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The Stephen King Universe Flow Chart
June 11, 2012 10:45 PM   Subscribe

Gillian James charts the connections in the Stephen King universe* Meanwhile The Guardian is rereading King begining with Carrie and Salems Lot, CNN has discovered The Gospel of Stephen King, and in further Castle Rock news a new movie version of It is being made.
* Not including The Dark Tower
posted by Artw (70 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
I recently bought Skeleton Crew for my Kindle and have been working my through it. He really is a good storyteller, though I cringe at some of the the fat lady jokes he seems to be so fond of.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:47 PM on June 11, 2012


In “The Talisman” and “It,” King features adolescent heroes who risk their lives battling evil, according to Marylaine Block, who wrote about King’s religious sensibility in an essay called "Something Wicked This Way Comes."

“In both novels, the adults are incapable of understanding the evil that is about to envelop and destroy their world. They see the signs, but choose not to understand them. Only the children know what is happening, and know that it is up to them to save the people they care about,” she wrote.


"...with a magical preteen orgy," she did not write.
posted by vorfeed at 11:02 PM on June 11, 2012 [17 favorites]


Without the Dark Tower series, such a project is a wasted effort.
posted by Ardiril at 11:04 PM on June 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


That's weird, Ardiril. Somehow the word "without" got accidentally inserted into your comment.
posted by skewed at 11:06 PM on June 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


Looking for Tommy Westphall on this chart.
posted by dhartung at 11:07 PM on June 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


The Dark Tower series encompasses King's worst writing, without doubt, however not only does it include connections, I recall it clearing up some rather annoying plot holes in King's other novels.
posted by Ardiril at 11:16 PM on June 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


To be serious, the "The Gospel of Stephen King" was always what I didn't like about his books. King is at his best when he gets beyond good and evil; if not, he tends to ditch characterization and/or reasonable cause-and-effect in favor of Big Important Symbolism, which is why his endings are often unsatisfying. The simplistic white-hat/black-hat moralism (along with tons of self-indulgence) was what ruined the latter Dark Tower books.
posted by vorfeed at 11:20 PM on June 11, 2012


No, you're right, Adiril, it's weird to chart King's connections and leave out The Dark Tower. I just saw that the meaning of your sentence could be devilishly inverted without that one word and couldn't resist.
posted by skewed at 11:25 PM on June 11, 2012


I'm going to re-read Salems Lot, I just loved his early books, maybe up through The Shining. I am really very interested in the follow up to The Shining, and he's now working on a book about a serial killer in an amusement park -- that sounds cute.

Long years ago I was put off my Christine and just never really picked him back up, seemed to me he'd turned himself into a franchise and I didn't trust that he wasn't just churning out books to churn out books.

But there is high regard here about lots of his later stuff, by which I mean later than The Shining, which is like a thousand years ago -- what can any of you recommend, what is tight and scary as hell and not a pathetic churn of words?
posted by dancestoblue at 11:26 PM on June 11, 2012


Oh, I see it now. Good one!
posted by Ardiril at 11:27 PM on June 11, 2012


The thing is, as I understand it, Insomnia is so wedded into The Dark Tower that its inclusion is confusing.

I'm also sure somewhere there is a direct reference to Geordie La Chance, so I doubt this chart.

And where's Hearts In Atlantis?
It's a good start. But I think to accurate do a chart like this justice we'll need more than two dimensions.

I recently gave the '70s 'Salems Lot mini-series a shot. I'd prefer the book.

what is tight and scary as hell and not a pathetic churn of words?

I don't get scared by books, but I would suggest any of the shorts (including the Bachmann Books). I finished Full Dark, No Stars thanks to the last King thread here, and I do not regret it at all.
posted by Mezentian at 11:29 PM on June 11, 2012


Little Tall Island from Dolores Claiborne is referenced in Kingdom Hospital. So is the Dark Tower series' Nozz-a-la, which also appears in Lost.

How's that, dhartung?
posted by KChasm at 11:36 PM on June 11, 2012


Dancestoblue this is the Previously... you are looking for.

Nozz-a-la comes from Desperation (or maybe The Regulators .. or both).
posted by Mezentian at 11:39 PM on June 11, 2012


The Dark Tower is the cosmic scale King universe, the Maine triangle is more like his small scale Arkham county kind of deal... creepy in a more intimate kind of way.
posted by Artw at 12:02 AM on June 12, 2012


what can any of you recommend, what is tight and scary as hell and not a pathetic churn of words?

Full Dark, No Stars - novella length is his best length, and the ones in Full Dark are as good as any he's written.
posted by Artw at 12:04 AM on June 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


With regard to the Dark Tower, Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Complete Concordance by Robin Furth runs to 640 pages, so leaving it out of the chart dealt with here was uh prolly a good idea.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:07 AM on June 12, 2012


what can any of you recommend, what is tight and scary as hell and not a pathetic churn of words?

I'm not a King completist or much of a horror reader generally, but I remember The Talisman, with Peter Straub, as a really wonderful book.
posted by brennen at 1:12 AM on June 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


+1 for 'The Talisman', yep.

The short story collections are recommended too, especially 'Skeleton Crew' and 'Different Seasons'.

'Danse Macabre', his discussion of horror fiction, is excellent, although now over 30 years old.

'On Writing' is the best non-academic book about the writing process that I've read.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 1:16 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I haven't really read any King since I was a teenager, but I've been thinking about picking him up again. For some reason I keep seeing his name around... I think he comes and goes in the public eye and he's on an upswing.
posted by painquale at 1:17 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it just me or are Both Desperation and The Regulators missing from that chart completely? And the novel Cell, now I come to think of it. ??
posted by Faintdreams at 1:22 AM on June 12, 2012


If the read The Talisman, which is a fantastic book and probably something older Potter fans would enjoy in the post-Potterverse, don't feel compelled to read The Black House.

It's nowhere near as charming, and is annoyingly fused with The Dark Tower.
This is why I am a bit iffy on Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, and its use of vampires ugh... called The Tribe (*memories of The Lost Boys sequel go here*).
posted by Mezentian at 1:23 AM on June 12, 2012


The first thing I read of his was 'Salem's Lot. I was eleven. Vampires = Accessible when you're that age.
I just finished rereading it for the I-don't-know-how-manyth time, but the first time in maybe twenty years.
It's still amazing.

I missed a lot of his novels after, say, "Needful Things" (which I hated), but I'm trying to pick things back up.

And nthing The Talisman and Full Dark, No Stars as very worth reading.

I'd like to see The Talisman done as a season of cable tv.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 1:27 AM on June 12, 2012


The first thing I read of his was 'Salem's Lot. I was eleven.

Me too. What I remember from that novel is a scene where the philandering wife is caught by her husband who has faked a business trip to snare her lover. I very clearly recall her crinkly apron with nothing under it as she answered the door, and the husband forcing the lover to stick the barrels of a shotgun in his mouth.

Hey, I was eleven. And SK always takes me back to that, which I think is wonderful.
posted by chavenet at 2:05 AM on June 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


what can any of you recommend, what is tight and scary as hell and not a pathetic churn of words?

First and foremost, The Dark Half, which is tight, frightening, and does not let up. If you especially like monsters, try his novella "The Mist," on which the movie from a couple years ago was based; probably easiest to find it in his collection Skeleton Crew. If you like children as viewpoint characters, try The Girl Who Loved Tom Gorden. If you like your novels plotty and thrillery, try The Dead Zone, which is longer than any of the above, but has never felt baggy to me in any of, uh, a dozen or so rereads.

There was a time when I enjoyed looking for connections between his novels and stories, back when such things arose (I assume) more or less organically. Then you get to the post-crash stuff and... not so much. The Great Big Crossover in 11/22/63 is the nadir of his latter allusiveness, for my money. The reappearance of Callahan in the Dark Tower series, e.g., was less bothersome because he was one character moved into an entirely different context, but the scene in 11/22/63 is pretty rough handling of characters I think he just wanted to see again. What happens more or less violates--at best, calls into question--the conclusion of their source novel.

Griping aside, thank you for posting these, Artw. I don't go hunting for stuff about SK very often, and it's nice to see a batch of links in place.
posted by cupcakeninja at 2:20 AM on June 12, 2012


Curious that Insomnia stands alone with no connections -- Mike Hanlon at least should be worth a line.
posted by rewil at 3:08 AM on June 12, 2012


brennen: "I'm not a King completist or much of a horror reader generally, but I remember The Talisman, with Peter Straub, as a really wonderful book."

Yeah, The Talisman is the book I could see being made into a 3-film franchise. The difficult part with turning any King novel into a movie is the goofiness he sprinkles throughout; not comedy, but just goofiness. I can't think of Wolf from that book saying "God pounds His nails!" without thinking of the Warner Brothers Abominable Snowman. And his dialogue is very specifically Stephen King written dialogue and doesn't get interpreted enough in most adaptations.

I have to say, that new version of "It" sounds intriguing.
posted by Red Loop at 3:36 AM on June 12, 2012


Is it just me or are Both Desperation and The Regulators missing from that chart completely?
You're complaining about this? As much as I like King and books in general, some things are better left forgotten...
posted by whatzit at 3:43 AM on June 12, 2012


I have to defend Desperation/The Regulators. They are pretty awesome books, and interesting experiments. They might be a bit on the bloated side, but I hoovered them up like King on cocaine.

The movie version of Desperation wasn't all bad, either.
posted by Mezentian at 4:28 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have just finished reading The Stand, which a couple of months ago a couple of places recommended as the best of Stephen King's books.

If that's his best, or even anywhere near his best, then my life has been measurably improved by the knowledge that I never need to look at anything he's written ever again. Christ, what drivel.
posted by Hogshead at 4:33 AM on June 12, 2012


Christ, what drivel.

You need to recalibrate.
The Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City by MeFi's own John Scalzi is drivel.

Not to say you are wrong, but The Stand is a pretty rockin' tome, and I think you are the first person I know who has not liked it. And that includes my sister.

Which version did you read, and what didn't you like?

(I'd also suggest at least giving his short stories a shot).
posted by Mezentian at 4:41 AM on June 12, 2012


I'll be honest, I got turned off to King at a pretty early age when I read the unabridged edition of The Stand. I couldn't have been older than 14 or so, and it was just too wordy for me.

In the last few years I've started reading the rest of his novels and stories, and I really dig them. Someday I'll crack The Stand open again. He's earned a second chance.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:44 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I like the part when Gordie LaChance's favorite hockey team wins the Stanley Cup and he goes running around his house like a nutcase while his friend plays the kazoo.
posted by Optamystic at 4:58 AM on June 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


Looking for Tommy Westphall on this chart.

The Stephen King universe is connected to Tommy through a reference to Nozz-a-la Cola in an episode of LOST. Which is connected to Veronica Mars by Hurley's series of numbers appearing in Veronica's fortune cookie. Which is connected to The X-Files by the fictional Lariat hire car company. Which is connected to Homicide by the character of John Munch. Which is connected to St Elsewhere by the appearance of Dr Turner from St Elsewhere in Homicide.

All of which is very tenuous but, you know, it's my thing.
posted by crossoverman at 5:02 AM on June 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


Yes, the chart is obviously incomplete and has errors... but I'd never realized that Lisey's Story is connected to the Castle Rock universe in any way. That's a good catch.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:06 AM on June 12, 2012


I was going to echo Mezentian's defense of Desperation/The Regulators, but as I was walking to get a coffee, it actually struck me that what I like about those two books is reflective of something I like about Stephen King in general, which is his general willingness to try stuff.

What other blockbuster author does what he does? I have a hard time imagining John Grisham saying something like "now I'm going to write another legal thriller, but this one will be split into sixteen parts as a self-erasing e-book, and every second chapter will be written by a character that is really an abandoned pseudonym I used to use but which now has his own voice, and by the way I think he really hates me."

My reflexive counter-argument is "yeah, but his genre kind of gives him more flex to do stuff like that," but then my counter-reflexive counter-counter-argument asks "okay then, smart guy, name three other horror writers that do it."

Stephen King never needed to write parallel novels with the same characters in different dimensions, or a sprawling multiverse epic, or partner up with a different, lower-selling author, or swap genres with a fantasy author as a kind of demented bet, or write a staggered-release e-book, or do any of what he does. He could have just gone the John Grisham/James Patterson/Whoever route of throwing some characters into the Plot-O-Matic and churning out a football-sized book every couple of years.

I don't even like Stephen King that much. He bats about .500 in my books: Full Dark, No Stars was brilliant, for instance, but Under the Dome was a bloated, indulgent mess.

But hell and damn, that man has a barn and he's going to put on a show. I admire his epic failures far more than I admire any other bestselling author's successes.
posted by Shepherd at 5:31 AM on June 12, 2012 [15 favorites]


Which version did you read, and what didn't you like?

Act 1 is good. The character-establishment work, the set-up is credible, there's some memorable stuff here. Act 2 begins in similar vein. And then suddenly there's the extraordinary gear-crunching engine-shrieking completely unforeshadowed shift into the battle between God's agent and the Devil's agent, and the book goes off the rails and spends the rest of its considerable length tumbling slowly down a very long embankment until it blows up with an embarrassed fart.

Act 3 is awful on every level. All the developing themes of the first half are completely flushed away. Major, major plot things happen for no reason, other than 'I can spend a few hundred pages describing what happens next'. The Prince of World-Conquering Badness is defeated by a combination of the worst fucking deus-ex-machina in history (OMFGnukes!) and his own convenient stupidity, after having spent several hundred pages getting weaker and dumber for no reason that is ever explained. Previously intriguing characters disappear from the story, or turn out to have a personality as thin as tissue, existing only so they can do some dumb thing and get killed. And almost nothing happens for a reason or a purpose.

Which version did I read? The profoundly disappointing one.
posted by Hogshead at 5:33 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Act 3 is awful on every level. All the developing themes of the first half are completely flushed away.

It's been a long, long time. 25 years, and I believe we are in the same age gap where the '70s tone isn't the issue.
King himself actually addresses the end in On Writing, and I think he sees its a mistake.
Personally, I loved The Stand, as many do. But I have not revisited that 'verse since '92 when Molly Ringwald did her screen adaption.

If you like Shawshank or Stand By Me, read that book, if not try Skeleton Crew (or, if you are so inclined Danse Macabre, which is non-fiction) or Full Dark, No Stars. Or Misery. Any one will do.
If you feel a spark, there might be something worth chasing.

If not, he's your Ramsey Campbell.
posted by Mezentian at 5:41 AM on June 12, 2012


The Stephen King universe is connected to Tommy through a reference to Nozz-a-la Cola in an episode of LOST. Which is connected to Veronica Mars by Hurley's series of numbers appearing in Veronica's fortune cookie. Which is connected to The X-Files by the fictional Lariat hire car company. Which is connected to Homicide by the character of John Munch. Which is connected to St Elsewhere by the appearance of Dr Turner from St Elsewhere in Homicide.

All of which is very tenuous but, you know, it's my thing.


Wait, Veronica Mars gets the LOST numbers at some point? I just knew about the Oceanic connection and that's it.
posted by KChasm at 5:52 AM on June 12, 2012


I'm currently reading "The Long Walk" which I missed my first time through SKs books because it's a Bachman book. It was mentioned on here during a discussion of The Hunger Games due to the similarity of the two. I'm really enjoying it.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:12 AM on June 12, 2012


A quarter of a century later and I still don't like to see the name "Pennywise". I question my parents decision making, letting me read that when I was 10 or 11.
posted by yerfatma at 6:41 AM on June 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Have to agree with Hogshead. I'm currently reading the Stand, having read the same articles recommending it as his best. I'm half way through and it's definitely falling off a cliff. I will finish it, but only so that I feel I've given him a fair chance.
posted by chrispy at 7:25 AM on June 12, 2012


*excluding the dark tower series

Someone has forgotten the face of his father.
posted by RolandOfEld at 7:54 AM on June 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Well, of course you'd say that, RolandOfEld.

My intro to SK was 'Eyes of the Dragon', which was pretty firmly in the 'fantasy' genre and often seems forgotten in lists (even though there's a connecting character to the rest of the universe.) When I got a little older, the used book store was full of it, so I devoured most of the rest of his stuff in the summers.

Once I found 'Different Seasons' I began to realize, in agreement with many others, that his shorter works pack a much bigger punch - some of his short stories were the only ones that actually scared me, especially since many of them rely not so much on his stock characters and magic/miracles, but the banal evil of that guy over there. Maybe that's where he feels less committed and more experimental and it often works out good. (It doesn't have to, but it feels more OK to have read a crappy short story and less OK to have slogged through, say, Cell.)

Also, I relatively recently re-read The Stand and wow, 13 year old me was a lot more patient of Good vs Evil No Shades Between storytelling.
posted by cobaltnine at 8:05 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is it just me or are Both Desperation and The Regulators missing from that chart completely? And the novel Cell, now I come to think of it. ??

Also, someone asked about Hearts in Atlantis.

I think calling the chart the Stephen King "universe" is misleading, not only because everyone and their brother wants to bitch about the deliberate exclusion of the Dark Tower books, but because this "universe" looks to include only the towns of Castle Rock and Derry, Maine.

That's why you don't see Hearts in Atlantis, Cell, Duma Key, Misery, The Shining, the Regulators, Desperation, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, The Stand, Rose Madder, From a Buick 8, and who knows how many other books.

(At least to the best of my recollection none of those books had Derry/Castle Rock connections even if some of them may have had parts set in Maine, but I defer to bigger fans).

I thought it was a pretty cool effort, anyway, and enjoyed looking at it. But I admit that when I read 11/23/63 a little while ago and George/Jake runs into Richie Tozier and Beverly Marsh while in Derry, it was just a little too much for me to take.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:13 AM on June 12, 2012


The previous King FPP led me to IT, but I sort of hit a wall with it. Perhaps I'll give Salem's Lot a go.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:21 AM on June 12, 2012


As much as I'm an overall fan of SK in general I can mention a few bullet points worth mentioning here:

- His tone changed dramatically after he A) quit drugs and B) got hit by the van. A part of me is probably in "Back in my day..." mode but his older stuff seems to pack a more visceral punch than post-A/B writing. Personal example: The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, it just didn't jive with my view of his style.

- His short stories do pack a helluva wallop. Just recently in an askme I responded with a recomendation for "The End of the Whole Mess" because it hits hard and deep in an oddly so-depressing-it's-scary way.

- I like a plain old good vs. evil story every now and then. Is it a bit hokey for an otherwise average character to receive a blessing from 'something' in a moment of need? Sure, but he's fighting vampires for goodness sake!

- So, the eternal love/hate opinions on The Dark Tower series. I know where I stand, c'mon, but I can completely understand the dislike from the subset of the, otherwise faithful, fanbase. To me it's a linchpin that ties alot of his stories and their characters/plots together. It has generated a comic book series that I think is downright beautiful and looks to have a movie coming at some point in the future (please oh please don't mess it up), so it's got a following and potential for success elsewhere. Is it weird? Yes and bring it on, I'm starting The Wind through the Keyhole today and I'm excited as hell.

- Stephen king has come up with some awesome opinions as this, and other FP posts have shown. On top of that he's not shy with his book intros/forwards/prefaces. He always addresses his Constant Reader in a way that never fails to engage and relate to them. I'll never forget the intro to book 4 of The Dark Tower series where he mentioned how sad he was he couldn't get the series going in time for "old ladies and people on death row" who wanted to know what happened to Roland and his gang.

Anyway, long days and pleasant nights to ya.
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:24 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


She's missing the brief appearance of Ace Merrill in the story "Nona" from Skeleton Crew. The narrator of that story had a crush on Ace's girlfriend and Ace and his buddies beat him up.
posted by dlugoczaj at 8:29 AM on June 12, 2012


Skeleton Crew is excellent, and Night Shift (Which I believe was his first collection of short stories) has some good ones too. I would say Nightmares and Dreamscapes was his last collection of good old-fashioned popcorn spook stories (ohmygod The Moving Finger).

Most of his more recent short stories seem to be about middle-aged people (often successful writers) facing their mortality and/or having horrible, random acts of brutality inflicted them; I can't fault him for exploring those themes, him being a middle-aged successful writer who nearly died after getting randomly hit by a van, but man... I read enough real-life stories about the awful, inhuman things people do to each other. I don't need that in my escapist fiction. And at this point in my life, I can't really relate to being a well-to-do middle-aged person either, so a lot of his newer stories don't grab me the way his older stuff still does.

The first Stephen King book I read was The Shining, when I was about 12, and from there on I devoured most of what he had written through that time. At age 12, the visceral scary stuff and interesting premises of his short fiction where what especially grabbed me. The small-town New England setting of most of his work was also a big hook to a kid growing up in rural Massachusetts; I recognized a lot of friends and neighbors in Stephen King's stories. When I read It, I was the same age as the kids and saw a lot of my own hopes/fears/struggles in each of those characters.

Rereading his early work in my early 20's, I noticed for the first time how well he wrote about being young, future uncertain, and working shitty jobs to make ends meet. Rereading It in my mid-30s, I found myself paying more attention to the now-grown kids and their perspectives, and the nostalgia for childhood.

So, I figure in another 15-20 years I'll re-read the newer stuff, and I'll probably like it better for no other reason than finally being able to relate to the main characters better. He does often and self-admittedly suffer from "diarrhea of the word processor", but I've come to think of Stephen King as sort of a lifelong friend. I would like to buy him a cup of coffee someday.
posted by usonian at 8:36 AM on June 12, 2012


If you gave up on SK, I totally understand. He's written some crappy stuff through the years.

But 11/22/63 is a solid goddam book. Read it.
posted by lumpenprole at 8:37 AM on June 12, 2012


The Moving Finger, jeez. I barely remember the finger itself, when I think of that story. More than anything I remember that last scene...

Jeez

This whole thread is rooting up all sorts of memories all of a sudden. My high school library had a short, squat bookshelf filled with Stephen King. He wasn't featured or anything--his name just began with K with consistency and there were that many books. I tell you I devoured them.

I can't even begin to think of which were my favorites. Umney's Last Case among them, probably. And I always finished Word Processor of the Gods wondering what I should think about what happened.

The Ledge. Dolan's Cadillac. I need to go to bed now, or I'm going to end up looking through a list.
posted by KChasm at 9:11 AM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Doleful Creature: "I recently bought Skeleton Crew for my Kindle and have been working my through it. He really is a good storyteller, though I cringe at some of the the fat lady jokes he seems to be so fond of."

In fairness, those stories were written a long time ago.
posted by Chrysostom at 9:52 AM on June 12, 2012


My names is KingEdRa and I am a Stephen King fan who didn't like The Stand, either. Just wanted to get that off my chest, since this seems to be the King thread where other people are saying that.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:15 AM on June 12, 2012


I'm usually all about the shorts without intention to read any more doorsteps, and I have never read The Stand.

The Guardian thing has me thinking I should reattempt Salems Lot though - started it as a kid and never got through it.
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on June 12, 2012


Salem's 'Lot is a great vampire story, it really is.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:13 AM on June 12, 2012


I always feel a little odd about King, because the *only* thing of his I've read is the Dark Tower series.

I adored it, but I haven't started reading any of his other work, because so many people who like it seem to hate the Tower.
posted by nat at 12:03 PM on June 12, 2012


nat: Here's your reading list of DT related books, I say with a high degree of confidence that you will enjoy the following books from SK. If only because of the usage of the word 'adored' implies that connections will mean alot to you. Feel free to memail me if you want to nerd it up about DT book recs.

Required Reading:
The Talisman
Black House
Hearts in Atlantis
Salem's Lot
Everything's Eventual

Optional:
The Stand
IT
Eyes of the Dragon

Risky:
Insomnia
posted by RolandOfEld at 12:16 PM on June 12, 2012


triggerfinger: "I'm currently reading "The Long Walk" which I missed my first time through SKs books because it's a Bachman book. It was mentioned on here during a discussion of The Hunger Games due to the similarity of the two. I'm really enjoying it."

Bachman Books: I really, really enjoyed The Long Walk and The Running Man. Roadwork is a sometimes interesting attempt at a non-fantastic story, but ultimately fails to draw you in. Rage is now how hard to fine, which is a pity, though it's not entirely successful.
posted by Chrysostom at 1:07 PM on June 12, 2012


I really liked 11/22/63 while having a serious problem with its ending that I obviously can't discuss here but it still really bothers me. I've had the new DT on my Kindle since the day it came out, but I haven't gotten to it yet, which really says something about how far out of love I fell from that series (which I started having my suspicions about from the introduction of the bear on, which is to say from sometime circa the George H.W. Bush administration). At present, it's being usurped in my reading rotation by the new novel by King's EW colleague, Gillian Flynn.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:25 PM on June 12, 2012


Good short stories:

"All That You Love Will Be Carried Away"
(abstract, but with issue/page info)
"Herman Wouk Is Still Alive" (discussed here a while back)

The man is a hell of a storyteller.
posted by MonkeyToes at 1:27 PM on June 12, 2012


You have to admit that It had an impact; whenever someone posts a scary clown picture to Facebook, at least one of my friends (ages 30-45) will comment "We all float down here..."
posted by mrbill at 2:36 PM on June 12, 2012


Mezentian: I finished Full Dark, No Stars thanks to the last King thread here, and I do not regret it at all.

Well, that's high praise. "Well, I didn't hate it."
posted by Malor at 3:41 PM on June 12, 2012


The Talisman is pretty good. Wolf and Richard, Jack's pals, are well-rendered, and listening to it on audiobook recently, I sort of fell in love with the Jack/Wolf relationship.

However, y'all want scary epical stuff THAT IS WRITTEN REALLY FUCKING WELL, The Passage by Justin Cronin just can't be beat. The second book of the trilogy is coming out 10/12 (happy dance).
posted by angrycat at 4:15 PM on June 12, 2012


But 11/22/63 is a solid goddam book. Read it.

I'm an old fan that fell out of love and gave up around Needful Things (although I did read Green Mile.) My husband (not a fan) and I read 11/22/63 together and we liked that so much we went on to Under the Dome. Is it high art? No. But sometimes you just want a page-turner.

I did that thing as a bookworm teenager of rereading all the old books before the new book came out so I read a lot of his very early works many, many times. Eye of the Dragon was the only one I read once; fantasy has never appealed to me. I did read Talisman a few times but I wouldn't want to read it again. The book that I recommend for a tight, scary read is Pet Sematary-- short book, packs a wallop. Also I can't be bothered with vampires--I've had a bellyful-- but I might read Salem's Lot again some time, it is that good.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:50 PM on June 12, 2012


Back in to say The Dead Zone, after reading so much else of his, might still be my favorite.
I don't know if there's a word out of place in that thing.
It's shorter than some of his beasts, and doesn't have room to meander or go completely apeshit.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 10:01 PM on June 12, 2012


yerfatma: "A quarter of a century later and I still don't like to see the name "Pennywise". I question my parents decision making, letting me read that when I was 10 or 11."

So you know how I felt when, out hiking (alone) recently, I came across this.
posted by dg at 11:00 PM on June 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


dg, that gave me nasty chills. I now definitely do not want to go into my kitchen to get that drink of water...

But I did really enjoy that book. I read it all in one sitting, staying up til 6am to finish it. How could I sleep with that thing that fed on fear lurking? I've read it several times. Yes, there is that one scene that everyone objects to. But I think everything else is just great, and it really captures what I remember from childhood. I'm really nervous about the proposed 2-part movie in the article. One of the things I liked best about the book was the way King flipped back and forth between the decades so easily. It really linked the stories together and I don't think the whole tale will be as compelling if it's split in two.

Also, is this the thread where I can say that I really, really loved Hearts in Atlantis? Like, it's probably my second favorite. I walk around hopscotch boards on the sidewalk. It's such an interesting narrative, especially with the way it ties into the Dark Tower universe.
posted by Night_owl at 11:40 PM on June 12, 2012


At least it was on the ground. Not ... floating.
posted by dg at 11:49 PM on June 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I can correct for Malor:
I finished Full Dark, No Stars in one night thanks to the last King thread here, and I do not regret it at all.

Thanks to this thread I now know that my recently procured copy of The Bachman Books is missing Rage, and thanks to Wikipedia I know that he let it go out of print after a school shooting in the US.

Now I feel gypped.

Of course, in the course of my wanderings I discovered someone has made a short film of Survivor Type and you can see the trailer here.
It's SFW and doesn't really hint at where the story goes.
posted by Mezentian at 2:17 AM on June 13, 2012


So I finished the latest Dark Tower book in one sitting, it was well done and a nice time with old friends. It could have been longer but I understand and accept what I can get these days. I still don't quite understand the deeper interations of Maeryln/RF that came up, but have pretty much learned to deal with that throughout the series.

I agree that the verison of The Talisman audiobook I've heard is very well done and makes you really feel for Jack and Wolf.

Whoever mentioned The Passage and said it was good and scary, I agree totally and was super relieved when I figured out it was the first in a planned trilogy. I ended the first book and was PISSED thinking that was it, done, the end. I wouldn't go out on a limb and say Cronin's writing was a bajillion times above and beyond the norm 'cuz I didn't remember it being all that special, but I do remember it being a good book/story/layout in general.
posted by RolandOfEld at 6:49 AM on June 13, 2012


I read The Passage and was disappointed by how not scary it was. And, I don't know, I kinda liked the end. Because, DAMN.

Hands down, the scariest thing I've ever read was The Shining. A few other books have creeped me out here and there, but I'll never forget just how terrified I was, sitting in my room with the lights on, reading about the fucking topiaries.
posted by MsVader at 11:46 AM on June 13, 2012


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