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A Journey Through the Literature of STEPHEN KING
#1

I think I made the conscious decision today to start becoming a little more prolific.

So, here I embark on another project. This one will probably take me a few years. But it's something I've always wanted to do.

I hope I can have some of you along for the ride in some capacity.

So, here we go.

CARRIE

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#2
AI look forward to your write-up about The Dead Zone. I haven't read Carrie. Have to get on that soon.

It's good to see you back in business!
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#3

Erix, did you see the Carrie TV Movie with Angela Battis? It's actually very well done and a faithful adaption.

I'll take it over The Rage: Carrie 2 anyday.

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#4

Heya Nat... Thanks! It feels good to be back.

Felix, I have seen the Carrie TV remake. In fact, if you scroll down past the book and movie portion of the article, I give it a couple of paragraphs.

It is a faithful adaptation and pretty good for what it is. But it exists in the shadow of De Palma's classic film.

Still, I wouldn't have minded Carrie - The Series.

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#5

Looking forward to this series, esp his late 70's through late 80's output.  Nice job.

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#6

Erix, that was really good and I'm also looking forward to this series.  Carrie is such an amazing novel.  I'm one of those people who breezed through it over a rainy afternoon.  Well done.  I'm looking forward to your piece on IT!!!

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#7

IT is actually my favorite Stephen King novel. One of my favorite books in general and I'm really looking forward to revisiting it. Since I've decided to do these chronologically, though, it won't be soon.

.......

Back to Carrie - I think out of all his novels, it's the one most overshadowed by the movie. And what I mean is that it's not widely discussed or appreciated even amongst fans. I pointed out some of its clunkiness and that's a factor, of course. But I still don't think it gets a fair shake. That's why it's so important to really look at it in the context of where it is in his career. It's a hell of a debut novel.

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#8

Wow great write up! Carrie was the first King book I read. Checked it out of  the school library and read it in two days. Haven't read it since. Obviously I need to.

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#9

I think I've read somewhere that even King doesn't give Carrie that fair a shake. It's hist first book, his big freshman entrance (and what an entrance!) and I believe he's a little embarassed looking back at it. While I agree that the movie looks a little dated fashionwise....Boy does it hold up. That opening scene is amazing. (De Palma version. Never saw the others. Er. Saw Carrie 2 and thought, like you, it was okay.)

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#10

I look forward to your write up of JERUSALEM's LOT, an under rate tale that happens to be one of my favorites

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#11

Kate... I will be covering Jerusalem's Lot when I get to Night Shift.

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#12

To be honest, I'm looking forward to Tommyknockers, because its so weird. I recently found out King was coked up when he wrote it. This didn't surprise me.

I've got good news and I've got bad news. The bad news is that I have lost my way. The good news is that I'm way ahead of schedule.
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#13

Great shit, dude. This is front page material.

I might have been born yesterday sir, but I stayed up all night!
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#14

Thanks man!

I'm really happy this piece has gotten such a positive response. I was afraid people would think me self-indulgent.

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#15

Posted a comment last night, may not have gone through. I just happened to watch DePalma's Carrie on Blu Ray the night before this article was posted. Such a great film. Spacek is SO good, and I can't recall a sequence in film like her slow motion walk to the stage when she wins the title of Prom Queen: the happiest moment in a character's life, and it's completely heartbreaking for the viewer.

Excellent write-up. I read the book many years ago, and this blog and watching the movie again have me wanting to read it again. This is a great idea for a column series, I look forward to reading more!

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#16

Good call Mangy... In retrospect, I should have given the movie a little more attention in the column. You're right. It is a heartbreaking moment. Another aspect of the film that is superior to the book is that poignancy. Your heart really breaks for Carrie a lot more in the film than it does in the book. There is an essential resentfulness that permeates through the character in the novel. They eschewed that in the book in favor of just making her a really sympathetic character... It makes the whole movie have a deep, emotional resonance - whereas the novel, while still good, is more of a roller coaster ride.

Thanks for reading!

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#17


Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaz View Post

To be honest, I'm looking forward to Tommyknockers, because its so weird. I recently found out King was coked up when he wrote it. This didn't surprise me.


I read that he doesn't even remember writing Cujo.

Carrie, the DePalma movie, is pure genius.  Everyone is amazing, especially Sissy Spacek, but Travolta and Nancy Allen were memorable too.  "Oh billy... oh billy ... I hate Carrie White!"  And Piper Laurie is just incredible.

Erix, IT is my favorite SK book (and also one of my favorite books by anyone), though I don't think it's his best.  I think his best is probably a toss-up between The Stand, The Dead Zone and Under the Dome.

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#18

I haven't read Under the Dome yet. But it's sitting on my shelf. So, I will be taking it down soon. I've heard both sides of the argument. Some say it's brilliant and others say it isn't. Either way, I am very excited about reading it.

I don't know that IT is his "best" book either. But it is my personal favorite. It's still the one I feel most connected with.

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#19


Quote:
Originally Posted by Erix View Post

Good call Mangy... In retrospect, I should have given the movie a little more attention in the column. You're right. It is a heartbreaking moment. Another aspect of the film that is superior to the book is that poignancy. Your heart really breaks for Carrie a lot more in the film than it does in the book. There is an essential resentfulness that permeates through the character in the novel. They eschewed that in the book in favor of just making her a really sympathetic character... It makes the whole movie have a deep, emotional resonance - whereas the novel, while still good, is more of a roller coaster ride.

Thanks for reading!



Agreed.  The Carrie White of the novel is a lot more surly and awkward if I remember correctly.  Spacek really sold that character.

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#20

I think IT is his best book. The Stand used to hold the number 1 spot for me for a while, but I've come to realize a lot of that book is padded out. The first two "books" of The Stand are great, but once the characters reach Nebraska, the book comes to a screeching halt. Once the characters set out West to Las Vegas, the book quickly runs out of steam, ultimately reaching a disappointed climax. Under The Dome is a surprisingly quick read, entertaining throughout. But it too has a weak climax, and I don't think the characters are as strong as those found in IT or The Stand. IT works pretty well throughout the entire plot. Even though a lot of people don't like the reveal of what IT actually is, I felt the book contained some of King's best writing, especially in it's final pages.

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#21

Don't want us to get too ahead of ourselves, but you're spot on about IT. And I will discuss it further when the time comes. But it does have a truly epic feel that spans generations. It's where I felt they really dropped the ball with the movie. That could (and should) have been the Godfather of horror movies. Instead it was just this TV movie and that was it.

But King has no problem with epics. It's basically what he became known for. These epic horror novels. Thankfully, he knows how to sustain your interest with compelling characters.

But it's because he became so known for scope that something like Carrie really stands out in how lean it is.

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#22


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayward_Woman View Post

I think I've read somewhere that even King doesn't give Carrie that fair a shake. It's hist first book, his big freshman entrance (and what an entrance!) and I believe he's a little embarassed looking back at it. While I agree that the movie looks a little dated fashionwise....Boy does it hold up. That opening scene is amazing. (De Palma version. Never saw the others. Er. Saw Carrie 2 and thought, like you, it was okay.)



I think it's because, like RAGE, real world events have made it a bit more frightening than he likes. I remember one introduction he wrote to CARRIE (when Scribner was reissuing his old titles) where he compared Carrie to the Columbine killers.

Anyway, good series Erix and I look forward to seeing where you go with it. I've been toying with revisiting King's work for a while myself, though my approach would be different than yours.

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#23


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayward_Woman View Post

I think I've read somewhere that even King doesn't give Carrie that fair a shake. It's hist first book, his big freshman entrance (and what an entrance!) and I believe he's a little embarassed looking back at it. While I agree that the movie looks a little dated fashionwise....Boy does it hold up. That opening scene is amazing. (De Palma version. Never saw the others. Er. Saw Carrie 2 and thought, like you, it was okay.)



Interesting thing Carrie and Robocop have in common. King wrote a part of Carrie and didn't like it so he threw it in the bin. Verhoeven hated the script to Robocop and also threw it in his bin. In both cases, their respective wives fished what they threw into the bin back out and asked them to give the material another chance. The rest, as they say, is history.

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#24

I didn't know that about RoboCop. That's great.

In any case, Tabitha King has clearly been instrumental in Steve's success. I'll discuss this more when I get to On Writing - but it's very touching that he wrote such a wonderful tribute to her and his family.

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#25


Quote:
Originally Posted by Erix View Post

Kate... I will be covering Jerusalem's Lot when I get to Night Shift.


Excellent! I cannot wait

PS Also looking forward to reading your thoughts on other King stories/novels I count among my favorites

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#26


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post



I think it's because, like RAGE, real world events have made it a bit more frightening than he likes. I remember one introduction he wrote to CARRIE (when Scribner was reissuing his old titles) where he compared Carrie to the Columbine killers.

Anyway, good series Erix and I look forward to seeing where you go with it. I've been toying with revisiting King's work for a while myself, though my approach would be different than yours.


Is RAGE still completely out of circulation?  I still have the original BACHMAN BOOKS volume with RAGE still in it, but I had heard RAGE was yanked soon after the wave of late 90's school shootings started.

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#27

Yeah, after a school shooter was found to have a copy of it, he allowed the book to go out of print.

(I also found an old copy of it at a used bookstore a while back.)

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#28


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post



I think it's because, like RAGE, real world events have made it a bit more frightening than he likes. I remember one introduction he wrote to CARRIE (when Scribner was reissuing his old titles) where he compared Carrie to the Columbine killers.



While I suspect many disgruntled teens have attempted to revenge themselves on their peers via Telekinetic attacks, I have no doubt most have been disappointed with the results.

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#29

I don't know if that was humor or just you spectacularly missing the point.

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#30

Great write up and thanks for taking this project on. I dont have much to say on this book because the last time I read it I was 11 or 12 years old, but you were dead on that it was a stepping stone up from Judy Blume.  I think I have read 95 percent of King's books and have enjoyed the majority of them, he certainly is a gifted and prolific writer. His ability to mix real characters in with batshit happenings has always been a real pleasure. I think his Achilles heel is when he tries to make too much sense of the batshit and tie it all together (but wait, we aren't talking about the Dark Tower yet).

Great start Erix. Keep it going!

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#31

Just wanted to pop in here and offer my support.  I can't wait to read the next entry!

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#32


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard View Post

I don't know if that was humor or just you spectacularly missing the point.



It was you missing a hilarious joke!

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#33


Quote:
Originally Posted by S.D. Bob Plissken View Post

Just wanted to pop in here and offer my support.  I can't wait to read the next entry!



Thanx man!

It will require some patience (both from myself and my readers) but I will get through the whole catalog. That's a promise.

The 'Salem's Lot entry will post in 10 to 14 days. (Calendar days).

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#34

I recently tried reading Salem's Lot, but gave up on it. It was taking too long to get off the ground. Currently reading The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

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#35

I am about to finish 'Salem's Lot. It used to be one of my least favorites. (I first read it in my late teens/early twenties) and I found it to be too slow going. Now, I'm 34. I appreciate the slow burn.

Not that age matters, really. But my life has gone through enough that I can look at it from a different perspective and really appreciate what King is trying to do.

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