I think I like Stephen King’s short fiction better than his novels, but I am biases; I am a fan of short fiction above all else. Stephen King is a definite master of the art.
There are four novellas in Different Seasons and I will briefly address each of them.
1. “Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption”. I’d seen (and loved) the movie, but never read the story. Having read the story, I immediately added it to my list of all time favorite stories. It’s all about the voice, I think. There are elements that differ from the movie, but the voice is the same and I think it’s the voice that made the movie as good as it was. Like all my “all-time favorites” it’s the kind of story that I can and will read again with equal enjoyment. 5 stars.
2. “Apt Pupil”. This was a horrible story–in the traditional sense–I felt a sense of horror reading it. I was in constant discomfort, uneasy. And that’s because it was a well-told story. Despite my feeling that it was probably the weakest story of the lot, I still think King demonstrated his ability to make the reader feel something about the characters. 3-1/2 stars.
3. “The Body”. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never seen “Stand By Me” from beginning to end, but now I don’t have to. I liked the story, a kind of coming-of-age tale typified by King’s ability at getting deep into a character and his or her surroundings. There was a nostalgia to the story that I didn’t quite feel, perhaps because I grew up in the 70s and 80s and not the 50s and 60s, but despite that, I think some of that nostalgia managed to sneak through anyway. 3-1/2 stars.
4. “The Breathing Method”. This story surprised me the most. It is the shortest of the stories, and while it’s not the best story in the book, it is fair second. I loved the setting of the story, and the mystery surrounding the club (which in some ways reminded me of Asimov’s Black Widowers). There was an unearthly quality to the story, and it is a story that I imagine could have been written by Jorge Luis Borges. It was perhaps the best page-turner in the book. 4 stars.