My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Apart from the excellent On Writing, Four past midnight is the only Stephen King book I ever read. I first read it about 20 years ago, and the Langoliers is the story from this collection that stayed with me vividly. I cannot remember any of the others.
Re-reading it now it seemed totally familiar. The story is just brilliantly cinematic. Perfectly set up and pace to build mystery and tension from the very start, withholding as much information as possible about the strange limbo space the characters find themselves flying into on their airplane. Although they are somewhat of a stock disaster movie bunch, the worst being the caricatured English secret agent type guy, Stephen King masterfully mixes between their own internal dramas and the tension building around them. Then plays them off against each other to milk every last piece of drama out of the strange situation the characters find themselves in. It is a great lesson in dramatic writing techniques, and a thoroughly original concept for a story.