May 042010

It is no secret that I am an unabashed fanboi.  Let’s face it…whether you are a fan of the macabre or not…the man can write.  I own copies of all of King’s major books…go out of my way to collect his short stories when they appear in other sources…collect the comics…and constantly watch for news on the man and his writings.

King’s life is oftentimes as fascinating as his his novels.  Though he has yet to publish his memoirs in that bulky tome I’ve been waiting for, he has allowed insights into his life in many ways.  ‘Danse Macabre’ and ‘On Writing’ are two of the better examples of this.  King also provides brilliant forewards to his novels, and juicy tidbits accompany his short story anthologies.  Though the man appreciates his privacy, his forays into the spotlight are gems.  For those with less interest in the Wizard behind the curtain than the land he rules…

The volume of work King has turned out is astounding.  The thing that makes him so special in the contemporary canon is that the quality of his writing never seems to waver.  We all have our favorites of course, but even those that didn’t ring as loud for me as others still soar miles above the competition.

King’s strength has always been his characters.  Recent years have shown a tendency towards even deeper character-driven tales, though never at the expense of the chills from which his reputation was derived.  Early novels had a more…visceral and gritty approach.  Many of my favorites (‘Salem’s Lot’, ‘The Stand’, ‘Pet Semetary’) are from this era.  The short stories King gave us from this time are bloody brilliant as well.  Recent years have given us a mixed bag of mystery (‘The Colorado Kid’), zombie (‘Cell’), homage (‘Blaze’ – under the Bachman name) and classic King (‘Duma Key’).

The lesson?  Expect the unexpected.

…and really…how can you not love a guy who is himself a musician and music lover?

As one of our most prolific and influential contemporary authors (and an icon across several genres), I thought it only fitting to open up some dialogue on Stephen King.  Until someone picks one of his books for the club, this will be my outlet.

My King collection:

Current King:

‘Just After Sunset’ (2008) – Latest short story collection.

‘Under The Dome’ (2009) – Most recent doorstopper at >1000 pages.

‘Blockade Billy’ (2010) – A limited run.

‘Full Dark, No Stars’ (2010) – Four King novellas (a la ‘Four Past Midnight’ or ‘Different Seasons’)

  8 Responses to “Stephen King”

  1. OK buddy, now that you’ve told us what we already know, how about finally tackling “People History of the US” and educating us peons on what makes it sing for you.

  2. Yes…yes…one day.

    I have a ton of stuff I have to publish on here (which, as we’ve spoken of, is at very stages of draft) before I get to that.

    Back to the topic at hand…check out the synopses of the four novellas that comprise ‘Full Dark, No Stars’. I believe they are on King’s site, but I will try to get them on here at some point. Huge anticipation for this collection. As Chris mentioned, King is extremely strong with his short stories.

  3. Finished ‘Just After Sunset’. A few delicious little tales. Maybe I’ll drop a few words on some of my favorites at a later point, but this collection fits in nicely with the others he’s released.

    150 pages in to ‘Under The Dome’. I know Lance is working his way through this one right now too. Thoughts thus far, Surujbally?

  4. Under the Dome as an audio book seems long somehow (and I don’t mean that in a bad way, it just seems to go on for a long period in a way that a book does not, no matter how many pages there are). I find myself getting a little impatient with the constant minutiae at times.

    Story and plot are excellent. A very good what-if tale.

    I’m making a small concordance of where King seems to have pilfered and lifted and plagiarized his own themes and characters. When you really start looking, there is so much derivative stuff here (or recycling, take your pick), that if the plot wasn’t so strong, I’d be laughing. Is this a conscious thing on King’s part, or does it just happen?

  5. Remember…this was originally a project he started writing in the 70s under the title ‘The Cannibals’. Makes it even more difficult to sort out the level of derivation.

    Have you finished it yet?

  6. No, I think I’m about into the second third, but not quite halfway. I haven’t checked the book to see precisely where. I would have been further along if Kym had allowed me to listen to it a I was driving home on Saturday 🙂

  7. Halfway. Phew.

    Big Jim Rennie might be King’s best villain yet. I want to strangle the fat bastard.

    Enjoying this book. 500 pages have only covered about 70 hours of ‘Dome Life’. Crazy.

  8. Finished ‘Under The Dome’ last week. Quite a read. Needs to sink in a little bit before I completely decide how I felt about it.

    As Lance is now debating it as his next selection, I am reluctant to discuss it here, but it is a worthwhile read.

    Lance…get ‘er done so we can powwow about it.

    ‘Blockade Billy’ is on my shelf for when I finish Dostoevsky’s ‘The Idiot’.

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