Stephen King

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by sidious618, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. William Leisner

    William Leisner Scribbler Rear Admiral

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    I also enjoyed Bag of Bones. It was a bit atypical for King, but excellently written.

    Other faves: Misery, I read in one long overnight marathon session. The Stand, Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption and The Body are classics.

    Biggest dislikes were Desperation, The Regulators, and Dreamcatcher. I also had to put his recent collection Just After Sunset aside, as none of the stories were doing it for me.
     
  2. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It does seem to shift storytelling modes mid-way (or perhaps earlier), doesn't it? From a very secular apocalypse to a standoff between Manichean camps of good and evil. But I think The Stand engages throughout with the idea of cruelty--the undiscriminate cruelty of Captain Tripps, the cruelty of circumstances, and what people work against other people--and after the plague has passed and people start organizing again, he moves up to the next level, the cruelty of the deity who presides, uncaring, over all that suffering. It's the horror of a perfectly deterministic universe: whether you die of Captain Tripps or because it was god's will, you have no control over your own fate. In the long term, I can see why that can make for unsatisfying storytelling--in was annoyed at the role of ka by the end the Dark Tower series, for taking on such size that it endangered the idea that these characters were acting of their own volition (sort of like what the BSG finale retroactively did to the rest of the show), but I thought it worked well in the contained context of The Stand.

    I've not heard those rumours, and I don't think it's accurate to say they don't touch on themes found in his other books. Cujo, Misery and Rose Madder, and characters like Beverly in It, for instance, speak to similar issues of entrapment, sexual abuse, battered women, etc.

    Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
     
  3. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2001
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    Favorites (not in any order):
    It
    The Stand
    Pet Sematary
    Different Seasons
    (All four stories are great.)
    Carrie
    'Salem's Lot
    The Shining
    Night Shift
    (I got into the final round of a Speech Tournament, by reading a 5 minute condensed version of The Boogeyman....or would have if the judge hadn't mixed up the ranking. How hard is it to read a set of directions and see that 5 is a top score? By the time the vote paper came out it was too late to protest the result as the final rounds had started. We know she got it wrong because her notes said that I was the best in all the categories.)
    Misery - A classic. I think this is the epitome of King's work.
    The Green Mile

    I didn't like (Not in any order):
    Rose Madder (interesting idea, but went to slow)
    Insomnia
    Needful Things
    The Dark Half
    The Tommyknockers

    The other books of his I read come somewhere in between. I could never get into The Dark Tower series. Yeah, I've read A LOT of Stephen King.
     
  4. Vanyel

    Vanyel The Imperious Leader Premium Member

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    San Antonio, Texas
    From what I've read, King had writers block at about the halfway mark of the book. He worked on and finished another novel before the idea of killing half of the characters came to him. That cleared his block and he was able to finish the book.
     
  5. McCoy

    McCoy Commodore Commodore

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    Toronto, Canada
    My favourite living author.

    Best: The Talisman. It just seems so much better than the others. Straub's influence? Hard to say, as Black House wasn't nearly as good.

    Worst: Christine. As I was reading it I was disappointed that he seemed to be writing it with adapting it to the screen on his mind. It read like a movie. Then of course the movie was announced almost right away. Felt like selling out.

    I'm almost half-way through Duma Key at the moment. Not yet seeing the power that you all are describing but hopefully will see it soon.
     
  6. darkwing_duck1

    darkwing_duck1 Vice Admiral

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    the Unreconstructed South
    His supernatural horror is first rate (his early works), but his "psycho-horror" (latter stuff) is crap, IMO.

    Favorite: "Carrie", "Christine", and "Firestarter" in that order.

    I always imagined that in the Marvel Universe, "Carrie" would have been one of those "true crime" reconstruction novels.

    BTW: Is anyone else but me just fascinated with what might be in The Drawer?
     
  7. Anthony Sabre

    Anthony Sabre Commodore Commodore

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    I'm not a King fan. To this day, however, he's written the only book that actually scared me. Did not sleep well after reading The Dark Half.
     
  8. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    That book is nothing. Read The Shining or Duman Key or It.
     
  9. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Nov 18, 2005
    I tried listening to Duma Key on audio but I couldn't get into it. I did like Blaze though.

    I've read more of King's short stories over the years than his novels and I've liked most of them. Of his novels, really loved Carrie, the werewolf one they based the movie Silver Bullet on, and the Dead Zone. I thought Rose Madder was good up until the end.
     
  10. Hunter X

    Hunter X Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Vancouver
    See, the only King books I've read are the first two Dark Towers, On Writing and From a Buick 8. I've seen complaints about the lack of explanation in the latter before, and I don't get it. I mean, it's the entire point of the book. The boy is dealing with his father's death, not understanding why it had to happen. And there's this crazy car that his dad used to be obsessed with figuring out the mystery of, but there is no explanation. Sometimes things just happen where we never find out the why. If the book had explained where the car came from or why it did what it did, then the book would be just another horror story about a creepy car. I like that King actually tackled the theme of the unexplanable experiences of human life. Maybe it's not as good as some of his other books...I can't really speak to that.
     
  11. byron lomax

    byron lomax Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, I can appreciate that. The story is told from the point of view of a bunch of people who looked after the buick and experienced weird things as a result - for one of them to find out what it all meant would have seemed forced and unnecessary. King has said in interviews in the past that he doesn't like explaining things too much, and any explanation he could come up with for what was going on in Buick 8 would fall flat. But I would loved to have seen the mysterious "driver" come back at some point in the story.
     
  12. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    Yeah the driver image was certainly cool. I rather enjoyed that book because of its lack of resolution. Made the whole thing creepier.
     
  13. Turd Ferguson

    Turd Ferguson Commodore Commodore

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Kentucky
    Favorites:

    The Dark Tower 1-4
    The Stand
    The Shining
    'Salem's Lot
    Cell
    The Talisman
    Skeleton Key
    Four Past Midnight
    Everything's Eventual

    Least Favorites:

    The Dark Tower 5-7
    From a Buick 8
    Dreamcatcher
    Black House

    I've really not been a big fan of King's work since his accident. I used to love his books, but now they're just not fun at all. After loving the first four Dark Towers, the last three feel like they were rushed with plots pulled directly from his anus, just to finish it already. I even put down Duma Key and Lisey's Story just because they were boring as hell (and this is from a guy who actually enjoyed Bag of Bones).
     
  14. Middle Earther

    Middle Earther Commodore Commodore

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    BC, Canada
    I was almost ready to give up on Stephen King until I read Duma Key - then I kept thinking; "He's back, baby!" His earlier works, especially Salem's Lot were incredible reads. I never got into the Dark Tower - I read the first one and haven't gone back to the series. My all time favorite was the first book I read: Salem's Lot.
     
  15. Starbreaker

    Starbreaker Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    oh yeah... I forgot Cell [B-] and Rage [C].
     
  16. McCoy

    McCoy Commodore Commodore

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    Toronto, Canada
    I'm one of those kids who grew up on the old Universal horror flicks. Watching them all alone at one in the morning in the basement, then running a lightswitch brigade on the way to bed. You know the drill: run ahead to turn on the light, run back to turn off the light in the room you just left, run ahead again to turn on the next light, and so on until you get to your bedroom, where you judge the distance to the bed, turn off the light, and make a leap for it. Then pull the covers over your head and listen for the werewolf. I loved being scared. :D

    But I watched so much of it that I got desensitized. By the time I was a teenager I didn't think anything would ever scare me again. I'd read The Stand. It was brilliant but not particularly scary.

    Then I started reading Night Shift, an early collection of his short stories. And I came to a story called The Bogeyman. As the story went on I kept glancing sideways at my closet door and getting more and more freaked out. By the time the story ended I was absolutely thrilled. I couldn't believe someone had actually succeeded in scaring the shit out of me again after all these years.

    I was so excited I had to share it with someone. The only other person in the house was my sister, who was watching TV in the basement. I ran down there. The door at the bottom of the stairs was closed. I reached for the knob, and at that exact same time she must have been heading up because when I opened the door there was this shadowy figure silhouetted in the opening.

    I finally learned the meaning of the phrase "climbed the wall". I swear I jumped a couple of feet off the floor.

    Good times.
     
  17. sidious618

    sidious618 Admiral Admiral

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    :lol: That's a great story, McCoy.
     
  18. label

    label Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Location:
    Indiana
    Huge King fan for the most part. He has his moments that aren't so great but has so many more that are.

    Favorites:
    Dark Tower series (yes, the last 3 are definitely hit and miss in places, but overall, it's a work of art)
    The Stand. (The absolute best single novel I've ever read of his.....)
    It
    Desperation
    Tailsmen/Dark House
    Needful Things
    Salem's Lot

    Actually, I like pretty much everything he's done to one degree or another......
     
  19. Rob Hal

    Rob Hal Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Aug 5, 1999
    Location:
    London, ON
    For those of you who like Stephen King, you should read his book "On Writing". He gives a lot of insight into some of the books he's written, and it is just a fantastic and short guide for anyone who wants to give a shot at writing themselves.
     
  20. Ood Sigma

    Ood Sigma Commander Red Shirt

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    Apr 20, 2009
    Location:
    Ood Sigma
    I've read pretty much every fiction he's put out.

    Favorites:
    The Dark Tower (all of 'em, though volumes 3 and 7 stand out)
    The Green Mile
    The Talisman


    Dislikes:
    Salem's Lot
    Gerald's Game
    Dolores Claiborne