20 posts tagged with horror and books.
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The internal threats of Stephen King's books

The closest a film has ever come to adapting King’s internal-horror aesthetic is a film King himself has publicly lambasted: Kubrick’s version of The Shining. It’s the most artful, scary, and beautifully directed of the King adaptations, and even excludes some of the novel’s more overt (and potentially silly) visual elements, such as the hedge animals that come to life and stalk the family in the yard. Yet, the film never tackles the serious human horrors that infect Jack Torrance throughout the novel, specifically his alcoholism, along with the themes of cyclical abuse and mounting financial pressure. King’s criticism of the film is that Torrance, as played by Jack Nicholson, is portrayed as unhinged right from the start, whereas the novel slowly unravels the man’s sanity, the haunted house he occupies pushing him deeper into madness and violence. [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Oct 28, 2014 - 87 comments

If we're not in pain, we're not alive

You invest so much in it, don't you? It's what elevates you above the beasts of the field, it's what makes you special. Homo sapiens, you call yourself. Wise Man. Do you even know what it is, this consciousness you cite in your own exaltation? Do you even know what it's for?
Dr. Peter Watts is no stranger to MetaFilter. But look past his sardonic nuptials, heartbreaking eulogies, and agonizing run-ins with fascists (and fasciitis) and you'll find one of the most brilliant, compelling, and disquieting science fiction authors at work today. A marine biologist skilled at deep background research, his acclaimed 2006 novel Blindsight [full text] -- a cerebral "first contact" tale led by a diverse crew of bleeding-edge post-humans -- is diamond-hard and deeply horrifying, wringing profound existential dread from such abstruse concepts as the Chinese Room, the Philosophical Zombie, Chernoff faces, and the myriad quirks and blind spots that haunt the human mind. But Blindsight's last, shattering insight is not the end of the story -- along with crew/ship/"Firefall" notes, a blackly funny in-universe lecture on resurrecting sociopathic vampirism (PDF - prev.), and a rigorously-cited (and spoiler-laden) reference section, tomorrow will see the release of Dumbspeech State of Grace Echopraxia [website], the long-delayed "sidequel" depicting parallel events on Earth. Want more? Look inside for a guide to the rest of Watts' award-winning (and provocative) body of work. [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Aug 25, 2014 - 84 comments

"That wasn't any act of God. That was an act of pure human fuckery."

Things That Don't Suck, Some Notes on The Stand
I recently reread The Stand for no particular reason other than I felt like it. I'm honestly not sure how many time[s] I've read it at this point, more than three, less than a half dozen (though I can clearly remember my first visit to that horrifyingly stripped bare world as I can remember the first reading of all the truly great King stories). It's not my favorite of King's work, but it is arguably his most richly and completely imagined. It truly is the American Lord of The Rings, with the concerns of England (Pastorialism vs. Industrialism, Germany's tendency to try and blow it up every thirty years or so) replaced by those of America (Religion, the omnipresent struggle between our liberal and libertarian ideals, our fear of and dependence on the military, racial and gender tension) and given harrowing size.

I'm happy to say that The Stand holds up well past the bounds of nostalgia and revisiting the world and these characters was as pleasurable as ever. But you can't step in the same river twice, even when you're revisiting a favorite book. Even if the river hasn't changed you have. This isn't meant as any kind of comprehensive essay on The Stand. Just a couple of things I noticed upon dipping my toes in the river this time.

[Spoiler alert: assume everything, from the link above to those below, contains SPOILERS.] [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Aug 19, 2014 - 162 comments

What Stephen King Isn't

Thoughts on what makes him a damn fine and fun read.
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Oct 12, 2013 - 49 comments

Frightening fiction

Scary stories for Halloween Guardian books writers select their favourite seasonal chillers
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 25, 2012 - 54 comments

I want to plural, to discuss not the novel but novels, not the future, but futures.

China Miéville: the future of the novel [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Aug 21, 2012 - 13 comments

The Stephen King Universe Flow Chart

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 on Jun 11, 2012 - 70 comments

“They pay me absurd amounts of money,” he observes, “For something that I would do for free.”.

A Stephen King interview: by Neil Gaiman "I interviewed Stephen King for the UK Sunday Times Magazine. The interview appeared a few weeks ago. The Times keeps its site paywalled, so I thought I'd post the original version of the interview here. (This is the raw copy, and it's somewhat longer than the interview as published.) I don't do much journalism any more, and this was mostly an excuse to drive across Florida back in February and spend a day with some very nice people I do not get to see enough. I hope you enjoy it."
posted by Fizz on Apr 28, 2012 - 51 comments

Dark things in the closet, literal and figurative

The Vulture ranks all of Stephen King's books from worst to best.
posted by mightygodking on Apr 24, 2012 - 300 comments

You Know They Got a Hell of a Band

Stephen King and John Mellencamp will debut their long-awaited Southern gothic musical 'Ghost Brothers Of Darkland County' next year. The story concerns the deaths of three people in Atlanta in 1957 and the CD will have songs by Kris Kristofferson, Elvis Costello, Neko Case, Meg Ryan, and Matthew McConaughey. King is also working on the 8th Dark Tower book, 'The Wind Through the Keyhole', which is due next year.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Apr 3, 2011 - 48 comments

Scary Sketches to Glimpse in the Dark

Nearly three decades ago, folklorist Alvin Schwartz published Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, the first of three horror anthologies that would go on to become the single most challenged book series of the 1990s. But most of the backlash was against not the stories themselves (which were fairly tame), but rather the illustrations of artist Stephen Gammell. His bizarre, grotesque, nightmarish black-and-white inkscapes suffused every page with an eerie, unsettling menace. Sadly, the series has since been re-issued with new illustrations by Brett Helquist, of A Series of Unfortunate Events fame. Luckily for fans of Gammell's dark vision, copies of the old artwork abound online, including in these three image galleries: Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones. Interested in revisiting the stories themselves? Then don't miss the virtual re-enactments of YouTube user MoonRaven09, or the dramatic readings of fellow YouTuber daMeatHook.
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 29, 2010 - 48 comments

"Increasingly illiterate, disgusting and meritless."

‘We feel that the stories in this book are such that if your nerves are not of the strongest, then it is wise to read them in daylight.' For a certain time, in every second-hand bookshop in the UK you would always be able to find a musty and dog-eared copy of one or more of the Pan Books Of Horror Stories edited by the splendidly named Herbert Van Thal. Now the first is being re-printed. [more inside]
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Sep 8, 2010 - 21 comments

"These are like pioneer times in publishing"

Dorchester Publishing (an original paperback publisher that distributes the Hard Case Crime series and is home to Leisure Books, which is "the only mass-market house with dedicated lines for Westerns [four books a month] and horror [two books a month]," and which also publishes a romance line that features six to eight titles monthly) will transition to an e-book only model. Perhaps only temporarily? Perhaps not so temporarily after all! Currently, e-book sales account for just 12% of Leisure's business, and their overall sales saw a 25% loss over the course of 2009. Popular horror novelist Brian Keene has already jumped ship from the house, citing lack of payment for his work.
posted by kittens for breakfast on Aug 14, 2010 - 18 comments

Satan Satan Satan Satan

The devil rides out - How Dennis Wheatley sold black magic to Britain.
posted by Artw on Jan 30, 2010 - 23 comments

God is cruel

'Around my house we kinda laugh when Sarah Palin comes on TV, and we say, "That's Greg Stillson as a woman."' Interview with Stephen King on the thirtieth anniversary of The Stand.
posted by fearfulsymmetry on Oct 24, 2008 - 121 comments

Storytime with Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman's latest work, The Graveyard Book, is a kind of undead Jungle Book, with a man-child being raised by various ghosts and ghouls rather than animals. He's been the whole thing a chapter at a time on each stop of his American promotional tour, and posting the videos online (and blogging about it of course), which means that with tonights reading the entire thing will be available online.
posted by Artw on Oct 8, 2008 - 38 comments

Flesh and Blood

Dacre Stoker presents: Dracula... the sequel!
posted by Artw on Oct 6, 2008 - 37 comments

H.P. Lovecraft

"It is here, however -- perhaps 50 pages into this 800-plus page anthology -- that something begins to shift, and what was supposed to be sublime (but is actually ridiculous) becomes something that was supposed to be ridiculous, but is actually sublime."
Why H.P. Lovecraft is scary after all.
posted by Tlogmer on Apr 19, 2005 - 40 comments

Literary Gothic

Literary Gothic offers up a splendid smorgasboard of literary ghosts, ghouls, goblins, and, of course, gothic. As a Victorianist, I have a particular predilection for their ghost stories. Many more Victorian tales of the terrifying--and just plain weird--can be found at this site, which also features an ongoing reading group. [more inside]
posted by thomas j wise on Oct 31, 2002 - 8 comments

So, has Stephen King lost it?

So, has Stephen King lost it? This guy seems to think so. Some would say he never had it. I think that while this guy makes a few valid points, he goes overboard, and brings up many things that just seem petty and silly, like he's trying to over-prove his theory, and increase the word count of the article. What do you think? (Side note: I wouldn't be surprised if "Richard Blow" becomes the name of a victim in a future King novel...).
posted by sassone on Feb 19, 2002 - 23 comments

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