A Review of Night Surf by S. King

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 A small group of college kids have survived and are living together on a beach. And they have just burned someone alive as the night surf rolled in. It has that classic, first page attention getter that is a trademark of Stephen King novels.

The main character of the story is deep into thoughts of what happened, mixing it with flashes of his personal memories of his girlfriend before the outbreak. One of the group has a stereo but there are only two stations left. One is a religious fanatic, the other, a group of kids much like themselves, who play rock and tell jokes. It is clear these are kids who were wealthy before the outbreak of flu and there is a lot fighting and indifference to each others problems. Even when it is revealed that one of their group has begun to show signs of A6, the others are only concerned with what that means for them. It is an excellent example of how horror survivors sink deep into their own wounds, a shell shock effect.

During this short story, we find out that the kids burned a man alive on the beach, pretending it was a sacrifice to the gods to keep them healthy and not saying it was really just because it was something new to do. The main character feels a sense of guilt for it but since the man was raving, near death anyway from A6, or Captain Trips, is able to ignore these emotions. He is wakened later by a horrible nightmare and the story finishes with him assuming they will all be dead within a few months and thinking about how it felt to be on the beach with his girlfriend before the outbreak. His thoughts are accented by the roaring of the night surf.

This is a haunting vision of the future, connected to many other Stephen King novels, including The Stand and The Dark Tower series, namely book four Wizard and Glass. Night Surf is a Stephen King classic. It is part of the Night Shift collection. Short and powerful, you will remember it. Four Stars.


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