History Main / TheTommyknockers

15th Jul '13 1:18:40 PM MarkLungo
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->''"Late last night and the night before,\\
Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door.\\
I want to go out, don't know if I can,\\
because I'm so afraid of the Tommyknocker man."''

''The Tommyknockers'' is an 1987 novel by Creator/StephenKing.

While walking in the woods near the small town of Haven, Maine, Roberta "Bobbi" Anderson, a writer of Westerns, stumbles upon a metal object which turns out to be the slightest portion of an alien spacecraft, that crashed into Earth in prehistoric times. She begins to dig it out, and slowly becomes obsessed with it. Meanwhile, her best friend, alcoholic poet Jim "Gard" Gardener reaches the nadir of his life, and decides to kill himself, but changes his mind when he feels that she is in trouble. He travels to Haven, and finds Bobbi at the point of complete exhaustion. While the spacecraft has no effect on him because of a steel plate in his head, he still decides to help her in unearthing it, hoping to change the world for the better with the power it holds. As more and more is exposed of the ship, the inhabitants of Haven begin to change (the process is called "becoming"), and they become like the aliens who built it (dubbed the "Tommyknockers" after a nursery rhyme); they gain telepathic abilities, and [[HomemadeInventions build futuristic devices from simple household appliances]]. Gardener, seeing that their intentions are far from his idealistic goals, starts to doubt himself, and thinks he should do something against them.

The story is influenced by Creator/HPLovecraft's short story ''Literature/TheColourOutOfSpace'' and the British television serial ''Series/QuatermassAndThePit''. King wrote the book during a period of substance abuse, and has written that he realized later on that the novel was a metaphor for that addiction.

It was adapted into a 1993 miniseries starring Jimmy Smits, Marg Helgenberger, E.G. Marshall, Joanna Cassidy and Traci Lords.

----
!!''TheTommyknockers'' provides examples of:
* TheAlcoholic: Jim Gardener. Unfortunately, he's a mean drunk.
* AllWomenArePrudes: Well, at least Becka Paulson is. At first, she's actually relieved when she suspects that her husband is having an affair, because this means he doesn't have sex with her anymore. To her, sex was "just [[SelfFulfillingProphecy as her mother had told her it would be]], nasty, brutish, sometimes painful, always humiliating".
* AuthorAvatar: See TheAlcoholic. Stephen King had substance abuse problems for years, and it sneaked into his writing a lot (much to his own surprise, after he sobered up enough to notice).
* AuthorTract: In-story example: Gardener wrote a collection of poems under the title "The Radiation Cycle", which were basically anti-nuclear propaganda. He sent it to five different publishers, and it was rejected by all five. An editor tells him "Poetry and politics rarely mix, poetry and propaganda never."
* AutoErotica: Gardener remembers that he and Bobbi once had sex in her truck "during [[Film/LoveStory some stupid Ryan O'Neal picture]]".
* BadassGrandpa: Ev Hillman, though [[CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass you wouldn't expect it at first]].
* BerserkButton: Don't praise nuclear power in front of Gardener.
* BetterAsFriends: Gardener and Bobbi used to be lovers, but by the time the book is set, they're just friends [[spoiler: though they end up having sex once more.]]
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: Gardener dies, but he manages to defeat the Tommyknockers and save David Brown]].
* BodyHorror: The process of "becoming". For most people, it's just teeth falling out, but a select few's skin becomes transparent, and tentacles appear in the place of their genitals.
* ClassicalAntiHero: Jim Gardener. While not unintelligent, he is an alcoholic and often ends up doing stupid or even violent things when drunk.
* CelebrityParadox: Stephen King himself is referenced in the book; the townspeople think that Bobbi writes good stories, "[[SelfDeprecation not all full of make-believe monsters and a bunch of dirty words, like the books that fellow who lived up Bangor way wrote]]". Also, when Gardener wants to get into the shed, he considers grabbing an ax "and make like JackNicholson in ''Film/TheShining''". However, events in ''Literature/TheDeadZone'', ''{{It}}'' and ''Literature/{{Firestarter}}'' are [[CanonWelding mentioned as fact or at least hearsay]], not as fiction.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Ev Hillman first appears as a "garrulous-going-on-tiresome" old man. However, he proves to be very brave and heroic, when he [[PapaWolf tries to save his grandson]].
* DangerousKeyFumble: After Gardener visits the shed, he realizes, just as the "Shed People" are returning, that he forget to put the padlock back on the door. As he runs out to put it back, he drops it and the key falls out.
* DisappearingBox: Played with. Hilly Brown made a machine that didn't make things disappear, but sent them to Altair IV. However, he uses it with the intent of making things vanish under an ordinary cloth as a magic trick.
* DisproportionateRetribution: After gaining mind-reading abilities, Hank Buck, one of the Havenites discovers that a member of his poker circle, "Pits" Barfield regularly used to cheat. Hank teleports him to "Altair 4", a faraway, desolate planet that hardly has any air. Just how much did Barfield steal? [[spoiler: Pennies]]. This story is included to show the Tommyknockers' crazy temper, as well as to show the last time they killed each other due to petty differences.
* {{Doorstopper}}: Actually, many parts could be cut, as they [[{{Filler}} don't really advance the plot]].
* DrinkOrder: Late in the story, Bobbi's sister Anne shows up. Watch what happens when she orders a drink at a hotel on her way to Haven. (It's not so much the drink itself that's revealing, mostly the way she orders it.)
* DyingAsYourself: [[spoiler:Ruth Mccausland's]] death manages to alert Gardener that there's something sinister going on in the town, but the narrative flat out states she'd be happier with her other accomplishment: "Voices or no voices, the lady died sane."
* EvilDetectingDog: Bobbi's dog, Peter is afraid of the spaceship from the very beginning. As more and more of the ship is unearthed, all animals disappear from the forest, even insects. Bobbi finds some animals killed by the ship's effect; it's unclear if they all died, or many of them just escaped.
* FinalBattle: [[spoiler:The climax of the story is Gardener's struggle to survive as the entire Haven township sets out to kill him.]]
* FlareGun: Ev Hillman has one; he originally wants to use it to give an emergency signal, but he ends up killing one of the Havenites with it.
* FlashbackNightmare: Gardener regularly has them about his teenage skiing accident (after which he got the steel plate in his head).
* ForWantOfANail: All the events are triggered by Bobbie stumbling in a piece of metal. The book actually starts with this sentence: "For want of a nail the kingdom was lost - that's how the catechism goes when you boil it down."
* GadgeteerGenius - What everyone in town becomes, doing such things as turning a tube of lipstick into a laser gun.
* GoOutWithASmile: [[spoiler: Gardener]] dies smiling, because, as he lies dying, he has a happy dream.
* HairTriggerTemper: The entire race of the Tommyknockers have it.
* TheHardHat: Gardener and Ev Hillman are immune to the effects of the spaceship, because they have metal plates in their heads (Gardener because of a skiing accident, Ev because of a war wound). Anne Anderson is somewhat protected by extensive metal dental work.
* HatePlague: Thanks to the [[HairTriggerTemper bad tempers]] of the aliens transforming them, some of the citizens of Haven act this way and start killing anyone who has wronged them, regardless of whether that wrong was real or just perceived.
* HeroicRROD: [[spoiler:Gardener dies because he over-strained his brain by using Bobbi's computers to rescue David Brown, and launching the ship.]]
* HomicideMachines: The Havenites built several of these, to guard the city borders. One of them is a floating Coca-Cola vending machine [[spoiler: which kills John Leandro]].
* IdiotSavant: The townsfolk can invent antigravity, but go through batteries at a terrific rate, because they need direct current and wall current is alternating. When Gardner hears this, he rages at Bobbi in utter disbelief; you can buy an AC/DC converter at any electronics store and nobody just picked one up on a shopping run, or built a few? Bobbi responds that it just never occurred to any of them. Bobbi actually calls herself an idiot savant early on.
* InfantImmortality: [[spoiler:Almost the entire population of Haven dies at the end. Presumably, this includes the children, but the only ones we actually see - Hilly and David Brown - survive.]]
* InsufficientlyAdvancedAlien: The Tommyknockers. They don't even begin to understand the technology they somehow managed to figure out how to [[strike: use]] ''make''.
* InterruptedSuicide: Gardener is about to jump into the sea when he has an intuition that Bobbi is in trouble; that's why he doesn't do it, not because he wants to live (though later, he's grateful that he didn't do it).
* IntrepidReporter: A young reporter, John Leandro starts to see that something is wrong with Haven, so he goes there to find out what it is. His colleague, David Bright, ridicules him for it: "And - TA-DA! No One Will Believe This Heroic Young News-Hawk! Robert Redford Stars as John Leandro in This Nail-Biting Saga of..."
* ItTastesLikeFeet: After the owner dies, the food at the Haven Lunch gets crappy: a character thinks the fried eggs look like "broiled assholes" and taste that way too "although he'd never actually eaten an asshole, broiled or any other way."
* IWantMyMommy: [[spoiler: Leandro]]'s last thought, right before he's killed is "Mama!"
* JerkAss: Bobbi's sister, complete with introductory KickTheDog moment (she reduces an airline stewardess to tears, seemingly for the hell of it). When she was younger, she bullied her own parents. (One such incident involved her habit of grinding her teeth until she had to get dental work done. She tried to force a guilt trip on them for not stopping a habit that she herself refused to give up). When she tells her mother that she called Bobbi to tell her that their father was dead, she said that Bobbi laughed (untrue). Then she goes to Haven and tries to pull this on the locals. BIG mistake. [[spoiler: She ends up as a BrainInAJar]].
** Also Joe from the TV miniseries who not only cheats on his wife, but he throws her lunch for him and his sons, laughs evilly after making his wife feel bad for herself and abandon a search for a lost kid to have an affair again knowing that his wife would be more concerned about the search than him.
* LastNameBasis: Jim Gardener is called "Gard" by Bobbi, his best friend. The narration also refers to him as "Gardener" or "Gard".
* LivingBattery: [[spoiler: The people in Bobbi's shed. The ship also worked with power drained from aliens]].
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters
* MeetTheNewBoss: Gardener realizes the Havenites are becoming just like the governmental authority figures he didn't want to show the ship to. He even references "Won't Get Fooled Again" several times.
* MercyKill: Gardener does it [[spoiler: to Bobbi, and later to the people (and the dog) in Bobbi's shed]].
* MostWritersAreWriters: Bobbi and Gardener.
* MundaneUtility: Bobbi uses her technical abilities to power up her water heater by creating a small sun in it, making a tractor that can fly, and a typewriter that can read thoughts. Other Havenites create similar things.
* MyBelovedSmother: John Leandro's mother.
* NextSundayAD: The book is set in 1988.
* NoPeriodsPeriod: Averted. Practically all the women in town wind up with theirs at the same time when the Tommyknockers show up, to the point that the stores run out of tampons. Even Ruth winds up with one, despite the fact that she'd hit menopause years ago.
* ParasolOfPain: At the beginning of the novel, Gardener gets into an argument with a guy at a party about the safety of nuclear power. Eventually, it deteriorates into Gardener beating the guy up with an umbrella. He notes to himself that this is the only part people will remember.
** Also, the energy weapon that Gardener uses to kill several Havenites, which is specifically noted to look like a parasol.
* PeopleJars: [[spoiler: The people in Bobbi's shed.]]
* PunyEarthlings: Subverted. While the Tommyknockers have innate abilities beyond those of any human, they're also psychotically unstable and completely unable to develop any worthwhile uses for the technology they create. Humans, on the other hand, are rational at least ''some'' of the time and have used their scientific advancements to improve their quality of life.
* PsychicStatic: Ruth [=McCausland=] thinks of tongue-twisters to hide her thoughts, playing them constantly in the back of her mind. Gardener (who has it much easier because of the steel plate in his head) uses "old addresses, bits of poems, snatches of songs", or just repeats the word "shield".
* RandomTeleportation: The Tommyknockers are able to teleport things, but they can't determine where they go, so for traveling, they use spaceships.
* RealitySubtext: King's cocaine addiction was at its worst when he was writing this. In ''On Writing'' he said he would be up late at night writing it with his pulse going a hundred beats a minute and cotton balls and Q-Tips stuffed in his nose to stanch the blood. The idea of Bobbi finding an alien technology which makes her writing become almost automatic while slowly trashing her body was, he realized later, as much a metaphor for the addiction as Annie Wilkes was in ''Misery'' (also written during that period).
* TheReveal: When Gardener goes into Bobbi's shed, and finds out what's in there.
* ShurFineGuns: When Gardener drops a gun, it goes off, and the bullet breaks his ankle. It might be justified, since it's an old .45 from WorldWarII. It's especially ironic, because [[spoiler: earlier, when he tried to shoot Bobbi with it, it misfired]].
* SicklyGreenGlow: The alien power has it.
* SmolderingShoes: Two cops are almost completely disintegrated with a Tommyknocker weapon. All that remains is a single smoking shoe. With a foot still in it.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: [[spoiler: In the film, pretty much everyone survives, including Bobbi and most of the townsfolk (Gardener still dies, though). The novel has the exact opposite outcome, with pretty much the entire town being wiped out and both main characters dead by MercyKill and HeroicSacrifice respectively]].
* StageMagician: Hilly Brown, a ChildProdigy, wants to be one; when he gains technical abilities, he builds a machine that sends things to a faraway planet ([[ShoutOut referred to as]] [[ForbiddenPlanet Altair IV]]), then brings them back, and uses it for magic tricks. However, when he sends away his little brother, David, he can't bring him back; rescuing him later becomes a major plot thread.
* TownWithADarkSecret: Haven becomes this.
* TouchedByVorlons: Everyone in Haven (except Gardener).
* {{Understatement}}: When Gardener gives a rant against nuclear power at a party, he mentions that before the opening of the power plant at Three Mile Island, it was discovered that the plumbers accidentally hooked a tank for liquid radioactive waste to the drinking fountains instead of the scuts. The people investigating wrote in their report that hooking up radioactive waste-coolant pipes to the ones feeding water to the drinking fountains was a "generally inadvisable practice".
* TheVirus: Gardener theorizes that the dead aliens inside the ship are not the original crew. Instead, he thinks the ship is engaged in a long cycle in which it mutates the local inhabitants of whatever planet it crashes on, turns them into crew, then uses them to travel to another inhabited planet where it crashes and repeats the cycle.
* WhatDidIDoLastNight:
** Before the start of the novel, Gardener shot his wife in the face during a binge (she survived). He woke up in a prison cell, not remembering it; when he asked the deputy what did he do, he answered: "Shot your wife. That's what you did. Good fucking deal, uh?"
** After an 8-day binge, he wakes up on a breakwater on Arcadia Beach, New Hampshire, with no idea how he got there.
* WritersSuck: Gardener is a violent alcoholic, his poetry is largely unsuccessful, and he gradually ruined his own life. Averted with Bobbi, though.
* YearOutsideHourInside: Time is a lot slower on Altair 4; that's why David Brown can be brought back alive about a month later he was sent there, despite the fact that the planet hardly has any air.
----

to:

->''"Late last night and the night before,\\
Tommyknockers, Tommyknockers, knocking at the door.\\
I want to go out, don't know if I can,\\
because I'm so afraid of the Tommyknocker man."''

''The Tommyknockers'' is an 1987 novel by Creator/StephenKing.

While walking in the woods near the small town of Haven, Maine, Roberta "Bobbi" Anderson, a writer of Westerns, stumbles upon a metal object which turns out to be the slightest portion of an alien spacecraft, that crashed into Earth in prehistoric times. She begins to dig it out, and slowly becomes obsessed with it. Meanwhile, her best friend, alcoholic poet Jim "Gard" Gardener reaches the nadir of his life, and decides to kill himself, but changes his mind when he feels that she is in trouble. He travels to Haven, and finds Bobbi at the point of complete exhaustion. While the spacecraft has no effect on him because of a steel plate in his head, he still decides to help her in unearthing it, hoping to change the world for the better with the power it holds. As more and more is exposed of the ship, the inhabitants of Haven begin to change (the process is called "becoming"), and they become like the aliens who built it (dubbed the "Tommyknockers" after a nursery rhyme); they gain telepathic abilities, and [[HomemadeInventions build futuristic devices from simple household appliances]]. Gardener, seeing that their intentions are far from his idealistic goals, starts to doubt himself, and thinks he should do something against them.

The story is influenced by Creator/HPLovecraft's short story ''Literature/TheColourOutOfSpace'' and the British television serial ''Series/QuatermassAndThePit''. King wrote the book during a period of substance abuse, and has written that he realized later on that the novel was a metaphor for that addiction.

It was adapted into a 1993 miniseries starring Jimmy Smits, Marg Helgenberger, E.G. Marshall, Joanna Cassidy and Traci Lords.

----
!!''TheTommyknockers'' provides examples of:
* TheAlcoholic: Jim Gardener. Unfortunately, he's a mean drunk.
* AllWomenArePrudes: Well, at least Becka Paulson is. At first, she's actually relieved when she suspects that her husband is having an affair, because this means he doesn't have sex with her anymore. To her, sex was "just [[SelfFulfillingProphecy as her mother had told her it would be]], nasty, brutish, sometimes painful, always humiliating".
* AuthorAvatar: See TheAlcoholic. Stephen King had substance abuse problems for years, and it sneaked into his writing a lot (much to his own surprise, after he sobered up enough to notice).
* AuthorTract: In-story example: Gardener wrote a collection of poems under the title "The Radiation Cycle", which were basically anti-nuclear propaganda. He sent it to five different publishers, and it was rejected by all five. An editor tells him "Poetry and politics rarely mix, poetry and propaganda never."
* AutoErotica: Gardener remembers that he and Bobbi once had sex in her truck "during [[Film/LoveStory some stupid Ryan O'Neal picture]]".
* BadassGrandpa: Ev Hillman, though [[CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass you wouldn't expect it at first]].
* BerserkButton: Don't praise nuclear power in front of Gardener.
* BetterAsFriends: Gardener and Bobbi used to be lovers, but by the time the book is set, they're just friends [[spoiler: though they end up having sex once more.]]
* BittersweetEnding: [[spoiler: Gardener dies, but he manages to defeat the Tommyknockers and save David Brown]].
* BodyHorror: The process of "becoming". For most people, it's just teeth falling out, but a select few's skin becomes transparent, and tentacles appear in the place of their genitals.
* ClassicalAntiHero: Jim Gardener. While not unintelligent, he is an alcoholic and often ends up doing stupid or even violent things when drunk.
* CelebrityParadox: Stephen King himself is referenced in the book; the townspeople think that Bobbi writes good stories, "[[SelfDeprecation not all full of make-believe monsters and a bunch of dirty words, like the books that fellow who lived up Bangor way wrote]]". Also, when Gardener wants to get into the shed, he considers grabbing an ax "and make like JackNicholson in ''Film/TheShining''". However, events in ''Literature/TheDeadZone'', ''{{It}}'' and ''Literature/{{Firestarter}}'' are [[CanonWelding mentioned as fact or at least hearsay]], not as fiction.
* CrouchingMoronHiddenBadass: Ev Hillman first appears as a "garrulous-going-on-tiresome" old man. However, he proves to be very brave and heroic, when he [[PapaWolf tries to save his grandson]].
* DangerousKeyFumble: After Gardener visits the shed, he realizes, just as the "Shed People" are returning, that he forget to put the padlock back on the door. As he runs out to put it back, he drops it and the key falls out.
* DisappearingBox: Played with. Hilly Brown made a machine that didn't make things disappear, but sent them to Altair IV. However, he uses it with the intent of making things vanish under an ordinary cloth as a magic trick.
* DisproportionateRetribution: After gaining mind-reading abilities, Hank Buck, one of the Havenites discovers that a member of his poker circle, "Pits" Barfield regularly used to cheat. Hank teleports him to "Altair 4", a faraway, desolate planet that hardly has any air. Just how much did Barfield steal? [[spoiler: Pennies]]. This story is included to show the Tommyknockers' crazy temper, as well as to show the last time they killed each other due to petty differences.
* {{Doorstopper}}: Actually, many parts could be cut, as they [[{{Filler}} don't really advance the plot]].
* DrinkOrder: Late in the story, Bobbi's sister Anne shows up. Watch what happens when she orders a drink at a hotel on her way to Haven. (It's not so much the drink itself that's revealing, mostly the way she orders it.)
* DyingAsYourself: [[spoiler:Ruth Mccausland's]] death manages to alert Gardener that there's something sinister going on in the town, but the narrative flat out states she'd be happier with her other accomplishment: "Voices or no voices, the lady died sane."
* EvilDetectingDog: Bobbi's dog, Peter is afraid of the spaceship from the very beginning. As more and more of the ship is unearthed, all animals disappear from the forest, even insects. Bobbi finds some animals killed by the ship's effect; it's unclear if they all died, or many of them just escaped.
* FinalBattle: [[spoiler:The climax of the story is Gardener's struggle to survive as the entire Haven township sets out to kill him.]]
* FlareGun: Ev Hillman has one; he originally wants to use it to give an emergency signal, but he ends up killing one of the Havenites with it.
* FlashbackNightmare: Gardener regularly has them about his teenage skiing accident (after which he got the steel plate in his head).
* ForWantOfANail: All the events are triggered by Bobbie stumbling in a piece of metal. The book actually starts with this sentence: "For want of a nail the kingdom was lost - that's how the catechism goes when you boil it down."
* GadgeteerGenius - What everyone in town becomes, doing such things as turning a tube of lipstick into a laser gun.
* GoOutWithASmile: [[spoiler: Gardener]] dies smiling, because, as he lies dying, he has a happy dream.
* HairTriggerTemper: The entire race of the Tommyknockers have it.
* TheHardHat: Gardener and Ev Hillman are immune to the effects of the spaceship, because they have metal plates in their heads (Gardener because of a skiing accident, Ev because of a war wound). Anne Anderson is somewhat protected by extensive metal dental work.
* HatePlague: Thanks to the [[HairTriggerTemper bad tempers]] of the aliens transforming them, some of the citizens of Haven act this way and start killing anyone who has wronged them, regardless of whether that wrong was real or just perceived.
* HeroicRROD: [[spoiler:Gardener dies because he over-strained his brain by using Bobbi's computers to rescue David Brown, and launching the ship.]]
* HomicideMachines: The Havenites built several of these, to guard the city borders. One of them is a floating Coca-Cola vending machine [[spoiler: which kills John Leandro]].
* IdiotSavant: The townsfolk can invent antigravity, but go through batteries at a terrific rate, because they need direct current and wall current is alternating. When Gardner hears this, he rages at Bobbi in utter disbelief; you can buy an AC/DC converter at any electronics store and nobody just picked one up on a shopping run, or built a few? Bobbi responds that it just never occurred to any of them. Bobbi actually calls herself an idiot savant early on.
* InfantImmortality: [[spoiler:Almost the entire population of Haven dies at the end. Presumably, this includes the children, but the only ones we actually see - Hilly and David Brown - survive.]]
* InsufficientlyAdvancedAlien: The Tommyknockers. They don't even begin to understand the technology they somehow managed to figure out how to [[strike: use]] ''make''.
* InterruptedSuicide: Gardener is about to jump into the sea when he has an intuition that Bobbi is in trouble; that's why he doesn't do it, not because he wants to live (though later, he's grateful that he didn't do it).
* IntrepidReporter: A young reporter, John Leandro starts to see that something is wrong with Haven, so he goes there to find out what it is. His colleague, David Bright, ridicules him for it: "And - TA-DA! No One Will Believe This Heroic Young News-Hawk! Robert Redford Stars as John Leandro in This Nail-Biting Saga of..."
* ItTastesLikeFeet: After the owner dies, the food at the Haven Lunch gets crappy: a character thinks the fried eggs look like "broiled assholes" and taste that way too "although he'd never actually eaten an asshole, broiled or any other way."
* IWantMyMommy: [[spoiler: Leandro]]'s last thought, right before he's killed is "Mama!"
* JerkAss: Bobbi's sister, complete with introductory KickTheDog moment (she reduces an airline stewardess to tears, seemingly for the hell of it). When she was younger, she bullied her own parents. (One such incident involved her habit of grinding her teeth until she had to get dental work done. She tried to force a guilt trip on them for not stopping a habit that she herself refused to give up). When she tells her mother that she called Bobbi to tell her that their father was dead, she said that Bobbi laughed (untrue). Then she goes to Haven and tries to pull this on the locals. BIG mistake. [[spoiler: She ends up as a BrainInAJar]].
** Also Joe from the TV miniseries who not only cheats on his wife, but he throws her lunch for him and his sons, laughs evilly after making his wife feel bad for herself and abandon a search for a lost kid to have an affair again knowing that his wife would be more concerned about the search than him.
* LastNameBasis: Jim Gardener is called "Gard" by Bobbi, his best friend. The narration also refers to him as "Gardener" or "Gard".
* LivingBattery: [[spoiler: The people in Bobbi's shed. The ship also worked with power drained from aliens]].
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters
* MeetTheNewBoss: Gardener realizes the Havenites are becoming just like the governmental authority figures he didn't want to show the ship to. He even references "Won't Get Fooled Again" several times.
* MercyKill: Gardener does it [[spoiler: to Bobbi, and later to the people (and the dog) in Bobbi's shed]].
* MostWritersAreWriters: Bobbi and Gardener.
* MundaneUtility: Bobbi uses her technical abilities to power up her water heater by creating a small sun in it, making a tractor that can fly, and a typewriter that can read thoughts. Other Havenites create similar things.
* MyBelovedSmother: John Leandro's mother.
* NextSundayAD: The book is set in 1988.
* NoPeriodsPeriod: Averted. Practically all the women in town wind up with theirs at the same time when the Tommyknockers show up, to the point that the stores run out of tampons. Even Ruth winds up with one, despite the fact that she'd hit menopause years ago.
* ParasolOfPain: At the beginning of the novel, Gardener gets into an argument with a guy at a party about the safety of nuclear power. Eventually, it deteriorates into Gardener beating the guy up with an umbrella. He notes to himself that this is the only part people will remember.
** Also, the energy weapon that Gardener uses to kill several Havenites, which is specifically noted to look like a parasol.
* PeopleJars: [[spoiler: The people in Bobbi's shed.]]
* PunyEarthlings: Subverted. While the Tommyknockers have innate abilities beyond those of any human, they're also psychotically unstable and completely unable to develop any worthwhile uses for the technology they create. Humans, on the other hand, are rational at least ''some'' of the time and have used their scientific advancements to improve their quality of life.
* PsychicStatic: Ruth [=McCausland=] thinks of tongue-twisters to hide her thoughts, playing them constantly in the back of her mind. Gardener (who has it much easier because of the steel plate in his head) uses "old addresses, bits of poems, snatches of songs", or just repeats the word "shield".
* RandomTeleportation: The Tommyknockers are able to teleport things, but they can't determine where they go, so for traveling, they use spaceships.
* RealitySubtext: King's cocaine addiction was at its worst when he was writing this. In ''On Writing'' he said he would be up late at night writing it with his pulse going a hundred beats a minute and cotton balls and Q-Tips stuffed in his nose to stanch the blood. The idea of Bobbi finding an alien technology which makes her writing become almost automatic while slowly trashing her body was, he realized later, as much a metaphor for the addiction as Annie Wilkes was in ''Misery'' (also written during that period).
* TheReveal: When Gardener goes into Bobbi's shed, and finds out what's in there.
* ShurFineGuns: When Gardener drops a gun, it goes off, and the bullet breaks his ankle. It might be justified, since it's an old .45 from WorldWarII. It's especially ironic, because [[spoiler: earlier, when he tried to shoot Bobbi with it, it misfired]].
* SicklyGreenGlow: The alien power has it.
* SmolderingShoes: Two cops are almost completely disintegrated with a Tommyknocker weapon. All that remains is a single smoking shoe. With a foot still in it.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: [[spoiler: In the film, pretty much everyone survives, including Bobbi and most of the townsfolk (Gardener still dies, though). The novel has the exact opposite outcome, with pretty much the entire town being wiped out and both main characters dead by MercyKill and HeroicSacrifice respectively]].
* StageMagician: Hilly Brown, a ChildProdigy, wants to be one; when he gains technical abilities, he builds a machine that sends things to a faraway planet ([[ShoutOut referred to as]] [[ForbiddenPlanet Altair IV]]), then brings them back, and uses it for magic tricks. However, when he sends away his little brother, David, he can't bring him back; rescuing him later becomes a major plot thread.
* TownWithADarkSecret: Haven becomes this.
* TouchedByVorlons: Everyone in Haven (except Gardener).
* {{Understatement}}: When Gardener gives a rant against nuclear power at a party, he mentions that before the opening of the power plant at Three Mile Island, it was discovered that the plumbers accidentally hooked a tank for liquid radioactive waste to the drinking fountains instead of the scuts. The people investigating wrote in their report that hooking up radioactive waste-coolant pipes to the ones feeding water to the drinking fountains was a "generally inadvisable practice".
* TheVirus: Gardener theorizes that the dead aliens inside the ship are not the original crew. Instead, he thinks the ship is engaged in a long cycle in which it mutates the local inhabitants of whatever planet it crashes on, turns them into crew, then uses them to travel to another inhabited planet where it crashes and repeats the cycle.
* WhatDidIDoLastNight:
** Before the start of the novel, Gardener shot his wife in the face during a binge (she survived). He woke up in a prison cell, not remembering it; when he asked the deputy what did he do, he answered: "Shot your wife. That's what you did. Good fucking deal, uh?"
** After an 8-day binge, he wakes up on a breakwater on Arcadia Beach, New Hampshire, with no idea how he got there.
* WritersSuck: Gardener is a violent alcoholic, his poetry is largely unsuccessful, and he gradually ruined his own life. Averted with Bobbi, though.
* YearOutsideHourInside: Time is a lot slower on Altair 4; that's why David Brown can be brought back alive about a month later he was sent there, despite the fact that the planet hardly has any air.
----
[[redirect:Literature/TheTommyknockers]]
13th Jul '13 12:17:19 AM Mdumas43073
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* AutoErotica: Gardener remembers that he and Bobbi once had sex in her truck "during some stupid Ryan O'Neal picture".

to:

* AutoErotica: Gardener remembers that he and Bobbi once had sex in her truck "during [[Film/LoveStory some stupid Ryan O'Neal picture".picture]]".
5th Jul '13 10:16:35 AM nombretomado
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* CelebrityParadox: Stephen King himself is referenced in the book; the townspeople think that Bobbi writes good stories, "[[SelfDeprecation not all full of make-believe monsters and a bunch of dirty words, like the books that fellow who lived up Bangor way wrote]]". Also, when Gardener wants to get into the shed, he considers grabbing an ax "and make like JackNicholson in ''Film/TheShining''". However, events in ''TheDeadZone'', ''{{It}}'' and ''Literature/{{Firestarter}}'' are [[CanonWelding mentioned as fact or at least hearsay]], not as fiction.

to:

* CelebrityParadox: Stephen King himself is referenced in the book; the townspeople think that Bobbi writes good stories, "[[SelfDeprecation not all full of make-believe monsters and a bunch of dirty words, like the books that fellow who lived up Bangor way wrote]]". Also, when Gardener wants to get into the shed, he considers grabbing an ax "and make like JackNicholson in ''Film/TheShining''". However, events in ''TheDeadZone'', ''Literature/TheDeadZone'', ''{{It}}'' and ''Literature/{{Firestarter}}'' are [[CanonWelding mentioned as fact or at least hearsay]], not as fiction.
17th Jun '13 1:15:58 PM CapnAndy
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* IdiotSavant: The townsfolk can invent antigravity, but go through batteries at a terrific rate, because it just never occurs to any of them to use wall power. Bobby actually calls herself an idiot savant early on.

to:

* IdiotSavant: The townsfolk can invent antigravity, but go through batteries at a terrific rate, because they need direct current and wall current is alternating. When Gardner hears this, he rages at Bobbi in utter disbelief; you can buy an AC/DC converter at any electronics store and nobody just picked one up on a shopping run, or built a few? Bobbi responds that it just never occurs occurred to any of them to use wall power. Bobby them. Bobbi actually calls herself an idiot savant early on.
11th Jun '13 4:05:40 AM SeptimusHeap
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* DangerousKeyFumble: After Gardener visits the shed, he realizes, just as the "Shed People" are returning, that he forget to put the padlock back on the door. As he runs out to put it back, he drops it and the key falls out.



* OopsIDroppedTheKeys: After Gardener visits the shed, he realizes, just as the "Shed People" are returning, that he forget to put the padlock back on the door. As he runs out to put it back, he drops it and the key falls out.
8th Jun '13 6:12:23 AM DavidCowie
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* AuthorTract: In-story example: Gardener wrote a collection of poems under the title "The Radiation Cycle", which were basically anti-nuclear propaganda. He sent it to five different publishers, and it was rejected by all five.

to:

* AuthorTract: In-story example: Gardener wrote a collection of poems under the title "The Radiation Cycle", which were basically anti-nuclear propaganda. He sent it to five different publishers, and it was rejected by all five. An editor tells him "Poetry and politics rarely mix, poetry and propaganda never."
2nd May '13 1:10:56 AM Amitai
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Added DiffLines:

* FinalBattle: [[spoiler:The climax of the story is Gardener's struggle to survive as the entire Haven township sets out to kill him.]]
16th Apr '13 12:04:50 AM Aquila89
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* AntiHero: Jim Gardener is a Type I. While not unintelligent he is an alcoholic and often ends up doing stupid or even violent things when drunk.


Added DiffLines:

* ClassicalAntiHero: Jim Gardener. While not unintelligent, he is an alcoholic and often ends up doing stupid or even violent things when drunk.
15th Apr '13 9:12:42 PM PaulA
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The story is influenced by Creator/HPLovecraft's short story ''Literature/TheColourOutOfSpace'' and the British television serial ''{{Quatermass}} and the Pit''. King wrote the book during a period of substance abuse, and has written that he realized later on that the novel was a metaphor for that addiction.

to:

The story is influenced by Creator/HPLovecraft's short story ''Literature/TheColourOutOfSpace'' and the British television serial ''{{Quatermass}} and the Pit''.''Series/QuatermassAndThePit''. King wrote the book during a period of substance abuse, and has written that he realized later on that the novel was a metaphor for that addiction.
15th Apr '13 11:51:29 AM Aquila89
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Added DiffLines:

* HeroicRROD: [[spoiler:Gardener dies because he over-strained his brain by using Bobbi's computers to rescue David Brown, and launching the ship.]]
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.TheTommyknockers