the Pit/Five Million Years to Earth,”an old '60s-era story of the excavation of an alien spaceship in the heart of London, during which the craft exerts an influence on the residents of the immediate area of the dig. On a personal level, I can even see a couple of similarities with the “Spooky Space Kook” episode of the original Scooby-Doo cartoon series, first aired way back in 1969. And basically, King pulls this derivative story together reasonably well, especially the parts of the book that focus on the interplay between Bobbi and Gard. This relationship is at the absolute heart of the novel, and when it’s on point, it’s simply great. King took a lot of time establishing the two characters, and their shared history and background provides a framework for why Gardener agrees to help Bobbi dig up the spacecraft in spite of the obvious and increasingly chilling changes occurring to her and the rest of the town as time goes by. Gard is not as immune as he initially thinks he is to the “becoming,” but by the time he himself begins to develop and change it is FAR too late to blow the whistle on what is happening in and around Haven. King has to juggle a lot of themes here...the aforementioned focus on addiction and the slow debilitation that goes hand in hand with it…..the attempted association between Gard’s activist hatred of nuclear power and the spaceship’s sinister effects on Bobbi and the town….and finally the deep-seated 1960s-era distrust of the shadow government and the machinations of power and covert activity, a theme that runs through a number of King’s works. When it’s good, it’s good. That said, “The Tommyknockers” isn’t always good. After starting strong with Bobbi and Gard as the central characters, King inexplicably turns the entire middle portion of the book to the town of Haven and the happenings within. While some of the stories are interesting, the bulk of the narrative slows to a crawl populated with only marginally engaging characters. I would have been ok if King had interspersed these “townie” tales into the larger central plot revolving around Bobbi and Gard, but he instead drops his main characters for an interminably long time to focus on a lot of what could have been integrated as peripheral events. As a result of this, all of the narrative energy is drained by the time that King once again turns his attentions to Bobbi and Gard. The author gamely tries to recapture the thrust of the story, and he succeeds to some degree, but the damage to the book as a whole has been done. King also fails to draw a clear comparison between the dangers of nuclear power and the eerie effects of the Tommyknockers upon the town. There are a few similarities drawn between the two, especially in the way that the “Tommyknocker effect” mirrors radiation poisoning, but the whole thing is really put together in sketchy fashion. I also never really got the message being sent about addiction, other than that it’s bad and it can ruin your life. I think that King was inhabiting the character of Gardener at some points, incorporating his own struggles with drugs into the main narrative in order to….what, exactly? It seemed sometimes that the message was something like “don’t be a drunk kids, or you will chase your obsessions into the ground while everyone around you mutates into strange alien creatures.” Or something like that. In the end, “The Tommyknockers” is a big mixed bag for fans. Personally, I am of the “any Stephen King is good Stephen King” mindset. This certainly isn’t his best writing, but it’s still head and shoulders above a lot of lesser authors. It’s long in the tooth, and I think it could easily have been cut by a hundred pages or so. I hope that King eventually follows through on his idea to rework this book. The bones of a terrifying story are here, you just have to dig through a lot of dirt (much like Bobbi and Gard did) to get to them. There is yet one more thing to recommend “The Tommyknockers,” and that is the sheer amount of “easter-eggs” sprinkled throughout the text, little snippets of information that directly relate to other novels in the King canon. My favorite has to be the “It” reference, the town of Haven being in reasonably close proximity to the town of Derry, the setting for Pennywise and his adventures. It’s a fun task to pick out these little overtures to King’s oeuvre, and it adds a little bit of depth and dimension to an otherwise scattered plot. “The Tommyknockers” read a bit differently for me the second time around. 30 years between readings is a long time, and a lot has happened to me since then, and a lot has happened within King’s imagined universe. Kings seems to be making an attempt to tie EVERYTHING he has written (with the exception of a few short stories and one or two novels) back to “The Dark Tower” in some fashion. The Tower’s multi-dimensional qualities lend themselves well to this task, but I will admit that opens a lot of his older writing up to some form of revisionism. On a purely personal level, I first read this book during a transitional time in my life and a lot of my nostalgia for the experience lends it a bit of a fond and homey glow for me. I was lucky enough to pick up a British pressing of “The Tommyknockers” when I hit the bookstore a few weeks ago. No dust cover, somewhat beat up, it satisfied my yearning to reread this novel through the lens of 30 years of change. It was worth the trip back in time for me.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Feli

    I really enjoyed reading this book. It is long but I never got bored and I wanted to know what happens next. It is one of those novels from SK which one loves or dislikes for its length. And it also is one of those novels where a small town in Maine, located next to Derry, together with all its citizens plays a huge role. I see it this way: We have three main characters in here: Bobbi (and her dog Peter of course), an author of western novels who stumbles and thus starts everything happening in t I really enjoyed reading this book. It is long but I never got bored and I wanted to know what happens next. It is one of those novels from SK which one loves or dislikes for its length. And it also is one of those novels where a small town in Maine, located next to Derry, together with all its citizens plays a huge role. I see it this way: We have three main characters in here: Bobbi (and her dog Peter of course), an author of western novels who stumbles and thus starts everything happening in this book. We have Gardener, a friend of hers, alcoholic and potential suicide, really at the bottom of life and returning once more to Haven and to his friend and former lover Bobbi. And we have the town Haven. Yes, I know, a town, but for me, this is like a third character. For me none of the little stories in this part of the book was unnecessary, it all served the purpose to get to know the town and what's going on and how everyone reacts. Of course, one can argue that plot would have worked without all those pages dedicated to Haven, but the story wouldn't have worked without them. I think a whole lot of the atmosphere of the book would have been lost if SK had cut out those 'Haven stories'. So, if you consider seeing them more as a third character, namely the character of the town itself, and not as a bunch of stories which necessary, then maybe you can see that they can be important if you let them and what they add to the complete story. This is the way I see all those books by SK with a huge 'town part' in it like Needful Things or Under the Dome and it works for me, those books are upon my favourite ones by SK. Being not a fan of a lot of SKs endings I was afraid that I would dislike this one, too. It wasn't the best ending I've ever read, for sure not, but I expected worse. (view spoiler)[which maybe is because I dislike endings in which out of nowhere some outer space race/alien turns up and that's it. Like: woah, great book, but who will I end this properly... ah I know, put an alien in it... well here it was quite obvious from the start that it's all about them and maybe this is why it works for me this time ;-) (hide spoiler)]

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Awe shucks, such a missed opportunity by King here. The Tommyknockers was a solid concept, but poorly executed. King himself has criticised this book as being one of, if not the, worst of his novels. He said it was the last book he wrote before cleaning up his act. In other words, it was written during a coke-fuelled binge of sorts. And it shows. For me, this novel is really a book of thirds. 1/3. This section of the book was honestly some of the most engaging King writing I've ever read. Prior to Awe shucks, such a missed opportunity by King here. The Tommyknockers was a solid concept, but poorly executed. King himself has criticised this book as being one of, if not the, worst of his novels. He said it was the last book he wrote before cleaning up his act. In other words, it was written during a coke-fuelled binge of sorts. And it shows. For me, this novel is really a book of thirds. 1/3. This section of the book was honestly some of the most engaging King writing I've ever read. Prior to starting Tommyknockers I'd heard much about how this book was one of King's least liked books by fans. But when I started reading the book, I thought everyone must have been off their Tommyknocker-rocker! The first third is a brilliant examination into the two main characters' minds, their lives. The characters are interesting, likeable and hateable alike. The writing is King at his best, and it's an incredible, tense, detailed introduction into what was a very juicy concept. 2/3. Here the book collapses in on itself like a dying star. Suddenly King veers away from the two very interesting main characters, and introduces a whole shwack of characters out of nowhere. For the most part, none of them had any business being in the story. They didn't add anything to the essential grain of the idea. Rather, they cluttered up the story, screwed up the pace, and mostly, confused the hell out of me. I like to think this was where King was snorting coke off to the side of his laptop with a rolled up dollar bill in one hand while typing with his other hand. 3/3. Here the book tries to return to it's first-third roots, but by now it's far too late. You've lost the reader in all the confusion that was the coke-infused middle section of the book. King attempts to bring together everything here, but since he introduced so many different characters and random sub plots in the middle part of the book, it was like he was really grasping at straws trying to figure out how the hell to incorporate it all together. Final analysis. There's a fantastic book in here somewhere. This 550ish page novel should be cut back to about 300, losing much of the middle junk, and you'd have a helluva story here. The Tommyknockers felt a bit like a cross between Stranger Things and Under the Dome. That said, Under the Dome was far superior in execution to the concept of having a town trapped under the influence of an unknown force. I feel like Under the Dome was in some ways a chance at redemption for this concept for King. I often hear of authors who wish they could go back with a red marker and edit some of their novels. I would imagine King would want to go back and do this with Tommyknockers. If you exclude the random middle third of the novel, there is a delicious mixture of suspense, horror, supernatural, realism, and all the other stuff that makes King a staple on most bookshelves. My two star rating appears harsh. It's more like 2.5 stars. If King went back with a re-do he'd likely be able to boost this into one of his greater novels. Alas, time moves on, and so has King. There are still many many many King's left for me to read, so I'm not going to dwell any longer on this. Onward.

  27. 4 out of 5

    11811 (Eleven)

    I was about 12 years old when this came out. My friend's mother at the time was our personal expert consultant on all things Stephen King. Her opinion of this book was something like "meh." That isn't verbatim but it's pretty close. After that, I read some mediocre or even less flattering reviews in whatever rags I was reading back then - TIME, NEWSWEEK, THE BERGEN RECORD, shit like that. This book went on my permanent not-to-be-read-list. I even skipped the mini-series on TV because the almight I was about 12 years old when this came out. My friend's mother at the time was our personal expert consultant on all things Stephen King. Her opinion of this book was something like "meh." That isn't verbatim but it's pretty close. After that, I read some mediocre or even less flattering reviews in whatever rags I was reading back then - TIME, NEWSWEEK, THE BERGEN RECORD, shit like that. This book went on my permanent not-to-be-read-list. I even skipped the mini-series on TV because the almighty THEY said that it basically sucked. I was 12. Cut me some slack, Jack. I liked it. Maybe because the worst of 80's King is still pretty damn good. Maybe because I read it in the context of what we know about King at the time, including his BAC. A respected reviewer who goes by the name Edward Lorn (Don't trust this guy; He's presumed to be dangerous) recently reviewed this with a 3 star rating and a pretty damn brilliant review. I admire his quest to reconsider every King novel in the context of the Dark Tower. He convinced me. That tower is fucking everywhere. I won't get into that since he already did but his review made me realize that I made a mistake when I passed this up. There were echoes of everything from 'Salem's Lot to Under the Dome. In all of its imperfections, I'm glad I read it. Better to read it now rather than when it was released... that would have tainted my rating back then or would have if there were such a thing as Goodreads or the Internet or whatever... but I'm glad I finally read it. If you are anywhere near a King completist, don't skip this one.

  28. 3 out of 5

    Carlos A.

    Aun no entiendo como nadie habla de este libro de King si es genial, su contenido siempre te deja con ganas de seguir y el final deja satisfecho. Muchas conexiones con otros libros incluyendo IT.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Wayne Barrett

    Even Stephen King admitted that this book was a mess, and I have to agree. The first time I read it, which was about 25 years ago, I thought the book was pretty good but didn't like the ending. I thought maybe knowing beforehand how it was going to end, I might not be so disappointed. Well, this time around I am wondering how in the hell I thought the first part of the book was good? This thing really was a mess. Political rantings, overkill on fillers, and still a horrible ending. As a fan who Even Stephen King admitted that this book was a mess, and I have to agree. The first time I read it, which was about 25 years ago, I thought the book was pretty good but didn't like the ending. I thought maybe knowing beforehand how it was going to end, I might not be so disappointed. Well, this time around I am wondering how in the hell I thought the first part of the book was good? This thing really was a mess. Political rantings, overkill on fillers, and still a horrible ending. As a fan who has read every one of Kings books, I hereby proclaim that The Tommyknockers is now, officially, my least favorite book by Stephen King. Quite honestly, if this were any other author, I would have probably given this 1 star.

  30. 3 out of 5

    Amanda || eastofreaden

    I feel terrible for giving this book such a low rating but I genuinely feel like I suffered through a large portion of it. Some of it was SO good, and I flew through those portions. But then it would be another 100 pages of horrible pacing and information that I found so inconsequential I didn't even retain any of it. I read that King feels like this is his worst book, and he might be right. I guess it was time for me to finally discover a book of his I didn't absolutely love.

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