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The Tommyknockers Mass Market Paperback – October 31, 1988

3.9 out of 5 stars 345 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

King's new novel, a numbing variation on Invasion of the Body Snatchers, offers its own best commentary on itself. Nearly one-third of the way through the 560-page book, protagonist Bobbi Anderson, a writer of westerns, describes what she has stumbled upon in her backyard to her friend Gardener, an alcoholic poet: "It was a flying saucer. No self-respecting science-fiction writer would put one in his story, and if he did, no self-respecting editor would touch it with a ten-foot pole.. . . It is the oldest wheeze in the book." After the vampirish Tommyknockers in the spaceship have wrought their evil magic upon the inhabitants of Haven (Tommyknockers live on the blood of comatose humans circulated through mind-reading PCs connected to VCRs), the unfortunate townspeople have, it seems, "become" (the word, over-used and never explained, is King's) "something else" (the vague words are also the author's). The "gadgets" of the town "become" living beings that kill (there are marauding hedge cutters and Coke machines, Electrolux vacuums, Yamaha motorcycles and flying smoke detectors ) and The Tommyknockers is consumed by the rambling prose of its author. Taking a whole town as his canvas, King uses too-broad strokes, adding cartoonlike characters and unlikely catastrophes like so many logs on a fire; ultimately he loses all semblance of style, carefully structured plot or resonant meaning, the hallmarks of his best writing. It is clear from this latest work that King himself has "become" a writing machinethis is his fourth novel since It was published 14 months ago; the faithful readers not overwhelmed by his latest fictional "gadget" are likely to wonder, as poet Gardener does near the novel's end: "What had it all been for? He realized miserably that he was never going to know."
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Yet another mammoth horror novel from King, this dark tale depicts a small town's fatal encounter with creatures from outer space. Events start with Roberta Anderson, a writer of Old West novels, unearthing a flying saucer on her remote wooded property. Five hundred pages later alcoholic poet Jim Gardener, Roberts's former English teacher, finds himself aboard the flying saucer in outer space. In the interval the creatures (Tommyknockers) destroy the citizenry of Haven, Maine. While this is not one of King's more original novels, it does have plenty of blood and guts, macabre humor, and a well-wrought realization of the New England countryside. No doubt King's legions of fans will demand it. BOMC main selection. James B. Hemesath, Adams State Coll. Lib., Alamosa, Col.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: Signet; Reissue edition (October 31, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451156609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451156600
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (345 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #103,376 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than fifty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes Doctor Sleep and Under the Dome, now a major TV miniseries on CBS. His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller as well as the Best Hardcover Book Award from the International Thriller Writers Association. He is the recipient of the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am about the same age as Stephen King and have read his works throughout my adult life. I think most readers are too young to appreciate this book.

Stephen King's early works, assembelled in chronological order, are all symbolic stories of stages in his own life. "Carrie" is about high school, "Salem's Lot" about love and loss in early adulthood, "The Shining" about the anxieties of fatherhood. "It" is about the reworking of childhood issues in mid-life. All great fiction talks to us on a subconcious level.

"Tommy Knockers" is about aging and death. Time possesses and mutates all of us, makes our teeth and hair fall out, truncates our dreams, makes us unrecognizable from our youthful selves. This is a sad book, and unlike King's earlier works the protagonists have no power to fight such an enemy. Affirming the value of love, however futile, in the face of death is the point of the book.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Okay, to be honest, the book gets gripping after one slogs through the first 200 pages. Before that, we spend a looong time getting to know Bobbi Anderson and Jim Gardener. But once the book expands its narrative to include the members of the entire town of Haven, the book does not let up.
The first two hundred pages, and a bit too much techno jargon prevent me from fully bestowing this book with a full 5 stars. King has clearly done his homework on this book, but after a while, all the descriptions of the souped up gadgets made my eyes swim (much as Tolkien's endless landscape descriptions in "Lord of the Rings" made me wish good old John Ronald Reuel had pioneered the minimalist writing style.)
The Tommyknockers, while not my favorite King novel, is a great effort. people may complain about an anti-climactic ending (They must have read the ending to a different book, the climax I read was rather exciting)or the fact that the characters seem to stumble down a path of destruction. Well, that happens in life as well. I think King's writing is at the top of its form... I think the scene when Jim Gardener drunkenly ruins an all too polite cocktail party with a rant against the destructive powers of nuclear energy is one of the most powerful scenes in all of King's canon, and one of the most chilling without benefit of any super- or preter- natural interference. Despite all of the evil the characters in his novels have faced (indeed, Pennywise the clown makes a brief appearance in a city sewer, which is odd as this tale is to have taken place 3 years after the events in IT... one thinks King's editors add the dates of the events of his novels to coincide with the publication dates and not to correspond with when the novels were actually written.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Tommyknockers is not your typical horror novel. Stephen King goes above and beyond our expectations, bringing us mystery, suspense, and an incredible twist at the end that leaves us begging for more. You'll never look at small towns the same after visiting the seemingly innocent community of Haven, Maine, where the story takes place. The superhuman powers and horror that follows after Bobbi Andersons shocking discovery on her property will keep you on the edge of your seat throughout the entire novel. Though the length of the book may seem intimidating at first, do not be deterred; it's an easy read, a constant page turner, and worth every minute! Much like the outsiders around the town of Haven, once you get in to explore the Tommyknockers, there will be no turning back.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm not renowned for reading a book twice. In fact it's a VERY rare habit based on the premise that, if I know what's going to happen, I won't enjoy it second time round. However, I made an exception with Tommyknockers because my memories of it had begun to fade. What I discovered on second reading was the depth of Stephen King's writing. Knowing the storyline and the ending probably gave me more time to savour the text and, though King is a genius commercial writer as opposed to a pretentious literary scribbler, there are phrases and structure in this book that evade all but the most accomplished authors. Let's ignore the story (there are plenty of reviews to tell you about that) and just concentrate on the writing. The hero is a troubled alcoholic poet, Jim Gardener, who comes to check on his friend Bobbi who, unknown to him, has uncovered a UFO. There's much in the character of Gardener that escapes through the line spacing first time round. His readings at poetry meetings suddenly take on a new meaning when you're not concerned about the 'plot'. Maybe King based his characterization on his own view of himself. If so, The Tommyknockers gives a real insight into 'The Master'. But then King has always been top of the tree when it comes to characterization, so maybe he just imagined it all in his head. If so, it's an even more remarkable feat. The Tommyknockers is amongst King's best works. If you've not already read it, add it to your shopping basket right now.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Tommyknockers is best described as an interesting book about the unknown, specifically alien artefacts, but also happens to be a bit of a let down in certain departments, namely the conclusion and some plot development that goes a bit stray. The Tommyknockers is certainly his most original work and is a cross between "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and "Salem's Lot".
Basically a woman discovers a crashed UFO in the woods, digs it up, becomes hyper-intelligent and this "alien virus" spreads to others in the town who find themselves up to all sorts of good and bad things in very peculiar ways.
When all is said and done the characters are interesting and it has its moments as you would expect from this author, but ultimately it is a bit of a letdown and doesn't really finish quite like it started. King has done better but then again a lot of other authors have done worse. This is only really for the King lover. Go elsewhere if you want a good King book.
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