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Uncle Otto's Truck

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About the author

Stephen King

2,529 books828k followers
Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother. Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father's family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut. When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good. Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them. Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support. After Stephen's grandparents passed away, Mrs. King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.

Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966. From his sophomore year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS. He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate. He came to support the anti-war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional. He graduated in 1970, with a B.A. in English and qualified to teach on the high school level. A draft board examination immediately post-graduation found him 4-F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.

He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971. As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men's magazines.

Stephen made his first professional short story sale ("The Glass Floor") to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967. Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men's magazines. Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.

In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine. Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.

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5 stars
975 (57%)
4 stars
441 (26%)
3 stars
227 (13%)
2 stars
37 (2%)
1 star
15 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews
Profile Image for Dennis.
658 reviews276 followers
March 16, 2021
Two Castle Rock businessmen are getting very wealthy in the post-depression era, buying a huge piece of land. One of them dies when he gets crushed beneath his derelict truck. The other becomes obsessed with the truck and thinks that it is out to kill him. Or has Uncle Otto gone crazy and murdered his partner?

Had its moments.


Up next in my quest to read all the stories in the Castle Rock Cycle: Mrs. Todd's Shortcut
Profile Image for Jason Pierce.
742 reviews87 followers
October 28, 2019
2.5 stars rounded up to three.

Christine lite? Nah, not quite...

I better watch it, I'm slipping into verse.

Anyway, as with most of the stories in Skelly Crew, this wasn't a time waster, but it wasn't anything great either. I had a little trouble following this because the timeline jumped around a lot. That might be more my own failing since my short-term memory sucks like a... you know, my old standby quip from years ago was tasteless even back when I was much younger, but now it's just downright sick since I'm 40. But it's still such a fun line. What to do, what to do?... I know, I'll spoiler tag it so as to be covertly offensive instead of overtly offensive. . And speaking of my memory, it seems the short-term isn't the only one that's suffering here. The original bon mot was . Oh well.

To get back to my main point, my short-term memory isn't what it used to be, and I had trouble keeping the chronology of events straight. He'd be talking about 1933, then 1955, then 1953, then 1981, then 1979, then 1955 again, then 1972... Okay, maybe the memory isn't as bad as I thought because I'm certain all those years were mentioned, and I don't have to look back at the story to know it. Though they probably didn't go in that order, but still... selective memory. That's what it must be. Regardless, he'd be in one year, then mention an event, and I'd get confused thinking that had already happened, or happened in a different year than the one mentioned. Then he'd state "what happened in 1955," and I was all "okay, what what was it that happened then again?" It was like trying to study for a damn history test. Plus, I read it in fits and starts because, you know, life...

...and reading something a page here, a couple pages there, is not conducive to good retention. So, if you don't have memory problems and can commit to the whole thing in one sitting, you probably won't have that hang-up. It shouldn't take long since it's only 16 pages... another thing I remember without having to look it up... My brain is so weird.

Oh, we also go back to Castle Rock, ME again, but I don't think any of the characters in this cross over into King's other works. But every work that takes place in the Rock enriches it for me, and I love getting a better feel for the community and the area's history.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
376 reviews14 followers
July 11, 2020
Another great horror short story! I can only describe it as a big old truck with the personality of Christine. It would make a fun movie!
Profile Image for Josh Olds.
877 reviews81 followers
February 25, 2021
What is with King and killer cars? I mean, other than the fact King was almost killed by a car that one time…but yet, some of his car murderer stories are pre-crash. Uncle Otto’s Truck is about an abandoned truck owned by Otto Schenck and George McCutcheon. Early on, Otto murders George with the vehicle and makes it look like an accident, but after that the car seems intent on revenge. Otto insists that the car is creeping imperceptibly closer to him and intends on killing him. He refuses to go outside and begins to lose his sanity. The story ends with Otto being found dead, body full of oil and a spark plug jammed down his throat.

King’s pacing and suspense is spot-on. The fact that he can make this premise compelling is a testament to the fact that when King is on, he’s really on. But why waste being on with this? I’ve no idea.
Profile Image for David Meditationseed.
549 reviews30 followers
May 29, 2018
Obsession or apparition? This duality sometimes defies the sanity and the healthy consciousness. And how difficult is it for an individual to prove to society that he is not crazy, that what he sees is incredibly real and it just challenges the status quo?

This is a story of psychological terror. Something that resembles the tales of Ambrose Bierce and some narratives of Charlotte Perkins Gilman. A story that points to our cognitive processes and memory, where a simple childish fear can become a cruel reality.
Profile Image for Amit.
682 reviews3 followers
April 18, 2020
An abandoned truck owned by Otto Schenck and George McCutcheon, wealthy Castle Rock businessmen in the post-depression era. Otto who was responsible for the murder of George has become obsessed with his truck. His nephew known of the truck too. It's that truck which act abnormally as his uncle Otto’s say. But the story didn't end here but by making a final fate of his uncle Otto later...
Profile Image for James Biser.
3,041 reviews17 followers
July 6, 2020
This is a horror story of an old miser who is killed by an abandoned truck in his yard that he had used to kill his business partner years before. The beautiful parts of this tale are the impossibilities that exist in the story of the dead old man.
Profile Image for Sohail.
472 reviews11 followers
June 7, 2020
A short story in Memoir Fiction format, about a man who starts to lose his marbles. Later it is hinted that he murdered his partner, and the cause of his lunacy is somewhat supernatural.
Profile Image for Mo Majid.
50 reviews2 followers
February 2, 2022
A killer tricks or a killer truck? You decide in this Stephen King short story.
Profile Image for Nick Katenkamp.
1,187 reviews
April 12, 2022
An average haunted car short story that fails to stick out in Skeleton Crew. It has connections to some other Stephen King stories through Castle Rock.
Profile Image for Miku.
1,056 reviews22 followers
April 18, 2021
Kolejne krótkie opowiadanie. Tym razem mamy tutaj historię związaną z porzuconą ciężarówką, która została użyta do zabójstwa innej osoby. Sprawca po zdarzeniu dostaje fioła i cały czas ma wrażenie, że ciężarówka sama od siebie może się poruszać, a co więcej - chce go zabić.

Bardzo przypadł mi do gustu cały pomysł i nie znajduję tutaj żadnych sporych wad, które mogły sprawić, że nie polubiłabym tego opowiadania.
Profile Image for James.
1,546 reviews15 followers
March 10, 2019
An unusual book by King, but, pretty good. It revolves around wealthy business partners, a truck and family history. Reminds me of some short stories by Mark Twain.
Displaying 1 - 23 of 23 reviews

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