Night Shift (book)

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Night Shift is the first collection of short stories by Stephen King, first published in 1978. Many of King's most famous short stories were included in this collection.


Stories collected


The book was published on the heels of The Shining (1977 Doubleday) and was King's fifth published book (including Rage, which was published under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman). A vast majority of the stories had appeared in various issues of Cavalier Magazine from 1970-1975; others were originally published in Penthouse, Cosmopolitan, Gallery, Ubris, and Maine Magazine. The stories "Jerusalem's Lot", "Quitters Inc.", "The Last Rung on the Ladder", and "The Woman in the Room" appeared for the first time in this collection.

Foreword and introduction

Night Shift is the first book for which King wrote a foreword. This foreword, in which the writer humbly introduces himself, sets up his characteristic "fire-side storyteller" tone. He begins the foreword directly addressing the reader; "Let's talk, you and I. Let's talk about fear." This friendly, conversational tone, will become a hallmark of Stephen King's writing style - especially his non-fiction writing. He closes the foreword on a note that would become familiar to his 'Constant Readers' (a term of endearment that King reserves for his fans).

The introduction was written by one of King's favorite authors, John D. MacDonald.

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

With the publication of Night Shift and the rise in King's popularity as a best-selling author, also with the success of Brian De Palma's motion picture adaptation of Carrie (1976), student film and theatre makers began to submit requests to King to make adaptations of the stories that appeared in the collection. King formed a policy he deemed the Dollar Deal, which allowed the students the permission to make an adaptation for the consideration of just $1.

In the 1980s, entrepreneurial film producer Milton Subotsky purchased the rights to six of the stories in this collection with the intention to produce feature films and a television anthology based on multiple stories. Although Subotsky was involved with several King adaptations (Cat's Eye, Maximum Overdrive, Sometimes They Come Back, The Lawnmower Man) the television series never came to fruition due to problems with the network's Standards and Practices.[1]

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