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Stephen King fest

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#41 treeduck

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 11:38 PM

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Well it's finally done and what a chore it was, right the way through to the end. It was like reading a text book about the history of plywood or something. Ok ok there were some interesting sections here and there, but they couldn't have made up more than 70 out of the 467 pages and even they weren't as exciting as I'm sure they were meant to be.

King seemed almost reluctant to write about the weird alien things the car spewed out like he was procrastinating, delaying as he babbled about trooper lore The alien things only appeared briefly and didn't do anything much except die.

Instead of writing this book about troopers and a car that has occasional "births" he should have written one where say four troopers sitting in the car get dragged to wherever the alien things come from and then recount the adventures they have there instead and call it "Through a Buick 8" that would have been more interesting. I think King wanted to write a novel that had no supernatural elements at all actually, one about troopers and their families with no suspense and not much happening. A story that starts in the middle and ends in the middle, a slice of life, but he can't resist slipping in the supernatural and sc fi stuff. He has a foot in both camps in this novel and it causes him to end up producing a dud that satisfies as neither...

I understand that George Romero is directing the film version of this which seems strange. Based on what I've heard (though I haven't read it yet) a better choice for him would be Cell. To me this seems to be a book that will turn into something along the lines of Cronenberg's version of Naked Lunch, interesting but dull, maybe Cronenberg shhould direct it...

Anyway I still say if he'd taken the 70 interesting pages and made them into a short story it could have been good...but unfortunately it's the "Rock Bottom Remainder" of the King fest so far. I only recommend this book to people who are particularly interested in Pennsylvania State Police procedure or extensive descriptions of 50s era Buicks.



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#42 treeduck

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 12:26 AM

One more thing about From a Buick 8, I did like the author's note at the end, where SK talks about the coincidence of this story, written in spring 1999 before his accident, also featuring someone having their own road accident...anyway...

From a novel that should have been a short story to a collection of actual short stories...

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This is the only collection of short fiction of his I haven't read before...  

#43 ladirushfan80

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 06:04 AM

QUOTE (treeduck @ Nov 20 2006, 04:19 PM)
QUOTE (GeddyRulz @ Nov 20 2006, 03:39 PM)
"Misery" was supposed to be a Bachman book, before King's cover was blown.  "The Dark Half" (What crap I thought that was!) should've been a Bachman book as well, I think.  Interesting that now he's once again releasing books under Bachman, even though everyone knows they're by King.

One thing about Misery, King has just stated that he thinks it's his best novel (after his new one - of course eyesre4.gif  ) so if he thought it was that good, why make it a Bachman book?

I actually enjoyed the Dark Half, the idea was a silly one but king managed to to turn it into a great read, I particularly enjoyed "that high-toned son of a bitch" George Stark.

Both these are on my king fest list so i'll talk about them again later on no doubt...

i'll have to say that out of all the stephen king novel that I have read..... misery is my favorite....


the first time i read it was back in '88 or '89... i lived in california for a short time and picked up....it's one of those books that whose story line stayed with me forver.......




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Edited by ladirushfan80, 27 November 2006 - 06:04 AM.


#44 treeduck

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 02:38 PM

QUOTE (ladirushfan80 @ Nov 27 2006, 06:04 AM)
QUOTE (treeduck @ Nov 20 2006, 04:19 PM)
QUOTE (GeddyRulz @ Nov 20 2006, 03:39 PM)
"Misery" was supposed to be a Bachman book, before King's cover was blown.  "The Dark Half" (What crap I thought that was!) should've been a Bachman book as well, I think.  Interesting that now he's once again releasing books under Bachman, even though everyone knows they're by King.

One thing about Misery, King has just stated that he thinks it's his best novel (after his new one - of course eyesre4.gif  ) so if he thought it was that good, why make it a Bachman book?

I actually enjoyed the Dark Half, the idea was a silly one but king managed to to turn it into a great read, I particularly enjoyed "that high-toned son of a bitch" George Stark.

Both these are on my king fest list so i'll talk about them again later on no doubt...

i'll have to say that out of all the stephen king novel that I have read..... misery is my favorite....


the first time i read it was back in '88 or '89... i lived in california for a short time and picked up....it's one of those books that whose story line stayed with me forver.......




can you paulie?  
can you?


I read that back around 88 too and the other day I found my hardback copy in the attic the other day, here's a crappy webcam pic i just took of it...

user posted image

I haven't read it since then, though of course I've seen the kathy Bates/James caan film version a few times (though not for a long time either). It'll crop pretty soon in this thread...

#45 treeduck

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 02:35 AM

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Ok so far I've read four stories and the good news is they're all pretty decent, almost classic King to some degree, though I can't tell yet how this volume measures up to his other three, I'll leave that assessment till later. King's always scored with short fiction in the past though so it's gonna be interesting.

One thing about short stories and SK is that without time and space for waffling and preamble within the short story medium, everything has to be very concise and no waste can be tolerated, which is definitely a good thing.

My favourite so far is "The Man in the Black Suit" and it's a particularly disturbing little tale, genuinely creepy. "Autopsy Room 4" also stands out for me with it's tongue in cheek ending, but they're all good up to now, so no complaints from me as yet...

#46 treeduck

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 01:47 PM

Wow I'm really getting impressed by this short story collection. Along with The Man in the Black Suit, I really liked the title story, Everything's Eventual and The Little Sisters of Eluria which is a stand-alone Dark Tower tale which takes place before the first Dark Tower volume but well after the Susan delgado story. It's kind of a cross between Wizard and Glass and Salem's Lot.

After 9 stories I'd have to say this collection is very good indeed...

#47 treeduck

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 10:29 PM

Ok Everything's Eventual is done and dusted and a very enjoyable read it was too. It's not King's best short story collection that would be Night Shift, but I think it's slightly better than Skeleton Crew which I remember being rather patchy. Ok there's nothing as good as The Mist in EE but there are 5 gems that run it very close including the ones I mentioned above plus the spooky "Road Virus Heads North" and the genuinely unsettling "1408" and everything else is at least pretty good, so there's no duds. Skeleton Crew however has plenty of fillers and dross in amongst the Monkeys and The Rafts.



#48 treeduck

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Posted 03 December 2006 - 10:56 PM

So far everything I've read has been from the 90s or the noughties so now it's time to go back to the 80s. In the spirit of this let's see Mr King himself as he was in the 80s shall we? Just to get things started...

Do you know me?


Ahhh the 80s and which King book shall I ride back to 80s in? How about the one about the Haunted car? A 50s car, in Pennsylvania? Wait a sec i just read that one didn't I? Ahh not a Buick though this time, but a Plymouth Fury... I'm sure you know which one I mean, here's how my copy looks, I only just dug it out the attic last week...

user posted image
user posted image

(These are are pics off the net though not my actual copy - which is in better nick I would reckon)


This novel is kind of a cross between Herbie Rides Again and the 1974 film Killdozer with a teen angst story running right through the middle of it, but of course it's a helluva lot better than that description sounds. It's actually kind of an expansion of a theme King explored in his short tale "Trucks" but it works much better than that story did. I wonder if it'll work as well for me now after a couple of decades? Well there's only one way to find out isn't there...?

#49 treeduck

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 05:44 PM

Well I'm 50 pages in and it defintely feels like classic-era King. Good 80s King anyway. Yep it's very cool...

One thing I noticed, the car songs he quotes at the beginning of each chapter are listed at the front and one of them stood out to me: Bob Dylan's "From a Buick 6" I think we know where he got his inspiration for the corresponding novel. I wonder if he was thinking about From a Buick  8 way back in 1978 when he wrote Christine?

#50 treeduck

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 12:52 AM

QUOTE (treeduck @ Dec 3 2006, 10:56 PM)
So far everything I've read has been from the 90s or the noughties so now it's time to go back to the 80s. In the spirit of this let's see Mr King himself as he was in the 80s shall we? Just to get things started...

Do you know me?


Ahhh the 80s and which King book shall I ride back to 80s in? How about the one about the Haunted car? A 50s car, in Pennsylvania? Wait a sec i just read that one didn't I? Ahh not a Buick though this time, but a Plymouth Fury... I'm sure you know which one I mean, here's how my copy looks, I only just dug it out the attic last week...

user posted image
user posted image

(These are are pics off the net though not my actual copy - which is in better nick I would reckon)


This novel is kind of a cross between Herbie Rides Again and the 1974 film Killdozer with a teen angst story running right through the middle of it, but of course it's a helluva lot better than that description sounds. It's actually kind of an expansion of a theme King explored in his short tale "Trucks" but it works much better than that story did. I wonder if it'll work as well for me now after a couple of decades? Well there's only one way to find out isn't there...?

Yeah very good novel from King, not his best but not his worst. What's he done about 60 books? Well Christine isn't in the top 20 or the bottom 20 it's somewhere in the middle of the middle 20 or thereabouts. It was a solid read right from the start, but it didn't really get into top gear (car puns are mandatory of course) till about halfway through. Before that Christine is merely just an old wreck of a car that's a little creepy.

I think one weakness of the book was the first person style chosen by SK in parts one and three - he switched to third person for part two, after he had Dennis (our first person storyteller) conveniently injured right at the end of part one. The first person telling of the tale worked fine up to that point and during the build up, but King's so good at viewing and relaying many people's perspectives and gelling it all together in a seamless narrative, that once he opened up the story beyond the viewpoint of Dennis, it didn't really work as well to my mind after he reverted to the narrower view of Dennis in first person for the final part once again. The way he dealt with Arnie right at the end like it was just an afterthought was disappointing as well considering he was such a huge part of the story. We never got to see Arnie battling with his demons in the final act, he was just listed as a statistic...

Still overall it was a good read, Roland D Lebay was decent villain, even though he was dead, or maybe because he was dead... The book is definitely the story of how Lebay haunts the car and lives in it like a disease, cursing it with his presence. Without Lebay the car would just be like any car. Contrastingly John Carpenter's film depicted Christine as a car with it's own mind, like the personality of a homicidal girl actually lived inside the car instead of a human body and right from the start of the film, beginning with her Detroit construction.

Anyway...

So we've done the haunted cars, what else did King use to haunt us in the 80s? Animals? Dogs? Cats maybe...? Hmmmmm...

Edited by treeduck, 10 December 2006 - 01:17 AM.


#51 treeduck

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 01:07 AM

Yeah dogs are next...

Haunted dogs?

well crazy dogs anyway...like this one...



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Yep that's exactly how my 1987 futura paperback copy of Cujo looks, although mine's in better nick (again)...

This one is similar in set-up to Gerald's Game. Yes Gerald's Game. But Cujo is far better than GG and has better devices in the set-up that work much better.
The set-up is a lone woman, trapped by something and the story is about her struggle to survive. In Gerald's Game it's a woman trapped on a bed in her summer house by a pair of handcuffs, in Cujo it's a woman trapped in a car by a huge rabid dog. Which is more interesting to you? The back story and castle Rock subplot angle beats the Gerald's Game back story too.

Like Christine I read this in 1987 the first time and I remember it being on a similar level to that book, very good but a couple of levels down from his very best work. Unlike Christine though this one is a shorter, sharper shock of a book, so minimal waffle... There's not even any chapters or headers in it, it just drops on you like piano from the sky...

Notice how the front cover there makes cujo more like a werewolf than a st bernard, no wonder people think King's a horror writer, when we all know he's a mainstream literary boy as he claims...

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#52 treeduck

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 11:13 PM

I'm not so impressed with Cujo so far, it's not as good as I remember. Mainly in terms of overall quality. I've found myself getting easily distracted for one thing. It's disappointing to say the least. That is to say it's not very good but not bad either. The level of disappointment though depends on the expectations you have I suppose. I'll have to see how the second half goes. I'm not sure what the problem ifs exactly. The subplots are mundane by King standards and there's maybe too many things falling into place too easily to finally set up the woman and her kid trapped with the dog outside by the half way point.

One thing is true though, at the time the book was published, in 1981, it was easily King's weakest novel to that point . I'd have been seriously disappointed if i'd followed King's career from the beginning and then that year picked up a copy of Cujo... yes.gif  

#53 treeduck

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 11:43 PM

Ok Cujo is done and yes I did enjoy the last 100 pages a lot but still overall it's just a "pretty good" book, not one of King's career monuments, they're still to come. One part had me laughing out loud i mean really laughing. It's the bit where Sheriff Bannmerman is reporting the fact that his house has been trashed to Vic Trenton who's away on business, in fact that whole Steve kemp affair made me chuckle all the way through. One question got me about this, why do a lot of King's bad guys get a hard-on while they're trashing houses or cars or people?

There's a more important question than that though, who's hairer and scarier me or Cujo? You decide. It's too difficult a question for me...

user posted image


Ok seriously now one thing I noticed right at the end is the date. The first draft Cujo was written in 1977, Firestarter was also written that year. So that means that SK already had The Stand and The Dead Zone more or less completed by the time The Shining and Nightshift hit the shelves. One thing about King he doesn't let the grass grow under him...

Next...

#54 treeduck

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 11:55 PM

I'm going to stick to animals but this time a cat...

I didn't like Pet Sematary the first time around but it's so popular with King fans that I decided to give it a go again. Maybe my expectations were too high or something. maybe I'll enjoy it more this time...

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This is what my 80s copy looked like, the new version is below, they're pretty similar although they still insist on using that SK logo, which they first introduced in the UK for King books with the hardcover of Needful Things...

user posted image


I pointed out in another thread to Geddyrulz that this is a novel King didn't want to publish, here's what King said about this in an interview a few weeks ago just before he did his Lisey's Story book tour...

“…I wrote that book and I put it away. I couldn’t imagine ever publishing Pet Sematary, it was so awful. And it ended up getting published only because I ran into a contractual thing with Doubleday. They had the earlier books. And they had something called the Doubleday investment plan which was basically a deal where they took all your money BOOM and they put it over here into this fund. They took the interest and they paid you out $50,000 a year or whatever it was and said: “there you are, this is all you got to pay taxes on, we’re taking care of the rest , you lucky devil.” But I piled up these huge amounts of money and finally I got this accountant who knew what he was doing, Arthur Green, he’s still there in New York. And he came to me and he said: “You know…the problem with this, other than you’ve got all this income that you can’t touch,” and it was killing him, you know to think that there was 2, 3 million dollars piled up here and I’m getting 50 grand a year, right, you know? Big deal. That was killing him because Arthur is Arthur, he squeezes every dollar till it shits in his hand and then dies of asphyxiation! That’s the way he is. So that was killing him, but he comes to me and he says: “if you die IRS will tax you for the whole amount.” So I says “how will my wife pay for that?” He goes  “like I don’t know but you better renegotiate this.” So I went to Doubleday and they said they would break the investment for me and pay it all out if I did them another book and the only thing I had was Pet Sematary. So I published it and I got- I’m gonna get killed about this. And the fans loved it and… You can’t gross out the American public, or the British public cause they loved it too…”


So there you go, the book that King wanted to bury but like some of the characters it came back...

scared.gif


NB. I should point out that when King says "awful" he means horrifying not badly written. We'll be the judge of that...

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#55 ladirushfan80

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 06:41 AM

QUOTE (treeduck @ Dec 13 2006, 11:43 PM)
Ok Cujo is done and yes I did enjoy the last 100 pages a lot but still overall it's just a "pretty good" book, not one of King's career monuments, they're still to come. One part had me laughing out loud i mean really laughing. It's the bit where Sheriff Bannmerman is reporting the fact that his house has been trashed to Vic Trenton who's away on business, in fact that whole Steve kemp affair made me chuckle all the way through. One question got me about this, why do a lot of King's bad guys get a hard-on while they're trashing houses or cars or people?

There's a more important question than that though, who's hairer and scarier me or Cujo? You decide. It's too difficult a question for me...

user posted image


Ok seriously now one thing I noticed right at the end is the date. The first draft Cujo was written in 1977, Firestarter was also written that year. So that means that SK already had The Stand and The Dead Zone more or less completed by the time The Shining and Nightshift hit the shelves. One thing about King he doesn't let the grass grow under him...

Next...

nice pic Treeduck...



you mentioned firestarter...iread that book YEARS ago....
i forgot all about that one!!
i liked it, but then again, it was years ago....
teenager maybe?


#56 treeduck

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 03:00 PM

QUOTE (ladirushfan80 @ Dec 14 2006, 06:41 AM)
QUOTE (treeduck @ Dec 13 2006, 11:43 PM)
Ok Cujo is done and yes I did enjoy the last 100 pages a lot but still overall it's just a "pretty good" book, not one of King's career monuments, they're still to come. One part had me laughing out loud i mean really laughing. It's the bit where Sheriff Bannmerman is reporting the fact that his house has been trashed to Vic Trenton who's away on business, in fact that whole Steve kemp affair made me chuckle all the way through. One question got me about this, why do a lot of King's bad guys get a hard-on while they're trashing houses or cars or people?

There's a more important question than that though, who's hairer and scarier me or Cujo? You decide. It's too difficult a question for me...

user posted image


Ok seriously now one thing I noticed right at the end is the date. The first draft Cujo was written in 1977, Firestarter was also written that year. So that means that SK already had The Stand and The Dead Zone more or less completed by the time The Shining and Nightshift hit the shelves. One thing about King he doesn't let the grass grow under him...

Next...

nice pic Treeduck...



you mentioned firestarter...iread that book YEARS ago....
i forgot all about that one!!
i liked it, but then again, it was years ago....
teenager maybe?

Thanks Ladi...   wink.gif

Firestarter yeah I read it back when I read all SK's stuff in 1987/88. I gave away a lot of the paperbacks I had and that included Firestarter. Mine had a pic of a very young Drew Barrymore, it must have been a film tie in copy here it is...

user posted image

At the time I thought it was very good about the same as these last two I've read here Cujo and Christine. Christine turned out to be just as good as years ago but Cujo wasn't quite so it's hard to say how I'd like it now after 20 years. It's not on my King fest list as yet, but maybe I'll see if I can pick up a cheap copy...

Meanwhile there's a new TV version of firestarter where they've tried to sex it up a bit with an older version Charlie Mcgee...


user posted imageuser posted image

#57 treeduck

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 02:12 PM

So far Pet Sematary is just ok, certainly not great though. I like the whole idea of the Pet Sematary it's definitely got a high spooky quotient and there's some good chapters, like the one where they first go to the Micmac burial ground with the dead cat, that's got fantastic atmosphere but generally not a lot is happening though on the whole just this medic keeps getting freaked out over a whole lot of nothing. I remember being disappointed last time, I read this one right after The Shining and there was just no comparison at all. Damn and there's a boring bit to come yet...

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#58 treeduck

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 10:53 PM

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Yes sometimes dead is better...

I had a feeling I might enjoy this book more this time and I did. It's still too much of a plodding slow-burner to be one of King's best or near-best but it's quite good overall, with several effectively spooky scenes and the last hundred pages are top notch, great eerie ending too, no Hollywood endings in this book... I'd say it just edged Cujo, both of these are about a 7 on a 10 scale...

Of the characters Jud Crandal was an interesting fella, he seemed to be merely a nice kind old man at first ,but as the story unfolds you begin to realise he's more, but still only a pawn in the game. It seems to me though that part of this book at least is about the thing in the woods getting it's revenge on Jud for "f***ing with it" in 1943...





::: SLIGHT SPOILER WARNING :::

in case you're thinking of reading this...









One thing I realised while reading this and Cujo and Christine, something about King's characters, the thing that always seems to spell their doom; they always hide things from their loved ones, important things, or little things that become important later on. They never open up and tell them what's wrong and this inaction always seems to bring about their demise or some other kind of ruination. In this one Louis never told Rachel about Pascow (or Paxcow as Ellie calls him) and he never told her about the place beyond the Pet Sematary or what happened to Church. Later Jud refused to tell her what was going on, over the phone even when she pleaded with him to do so. No he wanted to tell her face to face and she acquiesced and I was shaking my head and of course he never got the chance... So Rachel never knew why everything went so horrbly wrong...



Anyway overall Pet Sematary, quite good read...

#59 treeduck

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 01:58 AM

Ok the next book is the most unpopular of King's novels according to him, based on both sales and fan feedback...

This is how my copy of this one looks although mine is more of mustard colour...

user posted image


Yes Rose Madder. I wasn't going to bother with this one but I had a conversation with Madra in chat the other week and he mentioned it and then I found my own copy and I thought well ok then I'll give it another go.

So it's King's most unpopular one (he even says to himself when he's finishing off a new manuscript: "I hope this one doesn't turn out like Rose madder..." but hey it's not his most unpopular one with me. It's a long way from being my favourite, but it's still pretty good. From what I remember it starts off a bit shaky but gets in high gear by halfway...

We'll see though, I might find that I've joined the anti-Rose Madder bandagon by the end of it, you never know...

#60 ladirushfan80

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 06:55 AM

what about Salem's Lot ?
what did you think of that one???


that's another one i haven't read in a very very long time...but it was one of my favorites....





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