SMALL WORLD by Tabitha King


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From the wife of master bogeyman Stephen King: a passable fantasy that combines the old shrinking-machine gimmick with lots of sex and villainy. The primary dispenser of both lust and evil here is sex-hungry widow Dolly Hardesty Douglas, who has recently taken new interest in the White House dollhouse given to her 30 years ago when she was the US President's pre-teen daughter; the dollhouse has now been restored and refurnished by Dolly's widowed daughter-in-law Lucy (the world's finest dollhouse miniaturist), and it's on display at the ""Small World"" exhibit at Nick Weiler's Dalton Institute in Washington, D.C. But Dolly's dollhouse mania really gets going when she discovers that mad, aging virgin Roger Tinker has invented a camera that shrinks its subjects! So now Dolly-who makes Roger her sex slave--can both indulge her dollhouse obsession and wreak vengeance on anyone who has displeased her. The dollhouse collection gets underway as Dolly and Roger shrink the carousel in Central Park and steal it. The revenge-shrinkings zoom into gear with the miniaturization of super-tall TV newswoman Leyna Shaw, who has been Dolly's rival for the bedroom attentions of Nick Weiler. (Leyna will commit mini-suicide, thus causing an electrical fire in the dollhouse.) And before long, Dolly and Roger are on a small Maine island, getting ready to shrink Lucy's kids (Dolly's own grandchildren!), Lucy herself (another of Dolly's rivals for Don Juan Weiler), and maybe even Nick himself. King's characterization is sheer pulp--cartoonish Dolly seems to be modeled on the cruelly beautiful Queen in Snow White--and the melodrama often slops over nto comic-strip action. But, as proven by The Incredible Shrinking Man and dozens of others, the miniaturization idea always packs a certain creepy punch; and--enhanced by the dollhouse-art detail-this recycling is competent enough to draw in those with a weakness for whimsical fantasy-horror.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1981
Publisher: Macmillan