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  • 2 weeks later...

Full Dark, No Stars is pretty good so far, the first story is pretty damned good and he's laid off the supernatural.

The first story is pretty great all right but the second and third didn't really do it for me.

The 'Deal with The Devil' story has been a million times before and the minor twist at the end that he had no regrets for what he'd done was fairly lame.

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So I finished The Stand, after reading about 100 pages per day before going to sleep.

I have to say that the more King I read the more convinced I am that he is very poor at drawing things to a fitting conclusion. This ties in with my previous short story comment, as I think this leanness really adds to his work. With such an expansive book as this you just feel that he can't bear to get rid of characters, so when it's done it's in a really crappy way. Some are simply tossed aside at seemingly random intervals and the deaths of big characters are pretty poor in general. Reminds me of how disappointed I was when I read The Shining. He can bleat on about Kubrick's 'it isn't just the evil hotel' adaptation but Jesus the ending is crummy. Completely unsatisfying on every level.

I guess what makes up for this is his characterisation, which is generally great, although on a couple of occasions I felt he was being slightly racist and slightly misogynist. I've come away feeling pretty down, not sure what to read next.

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So I finished The Stand, after reading about 100 pages per day before going to sleep.

I have to say that the more King I read the more convinced I am that he is very poor at drawing things to a fitting conclusion. This ties in with my previous short story comment, as I think this leanness really adds to his work. With such an expansive book as this you just feel that he can't bear to get rid of characters, so when it's done it's in a really crappy way. Some are simply tossed aside at seemingly random intervals and the deaths of big characters are pretty poor in general. Reminds me of how disappointed I was when I read The Shining. He can bleat on about Kubrick's 'it isn't just the evil hotel' adaptation but Jesus the ending is crummy. Completely unsatisfying on every level.

I guess what makes up for this is his characterisation, which is generally great, although on a couple of occasions I felt he was being slightly racist and slightly misogynist. I've come away feeling pretty down, not sure what to read next.

I think you're wrong about the racism and misogyny. I made that mistake too but quite simply he is unflinching in his portrayal of racist or misogynistic characters.

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It's definitely something you will notice in his early books (he even comments - in the excellent volume On Writing - on how difficult it was to write about a teenaged girl called Carrie). But then later works such as Gerald's Game and Rose Madder proved he is much more than just a horror writer.

Paradigm, I'd suggest you read Insomnia next. It's fascinating for its protagonist (an old man who can't sleep) and was a big indicator of how King drew many of the themes and worlds of his books together.

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I think you're wrong about the racism and misogyny. I made that mistake too but quite simply he is unflinching in his portrayal of racist or misogynistic characters.

I dunno, I'm not sure. I've read On Writing and you could see that the female characters in The Stand were some kind of bizarre 2D approximation of what King thinks they should be? I found Fran's portrayal especially odd, considering what his wife had to put up with. It's like a pantomime version of a feminist. You can also practically see him wanting to write 'slut' about some characters, whilst being quite happy to show manwhore Larry to have many layers of personality. Then there's Dayna, because only a lesbian is allowed to be athletic. It's terrible. I know he's devout Christian but it's all a bit 2.4 children and go to church on Sunday in post-apocalypse land.

The black characters are the only ones who are expressly described as being black in their general introduction, for no apparent reason other than King perhaps feels that the reader is assuming that only white people have lived. Some great stereotyping going on with language and stuff as well.

I have Rose Madder to read next, then I'll check out Insomnia, thanks.

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I've just finished reading The Shining and I did enjoy it and it made me appreciate the film a lot, lot more as, given when Kubrick made the film, a lot of the set piece scenes would have been unfilmable without seeming utterly ridiculous. hedge animals would have probably ended up looking like a scene from Evil Dead.

I was surprised though that the scene with Danny in the concrete tunnel in the park didn't make it into the film as it would have been very easy to film and I felt it would have sat alongside the other Danny alone parts of the film.

It was a really good read and, although there were sections that seemed to overstay their welcome, it gave so much back story that the film didn't have the opportunity to delve into. It felt so inevitable that everything would end so badly in the book and I didn't really get that feeling with the film until they were settled in the hotel.

This was the first full King novel I've ever read and I really enjoyed it. I've mostly been reading Cormac McCarthy over the past year and reading a lot of Vonnegut short stories but I'm feeling the need for some more horror. I've probably read three horror novels in the past twenty years; The Shining, World War Z and Dracula. I'd like to read some more King but I want to get out of the habit of reading a single author over a year (I read all of McCarthy's novels last year and this). I've read Sean Hutson stuff (when I was 13) and read chunks of James Herbert (but found him fairly limited as a writer). I'm not into ghost stories after reading the alleged "best" ghost story, The Turn of The Screw by Henry James at uni, not really into the vampire genre and not into anything with a ridiculous premise where at every turn you have to suspend your disbelief... maybe I'm not into horror.

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I dunno, I'm not sure. I've read On Writing and you could see that the female characters in The Stand were some kind of bizarre 2D approximation of what King thinks they should be? I found Fran's portrayal especially odd, considering what his wife had to put up with. It's like a pantomime version of a feminist. You can also practically see him wanting to write 'slut' about some characters, whilst being quite happy to show manwhore Larry to have many layers of personality. Then there's Dayna, because only a lesbian is allowed to be athletic. It's terrible. I know he's devout Christian but it's all a bit 2.4 children and go to church on Sunday in post-apocalypse land.

The black characters are the only ones who are expressly described as being black in their general introduction, for no apparent reason other than King perhaps feels that the reader is assuming that only white people have lived. Some great stereotyping going on with language and stuff as well.

I have Rose Madder to read next, then I'll check out Insomnia, thanks.

Just to expand slightly on what Merman said, Insomnia ties-in greatly to Dark Tower... not sure if you'd read them? If you've read the DT series, here's a minor DT spoiler:

Insomnia's referred to as the 'keynote' King novel in the DT series, as it starts to introduce all the DT themes (the rose, the multiverse, the white and the red, Patrick Danville).

I hated it when I first read it - found it confusing - but would love to read it post-DT :)

As for The Shining, I'm not sure you could ever do the hedge animals justice. A lot of King's horror (and the reason why it's so hard to adapt into quality horror films) is the juxtaposition of the mundane and the supernatural. Imagine seeing a hedge trimming come to life in a film... it'd look like a kid's animation. Now imagine seeing it in real life: the dislocation, the incipient madness, the sense that - if you can't trust everyday objects, what can you trust? - and it works perfectly. The best bits of IT and The Stand are the same (and why they are poor TV/filmic outings) and why more 'straightforward' stuff like the vampires of Salem's Lot and Carrie's telekenisis work fine, but Christine and Cujo (come on, a scary, fluffy St. Bernard?!) are ridiculous.

I'd love to see more King stuff re-made as movies, particularly Cycle of the Werewolf and decent versions of IT and The Stand created.

EDIT: Oh, and some mad props due to the hugely underrated The Mist as well. Darabont should adapt all of King's best horror stuff!

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  • 2 months later...

The Shining was my first King novel around 3 years ago. Can't believe I hadn't tried him sooner. Awesome awesome book. Since then I have read Salem's Lot (now my favourite book of all time), From a buick 8, Cell, Blaze and Thinner (As Richard Bachman), Carrie and currently on Lysey's Story. I have a feeling I've missed off some others I've read! GAH! Favourite author of all time based on just that selection of books. I have Under the Dome, Christine and Duma Key waiting to be read as well as "On Writing". I need to get back into reading more but work and family and driving and ps3 and juggling finances seem to take up all my time these days :( and :)

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The Shining was my first King novel around 3 years ago. Can't believe I hadn't tried him sooner. Awesome awesome book. Since then I have read Salem's Lot (now my favourite book of all time), From a buick 8, Cell, Blaze and Thinner (As Richard Bachman), Carrie and currently on Lysey's Story. I have a feeling I've missed off some others I've read! GAH! Favourite author of all time based on just that selection of books. I have Under the Dome, Christine and Duma Key waiting to be read as well as "On Writing". I need to get back into reading more but work and family and driving and ps3 and juggling finances seem to take up all my time these days :( and :)

I had the same problem just not having enough time until I bought a Kindle. Now I take it everywhere with me and snatching the odd 5 minutes reading time is a breeze, it's a lot smaller than a bulky book and holds thousands so you need never go without.

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The first story is pretty great all right but the second and third didn't really do it for me.

The 'Deal with The Devil' story has been a million times before and the minor twist at the end that he had no regrets for what he'd done was fairly lame.

Agreed with your general point, but I thought the grimness of the events were a very good demonstration of King's disgusting little mind. I enjoyed it despite its unoriginality.

I'm surprised at how the stories in the collection have stayed with me. I really think it's the best thing he's done in a long time. I'll be so gutted when he dies :(

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  • 3 weeks later...

King's new novel has been announced today.

11/22/63

A massive new novel by Stephen King!

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas,President Kennedy died, and the world changed.

If you had the chance to change history, would you? Would the consequences be worth it?

11/22/63This fall Scribner will be publishing Stephen King's heart-stopping new novel 11/22/63, a thousand page tour de force about a man who travels back in time to prevent the JFK assassination, and we're pleased to report that we'll be getting copies for our customers!

In this exciting new novel, King sweeps readers back in time to another moment—a real life moment—when everything went wrong and he introduces readers to a character who has the power to change the course of history.

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.

Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.

A tribute to a simpler era and a devastating exercise in escalating suspense, 11/22/63 is Stephen King at his epic best!

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Fucking yes!

Dear Constant Readers,

At some point, while worrying over the copyedited manuscript of the next book (11/22/63, out November 8th), I started thinking—and dreaming—about Mid-World again. The major story of Roland and his ka-tet was told, but I realized there was at least one hole in the narrative progression: what happened to Roland, Jake, Eddie, Susannah, and Oy between the time they leave the Emerald City (the end of Wizard and Glass) and the time we pick them up again, on the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis (the beginning of Wolves of the Calla)?

There was a storm, I decided. One of sudden and vicious intensity. The kind to which billy-bumblers like Oy are particularly susceptible. Little by little, a story began to take shape. I saw a line of riders, one of them Roland's old mate, Jamie DeCurry, emerging from clouds of alkali dust thrown by a high wind. I saw a severed head on a fencepost. I saw a swamp full of dangers and terrors. I saw just enough to want to see the rest. Long story short, I went back to visit an-tet with my friends for awhile. The result is a novel called The Wind Through the Keyhole. It's finished, and I expect it will be published next year.

It won't tell you much that's new about Roland and his friends, but there's a lot none of us knew about Mid-World, both past and present. The novel is shorter than DT 2-7, but quite a bit longer than the first volume—call this one DT 4.5. It's not going to change anybody's life, but God, I had fun.

http://www.stephenking.com/promo/wind_through_the_keyhole/announcement/

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Good news! I generally find prequels and sidequels a waste of time, but Mid-world is both persistent and its future depends on tiny, individual actions (Roland's story won't find its conclusion without them :( ) so it's always worth another trip.

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As for The Shining, I'm not sure you could ever do the hedge animals justice. A lot of King's horror (and the reason why it's so hard to adapt into quality horror films) is the juxtaposition of the mundane and the supernatural. Imagine seeing a hedge trimming come to life in a film... it'd look like a kid's animation. Now imagine seeing it in real life: the dislocation, the incipient madness, the sense that - if you can't trust everyday objects, what can you trust? - and it works perfectly. The best bits of IT and The Stand are the same (and why they are poor TV/filmic outings) and why more 'straightforward' stuff like the vampires of Salem's Lot and Carrie's telekenisis work fine, but Christine and Cujo (come on, a scary, fluffy St. Bernard?!) are ridiculous.

I'd love to see more King stuff re-made as movies, particularly Cycle of the Werewolf and decent versions of IT and The Stand created.

EDIT: Oh, and some mad props due to the hugely underrated The Mist as well. Darabont should adapt all of King's best horror stuff!

The Langoliers was a fantastic story, and I remember years ago seeing the straight-to-video film that was made of it....pure shite.

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I'd love to see more King stuff re-made as movies, particularly Cycle of the Werewolf...

Bump! You do know that Cycle of the Werewolf has already been made into a film, don't you? Or do you mean for a better version to be made.

Corey Haim and Gary Busey - what's not to like?

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