Thread Rating:
  • 0 Vote(s) - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Ruminations on the Works of Stephen King
I'm pretty sure they did, and they weren't happy about publishing them w/o his name on them. In the preface to the collected edition I ended up with, King says lots of fans were writing to him and asking if that was him writing those books, even before the "big reveal" when it was made public that he was Richard Bachman. What I don't know is how well they sold before his name was officially attached to them. I know I hadn't heard of any of them.
Reply
I was one of the few who had read The Long Walk and The Running Man long before the revelation. I just picked them both up at the local Bookmobile in the early 80's and thought they were great.
Reply
Quote:

Originally Posted by IggytheBorg
View Post
the "big reveal" when it was made public that he was Richard Bachman.

I think the idea of THE DARK HALF is interesting, post coming out. I've only seen Romero's flick though. Can anyone recommend the book?
Reply
The Dark Half movie is a fairly watchable and accurate adaptation of the book. But, and this must be empahsized, it is truly nothing special. Rooker plays Alan Pangborn!
Reply
Quote:

Originally Posted by DARKMITE8
View Post
I've only seen Romero's flick though. Can anyone recommend the book?

Here's my problem with recommending any of King's works; I read most of them when I was 12-14 yrs. old and LOVED every one of them. I read the shit out of the Dark Half back then, and it was one of my favorites, but if I picked it up and read it today.....well, I just don't know. I guess I'd recommend it?
Reply
Oh, shit. I misread yor post. The book is exactly like the movie, except much more violent and a bit darker. It's definately improved by you being 14, as Brasky said.
Reply
Okay, SERIOUS nerd alert here...

My memory is a little hazy, but in THE DARK HALF, the protagonist mentions that his wife has a miscarriage after being pushed down an escalator in a mall. When asked if they thought it was intentional or an accident, Thad says that he "doesn't like to think of a man who pushes people down for fun" or some such thing.

Is this a Jack Mort (from Drawing of the Three) cameo? I always thought so, but I never saw it mentioned anywhere else, so I assumed I must be wrong.
Reply
I don't remember that per se, but King always does that, and I think Drawing of the Three was about two or three years ahead of Dark Half, so I would say it probably was.
Reply
That was another thing that began to turn me off, really. King books started to feel like the Marvel Universe; if you didn't read all the titles, you wouldn't get the crossovers.
Reply
Quote:

Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd
View Post
The book is exactly like the movie, except much more violent and a bit darker.

And hopefully the Liz Beaumont in my mind will end up being easier on the eyes than Amy Madigan. She's got like 10 years on Hutton and looks every bit of it.

* Apologies.
Reply
Quote:

Originally Posted by DARKMITE8
View Post
I think the idea of THE DARK HALF is interesting, post coming out. I've only seen Romero's flick though. Can anyone recommend the book?

I can and can't. It's one of those King books that starts off fantastically, full of poetic imagery, psychological ambiguity and resonance, and then derails. It's like INSOMNIA, in a way, so I'd describe it as one of King's self-described "busted novels", where he got stuck, didn't' know where to go, and then forced it by just adding in something ridiculous and continuing from there. I forgot about Dark Half. It's one that I dropped at a certain point when I knew King was lying to me, and I was no longer reading the real story, but a grafted on filler continuation.

I think it's significant that King wrote what he called another way of telling the story of the Dark Half, after he'd written The Dark Half "Secret Window, Secret Garden" in the "Four Past Midnight" collection. It's a little bit long winded for a novella, but it goes where I thought Dark Half was going, and ends properly and logically. But while I was glad to see the story finally told, I am still a little pissed the King would publish a novel without believing it had been properly told. Seems like a lie, you know? Guess King would have lumped me in with Annie from MISERY on this.
Reply
I've actually seen his GRAVEYARD SHIFT movie (10 years ago). The scene with that rat on the dinner platter was so...errgh.
Reply
I totally agree that King works best in short form, and that given the right writer/director, his work can in many ways be enhanced (SHAWSHANK and THE MSIT come to mind not only for what remained true, but what was brought out from under the surface).

While I'm not claiming to be in Darabont's league, I wrote a fantastic adaptation of one of my favorite King shorts, SUFFER THE LITTLE CHILDREN. I was a senior in film school and needed to do my big final film, and took King's grisly little story and brought out some of the subtext and managed to make it grislier in a lot of ways, both thematically and visually, in a tidy thirteen pages. In and out, the way a King story works best.

I pursued the whole Dollar Baby route, and corresponded regularly with King's literary executor, who all but gave me the rights -- and then abruptly pulled the plug when the NIGHTMARES & DRAMSCAPES show went into production. Because SUFFER was from the NIGHTMARES & DREAMSCAPES collection, the rights were in the possession of TNT, and I couldn't get the sign-off despite TNT having no plans to do SUFFER. I went around with King's people for months, and finally gave in -- and then the fucking show was cancelled (no surprise there). Man, that was a great script.
Reply
Quote:

Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd
View Post
I forgot about that Rob Lowe Salem's Lot. It was kinda bad. And they ruined Father Callahan, despite the great casting.

I just remembered, the last place I saw NoDiggity was dropping a hate bomb on a Harry Potter thread. Dude, you DO NOT LIKE popular fiction! Nothing wrong with that, there's certainly lots to hate, but you really ought to avoid it, as it seems to infuriate you. Seriously though, Dreamcatcher?

Seriously. I mean, it started out like it was heading for some overambitious multiple viewpoint think like IT, examining everybody's relationship with Duddits, and then ... King got fed up with it, and blew things up, but early enough to restart the story without so much baggage. When he restarted the story it roared along.

Oh, believe me, I'm as disgusted and contemptuous of the "shitweasels" as everyone else is. It's just that, once King got that out of his system, what was left was a fun ride for me, happily lacking that ludicrous excess.
Reply
Quote:

Originally Posted by IggytheBorg
View Post
Never said he wasn't. He himself might agree w/ you. And the main point behind this thread, despite my obvious gushing admiration, was, after all, to attempt to analyze why he IS so readable & accessible. Not to debate what contributions he's made to the genre.

I was thinking about this, and your essay at the beginning, and I do believe you are right about King's use of ordinary people. King grew up POOR. Really poor. He knows poor people, he rose to middle class but with the fear of poverty still chasing him, so could relate to real people of the middle class who fear falling into poverty. He had children, so could relate to parents. He basically took every scrap of his experience as a human being and tossed into his work as flavor enhancement, and his stories LIVED. I think that a lot of his more recent work is harder to relate to. Protagonists who are bored, but relatively secure and successful, whose children have grown. His novels were distillations of his own life, and they still are.

But one thing has puzzled me. I wonder how accessible he would have been had it not been for his first editor, Bill Thompson. Now, the following might have to be taken with a grain of salt, as Bill may have been blowing his own trumpet, but I read a collection of essays about King, and Bill Thompson's described how he (Bill) suggested to King a rewrite of Carrie in order to make the characters more sympathetic, so that the horror would work better, since we would care about the characters more, a suggestion that King implemented. This really surprised me, because this quality of King's writing was one I assumed came from King naturally, not something he needed to be suggested to him. It made me wonder if this quality in his writing was one King dutifully applied because he trusted his first editor, and one he slowly began to abandon after he parted with his editor and first publisher (after THE STAND).

The thing that really made me wonder was the UNCUT version of THE STAND. I assumed that much of the new material, and the differences in tone, were newly added to the "Uncut" version, not just restorations of the original tone. The changes seemed to go in a more sneering, unsympathetic, character-hating direction. I sincerely with all my heart believed King had simply changed and become more bitter by the time he revised THE STAND for the "Uncut" version, but now I'm beginning to wonder if King was ALWAYS that way, except that he had Bill Thompson as a conscience, insisting that he edit OUT his worst tendencies, insisting that he write IN concern for his characters. It's still a puzzle to me, but I can't forget that little anecdote of Bill Thompson's about CARRIE.
Reply
Nobody has mentioned King's "retirement.' We all knew the man wouldn't be able to stop writing (he himself declares that a writer can stop even if he or she wants to), but Jesus, a year later, he was churning out the shittiest product of his career.

Twice I trried to read LISEY'S STORY, and twice I stopped twenty pages in. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too self-indulgent.
Reply
Quote:

Originally Posted by erik myers
View Post
Nobody has mentioned King's "retirement.' We all knew the man wouldn't be able to stop writing (he himself declares that a writer can stop even if he or she wants to), but Jesus, a year later, he was churning out the shittiest product of his career.

Twice I trried to read LISEY'S STORY, and twice I stopped twenty pages in. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaay too self-indulgent.

The first time King announced his "retirement" was while he was still writing IT. I think it was a Playboy interview. "I considered myself retired by THE STAND, and IT is the one I'll go out on." That was quite a while ago. I wonder how many times he's announced his retirement.
Reply
Three times, that I remember. This most recent one was pretty funny, all told, because virtually no one took it seriously, even King. I think he even said he wasn't going to stop writing, just stop publishing.
Reply
I'm sure his "Constant Reader" fans will never allow that.
Reply
I don't think Dandello was It, though he could have been an aspect of It or some bullshit like that. Dark Tower worked really well as episodes, it just couldn't support the epic storytelling that got imposed on it, especially in the last bunch of books.
Reply
I think King had a neat general idea (I read once that the Dark Tower series was to be a jibe at people who don't like to mix their genres, so he'd write a western/fantasy/sci fi/horror story and fix their wagons). I applaud the audacity of the idea, and his first book had me hooked and burning with curiosity about this weird, patchwork world he had created that was so like & yet so different from our own. like many, I was unbelievably frustrated w/ how long it took Wizard & Glass to come out, and it's my favorite of the series, b/c so many questions about things referenced obliquely throughout the earlier books were finally answered. But the wheels really did fall off the series toward the end. I was reading the last two not so much because I enjoyed them but because I had to see how this yarn ended, so much time had I invested in the rest of the series. The most frustrating part of the whole thing for me was what an unsatisfying villain the Crimson king turned out to be. Referenced throughout this series and in all the tie ins (Insomnia, Hearts in Atlantis, From a Buick 8, etc.) as the multiverse's ultimate badass, I've never been more let down by anything in literature. King really blew this opportunity to create one of the most interesting, terrifying villains in fantasy fiction. Granted, no reality could probably live up to the myth we'd all built for ourselves, but it seemed like King wasn't even trying at that point. Perhaps he feared he wouldn't live to see the series completed (I heard he had commented as much during an interview several years before Wolves of the Calla was published). Maybe he rushed it to just to get it done, rather than spend the time writing the story the way it deserved to be written? If there is a Library of Dreams in the afterlife, as in the Sandman comics, I certainly hope to be permitted to spend some time there, and peruse the REAL Dark Tower volumes V - VII the way King really wanted to write them but only had time for. . . in dreams.
Reply
I still haven't read the last book. I had re-read the entirety of the series thus far as book 6 came out, and after that one, I was so bored that I couldn't continue. I even kind of liked the much-maligned Wolves of the Calla, but Song of Susannah just killed my momentum.
Reply
Song of Susannah was pretty terrible. But I must admit that I took way too much enjoyment out of repeatedly saying skolpadda in a very bad Swedish accent after reading it.
Reply
I think the real problem wit V-VII is that he was looking over his shoulder for the reaper, and didn't want to leave it unfinished. Hell, it's a plot point in 6 and 7 (which was a really bad idea, by the way). It would explain why there are enough good ideas in those three books for one incredibly kick ass Vol. V, where you can actually take time to set up the endgame. Maybe you dump Call Bryn Sturgis, or combine it into the Breakers compound from 7, and make those sequences one, let Mordred's birth end the book, and probably do away with all the meta shit. Keep Callahan, or don't. Then, in Book VII, all new adventures with Mordred, Flagg and the Crimson King getting the plotting and development they deserve. Maybe even make it a "villains" book primarily. And Book VII, can be just about anything. Just spitballing here.
Reply
Quote:

Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd
View Post
I think the real problem wit V-VII is that he was looking over his shoulder for the reaper, and didn't want to leave it unfinished. Hell, it's a plot point in 6 and 7 (which was a really bad idea, by the way). It would explain why there are enough good ideas in those three books for one incredibly kick ass Vol. V, where you can actually take time to set up the endgame. Maybe you dump Call Bryn Sturgis, or combine it into the Breakers compound from 7, and make those sequences one, let Mordred's birth end the book, and probably do away with all the meta shit. Keep Callahan, or don't. Then, in Book VII, all new adventures with Mordred, Flagg and the Crimson King getting the plotting and development they deserve. Maybe even make it a "villains" book primarily. And Book VII, can be just about anything. Just spitballing here.

Christ, yes.
Reply
Quote:

Originally Posted by Arjen Rudd
View Post
I think the real problem wit V-VII is that he was looking over his shoulder for the reaper, and didn't want to leave it unfinished. Hell, it's a plot point in 6 and 7 (which was a really bad idea, by the way). It would explain why there are enough good ideas in those three books for one incredibly kick ass Vol. V, where you can actually take time to set up the endgame. Maybe you dump Call Bryn Sturgis, or combine it into the Breakers compound from 7, and make those sequences one, let Mordred's birth end the book, and probably do away with all the meta shit. Keep Callahan, or don't. Then, in Book VII, all new adventures with Mordred, Flagg and the Crimson King getting the plotting and development they deserve. Maybe even make it a "villains" book primarily. And Book VII, can be just about anything. Just spitballing here.

"Chud, this Chud, stand, be brave, be true, stand for your brother, your friends: believe, believe in all the things you have believed in... believe that courage is possible and words will come smoothly every time; no more losers... believe in yourself, believe in the heat of that desire." - The Turtle, Chapter 22, IT.

Ayuh...Laws, yes.
Reply
Quote:

Originally Posted by Graham
View Post
The Turtle, Chapter 22, IT.

Chapter 22? Now, was that before or after the bizarre kiddie porn gang bang in the sewers? Seriously (and not to take away from the Dark Tower conversation (with which I wholeheartedly agree)), but what a ham-fisted storytelling device. What was King's thought process there?

Okay, so the Losers have defeated Pennywise. I need something... something to symbolize that they've grown up. Hmmmm *snorts line of coke with a $1,000,000 bill* I've GOT it!!! I'll have them all bang Bev in the sewers. Sex is super adult! Brilliant!

Now "It" is probably my favorite King novel and I've read it more times than I'd like to admit, but that scene never fails to ring false. Perhaps that's just me.


And... end rant now.
Reply
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mattioli
View Post
Now "It" is probably my favorite King novel and I've read it more times than I'd like to admit, but that scene never fails to ring false. Perhaps that's just me.


I agree. I first read It when I was 15, and even then (before I became...um, sophisticated), it didn't make any sense.
Reply
Quote:

Originally Posted by Devildoubt
View Post
I agree. I first read It when I was 15, and even then (before I became...um, sophisticated), it didn't make any sense.

It still doesn't. I must have blocked it from my memory, because when I reread it this year, I was flabbergasted. Bev uses it as a way to get the other kids to focus, so they can find their way out... She couldn't snap her fingers? I thought Eds had the mad navigation skills.
Reply
Right. The Losers, post battle, are beginning to regress back to simple children. Bev uses her body as the means to re-focus their energies and unite them. It's just bloody (no pun intended) awful, makes little sense in the same deus ex machina methodology that riddles many of King's works, and is a god-awful metaphor for the Losers' transition into adulthood. Man, it's just so, so bad.
Reply
As prudish as American culture is about young sex, I'm surprised that book didn't cause more of an uproar. I certainly don't remember anyone howling for his blood back in the day. Then again, most Americans don't read, so maybe nobody noticed.
Reply
Quote:

Originally Posted by Greg David
View Post
As prudish as American culture is about young sex, I'm surprised that book didn't cause more of an uproar. I certainly don't remember anyone howling for his blood back in the day. Then again, most Americans don't read, so maybe nobody noticed.

Yeah, pretty much the people that would be most up in arms are the folks that wouldn't come within 10 feet of a Stephen King book in the first place.
Reply
Those type of people had already been up in arms for most of the decade. Most of his books were banned from public school libraries in the south. Along with Judy Blume, public enemy no. 1. I went to an extremely conservative private school, and he was almost synonymous with pornography.
 


"But when you talk about destruction

Don't you know that you can count me out (in)"




"Bitchin'! Is this in 3-D?"

"No, but your face is."



"Drunk as hell, but no throwin' up

Half way home and my pager still blowin' up"


"I'm tired of living all alone
yeah, nobody ever calls me on the phone
But when things start getting bad
I just play my music louder"





Reply
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mattioli
View Post
Now "It" is probably my favorite King novel and I've read it more times than I'd like to admit, but that scene never fails to ring false. Perhaps that's just me.

No, it's not just you. I have yet to meet one person who's read this book that gets what the fuck he was trying to do there (when I was 17, I worked in a bookstore and was the resident horror expert; whenever someone would come in with a question about horror novels, they'd refer them to me. I remember having a nice discussion with a 30-ish woman, and the topic of "It" came up. We both agreed we loved the book. "But", she added, "I did think certain parts of it were. . . excessive." Kind of a meaningful pause. Pregnant, you might say. And I knew just what she meant.). We're all wondering what the hell was he thinking?

Extra points to anyone that finds the hidden "It" reference; see what I did there?
Reply
I think it's just another example of King's inability to reject an idea. He's apparently never come up with an idea that he thought wouldn't work. Just the sheer rate at which he pumps out books suggests that he goes with every idea that occurs to him. He has no internal censor. And for every great moment this has given him (I still think that Survivor Type is one of the most brilliantly transgressive things he's ever written), there are ten examples of times when he just shouldn't have gone there.
Reply


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)