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All Work And No Play Makes Jack A Dull Boy
September 27, 2011 7:46 PM   Subscribe

Stephen King has confirmed he is working on a sequel to The Shining called Doctor Sleep. He discussed the book and read excerpts at George Mason University. The book features a new grown up Danny Torrance working as a hospital orderly, fighting vampires pirates, and using his powers to bet on horse races (which sounds familiar). Fans of Kubrick's film adaptation (which do not include King) were treated to a tribute in a recent Doctor Who episode that recreated a few rooms and corridors from the Overlook Hotel.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn (188 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Vampire pirates? Christ King, why not just throw in some commie nazis and make it really clear to everyone that you're not even trying anymore?
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:52 PM on September 27, 2011 [17 favorites]


First a sequel to The Talisman, now The Shining?

I would like to propose he do The Body next, but focus on Vern and Teddy. Do a straightforward crime novel, maybe a bit of a horror twist. They are working at the last mill in Castle Rock, about to get laid off. They are out drinking one night and see a prominent citizen dump the body of a drifter. They get the idea to blackmail him.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:53 PM on September 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think Vampirates is pretty popular.

And King must write. He's addicted to it. Like its some sort of demon, or monster, or ghost...
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:54 PM on September 27, 2011



I would like to propose he do The Body next, but focus on Vern and Teddy.


I WANT ROLAND AND JOHN SMITH TO RIDE AROUND IN CHRISTINE AND SOLVE CRIMES. AND THERE'S A LOVE TRIANGLE WITH FIRESTARTER OR CARRIE. I HAVEN'T READ EITHER OF THOSE BOOKS BUT I'M I LOVE WITH LIZ FROM HELLBOY. THE END.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:55 PM on September 27, 2011 [31 favorites]


Damn dude, forget I suggested it. I'll email King directly then we will see who is laughing all the way to the bank.

BTW Vern and Teddy were great underutilized characters.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:58 PM on September 27, 2011


Vampires who decided to become pirates or pirates who turned into vampires? I MUST KNOW.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 7:59 PM on September 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


King's really ignoring the low-hanging fruit. The ending of The Stand has sequel written all over it.
posted by Bromius at 8:00 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


sigh... I started reading King when he started publishing, and, for years, read everything he wrote.. but, then he stated he was done, I stopped looking for his books and every time an new one was published, I thought, WTF, didn't he retire....?

I haven't read anything since From a Buick 8.

I really hate to see him mess with The Shining... it doesn't need a sequel, the book OR the movie.

And, whatever he does, if he fucks with The Body, I will hunt him down and beat the crap out of him!
posted by tomswift at 8:02 PM on September 27, 2011


From the description, it kind of sounds like this won't be a "sequel" to The Shining so much as another book that happens to feature a completely different and unrecognizable version of a character from an earlier book. I mean, unless Jack and/or the Overlook reappear in the book, what's it got to do with The Shining? And they can't, because... well, you know why, if you read The Shining.

Maybe as, like, memories, but I dunno. If Danny spends too much time remembering his dad, he won't have any time left for obsessively reciting the lyrics to 70s rock songs until they take on a sinister new meaning.
We are sailing
Oh God not the vampirates not now I just need
WE ARE SAILING
the torch for God's sake find the
HOME AGAAAAIIIINNN
shit shit shit batteries
ACROSS THE SEEEEAAA DANNYYYYY THE SEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
posted by No-sword at 8:04 PM on September 27, 2011 [23 favorites]


Perhaps he'll finally get around to writing an end to Needful Things, since he just left it off with some lame "I'll be back some day" cliffhanger. Wait, aren't most of his stories like that? He always seems to screw up the endings.
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:05 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am the same way, I have been getting all the books I missed on kindle. I want him to return to shorter fiction, I still love Different seasons, Bachman Books, Skeleton Crew etc. Can't say I loved Under the Dome or Black House.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:07 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sooooooooooo, the inhabitants of a small Maine town wake up one day and mysteriously find a Needful Things app installed on their mobile devices?

Crap, I think I've just given him an idea.
posted by Bromius at 8:08 PM on September 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


Sequel? More like a....SCREAM-QUEL!
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:10 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really hate to see him mess with The Shining... it doesn't need a sequel, the book OR the movie Simpson's Halloween episode.
posted by 445supermag at 8:15 PM on September 27, 2011


Oh did you guys see King on Creepshow? I was all like: NERRRRRRRRRRD!

Seriously though I liked The Cell and Misery but haven't been able to read anything else of his, and not from lack of trying. I guess he just doesn't click with some the way he does with others.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:18 PM on September 27, 2011


Why not give the people what they want, and write an extended sequel to the Magical Preteen Gangbang from the end of It? I think I speak for all Steven King fans everywhere when I ask, "Was that really the only Magical Preteen Gangbang those kids got into?"
*playful wink in the direction of Maine*
posted by Greg Nog at 8:19 PM on September 27, 2011 [20 favorites]


using his powers to bet on horse races

Wasn't there a short story to this effect collected in The Dark Descent? Seems like King may be borrowing too heavily from the genre, and I say that as an avid King fan.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:21 PM on September 27, 2011


First a sequel to The Talisman

Whoah. 2001? That's what I get for giving up on King. And doing it right, with Straub, too.

Was it any good?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:23 PM on September 27, 2011


@greg nog

whoa i heard he put something like that in a book he did, thats fucked up
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:24 PM on September 27, 2011


I'd like to see a sequel to The Mist. David Drayton makes it to Hartford, where the "hope" mentioned in the (book) finale is that a group of engineers believe they have a way to close the portal in Maine. Challenge: from the other side.

Lots of stuff goes wrong. Dimensions are breached. Our heroes discuss how all the critters to date were mainly insects and dumb animals, and speculate what the intelligent life at the top of the food chain might look like, and act like. Happily, they find out.

Hartford's portal is sealed (they thought that part through), and the action shifts back to Bridgton, Maine for the finale.
posted by kurumi at 8:24 PM on September 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Why are you clapping for that!? WHY ARE YOU CLAPPING FOR THAT YOU MORONS!?!
posted by codacorolla at 8:26 PM on September 27, 2011


I dig The Hold Steady. Thanks for posting about them.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:28 PM on September 27, 2011


I'd like to see a sequel to The Mist.

I liked the novella, but the movie was the bleakest, most depressing thing I have ever seen in a cinema.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:28 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why does he disrespect the spirit of Scatman Crothers?
posted by Horselover Phattie at 8:30 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh noes, not the preteen gangbang. What the f was up with that anyway? They had already beat the monster, so it was like they had to fuck to find their way out of the sewers. Nonsense. Literally no sense. Do you think his editors were like, "Uh, Steve, maybe ditch the gangbang?" but he was doing too much coke to listen, or had they checked out completely by then already?
posted by yellowbinder at 8:31 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


That said, for some reason that I can't quite pin down, I'm actually looking forward to this.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:32 PM on September 27, 2011


working on a sequel to The Shining

The TurtleWaxing?
posted by jonmc at 8:33 PM on September 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Ummm, could someone describe the preteen gangbang for those of us who haven't read the book and really don't want to google "preteen gangbang"?
posted by neuromodulator at 8:33 PM on September 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Seriously though I liked The Cell and Misery but haven't been able to read anything else of his, and not from lack of trying.

I like his 70s and early 80s stuff, especially Salem's Lot and Pet Semetary. I like the social realist fiction combined with horror aspect of it all.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:34 PM on September 27, 2011


The best thing King has done recently was the cameo in Sons of Anarchy... I loved that the character's name was "Bachman".
posted by HuronBob at 8:35 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why not give the people what they want, and write an extended sequel to the Magical Preteen Gangbang from the end of It?

You, sir, have forever changed the book's title in my mind.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:35 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


...AND HE WRITES HIMSELF INTO THE ENDING!
posted by Windigo at 8:35 PM on September 27, 2011


Ummm, could someone describe the preteen gangbang for those of us who haven't read the book and really don't want to google "preteen gangbang"?

The novel It revolves around a bunch of adolescents fighting an ancient evil. After they defeat the evil the 4 or so boys in the group have sex with the single girl. It's a bit out of nowhere.
posted by codacorolla at 8:35 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


King's really ignoring the low-hanging fruit. The ending of The Stand has sequel written all over it.

That's all resolved in The Dark Tower series.

I dig The Hold Steady. Thanks for posting about them.

I know I'm like crazy obsessed THS reference bot, but King is a serious music fan who listed Old 97s as one of his Desert Island Discs, so the chance of him being a Hold Steady fan isn't too farfetched.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:36 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


After they defeat the evil the 4 or so boys in the group have sex with the single girl. It's a bit out of nowhere.

It's actually clinically proven that speech impediments can be cured this way.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:37 PM on September 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I am so excited about this that I had a dream about it the other night after listening to him read an excerpt. King's recent books have been hit-or-miss for me, but I loved Danny in the novel version of The Shining and was always fascinated by the implication that "Tony" was an older version of himself reaching back through time to him.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:37 PM on September 27, 2011


Also is there anything about how they did the Overlook stuff for that Doctor Who episode? Doctor Who Confidential just talked about how genius they were for coming up with the monster they did.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:38 PM on September 27, 2011


It's at the end of It (during the 1950s part of it, so the four or five boys and one girl are all 11 -12. They face down the monster in the sewers, kill it (knock it out for 30 years actually), then are like "how do we get out of here?". And then apropos of nothing they each take their turn with Bev, then go on their merry way. Completely out of left field and extraneous to the rest of the story, other than some hints dropped in the 1980s portion like 15 pages earlier.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:38 PM on September 27, 2011


Ummm, could someone describe the preteen gangbang

"God, how do I get these kids out of the sewer? Really written myself into a corner here."
(sips coffee pensively)
(eyes widen, smacks forehead)
"Of course! They have a Magical Preteen Gangbang!"
(writes furiously)
"...and it turned out that Ben, the chubby author stand-in, had the Biggest Penis Of All. The End"
posted by Greg Nog at 8:39 PM on September 27, 2011 [50 favorites]


I want him to return to shorter fiction

I recently read Skeleton Crew for the first time and holy fuck! Amazing. Like Matheson's best but with guts and gore.
posted by Roman Graves at 8:42 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I just read Night Shift. I think there was like one dud story in there? Maybe? there must have been.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:43 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I read It in a single setting. This wouldn't normally be that impressive, but I am a slow reader. That was a long two months. Don't get me started on Tommyknockers.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:43 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also, I'm not too worried about the "sequel" aspect. Some of my favorites of his--Dolores Claiborne and Gerald's Game--are from interconnected realities. King doesn't do much in an obligated sort of way. He's an earnest writer, and i don't doubt that he's writing this out of earnestnes.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:44 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


...AND HE WRITES HIMSELF INTO THE ENDING!

...of the magical preteen gangbang? That will end poorly for all involved, methinks.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:45 PM on September 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Urge to kill...rising.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:45 PM on September 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I actually refuse to read The Shining, or at least I keep putting it off. That Doctor Who episode reminded me just how much the film means to me, and the space Kubrick's Overlook occupies in my head.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 8:46 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, all his shorts collections are worth it. Some truly chilling stuff, his best work.
posted by yellowbinder at 8:46 PM on September 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


The kids were trapped in a realm of death, so they performed the most life-affirming act possible to break its (Its?) power. Wow. What a shocker!!! Except I don't remember much reaction to it at the time. I guess you have to grow up in the current hysteria for it to seem so remarkable.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:48 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Watching the YouTube reading at Mason, I'm struck once again at just how incongruous and goofy King's Maine accent is. Also, I seem to recall King saying in an interview about 10 years ago that he expects to go blind any day now.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:54 PM on September 27, 2011


Different Seasons. Four novellas. Not a clunker in the bunch. "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption", "Apt Pupil", "The Body", "The Breathing Method". The latter is the only one that hasn't been made into a movie (AFAIK). "Apt Pupil" was made into two, neither of which was any good; you have to read it.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:54 PM on September 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Full Dark, No Stars was some of the best King I've read for years - and fully deserving of it's title. So he's still got it, even if this sequel project sounds a little iffy.
posted by Artw at 8:57 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


And then apropos of nothing they each take their turn with Bev,

Waaaaait a second. Bev initiated the entire thing and had to convince them. It wasn't like it was a rape or even them pressuring her. Just to be fair.

And this is going to sound...really weird, but I read that book when I was 12 and I thought that whole thing was kind of odd but mostly sweet, the way it was actually written. It was kind of like how it would be if you took the confused pre-teenage crush on half your class and actually acted on it. Sticky and awkward and sweet.

And now I'm on the internet defending the magical underage gangbang. Hi Mom! This is not your fault, I _swear_.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 8:57 PM on September 27, 2011 [17 favorites]


And, whatever he does, if he fucks with The Body, I will hunt him down and beat the crap out of him!

This is how I've always felt about the geniuses who made Stand By Me, because they really did fuck with it. Not so much in changes to story as changes in tone. The Body was just strong all the way through, right up to its final line -- something to do with the river continuing to flow past the town, as it always had, always will. The movie just ends with with Richard Dreyfuss, the writer telling the tale, saying something like, "I never had any friends later in life like the ones I had when I was twelve."

F***ing nostalgia.
posted by philip-random at 8:58 PM on September 27, 2011


Not a clunker in the bunch. "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption", "Apt Pupil", "The Body", "The Breathing Method".

Yep, The Breathing Method is one of the reasons I want him to get back into short fiction. I want more stories from that eternal men's club or whatever it is. "It is the tale, not he who tells it"
posted by Ad hominem at 8:58 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


My next mefi post is just gonna be the words "Magical Preteen Hetero Gangbang as Heroism versus Nonmagical Preteen Homo Handjob as Villainy: discuss" with no links
posted by Greg Nog at 9:00 PM on September 27, 2011 [11 favorites]


And King must write. He's addicted to it. Like its some sort of demon, or monster, or ghost...
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 1:54 PM on September 28

... or Lamp Monster.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:02 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


And King must write. He's addicted to it.

I don't think he really tries any more. He just wakes up and there's a 700 page manuscript he wrote while sleepwalking.
posted by Rinku at 9:05 PM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


So will The Shining sequel be as good as the TV miniseries version? The one where King wanted to right all the wrongs he saw in the Kubrick version and then cast the guy from Wings as Jack.
posted by octothorpe at 9:05 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I liked King's stuff much better back when he was actually edited. Now it's just nonstop words--occasionally entertaining, sometimes scary verbal diarrhea.
posted by gottabefunky at 9:06 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Are we sure that the Doctor Who ep was specifically an hommage to The Overlook, rather than just "generic creepy hotel"? Because, hell, "creepy hotel" is such a popular trope that even King himself visited it more than once.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:06 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Who's good for a spooky thriller nowadays, then?
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:07 PM on September 27, 2011


Fuck, The Raft, Grey Matter, Balad of the Flexible Bullet,Word Processor of the Gods,Survivor Type,Jerusalem's Lot,Quitters, Inc.,The Ledge,I Know What You Need, The Running Man,The Long Walk

How could I ever doubt him. I will shut up, I guess I am a fanboy about something.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:07 PM on September 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Yep, The Breathing Method is one of the reasons I want him to get back into short fiction.

Like I say - Full Dark, No Stars. Three outstanding novellas and one merely okay one - plus a bonus okayish one in paperback. But it's the three strong ones, all about murder, that will stick with you.
posted by Artw at 9:08 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Phillip-random... odd... I liked both the book/story and the movie... I agree with your comments, but the movie was a gem in its own right.

The rites of passage aspect of the story was well illustrated in the movie. I don't think a 90 minute movie can ever communicate the full impact of a book, but "Stand by Me" did a fine job of creating characters we could relate to. I used clips from that movie for years as I did parenting classes for parents of adjudicated kids...
posted by HuronBob at 9:10 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I frequently stay at the Overlook. Well, the building that is it's exterior. Inside it's a lot less roomy.
posted by Artw at 9:10 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ohgodtheraft, the raaaaaaaaaaaaaaaft. /standard King subconscious italics.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:10 PM on September 27, 2011


Full Dark, No Stars

Thanks,Kindled.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:11 PM on September 27, 2011


Are we sure that the Doctor Who ep was specifically an hommage to The Overlook, rather than just "generic creepy hotel"? Because, hell, "creepy hotel" is such a popular trope that even King himself visited it more than once.

1. Low angle shots of a hallway with the same carpeting as the Overlook
2. Big dining room with a bar that looks like the one in the Overlook
3. Hotel has rooms that open onto disconnected nightmarish scenes, like the furry orgy
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:12 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


4. The pictures in the lobby
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:13 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Full Dark, No Stars was the good stuff.
posted by infinitewindow at 9:13 PM on September 27, 2011


I have here a leaked line of dialouge from the Shining sequel that was given to me by one of my contacts who knows King. It's spoken by one of the Vampire Pirates.

"I vant to suck your blood! Arrrrr!"

Awesome, right? King can do no wrong. I hope he doesn't dumb that dialouge down in any subsequent drafts.
posted by Effigy2000 at 9:14 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


/standard King subconscious italics.

When I was reading The Shining I realized for the first time that anything in Italics is something that Danny is hearing as someone else's thought inside of his head. It made the technique a lot more tolerable. Maybe I'm dense, but I didn't get that when I read it as a teenager 10 years ago.
posted by codacorolla at 9:15 PM on September 27, 2011


using his powers to bet on horse races (which sounds familiar)

Yes, to me, too!
posted by rhizome at 9:17 PM on September 27, 2011


Ooh I'm going to dig out FDNS as well tonight, I never read the last story and I could use a break from the endless (but thrilling!) slog through the Song of Ice and Fire series.
posted by yellowbinder at 9:22 PM on September 27, 2011


As long as it doesn't involve aliens. Aliens are Stephen King's deus ex machina (based on what I read, anyway, I haven't read every single Stephen King story). I'll be like, "this is kind of creepy", and then, all of a sudden: ALIENS, and it stops being creepy.
posted by Redfield at 9:22 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Who's good for a spooky thriller nowadays, then?

Joe Hill (semi-secretly King's son) is pretty good. He's got a collection of short stories as well which is phenomenal, and Heart Shaped Box is a pretty good ghost story.

I would love to hear other suggestions!
posted by yellowbinder at 9:26 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


The is a movie version of The Raft in Creepshow II, but I really don't recommend it.
posted by Artw at 9:26 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Vampire pirates? Throw in some ninja robots, some viking zombies and something about Cthulhu and this story might just be ready for the Internet.
posted by dgaicun at 9:28 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


My recent moment of King Fridge Brilliance was realizing that his quote "I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker" that's on every early Barker book is a paraphrase of the review that made Springsteen's career.

Basically, I like King because he's like me.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:31 PM on September 27, 2011


Vampire pirates? Throw in some ninja robots, some viking zombies and something about Cthulhu and this story might just be ready for the Internet.

King's been writing Mythos stories before every kid with a set of LEGOs and a webcam was making stop motion Cthulhu vids
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 9:40 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I look forward to watching the adaptation of The Shining 2, right after I read the official novelization of Blade Runner 2.
posted by Apocryphon at 9:53 PM on September 27, 2011


He needs to work on a sequel to On Writing called On Retiring.
posted by munchingzombie at 9:54 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I hereby vow to base an entire future career of popular fiction writing off of this one chart.
posted by dgaicun at 9:57 PM on September 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


Looks like someone is taking lessons from George Lucas.
posted by tyllwin at 10:01 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wasn't there a short story to this effect collected in The Dark Descent?

I recall that in at least one King book, a character talks about betting on the harness races in Lewiston with some sort of supernatural assistance ... I think it might have been Needful Things, but I'm not sure.

It probably dates the story a bit now, since that track doesn't exist anymore.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:04 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Looks like someone is taking lessons from George Lucas.

He already rereleased the first Dark Tower novel with more references to later books and made-up slang.

Not that I'm ANGRY about that, or anything. If even thinking about it made me seethe with rage, I'd probably go crazy. Ka is a wheel, and I must accept that.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:05 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


He already rereleased the first Dark Tower novel with more references to later books and made-up slang.

I think King did the same thing with The Stand and it didn't work so well.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:23 PM on September 27, 2011


STEPHEN KING 101 FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ONLY KNOW WHAT YOU READ ABOUT HIM ON WIKIPEDIA OR THE BLUE

There are basically Four Ages of Stephen King.

1. Early Drugs: well, mostly booze and cigarettes at this point. His early short stories (sold mostly to porn mags, back when they were not just making a token stab at "artistic or literary merit", but actually kind of wanting to be the next Playboy), and his early books up through, let's say, Different Seasons (a collection of four novellas, three of which became movies). Interesting books, using different approaches; although some of his favorite tropes show up very early, there's no one quite like him on the market, even though horror made the best-seller lists well before King with The Exorcist and he's hardly alone in that market. Includes the first four books published under the Richard Bachman pseudonym (including Rage, fka Getting It On, the only published work in King's canon that he deliberately let go out of print, because it deals with a school shooting), and the beginnings of the Dark Tower saga. Some of his characters (notably Jack Torrance of The Shining, played by Jack Nicholson in the Kubrick movie) have a bit of a problem with booze and drugs.

2. Later Drugs: from the early eighties up until about 1988, when King sobered up. IMO, some of the most wildly uneven work of King's career, including some really genuinely disturbing work (Pet Sematary, inspired by a near-miss accident involving one of King's own kids, Misery, and Cujo) mixed in with bloated near-self-parody (The Tommyknockers and IT, featuring the aforementioned pre-teen sex). Christine starts in the first person, switches to the third person in the middle third, and then switches back to the first person for the last third; it's the one book of his where the movie adaptation (by John Carpenter) is unambiguously better than the original.

3. Post-Drugs: The newly-clean and sober King continues work on the Dark Tower saga, and turns in some strong work dealing with women who have been treated badly by the men in their lives. (There's a hint of this in IT, as well.)

4. Post-Accident: Probably the most dramatic shift in King's direction and overall tone and style. He writes the last three books in the Dark Tower saga, including himself and the accident that nearly took his life as a prominent plot thread, and also partially rewrites earlier stories in the series. His work also takes a turn for the really weird, as the menaces that crop up in his books become more abstract and less dependent on ancient horror tropes.

I guess that what I'm trying to get at here is that stuff like "hurf durf preteen gangbang", while maybe facilely amusing to some, really doesn't hold water with someone who's had some major shifts in direction in a long and prolific career. If you really didn't like The Shining, or It, or Gerald's Game, that's not to say that you wouldn't like what King is putting out these days, or vice versa, for that matter. Even something like Black House, which is a sequel to The Talisman (both co-written with Peter Straub), is hugely different from the first book.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:37 PM on September 27, 2011 [43 favorites]


I look forward to watching the adaptation of The Shining 2, right after I read the official novelization of Blade Runner 2.

I hear in Blade Runner 2, Deckard is brought back to track down some vampire pirates. Oh, no, wait, that would be totally moronic.
posted by neuromodulator at 10:37 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I will stand King's short fiction up against any author's as brilliant storytelling. I have probably 25 full-length King books, some pretty awesome, some clunkers, but you can have them all if I get to keep the half-dozen short story collections.
posted by maxwelton at 10:39 PM on September 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


KokuRyu: No, he released the original version of The Stand, which had been whittled down considerably for publication because it had been too big to publish in a single volume in hardcover. (He did make a few changes to update it to current events, but these were minor.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:40 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]




KokuRyu: No, he released the original version of The Stand, which had been whittled down considerably for publication because it had been too big to publish in a single volume in hardcover. (He did make a few changes to update it to current events, but these were minor.)


That said, the changes to the Dark Tower may have changed the events of The Stand. I'll have to reread them both and go through the DT Concordance.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:44 PM on September 27, 2011


Christine starts in the first person, switches to the third person in the middle third, and then switches back to the first person for the last third; it's the one book of his where the movie adaptation (by John Carpenter) is unambiguously better than the original.

Wait what? I haven't seen the Christine film, but the book is amazing and, er, *points to subject of thread*.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 10:45 PM on September 27, 2011


My recent moment of King Fridge Brilliance was realizing that his quote "I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker" that's on every early Barker book

In my late teens, after I saw "Hellraiser" in the theater, this quote on the backs of The Books Of Blood convinced me I could just skip King.
posted by rhizome at 11:09 PM on September 27, 2011


I liked King's stuff much better back when he was actually edited. Now it's just nonstop words--occasionally entertaining, sometimes scary verbal diarrhea.

The first thing I thought of reading the FPP was what King said in some introduction to a book, that he had "diarrhea of the word processor".
I gave up trying to keep up with him many years ago; I started going for quality over quantity. But you gotta hand it to him, he's written some gems, and he just never tires. Also, at least he's self-aware. I like him, even if I never read another one of his books.
posted by hypersloth at 11:23 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love horror movies, I love good directors, I love Stephen King. But the Shining movie does absolutely NOTHING for me and I don't know why. It seems so detached, so disinterested in being scary. Maybe Kubrick just doesn't sit well with me, I'm not a huge fan of everything else I've seen of his. Still, I'm almost ashamed to admit this all, but it's true.
posted by Brainy at 11:26 PM on September 27, 2011


I'm in total agreement that King is a master writer of short stories. Two of his best IMHO, have nothing to do with the supernatural. The Last Rung on the Ladder is a story about love and faith that is written in prose so clear that I could feel the chaff in my lungs. My Pretty Pony is a story that beautifully illustrates the illusory nature of time.

As far as his novels go, yeah, it's hit and miss but there are some good ones. It's just that the bad ones are so terrible. The Shining is awesome in a totally different way from the also fabulous Kubrick film. Jack so obviously IS King in some sections, which is made all the more evident when one reads On Writing. I could go on and on, because I really do believe that King is a novelist who will posthumously be recognized as one of 20th century America's best, but I won't.
posted by alltomorrowsparties at 11:32 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hmm. It's been a long time since I read it now, but I recall thinking The Shining (especially the ending) was where King's bloat problem really began in earnest.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:26 AM on September 28, 2011


I would watch the hell out of a film version of The Regulators. It would be silly and weird and gross and for once shitty CGI would actually be totally appropriate to the storyline.
posted by hermitosis at 1:14 AM on September 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


Everyone talks about Stephen King's new work but no one does anything to prevent it.
posted by LarryC at 1:15 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


what King said in some introduction to a book, that he had "diarrhea of the word processor"

That's why his novellas are his best work.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:36 AM on September 28, 2011


it was like they had to fuck to find their way out of the sewers.

To be fair, this is how I ask for directions in London.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 1:38 AM on September 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


I don't understand where people get off telling an author he shouldn't write a sequel to his story.

The Shining came into King's head, and he put it to paper. If Danny Torrance came back in his head, he should put that to paper too.

If the book or the movie hold some special significance for your personally, that you feel may be ruined by a follow-up story, then don't read the fucking thing.

It's not like he's re-releasing an ebook of the original where he digitally replaces Jack's axe with a walkie talkie.
posted by unigolyn at 1:40 AM on September 28, 2011 [9 favorites]


Reading a Stephen King novel is like eating a sandwich with top quality meat and stale, cardboard flavored bread.
posted by Malice at 2:33 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Dude needs to finally get around to writing Misery's Hobby.
posted by Wolfdog at 2:46 AM on September 28, 2011


Effigy2000: "Vampire pirates? Christ King, why not just throw in some commie nazis and make it really clear to everyone that you're not even trying anymore"

Have you seen his house in Bangor? It's got this really tacky "haunted-house" motif going on, right down to wrought-iron bats on the gate. The man might be a prolific writer, but he's got no good taste.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:06 AM on September 28, 2011


King is living out the sequel to "The Body."
posted by theredpen at 3:40 AM on September 28, 2011


1. Low angle shots of a hallway with the same carpeting as the Overlook

Not to pick a nit, but...not so much.

I think what I'm getting at is a couple of shots may have looked evocative, but this may have been more of an in-the-moment "hey, this kinda looks like The Shining, let's tweak this shot a bit" rather than a planned-all-along "we've intended to do an hommage to The Shining from the very first" kind of thing. The ep may be more of a combination of "creepy hotel" and "in-the-moment symmetry."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:57 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I started to lose hope in King after reading Black House (though I guess technically Peter Straub deserves half the blame for that one). I really lost hope after reading the lazy, amateurish hackwork that is Cell.
posted by zardoz at 4:06 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think what I'm getting at is a couple of shots may have looked evocative, but this may have been more of an in-the-moment "hey, this kinda looks like The Shining, let's tweak this shot a bit" rather than a planned-all-along "we've intended to do an hommage to The Shining from the very first" kind of thing. The ep may be more of a combination of "creepy hotel" and "in-the-moment symmetry."

I'm not even sure why it's a question whether "The God Complex" is an homage to The Shining from the first frame to the last. I would be astonished if Toby Whithouse -- who wrote the episode and is the creator of the horror series Being Human -- didn't intend his script as an homage; we're not exactly talking about some obscure movie here, especially if you're a horror guy/girl.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:25 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would be astonished if Toby Whithouse -- who wrote the episode and is the creator of the horror series Being Human -- didn't intend his script as an homage; we're not exactly talking about some obscure movie here, especially if you're a horror guy/girl.

My position was more that "not sure this is specifically a 'Shining' episode, but instead was a 'creepy-hotel' episode, and since 'The Shining' is an example of the creepy-hotel trope some details may have been thrown in, yeah".

But this is starting to feel like I'm driving a kind of stupid derail, so I'm giving up and going back to "wow, Stephen King, writing a Shining sequel, huh?" It's been a while since I read the book -- I remember the TV miniseries having a flash-forward epilogue set at Danny's high school graduation, was that in the book?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:10 AM on September 28, 2011


I just hope he's a bit less obtuse about the moon landing hoax in the sequel.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:24 AM on September 28, 2011


Vampires who decided to become pirates or pirates who turned into vampires? I MUST KNOW.

I think you misunderstand. They are "vampire pirates," in the sense that they make cheap, unauthorized copies of vampires. This is not exactly illegal, as you cannot copyright, trademark, or even patent a vampire, but you know the type -- shoddy looks, off-center widow's peak, speaks about three words of Romanian, and is somewhat less elegant than a Sara Lee dessert. King is pretty mad about copyright infringement these days, and he aims to do something about it!
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:36 AM on September 28, 2011 [17 favorites]


LiB: I haven't seen the Christine film, but the book is amazing and, er, *points to subject of thread*.

Well, YMMV as with all other things. I didn't totally hate the book--I liked the scenes in which Christine stalks the members of the high school gang that tormented Arnie--but in addition to the shifts in viewpoint, I thought that in general there were too many digressions talking about Arnie's relationship with his mother and blah blah blah; Carpenter's movie gets to the meat of the story, which is that there's this car that goes around killing people. (The movie is also aided by a really excellent performance by Keith Gordon, who has since left acting for directing, as Arnie.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:42 AM on September 28, 2011


1. Low angle shots of a hallway with the same carpeting as the Overlook

Not to pick a nit, but...not so much.


Yeah, I was going to say the same thing... I had not seen the Who episode but I know The Shining pretty well. I went to look at clips from both and I see only reddish-brown colour palette in a pattern, and

oh my god my dining room chairs jack was in my dining room heres johnny


not much else in common. I am sure there was some intent to evoke the movie, but its not like any real effort went into replicating the set dressings.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:22 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I remember the TV miniseries having a flash-forward epilogue set at Danny's high school graduation, was that in the book?

No. There's a tiny glimpse of 'Tony' in one of Danny's visions, obviously a slightly-older version of Danny, but that's all we get from the implied future.

I worry a bit about Stephen King revisiting his own work--I really didn't care for most of the material he put back into the uncut version of The Stand, whereas according to the introduction, he loved it and thought it was both meaningful and deep. I thought it sometimes actually flattened and... cardboarded?... characters who had previously been more interesting (e.g. Frannie's mother and father).

However, I've liked some of his more recent stuff--Duma Key, for some reason, I found enjoyable (not super-scary, but atmospheric and interesting, and very well-done as an audiobook), and I have to echo the above recommendations of Full Dark, No Stars.
posted by theatro at 6:29 AM on September 28, 2011


I'll have to reread them both and go through the DT Concordance.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn


A man after my own heart.

And I must take this opportunity to recommend the short story "N" in King's Just After Sunset collection.
posted by marxchivist at 6:39 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I worry a bit about Stephen King revisiting his own work--I really didn't care for most of the material he put back into the uncut version of The Stand, whereas according to the introduction, he loved it and thought it was both meaningful and deep. I thought it sometimes actually flattened and... cardboarded?... characters who had previously been more interesting (e.g. Frannie's mother and father).

A number of the "revisits" all came during a certain time which leads me to believe they may have been fueled by a bit of "zeal-of-the-convert"; you know, "oh, man, I was drunk off my gourd when I wrote this, I can tell. I need to fix it because drinking is bad" or even just "drinking is bad and I need to play up that drinking is bad". It was that "drinking is bad, mkay" theme that put me off the miniseries adaptation of The Shining -- okay, yeah, it was hinted at as a factor in the book, and it's not like alcoholism is good, but it felt really anvilicious in the miniseries and felt like an ABC Afterschool Special sometimes in tone.

I chalked it up to King kind of wrestling with his own reformed-alcoholic guilt; he was also in the middle of writing his own memoirs, and that no doubt dredged up a lot of "jesus, I really was doing pretty bad then, I feel all oogie". Then the accident distracted him from that (and gave him something new to obsess about for a while).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:52 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hartford's portal is sealed (they thought that part through), and the action shifts back to Bridgton, Maine for the finale.

If anyone wants to live under threat of being stomped on by mist monsters, I have some friends trying to sell their house in Bridgton, Maine. It's only haunting? BEING A SPOOKILY GOOD DEAL.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:02 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Stephen King is an extraordinary writer: while he's expert at most aspects of the craft of writing, his wildly variable taste and heavily period-specific childhood nostalgia (and aforementioned logorrhea) make for tough reading at times. Not to mention his weird relationship to 'pretension,' which puts me off. Still: who's put together a stronger body of short fiction in King's lifetime?

Curious about his Big-Ass Fantasy Series, I read The Gunslinger a few years ago and thought it was fucking brilliant. (Even moreso now that I've got a young kid.) The brilliance dims somewhat as the Dark Tower series continues, though. Austerity suits him.

His nonfiction is surprisingly good - there are portions of Danse Macabre, particularly his evocation of Sputnik, that are actually scary on their own, and On Writing is a fine book if you can put aside the syrupy bits (e.g. an observation about the diminishing size and importance of his writing desk is moving and insightful in an 'aww shucks Uncle Steve you do go on' kind of way).

If you can separate King's devotion to writing as a profession and a way of life from his eccentricities and tics, his best stuff - say, a dozen books' worth - will just melt your face.
posted by waxbanks at 7:31 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


t's the one book of his where the movie adaptation (by John Carpenter) is unambiguously better than the original.

Then you've never read The Running Man. Bleah.
posted by grubi at 7:37 AM on September 28, 2011


Actually, grubi, I have, and in that case the movie simply has next to nothing to do with the book, which was much deeper and more interesting (and very canny in predicting reality show tropes, such as the way in which the protagonist's (and his wife's) image is manipulated to make him less sympathetic) than the movie, which is more game show than reality show (it even has Richard Dawson as the host, FFS).
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:49 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


you gotta hand it to him, he's written some gems, and he just never tires.

I hope this is written on King's gravestone. It's pithy, accurate, and not a bad epitaph for any writer. My own favorite King book is Danse Macabre (somewhere, maybe in that book, King recalls how he pronounced "macabre" "mac-bree" when he was young, and that's how I have always mentally pronounced the title). It's hella insightful about writing and television and movies and horror and literature all in addition to being fucking hilarious. King's story about watching Robot Monster while stoned had me in tears the first time I read it and it still makes me laugh twenty years later.

I'm inclined to agree with the critics who say that King has substituted quantity for quality over the years. I don't think that King is or will ever be regarded as the best American writer of the late 20th century, but he's probably the most American American writer of the late 20th century (Whitman on coke? a Yankee Sims on speed?) and like his home he's produced a lot of crap, but the peculiar gems are there to be found.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:50 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of time to read the thread, but I do want to chime in that King has disappointed me lately. The way the Dark Tower ended was crappy, most of his recent books just rambled, and I'm assuming (I haven't looked it up) that he moved to the Florida Keys a few years ago. He needs to branch out. Everything can't be located in Derry, Maine or the Florida Keys. My last book was Just After Sunset, and I enjoyed it, but I can't get past Dreamcatcher.

Also, I fucking love Roland. But King writing himself into his own story was pathetic.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 8:08 AM on September 28, 2011


but I can't get past Dreamcatcher.

You can and should skip Dreamcatcher. Ain't nobody need no shitweasels.
posted by theatro at 8:11 AM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


stuff like "hurf durf preteen gangbang", while maybe facilely amusing to some

If you want the amusement to be less facile, we can come up with a more convoluted backstory!

King sits at his desk, leafing through outlines and notes, trying to piece together the ideas he's been jotting down for his latest horror story, tentatively titled "It" as an expression of the Lovecraftian otherworldy horror revolving around the idea of the unnameable opacity of transdimensional evil. Some notes, he can recall writing, and some he cannot.

Months before, he'd had a bad habit of waking in the middle of the night, scrawling whatever half-formed ideas had come to him, and most of these phrases still manage to surprise him as he scans the pages. A clown, paragon of innocent childhood amusement, as the demonic killer? Solid. A ragtag group of outcasts finding strength in their unity and self-acceptance? Gold. And the idea that the whole story might be tied into the mythos that King began to lay out in his Gunslinger series? That might be his best twist of all.

Bleary-eyed, he'd scribbled it all down in fits and starts, still mostly in a dream-vision state. The enemy of Pennywise would be the turtle that guards the Portal. The idea of the group's unity through diversity would echo the concept of Ka and Ka-Tet. And the denouement would contain the most explicit crossover between the two works' overlapping universes: Blaine, half-insane, bubblegum-colored Blaine, would be the way the children manage to leave the sewers. Out of darkness, the ghost in the machine appears; his lunatic decrepitude would act as a kind of Charon figure, shuttling the innocent from the world of death to the world of life once more.

But now, staring at a ripped-off page of college-ruled notebook paper, King recalls none of these specifics. He furrows his brow. What on earth could it mean, this fragment under the heading "Escape From The Sewer"? He looks out the window, then back at the enigmatic phrase chicken-scratched in ballpoint pen: "Run a train down there"

King shrugs, mutters "STEVIE GOTS TO GET PAID, YO," and grabs his typewriter.

posted by Greg Nog at 8:22 AM on September 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


"Tomorrow.. on the way to work.. you're gonna buy a cup of coffee.."

"Yeah?"

"Then you're gonna hail a cab.."

"Uh huh! Does the cab crash?!"

"No.. you're gonna leave the coffee in the cab!"

"Okay.. I guess I'll just have to get another cup when I get here."

"Look! you don't get it! You're wasting coffee!"
posted by Brocktoon at 8:29 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


...OK, that's better.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:43 AM on September 28, 2011


I don't understand where people get off telling an author he shouldn't write a sequel to his story.

The Shining came into King's head, and he put it to paper. If Danny Torrance came back in his head, he should put that to paper too.

If the book or the movie hold some special significance for your personally, that you feel may be ruined by a follow-up story, then don't read the fucking thing.



He can write what he likes, of course. And if, now that it's later in his life, and his powers are no longer at their zenith, he chooses to go back and add to a story that's as much a classic as he's veer done, well, so be it. We can all treat it like The Godfather III and kind of ignore it and look the other way. But personally, I have to feel a little embarrassed for him. And that's made more so, not less, by the fact that I enjoyed and respect his previous work.
posted by tyllwin at 8:47 AM on September 28, 2011


"Apt Pupil" was made into two, neither of which was any good; you have to read it.

Wait. Two? Is that a typo? There's the Bryan Singer film, and then what?

(I also happen to like the Singer film, but that's beside the point.)
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:49 AM on September 28, 2011


Didn't King once call his work the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries?
posted by gottabefunky at 8:55 AM on September 28, 2011


In a way, he's like a literary version of Prince: morsels of genius in a matrix of meh. And he peaked a while back.
posted by gottabefunky at 8:58 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not so sure he "peaked" so much as "is transitioning between audiences." There are those who don't so much dig the gothic-horror stuff, or the fantasy stuff. Those are the people who'd turn up their nose at The Stand or Dark Tower or the like. But the newer short fiction, which tends to be a bit more "realism" oriented, may be more their bag. So for all the people who are saying that he "peaked" because he's not writing more things like The Stand, there are probably people who are starting to get into him because they liked Duma Key and thinking, "boy, that earlier stuff was kind of lame, but this is good!"

There is, though, the stuff that everyone probably can agree sucks. Dreamcatcher, for instance.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:04 AM on September 28, 2011


You can and should skip Dreamcatcher. Ain't nobody need no shitweasels.

Someone recommended it to me highly, so I read it, while pregnant, and kept thinking it was going to get better. It's possibly the most horrible book I've read, but I refuse to read the Twilight series. Maybe they would be equally shitty.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 9:04 AM on September 28, 2011


Prince: morsels of genius in a matrix of meh

This made me think of Prince in The Matrix which actually seems like a perfect fit. Imagine if Prince was Neo. Those films would be like 1000x funnier.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:07 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wait. Two? Is that a typo? There's the Bryan Singer film, and then what?

No typo, but apparently I'm mistaken. There was an attempt to make a film in 1987 with Ricky Schroder, but funding ran out. Maybe that's what I was thinking of. But I could have sworn I'd seen another film. That's how memory plays tricks on you, I guess.

My apologies for the misinformation.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 9:18 AM on September 28, 2011


... or Lamp Monster.

Oh, mods that we respect and admire so much, please let me favorite this a thousand times.
posted by doyouknowwhoIam? at 9:25 AM on September 28, 2011


I worry a bit about Stephen King revisiting his own work-

What's the word for worry when it isn't worry anymore but fact? That is, worry to me means you're getting hung up on some possible negative outcome versus an inevitable negative outcome. Maybe the word's resigned.

I'm resigned to the fact that Stephen King revisiting his own work is a bad idea. Case in point -- The Shining miniseries, which isn't just not as good as the book, or the Kubrick movie, but an embarassing f***ing disaster. I remember giving up on it about halfway through, thinking, "Way to go, guy. You've extracted all of the melodrama from your original novel and NONE of the nuance. What a hack! Way to piss on your own grave, because that mini-series will outlive you."
posted by philip-random at 9:31 AM on September 28, 2011


I look at King like this: so many nice bits that I can look past the filler. I give him a pass on the filler and it won't offend me when he puts out more quantity because the ones that are quality are just. so. good.
posted by grubi at 9:36 AM on September 28, 2011


I thought Dreamcatcher was the sequel to The Body? The film was pretty funny at any rate.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:02 AM on September 28, 2011


I thought Dreamcatcher was the sequel to The Body?

....Only in the sense that both are about 4 friends who were kids in Maine.

The Body was all realism -- four 12-year-olds sneaking out to go see a dead body out in the woods. The obstacles they run into are the town bullies, trouble with their parents, and their own fears of mortality.

Dreamcatcher is about four grown men who've been friends since they were 12-year-olds, and who while they were kids all developed a telepathic link with each other when they came to the rescue of a fifth kid who was being bullied. And now it's the present day and they all get infected by alien naked mole rats who eat their way out of their butts.

Not so much a sequel.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:10 AM on September 28, 2011 [7 favorites]


Dreamcatcher is about four grown men who've been friends since they were 12-year-olds, and who while they were kids all developed a telepathic link with each other when they came to the rescue of a fifth kid who was being bullied.

And as a commenter once said here, it features one of King's tropes, "the magical retard." I put that impolitely because it's a pretty ugly concept. Another similar King story I didn't like much was "The Tommyknockers."
posted by maxwelton at 10:14 AM on September 28, 2011


(dude, it was a joke)
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:19 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


stinkycheese, there is not a single wasted word in The Shining—it's really the last novel of King's about which one can say that.

waxbanks, I really like Danse Macabre when I was a kid. It introduced me to literary criticism in a way that really appealed to me at the time. I picked it up the other day, and to my surprise it had turned into a screed of a coked-out horror fanatic. It was like a non-fiction White Jazz if James Ellroy had been interested in the supernatural instead of crooked cops and dead molls. That being said, I really want to see a sequel to it that talks about the last thirty years in horror media.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:39 AM on September 28, 2011


And as a commenter once said here, it features one of King's tropes, "the magical retard."

M-O-O-N, that spells plot device
posted by Greg Nog at 10:49 AM on September 28, 2011 [15 favorites]


It sure does, Greg Nog! Wolf! A plot device, right here and now!
posted by Wolfdog at 11:02 AM on September 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


But the Shining movie does absolutely NOTHING for me and I don't know why.

Didn't do much for King either.
There's a lot to like about it. But it's a great big beautiful Cadillac with no motor inside, you can sit in it and you can enjoy the smell of the leather upholstery - the only thing you can't do is drive it anywhere. So I would do every thing different. The real problem is that Kubrick set out to make a horror picture with no apparent understanding of the genre. Everything about it screams that from beginning to end, from plot decision to the final scene - which has been used before on the Twilight Zone.
posted by Zed at 11:05 AM on September 28, 2011


I wonder how much King's criticisms of Kubrick's Shining would have softened if they had happened after Maximum Overdrive instead.
posted by Drastic at 11:48 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


They are, TBH, pretty hard to take seriously after the TV movie.

But, you know, it's his baby, he's going to be precious about it like that.
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on September 28, 2011


If he makes a sequel to "The Body," I'll give him a kick in the sweetmeats.
posted by digsrus at 12:07 PM on September 28, 2011


congratulations infinitewindow you have convinced me to the maximum limit that i need to read the fuck out of that book!!

i really like reading stephen king and i also really like that he is obviously a weird dude with crappy taste who gets a little kick out of being the "dipshit genre author who makes lots of money". i am smiling even now, thinking of him writing the van what struck him down into his very favorite giant world-spanning fan fiction of his own fiction
posted by beefetish at 12:15 PM on September 28, 2011


I really wish I hadn't started back on King. I am now in full blown completionist mode again trying to assess how many books I missed. Thanks guys!
posted by Ad hominem at 1:01 PM on September 28, 2011


So It. i thought I had read it, but I don't remember any Magical Preteen Hetero Gangbang, nor, if I think about it, anything else (other than that there is a clown, and I am vaguely phobic of clowns(which is probably a feature when reading a King book)). So is it worth reading, especially given that it is one of his over-1000 page opuses? I am generally King-friendly -- I've read a lot of King and generally like him, even some of his less popular suff such as Cujo, Pet Cemetery and Duma Key -- but there are limits -- for example Tommyknockers, The Regulators and Under the Dome.
posted by rtimmel at 1:26 PM on September 28, 2011


Pet Cemetery? Less popular? That would be a shame - Pet Cemetery is one of his classics.
posted by Artw at 1:36 PM on September 28, 2011


There's a sizable contingent of readers -- King fans no less -- that consider Pet Sematary to be utterly predictable pulp.*

* Yes, I'm one of them. Salem's Lot, The Stand, The Talisman -- classics.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 1:39 PM on September 28, 2011


I really like It. Gangbang notwithstanding.

...Okay, gangbang and obvious unease with homosexuality notwithstanding (Greg Nog's point above about the Teen Homo Handjob As Evil vs. the Salvation Of Het PIV Sex is well put... and of course there's Adrian Mellon and his OTT characterization, which, these days, I only cut some slack because of the situation apparently being based on the true gaybashing murder in Bangor of Charlie Howard).

Really, I didn't find it bloated, like some of his other giant books--I generally remember most of the story being well-paced, taking its time setting up all of the child characters, the setting, the relationships and how they grow, etc., parallel with their reunion in the present day. I wasn't quite as happy with the finale and denouement, but that happens with a lot of King's stuff, and it wasn't actual dislike or anything.
posted by theatro at 1:42 PM on September 28, 2011


Sorry, I meant the OTT characterization of Mellon's boyfriend, Don Hagarty.
posted by theatro at 1:44 PM on September 28, 2011


King doesn't really write sequels. He either writes about the same characters doing stuff in a different setting, or he writes really long-ass books that are separated into smaller books.

King loves the characters he writes. You can tell how much he loves a character by how they are written, and how they turn up by the end of the book. Like Father Callahan in Salem's Lot; King loved that character. He's a great character -- a Catholic priest whose faith is shaken by fucking vampires invading his diocese. Callahan eventually ends up in a not inconsequential role in The Dark Tower series.

Jack Sawyer in the Talisman showed up in Black House. There is a nominal similarity between the Talisman and Black House, but the Black House story does not pick up after the Talisman; instead, it picks up where Jack Sawyer, the character, left off.

There's nothing wrong with this. Callahan is taken from a vampire horror story into an alternate reality western. Sawyer is taken from an alternate reality bildungsroman to an alternate reality police procedural / murder mystery. These aren't really sequels, not in the sense of them being a continuation of the same story.

It looks like King is doing the same thing for Danny Thomas. There's nothing wrong with that, but I don't think it's fair to call it a sequel. It'll be a new story featuring an old character from a prior story. I think it's neat, and I hope it works out well. I wonder if King shouldn't just create a new character instead of recycling old ones (like how the Dreamcatcher crew was just a stand-in for the It cast).
posted by jabberjaw at 2:30 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've never been able to get Steven King. I just didn't think he was a very good writer, and that was when I was 12. It's not like I'm following that up with "I've just always been enchanted with Proust" either, I was reading mostly stuff like Madeline l'Engle, AD&D modules, the Amityville Horror and the novelization of The Omen.

But I liked the movie of the Shining, so I say: "Mr. King, write that bitch up and let's get a nice movie picture going starring Justin-fucking-Bieber as the grown up creepy kid, and let's get the fucking Olsen Twins as the creepy ghost girls. And let's fiind something for Zach Gallifinakis, huh? He needs to expand his range a litlle bit. And such talent!!!"
posted by illovich at 3:50 PM on September 28, 2011


Afterthought: I really wish the OP had included a link with the "Fans of Kubrick's film adaptation (which do not include King)" because I'd love to know what he didn't like. Too good? Too much Scat Man? Not enough psychotic Jack Nicholson?

Oh wait, let me guess - it didn't completely capture every nuance of the book, the way every other book movie does?
posted by illovich at 3:55 PM on September 28, 2011


1983 Playboy interview.
I think there are two basic problems with the movie. First, Kubrick is a very cold man—pragmatic and rational—and he had great difficulty conceiving, even academically, of a supernatural world. He used to make transatlantic calls to me from England at odd hours of the day and night, and I remember once he rang up at seven in the morning and asked, "Do you believe in God?" I wiped the shaving cream away from my mouth, thought a minute and said, "Yeah, I think so." Kubrick replied, "No, I don't think there is a God," and hung up. Not that religion has to be involved in horror, but a visceral skeptic such as Kubrick just couldn't grasp the sheer inhuman evil of the Overlook Hotel. So he looked, instead, for evil in the characters and made the film into a domestic tragedy with only vaguely supernatural overtones. That was the basic flaw: Because he couldn't believe, he couldn't make the film believable to others.

The second problem was in characterization and casting. Jack Nicholson, though a fine actor, was all wrong for the part. His last big role had been in One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, and between that and his manic grin, the audience automatically identified him as a loony from the first scene. But the book is about Jack Torrance's gradual descent into madness through the malign influence of the Overlook, which is like a huge storage battery charged with an evil powerful enough to corrupt all those who come into contact with it. If the guy is nuts to begin with, then the entire tragedy of his downfall is wasted. For that reason, the film has no center and no heart, despite its brilliantly unnerving camera angles and dazzling use of the Steadicam. What's basically wrong with Kubrick's version of The Shining is that it's a film by a man who thinks too much and feels too little; and that's why, for all its virtuoso effects, it never gets you by the throat and hangs on the way real horror should.
Another 1983 interview.
posted by Zed at 4:14 PM on September 28, 2011 [5 favorites]



I'm not even sure why it's a question whether "The God Complex" is an homage to The Shining from the first frame to the last. I would be astonished if Toby Whithouse -- who wrote the episode and is the creator of the horror series Being Human -- didn't intend his script as an homage; we're not exactly talking about some obscure movie here, especially if you're a horror guy/girl.


There's also a bit of House of Leaves in there too.

Well, YMMV as with all other things. I didn't totally hate the book--I liked the scenes in which Christine stalks the members of the high school gang that tormented Arnie--but in addition to the shifts in viewpoint, I thought that in general there were too many digressions talking about Arnie's relationship with his mother and blah blah blah; Carpenter's movie gets to the meat of the story, which is that there's this car that goes around killing people.

If you want to see a car go around killing people, watch the were-car episode of Futurama. Maybe it was the age I read it in, but what I loved about Christine was the whole 'geek Jekyll and Mr Hyde' story, and about what you would do and give to go from being a tormented nerd to a popular asshole.

As for Pet Cemetary, I got to about page 30 and had an existential crisis. Couldn't finish it. Loved the movie, though, and loved the Ramones song even more.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 4:37 PM on September 28, 2011


I think Pet Cemetary gets a write up from Micahel Marshall Smith in Horror: another 100 best books where he praises the hell ouit of it but admits he's never been able to finish it, it just freaks him out too much.
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on September 28, 2011


Before he joined the AV Club, Zack Handlen ran The Duck Speaks and talked about King movies vs books
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 5:31 PM on September 28, 2011


Bah. The Shining link there is broken.
posted by Artw at 5:53 PM on September 28, 2011


Found it in the Wayback Machine.
posted by theatro at 6:09 AM on September 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


But the Shining movie does absolutely NOTHING for me and I don't know why. It seems so detached, so disinterested in being scary.

I found it scary. The scene where Danny is silently screaming while the blood streams out of the elevator? Horrifying.

Actually, all the scenes with Danny and Jack frightened me, though the fear didn't come from the supernatural aspect. It's the helplessness of a kid with a parent, the love mixed with fear of what he can do to you. You're powerless, both physically and mentally, against your parents when you're a small child. That's terrifying.
posted by cereselle at 8:29 AM on September 29, 2011


I really hate to see him mess with The Shining... it doesn't need a sequel, the book OR the movie Simpson's Halloween episode.

Do your research, man. The Simpsons episode was The Shinning. Do you want them to get sued?
posted by cereselle at 8:30 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


... or Lamp Monster.

It's no robot driving instructor and talking pie.
posted by cereselle at 8:36 AM on September 29, 2011


If you want to see a car go around killing people, watch the were-car episode of Futurama.

I hope y'all realize, The Car precedes all of this ...

Evil has visited this world in many forms. Now it returns as ... THE CAR.
posted by philip-random at 9:53 AM on September 29, 2011


The Car was my favorite movie when it came out. It was perfect for a twelve year old, almost no plot or characters, just a homicidal car and lots of vehicular mayhem.
posted by octothorpe at 10:28 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Methinks perhaps the OP might have cut and pasted someone's typo, to wit: "fighting vampires pirates" (sic).

This io9 article features an audio recording of King reading a sample chapter at a recent appearance, and the book is described thusly: "In the book, Danny is a hospice worker who uses his powers to help ill patients to pass away without pain. Unfortunately, he runs afoul of a gang of wandering psychic vampires who feed on people's energy." (emphasis mine)

So unhappy news for the book's pre-judgers -- no pirates. (Sad "arrrr" for you.)
posted by chuq at 4:59 PM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's Pet Sematary. It's supposed to be the way children may (mis)spell it.
posted by BurnChao at 1:16 AM on September 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


Aw, I was actually looking forward to reading Stephen King's take on a tired nerd gimmick. The other version sounds a bit predictable.
posted by Kaleidolia at 4:13 AM on September 30, 2011


Wait, I just read this back and may be mis-remembering the "magic gangbang" from It. I didn't think it was a "hey let's screw becuase that will get us out of the sewer" kind of thing, I remember it as being a sort of "I think that we're going to have to come back someday and finish this, so what can we do that will formalize that pact that we'll all come back together when that happens" kind of thing. I mean, still competely shoehorned in out of nowhere, but I don't remember there being any kind of "we're trapped down here -- oh yay we all had sex and now we see the way out" thing. Am I mis-remembering?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:57 AM on September 30, 2011


I think you're right, EmpressCallipygos, but it doesn't sound much better the way you put it.
posted by jabberjaw at 10:06 AM on September 30, 2011


Oh, no matter what the logic it's seriously fucked up. I was just reading the "it's how they escape from the sewer" comments, and just was all, "wait, whaa?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:34 AM on September 30, 2011


Well, they “all have these kinda pirate names, because pirates is sort of what they are.” (first link).
posted by Artw at 10:38 AM on September 30, 2011


No, EmpressCallipygos, you were right the first time. Right before that scene, they've (SPOILARZ!!!) defeated the creature (for now), but still have to try and find their way out of the sewers. And it becomes clear that the sense of purpose and guidance and unity they had on the way down there is now fragmenting and draining away. They start to panic and lose hope. And that's basically when Beverley gets the idea. Afterward, the panic is gone, and Eddie remembers which way they were supposed to turn to get out.

There's another group ritual after they get out, in which they stand in a circle, cut their palms with a piece of broken glass, clasp hands, and swear to come back if It returns, and that's the one about formalizing the pact.
posted by theatro at 10:38 AM on September 30, 2011


...er, wait, sorry EmpressCallipygos, I meant you weren't right. You're conflating the cut-palms pact with the panic-dissolving sex.

...man, Stephen King makes me type some weird stuff.
posted by theatro at 10:40 AM on September 30, 2011


I think I was remembering it being that kind of a group-unity-fostering thing, theatro, but it was sounding in here like the claim was that the accumulated Orgone blasted a hole in the sewer and let them out.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:49 AM on September 30, 2011


And now I want Stephen King to do something incorporating Wilhelm Reich in his work.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:50 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not the same, but Alan Moore gave us Reich joining a Legion of Super-Heroes clone as Orgone Lad.
posted by Zed at 11:38 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


See, now, you EXPECT that kind of thing from Alan Moore, though. somehow.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:44 AM on September 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


So I read Full dark, no stars. He really has changed a lot over the years. Great straightforward stories, simple, almost spare. But there are still hints, like the repetition of the " you like it, it likes you" line. I'm still chugging through reamde as well, and he makes Stephenson look like a soggy mess.

I've started on Everything's Eventual. I had to start with 1408.

It was a product of a different era, back then kids films showed kids looking a porn mags and stealing beer and cigaretts. That stuff wouldn't fly today.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:06 PM on October 1, 2011


14088. Now there's a perfectly nice little story with an absolutely awful movie adaptation.
posted by Artw at 8:11 PM on October 1, 2011


I actually thought completely the other way round, Artw -- the story 1408 felt too....short. The story claims Enslin was in the room for over an hour, but reading it, it felt like it took only five minutes. The film drawing out the time made it feel more menacing.

Plus -- I got to look at John Cusack for an hour. Yummy.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:40 PM on October 1, 2011


Full Dark, No Stars was excellent.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:51 AM on October 2, 2011


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