Different Seasons: Four Novellas
A collection of four novellas by the bestselling master, three of which became the basis for the hit films Stand by Me, The Shawshank Redemption, and Apt Pupil. So varied in tone that “you have to compare King to Twain, Poe-with a generous dash of Philip Roth and Will Rogers thrown in.” —Los Angeles Times
Different Seasons (1982) is a collection of four novellas, markedly different in tone and subject, each on the theme of a journey. The first is a rich, satisfying, nonhorrific tale about an innocent man who carefully nurtures hope and devises a wily scheme to escape from prison. The second concerns a boy who discards his innocence by enticing an old man to travel with him into a reawakening of long-buried evil. In the third story, a writer looks back on the trek he took with three friends on the brink of adolescence to find another boy’s corpse. The trip becomes a character-rich rite of passage from youth to maturity.
These first three novellas have been made into well-received movies: “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” into Frank Darabont’s 1994 The Shawshank Redemption (available as a screenplay, a DVD film, and an audiocassette), “Apt Pupil” into Bryan Singer’s 1998 film Apt Pupil (also released in 1998 on audiocassette), and “The Body” into Rob Reiner’s Stand by Me (1986).
The final novella, “Breathing Lessons,” is a horror yarn told by a doctor, about a patient whose indomitable spirit keeps her baby alive under extraordinary circumstances. It’s the tightest, most polished tale in the collection. —Fiona Webster
When this popular prison drama was released in 1994, some critics complained that the movie was too long (142 minutes) to sustain its story. Those complaints miss the point, because the passage of time is crucial to this story about patience, the squeaky wheels of justice, and the growth of a life-long friendship. Only when the film reaches its final, emotionally satisfying scene do you fully understand why writer-director Frank Darabont (adapting a novella by Stephen King) allows the story to unfold at its necessary pace, and the effect is dramatically…
At the top of his game, Stephen King has a real gift for mining monsters—zero-at-the-bone horror—out of everyday faces and places. Adapted from a novella in the 1982 collection that also spawned Stand by Me and The Shawshank Redemption, Apt Pupil looks at first as if it might draw authentically enlightening terror from the soul-cancer that makes blood relations of a Southern California golden boy (Brad Renfro) and an aging Nazi war criminal (Sir Ian McKellen). Turned on by a high-school course about the Holocaust, Todd Bowden (such a bland…