Cemetery Dance And S.K. Reading List

Do you want to read what Stpehen King reads? Some of the books on his 2009 reading list are pretty good. Drood in particular was outstanding. Also, King has said before that he likes to listen to books.
Cemetery Dance has this announcement: "After some discussion, we've decided to put together a special value bundle of ALL TEN books for our customers! Nine of the ten titles will be trade hardcovers and we're not going to be selling this bundle for very long, so place your order while supplies last!"
You get all 10 books on King's reding list for $200. So that's about $20 each.

Mr. Monk sets foot in the S.K. Universe

My wife is inflicting old Monk episodes on me. Thanks family for the DVD's! So, Monk fills our screen when I could be watching something purpose-filled, like Storm of the Century.
But would you beleive even Monk makes references to the Stephen King universe? Well, not Monk exactly, but as they investigate a case that involves mauling, Strottlemeyer says, "Animal control warned her about cujo at least twice." Of course, this is not just a quick reference, but one done in right context. (Season 6, episode 1)
Actually, that's the only connection between King and Monk that I know of.
The episode itself, "Mr. Monk and the biggest fan" is rather Stephen Kingish itself. Either in a true life sort of way (ref the guy breaking into King's home) or in a Paul Sheldon Misery sort of way. I wonder if the connection was deliberately made using Cujo because King was the inspiration for deling with the biggest fan.

Under The Dome Notes #6

I've been reading since November, and the progress for me is slow. Seems Bev Vincent said he read this in a weekend. . . incredible.

Just a a few of observations, none of them connected to plot.

First, Raul Esparza gives each character their own voice. Something that really doesn't stand out early on, since you haven't heard these people very much. But as the story progresses, you feel like you know the person just by Esparza's voice. Little Walter's mother's whiny voice, or Big Jim's slow drawl -- each is unique.

Second, it seems that little attention is given to the dome itself. Wouldn't little kids try to climb it? Anyone pokedi t -- with something other than a cruise missle? Licked it? that only comes to mind because it's Christmas time and I just saw that movie where the kid licks the pole and his tongue sticks. I wonder what would happen if you stuck your tongue to that Dome. . .! Get a shock probably.

Finally, I continue think that the cheif villian is poorly portrayed. People this seriously self-deceived are not usually functional. He's able to kill, sell drugs and more -- but he doesn't drink because he actually has a conviction about this? guys like that usually turn out to be closet drinkers because they don't really believe any of it.

Reviews and Thoughts by Derick From Brasil

My friend Derick is from Brasil. We talk often by email about Stephen King. He's sharp, as you'll discover in his article below. I asked him to write me an article about what it's like being a King fan in Brasil. My friend is 17, very sweetly humble and a very fast reader. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did! By the way, I like the fact that Derick is honest in his opinion; he doesn't gush and he's not afriad to share honest thoughts. So, here's one constant readers take on the Stephen King universe!

Stephen King (SK) happened to me about one year ago.
When I first saw him I said: This guy is nuts! Mainly because he's staring in a lot of his own movies.It happened while I was still in the school. A friend of mine said: "My brother loves reading his books." So, I tried. Started with The Shining and didn't like it, although it's not a bad book. The Shining (I read it in Portuguese) I thought was a great story with such a bad ending. I really think SK cannot make a great ending at all, but, anyway, I love his stories. Then, I tried reading English versions and the first was The Eyes Of The Dragon. Horrible book, to me, by far, the worst I've read from him (I may be wrong but that was I felt when it ended), kind of fairytales.
I had many reasons to stop reading Sk but I didn't and won't. I really thought: "He's so famous, he has to write something good." That was when I read Needful Things. And, Oh My Godness, I really loved it. The plot itself is amazing but a lot of characters. The next one I read was Bag of Bones, and I have to say: Amazing beautiful great story. Kyra almost made me cry and I really enjoied it. There are a lot I read: Desperation, The Dark Half, The Gunslinger, The Drawing of The Three, The WasteLands, Wizard and Glass, Skeleton Crew, 'Salem's Lot and The Bachman Books (not a wide list but not short neither).
I'll talk about each book I've read:
- Desperation: Excelent story, good for those who like action books (like me), but the ending was bad. David Carver really got my atention.
- The Dark Half: You can read it so fast, it happened to me and no other book did this to me. Very good plot, bad ending and so many questions not answered. I loved Thad's Twins... They're awesome.
- Skeleton Crew: I had not read all of the stories but I read a few ones. Pretty good, it depends on each tale.
- 'Salem's Lot: Horrible Book! The ending almost made me throw this book away. Messy most of the times.
- The Bachman Books: I read The Long Walk which was amazingly good, the splot is wonderful and I wish SK could tell us what Ray asked after winning The Long Walk. I read Rage too. Indeed, I only bought this book because of Rage and it's a book full of nothing. It was a bad book (Rage).
- The Gunslinger: Loved that book. The best I've read from The Dark Tower. It tells us exactly what Roland is and Jake.
- The Drawing of the Three: Good book, it shows us all characters but boring at times, it only got my atention after Detta and Odetta story, but good.
- The Wastelands: Another action book. Nothing to say unless It's good.
- Wizard and Glass: Excelent in the beginning, stopped reading after flashbacks. Those flashbacks spoiled the whole story.
I really have to say SK is a genious not only for writing books but having the ability to creat so amazing stories and be able to make them to come true. I love him and his books although not all are good. David asked me to write something. I really appreciate that but I don't know if I was capable to do such a thing, I wish I would. I'm a great SK fan but not like David. I wanted to introduce myself in the ending because being Bra"s"ilian boy is not a compliment at all. Sorry if I made any mistake but my English cannot be compared to yours.
I'm from Bra"s"il, I'm 17 years-old and live in São Paulo. Here, in Brazil, SK is not famous here (everybody asks me "Who is Stephen King" and they can only know who he is when I say: "He wrote The Green Mile", and I really liked chatting with you and exposing my thoughts, it was good. Thank you once more,Dérick.

Pennywise is coming to town!

You better watch out! You better not cry. Better not accept any ballons for Christms, or mess with any clowns. Pennywise is on the loose again!
collider.com has an interesting article titled: "Producer Dan Lin on the JUSTICE LEAGUE Movie, SUICIDE SQUAD, and Stephen King’s IT" Sweet!
The story reports that Dave Kajganich is turning in a draft of It over Christmas.

Note From Betts New Proprietor

This note is on Betts Bookstores current inventory page. No, it was not bought by Mr. Gaunt -- which is probably good since I can imgine S.K. fans gladly playing tricks on each other to get their hands on some of the stuff in that store! Anyway, here's the note from Mr. David Williams.
Dear Loyal Customers, Friends and Constant Readers,
It is with great honor and enthusiasm that I assume the role of caretaker of Betts Books. My name is David Williamson and I have been a King fan and collector for many years. My predecessor, Stuart Tinker, held the position for nearly 20 years, and he is a well-known and respected figure in the Stephen King community. I would like to thank Stu for his dedication over the past years and for inspiring in so many of us a passion for all things Stephen King. My first King collectible was purchased from Stu almost 15 years ago.
Betts Books is synonymous with authenticity, quality and service, and I intend to uphold these values as the new owner. One of my long-term goals is to help expand people’s knowledge and appreciation for the literary works of Stephen King and to be an advocate for reading in general. I also plan to continue my support of one of Stephen’s charities, The Haven Foundation, a national, nonprofit organization making grants to freelance writers and artists experiencing career-threatening trauma.
I simply could not be more delighted to be the new proprietor of Betts Books, and I look forward to providing you with the utmost care and consideration. I have several ideas for taking the business in new directions, so stay tuned! Also a major renovation of the web site is planned for spring.In the meantime, I am able to process orders but am still working feverishly to get all the behind-the-scenes workings up and running and to unpack the inventory. So, please do contact me with your orders but I ask your patience and understanding as I get the process of running this on-line bookstore running smoothly.Many thanks and happy holidays to all of you.David

2009 Reading List

What do you know, Twilight isn't on is list! Read King's comments on the books at exminer.com. How does King find time to write?
Hollywood Moon by Joseph Wambaugh
Shatter by Michael Robotham
Gone Tomorrow by Lee Child
Rough Country by John Sandford

"N" comes to the comic's

Mark Langshaw at digital spy reports that King's story "N" will be turned into a comic book. Marvel, the publishers of the comic versions of The Stand and The Dark Tower will also take on this new project. Lanshaw notes that "N" was previously adapted for the publisher as a motion comic by Marc Guggenheim and Alex Maleev. The creative team will reunite for the four-issue comic book project.

Marvel senior vice president Ruwan Jayatilleke said, "It's absolutely thrilling for Marvel to be working on N again and having the honour to publish it as a comic book miniseries. . . Both as a fan of the story and a producer on the N motion comic, I am absolutely psyched for the terrifying ride that Marc, Alex and the editors have planned for readers."

Look for the first installment in March, 2010.


Where's The Audio?

One reason I got hooked on Stephen King early was because I could listen to him -- unabridged. That's important! I hate chopped up books. Like trying to read cliffnotes.

But, it's hard to get your hands on "classic" King on audio. Some of the really early stuff is out on audio, Carrie, Salem's Lot and the Shining. As well as Night shift. As they came out, one after another, I had hopes that it was the start of a new day in King world. Maybe all those good old novels could be revisited on audio. But. . . then it all came to a grinding hault.

Where is:
The Stand. A version NOT read by Grover Gardner, please! Come on, a boaring British voice reading an American novel didn't work. And, it was hard to find -- not on tape that I know of.

The Dead Zone
Fire Starter.
Pet Sematary
Eyes of the Dragon
The tommy Knockers
The Dark Half

After the Dark half, everything seems to ahve gone to audio. And no whining about length! If an affordable audio edition of UTD could be made, then IT and other "biggies" should not be a problem.

So if anyone at Doubleday or Viking is looking for a way to bring in more money on books already proven to be best sellers, why not put this stuff on audio for us?


Fantasy is a genre I really don't understand. I am just about the only person on earth who did not think the Lord of the Rings was brilliant. While I enjoyed aspects of the Dark Tower -- it took me a long time to figure out tht this was fantasy. After all, it's so dark tht it dosn't start to pick up real fantasy elements until Wizard and Glass. Come on -- ruby slippers?!
Of course, I should have realized it was fantasy when Roland was hoppping between worlds with doors. But I saw that as more scifi. Really, I thought this was a strange cowboy novel. And none of you can say you knew exactly what D.T. would be when you started.
Friendly Objections To Fantasy:
1. Everyone lives very far away. Has anyone else noticed that in fantasy stories, no one lives NEAR the tower or ring or whatever it is. I tried reading Terry Goodkind, but the made up worlds got confusing to me. And then passing through the foggy spirit world left me thinking -- really?!
2. I can't keep up with all the made up words. Scrimshaw.
3. Fantasy takes itself incredibly serious. Just my opinion, but the genre itself seems to have high opinion of itself.
4. All characters in Fantasy novels do is walk around. Ever try to read a Robert Jordan book?

5. Fantasy novels require very little research, since the author is making up their own world. Each Fantsy novel feels, to me, like nothing more than a new world on Star Trek.
Now here's why King's world of fantasy is better:
He linked it directly to our world. Rolands world is something of dark mirror to ours.
The Dark Tower is not pure fantasy. He incorperted other elements -- horror in prticular. And dare I suggest tht W&G was romance, or close there to.
More than just linking to our world, Dark Tower became the knot that brought the entire Stephen King universe together.
Here's what I'm proposing: You don't have to like Fantasy as a genre to enjoy the Dark Tower. I think that in the Dark Tower a frustrating genre finds something of redemption. If only more writers took King's approach.
Of course, fantasy novels are always about "the journey." That was certainly true in Dark Tower. But King made the long journey a joy! But, for a guy who doesn't like fantasy novles, I have to say that the biggest complaint I have is the ending of D.T.7.
Fantasy novels do have one great thing in their favor. . . they have good book covers.
Now all you loves of Jordan, Eragon (I only saw the movie), Goodkind and that "Magic Kingdom For Sale -- sold" book can write and tell me how wrong I am.

Alas King Goes Colbert

Have you been waiting for this? Sure you have! Check out Stephen King on The Colbert Report.

Go to about the 7min marker.

Best quote: "We need are the scariest most grizzely gross stories you can imagine, that way people feel better about their own lives."

The interview is very, very funny. And the skit at the beginnign is cool.


Why are you reading this? Go watch!

Edward Champion: U.T.D. Cultural Name Dropping

I thought this article was GREAT. I don't know how Edward Champion came up with all these facts -- he must have read with a notepad beside him. Posted December 15, the blog entry is titled, "Cultural Name Dropping in Stephen King’s Under the Dome."
Champion leaves out referneces to networks like CBS, CNN and newspapers such at the New York Times.
Here's the list. And a big thanks to Edward Champion for letting me post his hard work.
  • Alas, Babylon: “Yep, see you that and raise you Alas, Babylon.” (155)
  • American Family Physician: “thumb through the latest issue of American Family Physician.” (285)
  • America’s Most Wanted: “I saw that on America’s Most Wanted.” (619)
  • Bernstein, Leonard: “He was halfway through the third daddy and still conducting like Leonard Bernstein….” (790)
  • Blitzer, Wolf: “Wolf Blitzer took Anderson Cooper’s place,” “she called him ‘my Wolfie,’” and various lines from Blitzer. (89) “expected either Anderson Cooper or her beloved Wolfie” (760) “Better be Wolfie from CNN, that’s all I can say.” (763) “Lookin good, Wolfie! You can eat crackers in my bed anytime you want.” (765) “Reynolds Wolf (no relation to Rose Twitchell’s Wolfie)” (801) Also p. 961.
  • Blunt, James: “He struck the barrier at fifteen miles an hour, while listening to James Blunt’s ‘You’re Beautiful.’” (34) (This is my personal favorite.)
  • Bradbury, Ray: “That’s from Ray Bradbury. You ever read Ray Bradbury?” (671)
  • Braver, Rita: Appears on p. 766.
  • Brown, Sandra: “‘Nora Roberts? Sandra Brown? Stephenie Meyer? You read this stuff? Don’t you know Harry Potter rules?’” (282)
  • Bush, George W.: “His hair looked as if it had last been cut while Bush II was riding high in the polls.” (187) “Big Dubya’s fuck-a-monkey show.” (340)
  • Car and Driver: “was deep in an issue of Car and Driver, reading a comparison of the 2012 BMW H-car and the 2011 Ford Vesper R/T.” (706)
  • The Cat in the Hat: “The hat was like the one the cat wore in the Dr. Seuss story.” (733)
  • Clark Sisters: “This town needs some Mavis Staples. Also some Clark Sisters.” (798)
  • Clinton, Hillary: “remembered getting drunk the night Hillary Clinton cried in New Hampshire” (893)
  • Como, Perry: “playing ‘Good Night, Sweet Jesus’ as interpreted by that noted soul singer Perry Como.” (315) “Perry Como had given way to something instrumental.” (316)
  • Cooper, Anderson: “Wolf Blitzer took Anderson Cooper’s place.” (89) “Anderson Cooper, almost life-sized, looked like he was doing his standup on Castle Rock’s Main Street.” (316) “expected either Anderson Cooper or her beloved Wolfie” (760) (He is also the CNN anchor whose reporting is halted by the military.)

  • Creedence Clearwater Revival: “I fucked her until she sang ‘Hail to the Chief’ and ‘Bad Moon Rising.’” (875)

  • Dancing with the Stars: “sometimes watching shows like The Hunted Ones (a clever sequel to Lost) and Dancing with the Stars” (694)

  • The Dead Milkmen: “bearing the logos of long-gone punk bands like Stalag 17 and the Dead Milkmen.” (836)

  • Die Hard: “Yippee-ki-yi-yay, motherfucker.” (306)

  • Earnhardt, Dale: “And although the autographs people noticed when they were invited into his home study were inevitably those of Tiger Woods, Dale Earnhardt, and Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee…” (445)

  • 50 Cent: “one was a stocky young fellow wearing baggy shorts and a faded 50 Cent tee-shirt.” (328)

  • Ford, John: “against the smudged skyline like Indians in a John Ford Western.” (961)

  • G.I. Joe: “Almighty GI Joe” (501)

  • Girls Gone Wild: “most of em probably watching Girls Gone Wild on pay-per-view.” (432)

  • “Hansel and Gretel”: “Hansel and Gretel minus the happy ending.” (309)

  • Harry Potter: “‘Nora Roberts? Sandra Brown? Stephenie Meyer? You read this stuff? Don’t you know Harry Potter rules?’” (282) “she had settled for Harry Potter’s chum, Hermione.” (858)

  • Holt, Lester: “Lester Holt from NBC shot to his feet.” (766)

  • Howlin’ Wolf: “He had given up on the blues music that had been so important to him in his Phil Bushey stage of life — B.B. King, Koko, and Hound Dog Taylor, Muddy and Howlin’ Wolf, even the immortal Little Walter.” (320)

  • Iron Butterfly: “sounded suspiciously like the organ solo from ‘In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.” (316)

  • The Invisible Man: “Barbie’s fist, blurred impression was that he was about to be attacked by the Invisible Man.” (532)

  • Jett, Joan: “she looked like the middle-school version of Joan Jett; she wouldn’t know who he was talking about.” (329)

  • Jolie, Angelina: “Great mouth. Angelina lips.” (303) “with her head in the cover of a People magazine — Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie frolicking in the surf on some horny little island where waiters brought you drinks with little paper parasols stuck in them.” (672)

  • The Jordanaires: “Thurston turned it on and got nothing but Elvis Presley and the Jordanaires, trudging through ‘How Great Thou Art.’” (305)

  • Kennedy, Bobby: “the paisley headband Thurse had worn to the candlelight memorial service for Bobby Kennedy.” (627)

  • Kenne Highland & The Vatican Sex Kittens: “the memorable New Year’s Eve show in 2009 featuring the Vatican Sex Kittens.” (337)

  • King, B.B.: “He had given up on the blues music that had been so important to him in his Phil Bushey stage of life — B.B. King, Koko, and Hound Dog Taylor, Muddy and Howlin’ Wolf, even the immortal Little Walter.” (320)

  • LCD Soundsystem: “LCD Soundsystem was playing — ‘North American Scum’ — and Jack was singing along when a small voice spoke his name from behind him.” (35)
  • Led Zeppelin: “He was wearing filthy chinos, a Led Zeppelin tee-shirt, and old slippers with busted backs.” (187)

  • Lee, Bill: “And although the autographs people noticed when they were invited into his home study were inevitably those of Tiger Woods, Dale Earnhardt, and Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee…” (445)

  • The Little Mermaid: “so it could hold an entire town prisoner as well as broadcast The Little Mermaid to your television via Wi-Fi and in HD.” (734) “hadn’t been able to persuade Jackie with an Ariel mask” (857)

  • Little Walter: “He had given up on the blues music that had been so important to him in his Phil Bushey stage of life — B.B. King, Koko, and Hound Dog Taylor, Muddy and Howlin’ Wolf, even the immortal Little Walter.” (320) (There is also a character named Little Walter.)

  • The Lord of the Rings: “What was it Gollum had said of Bilbo Baggins?” (890)
    Lost: “What did the Scottish guy say on Lost? ‘Don’t mistake coincidence for fate?’ Maybe that had been it. Maybe it had. But Lost had been a long time ago. The Scottish guy could have said Don’t mistake fate for coincidence.” (285) “sometimes watching shows like The Hunted Ones (a clever sequel to Lost) and Dancing with the Stars” (694)

  • Lovecraft, H.P.: “the pony in this case was not terrorists, invaders from space, or Great Cthulhu” (179)

  • Lynyrd Skynyrd: The song “Sweet Home Alabama” factors into the plot.

  • Mantovani: “He could hear the swooping violins of Mantovani coming through” (780)

  • Masters of the Universe: “also known as King of the Geeks and Skeletor” (177)

  • McGruff the Crime Dog: “Big Jim listened to McGruff the Crime Dog for a while.” (512)

  • McKinley: “He might not know that there was a president as well as a mountain named McKinley…” (909)

  • McMurtry, James: Epigraph. “It was from an old James McMurtry song…” (93) “What he remembered most clearly about last summer was the James McMurtry song that seemed to be playing everywhere — ‘Talkin’ at the Texaco,’ it was called.” (242) “it was probably why the James McMurtry song had been so popular.” (543)

  • Mellencamp, John Cougar: “Accompanying the idea came the title of Phil’s old record albums: Nothing Matters and What If It Did.” (35)

  • Meyer, Stephenie: “‘Nora Roberts? Sandra Brown? Stephenie Meyer? You read this stuff? Don’t you know Harry Potter rules?’” (282)

  • Mighty Clouds of Joy: “He turned on the radio, got the MIghty Clouds of Joy on WCIK…” (729)

  • The Mist: “‘Exactly like in that movie The Mist,’ one blogger wrote.” (179)
    “Moon River”: “Twitch had juggled half a dozen Indian clubs while singing ‘Moon River.’” (178)

  • Mr. Sardonicus: “Mr. Sardonicus, a movie that had scared him as a kid.” (727)
    Nightly News with Brian Williams: “Rory saw his smiling (but of course modest) face on the cover of USA Today; being interviewed on Nightly News with Brian Williams…” (208)

  • Night of the Living Dead: “In the Bible, people sometimes returned to life like the zombies in Night of the Living Dead.” (104)

  • 1984: “revoked tenure, 1984, thought-police” (301)

  • Noriega, Manuel: “A kind of Downeast Manuel Noriega?” (613)

  • Oasis: “yanking her beloved Oasis poster off the wall and tearing it up.” (385)

  • Obama, Barack: Never named, but referenced throughout the book.

  • On the Beach: “‘On the Beach,’ Barbie said.” (155)

  • O’Reilly, Bill: “that half-bald no-spin yapper from FOX News” (762)

  • Penthouse Forum: “Menagerie a trois, as they said in the Penthouse Forum.” (273)

  • People: “with her head in the cover of a People magazine — Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie frolicking in the surf on some horny little island where waiters brought you drinks with little paper parasols stuck in them.” (672)

  • Pitt, Brad: “with her head in the cover of a People magazine — Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie frolicking in the surf on some horny little island where waiters brought you drinks with little paper parasols stuck in them.” (672)

  • Plath, Sylvia: “Maybe meeting a few interesting men and discussing Sylvia Plath in bed.” (850)

  • Ploughshares: “and guest editor for the current issue of Ploughshares” (299) “‘I edited the current issue of Ploughshares,’ he said. His voice quivered with indignation and sorrow. ‘That is a very good literary magazine, one of the best in the country.’” (366) “I edited the current issue of Ploughshares.” (409)

  • Pol Pot: “It’s the progression to Pol Pot I’m worried about.” (613)

  • Presley, Elvis: “Thurston turned it on and got nothing but Elvis Presley and the Jordanaires, trudging through ‘How Great Thou Art.’” (305)

  • Reader’s Digest: “although certain offshoot sects — and The Reader’s Digest, I believe — disagree.” (563)

  • The Road Runner: “The noise was similar to the one Roadrunner [sic] makes before speeding away from Wile E. Coyote in a cloud of dust.” (728)

  • Roberts, John: “unless you counted CNN’s John Roberts” (778)

  • Roberts, Nora: “‘Nora Roberts? Sandra Brown? Stephenie Meyer? You read this stuff? Don’t you know Harry Potter rules?’” (282) “The words kept squirming around on the page, sometimes even changing places with each other, and Nora Roberts’s prose, ordinarily crystal clear, made absolutely no sense.” (427)

  • Serling, Rod: “They’d hear the Rod Serling voice-over anytime now.” (305)

  • Sherlock Holmes: “It’s the Sherlock Rule: When you eliminate the impossible, the answer, no matter how improbable, is what remains.” (442)

  • Song of the South: “Did Br’er Bear maybe die of rabies too?” (720)

  • SpongeBob Square Pants: “long enough to plaster three SpongeBob Band-Aids along the gash.” (356)

  • Stalag 17: “bearing the logos of long-gone punk bands like Stalag 17 and the Dead Milkmen.” (836)

  • Staples, Mavis: “This town needs some Mavis Staples. Also some Clark Sisters.” (798)

  • The Staple Singers: “the Staples Singers [sic], kicking holy ass with ‘Get Right Church.’” (821)

  • Starr, Barbara: “but it was Barbara Starr, the network’s Pentagon correspondent.” (760)

  • Star Trek: “‘Just like on Star Trek,’ Barbie said. ‘Beam me up, Scotty.’” (152) “If I can put it in Star Trek terms, help us make it so.” (765)

  • Star Wars: A file containing dirt on Big Jim is named VADER. “In a galaxy far far away, Clover.” (413) “Darth Vader mask was behind the seat” (858) “in a galaxy far, far away” (898)

  • The Situation Room: “Rose had a crush on Blitzer and would not allow the TV to be tuned to anything but The Situation Room on weekday afternoons….” (89)

  • Suarez, Ray: Appears on p. 766.

  • Sullivan, John L.: “his fists held up like John L. Sullivan.” (244)

  • Taylor, Hound Dog: “He had given up on the blues music that had been so important to him in his Phil Bushey stage of life — B.B. King, Koko, and Hound Dog Taylor, Muddy and Howlin’ Wolf, even the immortal Little Walter.” (320)

  • Taylor, Koko: “He had given up on the blues music that had been so important to him in his Phil Bushey stage of life — B.B. King, Koko, and Hound Dog Taylor, Muddy and Howlin’ Wolf, even the immortal Little Walter.” (320)

  • The Twilight Zone: “The whole world had turned sideways and slipped into a Twilight Zone episode while she was asleep.” (305)

  • The Upper Room: “One was a devotional, The Upper Room.” (314)

  • Vaughan, Brian K.: “He was addicted to computers, the graphic novels of Brian K. Vaughan, and skateboarding.” (504)

  • Warhammer: “I still haven’t been able to beat Warhammer.” (543)

  • Waters, Muddy: “He had given up on the blues music that had been so important to him in his Phil Bushey stage of life — B.B. King, Koko, and Hound Dog Taylor, Muddy and Howlin’ Wolf, even the immortal Little Walter.” (320) “He went his rounds humming ‘Big Leg Woman’ very softly under his breath.” (627)

  • Wayne, John: “said in a passable John Wayne drawl” (977)

  • When Harry Met Sally: “‘Check it out, Junes,’ Frankie DeLesseps said. ‘It’s When Horny Met Slutty.” (301)

  • Wile E. Coyote: “The noise was similar to the one Roadrunner [sic] makes before speeding away from Wile E. Coyote in a cloud of dust.” (728)

  • Winslet, Kate: “Not that I’ll ever be mistaken for Kate Winslet.” (785)

  • The Wiz: “Dr. Ron Haskell — The Wiz…” (198)

  • The Wizard of Oz: “…Dr. Ron Haskell, whom Rusty often thought of as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.” (77)

  • Wolf, Reynolds: “Reynolds Wolf (no relation to Rose Twitchell’s Wolfie)” (801)

  • Wonder Woman: “I pray to Wonder Woman.” (500)

  • Woods, Tiger: “And although the autographs people noticed when they were invited into his home study were inevitably those of Tiger Woods, Dale Earnhardt, and Bill ‘Spaceman’ Lee…” (445)

  • Zevon, Warren: “He’s wearing an old tee-shirt of mine with a Warren Zevon quote on it—” (904)

--Edward Champion, http://www.edrants.com/cultural-name-dropping-in-stephen-kings-under-the-dome/

Wow! First, there were references I read right past. For instance, I remember the line: Check it out, Junes,’ Frankie DeLesseps said. ‘It’s When Horny Met Slutty.” But I missed that was a reference to When Harry Met Sally.

Did anyone catch the Tiger Woods appearance? He might hide, but Stephen King will find him!


Do You Read S.K. Comic Books?
10 Yes, all of them
2 No, not really
2 Dark Tower Only
0 Talisman Only
0 The Stand Only
With the popularity of The Stand, I'm surprised no one is a "The Stand Only" catagory. Personally, I don't understand the comics yet. I know the Dark Tower is telling the back story. But. . . with the Stand, is it a graphic form of the novel or new stories?
You may continue to vote at the bottom of the page. Double voters will get a call on their CELL phone.

Strange Kudos

Did you ever think you'd see Stephen King on O'reilly? Maybe the other way around! O'reilly strikes me as a character in a King novel. Tonight O'reilly had Stephen King in his pin-heads and patriots section. Which one was King? A patriot of course!

O'Rielly said, "One of the most successfulw writers in America is Stpehn King who lives in Maine. He is very loyal to his state. This Christmas time Mr. King and his wife are paying for 150 members of the Maine national guard to come home for the holidays. The soldiers are currently training in Indiana, and are due to Afghanistan next month. For this generous gestrue Mr. King and his wife are patriots."

King is shown presenting a giant check . . . maybe file footage, though.

Ooh-Rah Mr. & Mrs. King!

I know, I know, the army doesn't say Ooh-Rah. But, I live in a Marine town! Anyway this story is beyond cool. Heart touching. Thank you, Mr. King for supporting our guys.

The associated press is running this article:

BANGOR, Maine - Author Stephen King and his wife are donating money so 150 soldiers from the Maine Army National Guard can come home for the holidays.

King and his wife, Tabitha, who live in Bangor, are paying $13,000 toward the cost of two bus trips so that members of the 3rd Battalion, 172nd Infantry Unit can travel from Camp Atterbury in Indiana to Maine for Christmas.

The soldiers left Maine last week for training at Camp Atterbury. They are scheduled to depart for Afghanistan in January.

Julie Eugley, one of King's personal assistants, told the Bangor Daily News that the Kings were approached about giving $13,000. But Stephen King thought the number 13 was a bit unlucky, so the couple pitched in $12,999 instead. Eugley chipped in $1 to make for an even $13,000.

Just my take, but I hope that goes a long way tos top the whining about King's comments in May 2008. He is showing a very high form of respect to our troops -- bringing them home for Christmas. Thank you!


Only Three Movies King Likes ?

Barry Ronge writes, "In a recent interview, author Stephen King singled out only three films based on his work that he really enjoyed: Rob Reiner's Stand by Me and the two films made by Frank Darabont: The Shawshank Redemption and The Mist."

Really?! Unfortunately, Ronge doesn't cite his source. That drives me crazy. It's like an essay with no footnotes, or a sermon with no scripture reference, or. . . you get the point. It seems that King has scited numerous times that Cujo was one of his favorite movies. But, since Ronge wasn't willing to dig up his source. . .


For another article on king movies, check out:

Notes On The Dark Half

I just finisehd The Dark Half. Wonderful! In fact I would suggest that it is King mastering has craft.
the sparrows are flying again
Gore Galore
This book feels like a mix of Stephen King and Richard Bachman. It is dark -- very dark -- much like a Bachman novel. But it has elements of the supernatural, like a King book. Mix the gore and the spooks, and you have two great minds working together.
Some have complained about the violence and gore. My suggestion to them: Don't read Stephen King. It's called "pay-off" gang! King takes his time building a story, and when it gets gory, we want to enjoy it.
In The Dark Half, Thad Beaumont writes under the name George Stark. Unlike Thad, George doesn't use a typewriter or wordprocessor, just lots of very sharp pencils. As a child Thad had terrible headaches and passed out. It is discovered in surgery that he has in his brain . . . well, I'll let King tell you: "the assiting O.R. nurse saw it first. her scream was shrill and shocking in the operation room, where the only sounds for the last fifteen minutes had been Dr. Pritchard's murmured commands, the hiss of the bulky life support machinery, and the brief, high whine of the Negli saw."
So what did she see? "thad Beaumont's brin was the color of a conch shell's outer edge -- a medim gray with jsut the slightest tinge of rose. Protruding from the smooth surface of dura was a single blind and malformed human eye. the brain was pulsing slightly. The eye pulsed with it. It looked as if it were trying to wink at them. It was this -- the look of the wink -- which had driven the assisting nurse from the O.R." That's wonderful!
Why is there an eye (and other things) in Thad's brain? Because in the womb, he was a twin. But he was the stronger of the two, and he absorbed his twin. But, little brother still had an eye. . . in Thad's brain! Shivers, that's good.
When Thad is exposed as the real George Stark, he creates a mock photo shoot and "kills" ole George. But George doesn't stay dead. In fact, he goes on a killing rampage to rival his own character, Machine. It all ends with the sparrows. . .
the sprarrows are flying again
A Difficult Book To Write
That the book was not easy for King to write is noted by Michael R. Colling's, who gives this interesting behind the scenes look at The Dark Half:
"With The Dark Half, he continues his journey through the darkness of creativity, centering his attention on a writer whose pseudonym has recently been publicly unmasked -- very like King's experiences in 1985 with Richard Bachman, to whom the Dark Half refers in the introductory authors note, an exercise in tongue-in-cheek humor and irony. "I'm indebted to the late Richard bachman for his help and inspiration. this book could not have been written without him."
"That writing the Dark Half was difficult for King is suggested by Stephanie Leonard's editorial comments in the November 1988 Castle Rock: The Stephen King Newsletter: It is true that Stephen has written a book by this title. But at this time he has no plans to publsih it."
That looked a lot like the situation that had developed with Pet Sematary. Both novels are intensely personal for King, touching on his darker thoughts. Is he save to show us this "dark half" of himself?
Not only was this a difficult book for King to write, it has been reported that it was also his wife Tabby's least favorite novel. King said in the Bachman books that The Dark Half is "a book my wife has always hated, perhaps because, for Thad Beaumont, the dream of being a writer overwhelms the reality of being a man; for thad, delusive thinking overtakes rationality completely, with horrible consequences."
the sparrows
George Beahm in King's biography says, "For King, the Dark Half could be perceived as a fictional form of closure on that matter of the Bachman revelation, putting it to rest."
the sparrows are not nice to George
Hitchcock Would Be Proud
what if Machine got a crack at the sparrows?
I previously posted a question asking what King book Hitchcock would make into a movie. I think he would have loved The Dark Half! Why? The birds, of course. But King goes further than Hitchcock did. We literally get to see poor Stark torn to bits by the sparrows.
Machine makes Stark look like a nice guy
In many ways this actually makes me think of Rod Serling gone bad!
the sparrows are flying
Who is George Stark?
he's not a very nice guy
Former Residence:
Mr. George Stark
P.O. Bo 1642
Brewer, Maine 04412
and he doesn't stay dead
Geore Stark

Not a Very Nice Guy
it's hard to keep a good man down
George Stark is the ghost of Thad's unborn twin. Wrap your head around that plotline, huh! He's also the ghost of Rirchard Bachman. It's pretty obvious that King is having some fun with his own life story. You know, George Stark and Jack Torrance have some strange similarities. They both have trouble writing when the tension builds, and both have a very bad mean streak. Did I say very bad? We're talking, very very naughty. In the Shining, Jack becomes something of "machine" in a George Stark novel. Nothing more than a crazy killing machine.
the sparrows are flying
Sheriff Alan Pangborn reappears in Needful Things. In the novel, the Sheriff suffers from nightmares and thoughts of George Stark. In Bag Of Bones we learn that Thad Beaumont killed himself.
the sparrows
The Stephen King universe suggests that "It's quite likely that King named Thad Beaumont in honor of Charles Beaumont, an author who is best remembered or writing some of the most chilling episodes of the television classic The Twilight Zone." (164)
The Dark Half Video Game: Yep! It's out there. However, it did not get good reviews at the time. It appears some collectors now seek it out, but I honestly don't know why -- usually games, audio recordings, video's and DVD's do not have much value to King Collectors. You can get the book and the game here: http://www.abandonia.com/en/games/595/Dark+Half,+The.html
The Dark Half movie, starring Timothy Hutton and directed by George A. Romero (Christine). This is a great movie! Faithful to the book, it manages to hold the novels "flavor." Remember in Firestarter where the complaint was that though it was faithful to the book, something was missing? Well, The Dark Half faithfully captures the story and mood of the novel. And, Stark's end is aptly nasty. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0106664/#comment
the sprarrows are flying
The movie, and book for that matter, do not do much with the aftermath. King will clean things up in later books, but with bodies left all over, how does Pangborn get Thad off the hook? does he just explain, kindly, to the FBI that Thad's alter-ego's ghost did it? I may have missed something here.
the sparrows are flying
Oddly, because of financial issues, the movie was made in 1990, but not released until 1993. One would think that the producers would have wanted to play on the hype of a recently released book.
the sprarrows are flying
There is no audio edition of this book that I'm aware of.
the sparrows are not nice to George
See: The Complete Stephen King Encylopedia, Stephen J. Spignesi

GameSetWatch Review of DISCORDIA

Eric Caoili has a short review of Discordia online at GameSetWatch. Caoili posts the following:

Chapter One (For Callahan!) of Discordia, the online experience based on Stephen King's revered Dark Tower novels, is now online and available to play for free. The Flash game features 3D objects and environments by Brian Stark, artwork by Dark Tower series illustrator Michael Whelan, and a story by Robin Furth (King's personal research assistant and the author of The Dark Tower: A Complete Concordance).

Discordia starts you off in the shoes of a Tet Corporation agent investigating a bloody scene at the Dixie Pig restaurant (featured in The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah). It plays mostly like a hidden object game, charging you to search for magical items and character orbs that unlock some great art/wallpapers and flavor text, but there's at least one point-and-shoot segment, too.
The game's official site share this description:

"The project started as a small add-on concept for the then new Dark Tower
Official Web Site. Over time, Discordia evolved into a progressive storytelling
platform that leverages cutting-edge technologies to chronicle the war between
Tet Corporation and Sombra/NCP. Exploring the behind-the-scenes conflict between the two companies, Discordia introduces long-time Dark Tower fans to new
characters and numerous mechanical/magical items developed by Mid-World's Old

Over the course of our adventure we will visit many locations, both those
familiar to Dark Tower fans and others which we only glimpsed in the Dark Tower
novels. While we may not see Roland and his ka-tet in this adventure, the
development team has remembered the faces of its fathers. We have done our best
to honor the original Dark Tower series while simultaneously mapping new and
exciting Dark Tower territory."


Under The Dome Audio Editon

I'm currently listening to Under The Dome. I'm enjoying it very much. Of course, listening has its own set of problems. Here is the main problem:

  • Distance from home to work: 1 mile.
  • Distance from home to children's s school: 1.2 miles.
  • Distance to store from home: 2 miles.
  • Distance from home to inlaws house: 1 mile.
I need to find somewhere far to drive!

  • Distance from home to Walmart: 32 miles. ALAS! 32 blessed miles.
  • Chances of my wife letting me listen to UTD with the kids in the car (on the way to Walmart): 0%
  • Distance from home to Sizzler: 35 miles.
  • Number of times a month I go to sizzler: 1
Do you see my problem? I need somewhere to drive!

On that note, I would say that I love the audio edition of Under The Dome. And, Lilja's Library has a great interview with Raúl Esparza. Check it out here:

Does Obama Need Stephen King?

So I'm listening to Under The Dome and there is a scene early in the book where a letter from the President of the United States is read. It promotes Barbie to Colonel, calls for a day of prayer, discusses options that were considered and disgarded, outlines why telephones are not able to go outside the dome, clarifies that phones should work inside the dome. . . and more.
I found myself thinking: Presidents don't talk this way. We all wish they did, though. The letter was specific, lengthy and very clear. It wasn't just full of froof, it had substance. It wasn't just a "yes we can" speech, it was a "here's what you're going to do" speech.
So I'm wondering: Since King isn't locked up in his study writing that next Dark Tower novel anyway. . . can Mr. Obama have him for a while? I mean, maybe just to have King explain the Health Care bill to us. Have him direct communications for a while, and I'll bet everyone will get excited again.
This should be a nice marriage! King and Obama are both democrats, both committed American's and both on the liberal side. But King is able to break things down in specifics. After listening to the West Point speech, the one that put troops to sleep!, I think some punchy writing is in order.
I saw O'Rielly offer himself to the president recently as an advisor. Please, sir, no! (Big Jim really does come to mind) Of course, it's not for King to offer, it's for the president to call. Send him one of those emails that promotes him to Colonel and he can't say no.
Rebublicans and late night talk shows would love having King over at the White House -- no end to the "master of horror" writing the presidents speeches quips. But who cares about them! As an American citizen I can make a citizens arrest. . . can I make a citizens nomination? Dear Mr. President, I nominate Stephen King for White House Communications Director.
OH! And, Mr. President, when he works for you, would you please give him a direct order to write the next Dark Tower novel? Thank you, sir.
It's just a thought. . .


...................................Picture: Ken Meyer Jr.
Do you read Shakespeare? I don't! Hello, I wait for the movies to come out. Which is what some of you do with Stephen King. Reading a play isn't much fun to me. Doesn't matter if it's a script written by King, or Shakespeare.
I was startled when someone pointed out some of the similarities between the two writers. Then I read Dr. Michael Colling's state that he tells students that King is a modern Shakespeare. (Stephen King Companion) Unfortunately, he did not elaborate.
In High School we had Shakespeare forced on us, while we read Stephen King for fun. I dread the day King is required reading and kids dread opening their books. Mercifully, unless you are in a Stephen King play or movie, you will probably never be forced to memorize Stephen King. I can still spout lines from McBeth.
What If Shakespeare And King Switched Places?
In 2003 The Texas State University-San Marcos Department of Theatre and Dance presented John Fleming’s romantic comedy, Transposing Shakespeare. What was it? Well, their description was, "An original production scripted by Fleming, a faculty member at Texas State, the play features Elizabethan playwright William Shakespeare and contemporary novelist Stephen King transposed in time. While King enjoys great success with his tragedies in historic England, Shakespeare struggles to have his work accepted in New York and Hollywood." (FUNNY!)
Educated People See The Connection
The Christian Science Monitor quotes Jim Farrelly - who teaches "Stephen King on Film" at Ohio's University of Dayton - "Some people at the university think I'm crazy when I compare something of Stephen King's to Shakespeare, but it's a wonder to see how his texts stand up to scrutiny." The article notes that one student linked evil and fury in King's "The Shining" to Shakespeare's "Othello." (See link at bottom)
Some may not be quite so sure!
Put John Nettles at Pop Matters on the list of people who aren't convinced King lines up with Shakespeare.
Nettles writes, "This year marks the 400th anniversary of the first production of William Shakespeare's Hamlet (to the best of our knowledge), but the longest, most famous, and most overanalyzed of the Bard's plays has yet to become winded. It's considered a feather in any actor's cap to play the melancholy and difficult Dane, we've seen three different film versions of it in the last twenty years, and Hamlet is one of the five most widely recognized figures in global literature. Not a bad score for an itinerant hack like Will Shaxper the glovemaker's kid. Hack, scrivener, lowbrow quill-pusher — he churned plays out like a machine, ripping off all but one of his plots from other people, and trotted them out to an audience of inner-city illiterates and country bumpkins who'd just won or lost money watching a dog and a bear try to disembowel each other.
Shakespeare flourished in a genre that was the professional wrestling of its day, and the only reason he is more than a literary footnote is that he was consistently entertaining enough for some friends to publish his plays posthumously. Those who make their living mythologizing the Immortal Bard don't like to admit it, but the man was, and is, first and foremost a commercial commodity."
Now he says all that, only to comment in the very next paragraph: "Stephen King is no Shakespeare, and he'll be the first to tell you that." and concludes with, "It may not be Shakespeare, but it counts."
Some similarities:
1. Broad Appeal:
Alan Cheuse, book commentator on NPR's says King's real gift is his broad appeal. "Even Shakespeare's most serious plays had sections that appealed to groundlings - the lowest audience - and King manages to bring in those serious readers and the lowest common denominator." I guess I'm among the "lowest" audience!
What does it say when The Modern Library releases a list of 100 best novels in two lists: The first list is The Board's List, and the second list is the Readers List. The Board does not have a single Stephen King novel, but the readers list has both The Stand and It. So the uppidy-ups in literature walk right by a guy readers love.
In their review of Stephen Greenblatt's Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare, blogcritics.org writes that it is interesting to remember "when you hear people glibly saying that Shakespeare was "merely" the Stephen King of his times. Usually, what they mean he wasn't an intellectual giant, just a guy writing prolific quantities of popular fiction, as if there are scores of Governor General and Nobel-worthy geniuses lost to time. Shakespeare, in this view, is just a man who gives the masses the slop that they want so that he can make a buck. It's an attempt to diminish his work, to lower him to the status of a hack. Greenblatt does note that in spite of his aloofness, Shakespeare never really shook his middle-class roots:
He never showed signs of boredom at the small talk, trivial pursuits, and foolish games of ordinary people. The highest act of his magician Prospero is to give up his magical powers and return to the place from which he had come.
In this, perhaps, Shakespeare and King have something in common. Rather than diminishing their value, maybe it shows why their works have enduring appeal with such wide-ranging audiences.
2. Ghost. This one is obvous! Macbeth has spirits all over the place. "Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and cauldron bubble." Or, more bluntly: Redrum.
3. Lots of murder and blood.
4. Betrayal. Maybe Jake should have cried "Et tu, Brute!" as Roland let him slip in The Gunslinger.
5. Media. Shakespeare didn't have Hollywood to produce his work as soon as he wrote it -- but it did immediately reach the stage. And, his work was some of the earliest performed for Camera; time and time again.
We've all seen Shakespeare doon badly on film or stage (high school drama, anyone?) And, the work is appealing enough that one bad movie won't stop it from being tried again. That has already been the case for King with works like: The Shining, Salem's Lot, and there was even a remake of Carrie. And, like Shakespeare's work, King's is oftne built on -- thus we get Children of the Corn part 2 to 22 billion.
6. Why did Arnie love Christine? Because, "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged Cupid painted blind." (A Midsummer Night's Dream)
What remains to be seen:
Will King's work endure?
I think it will to som degree, if not for entertainment, for the sake of history. He will always be a part of telling our generations story -- because he writes about America as it is now. So if you want to see America of the 1980's, read a King book from the 80's. Ha! Stephen King is History! Will it endure like Shakespeare as entertainment as well as something to be studied? I think so.
Carrington Nye at Helium writes, "I am not ashamed to admit that Stephen King's works have touched me deep inside, have made me pause and reflect or to have horrified me beyond measure. It is my opinion (and it cannot be a sole view) that Stephen King is one of the Greats, a living great that should be celebrated in his life and not held off until after his death as we did with Edgar Allen Poe."

Beyond Favorite

Constant Readers all have favorite Stephen King novels. usually The Stand and IT rank pretty high, along with The Shining and most recently Under The Dome. The Dark Tower series is a "beast" of its own -- some people don't even touch it!
Beyond the favorite novels is another issue worth consideration -- strength of writing. Some sotries we love because of the story itself, irregardless of the writing style. Put me down for the Tommyknockers on that one. I think it was a great, great story! But, the prose were long and confusing. Sentenses that ran on and on and became painful. I've said before I wish King would rewrite that thing. But not at the expense of time devoted to the next D.T. novel and Dr. Sleep.
What makes King such a popular writer is at least two fold: Stories and writing. The strange truth is, sometimes the writing is stronger than the story, and stometimes the story is stronger than the writing. A really powerful connection happens when the writing and story come together. I would argue that often King's novella's are driven as much by his writing as it is the story. Thus the strength of The Body. Did anyone really read it to see a body? No! The power of that story is King's writing and his ability to draw us into a world of young teen boys.
So what novels are well written? Which ones "pop"? Please share your thoughts. Here are some of my own notes:
Classic King was etremely strong. Carrie, Salem's Lot, The Shining, The Stand, The Dead Zone, Fire Starter and Cujo are all written with a similar energy. Then, with Christine, something starts to drift. You can see that same type of drifting magnified in Insominia, and at times with IT.
King is aware of his sometimes uneven writing, thus the existance of a reworked Gunslinger.
So here's my quick list of novels I thought were etremely strong writing:
1. Under The Dome. I have noticed more than once how short his sentences are in this. It keeps the story flowing.
2. Dolores Claiborne. I really liked the narration here. The writing was, in my opinion, King at his very best. I feel like I've been inside that old ladies head!
3. The Green Mile. I think the segmented style forced a level of self-editing that was good, without hacking up the novel. I read someone, now forgotten, who suggested that the Sun Dog was overly edited. I think that might be true. The Green Mile hits the right balance.
4. Firestarter is actually a very tight book, written almost like an action thriller. Notice all the "ly's" king puts at the end of the dialogue? In On Writing he said not to do that -- but I like it.
5. The Shining accomplishes what ing wanted to do in Geralds Game -- lock down a situation. One woman in a room got a little dry, but a family locked in together in a haunted hotel was delightful.
6. UNEVENNESS: Now, about The Stand -- is this really King's writing at his best, or is it driven by story? Come on, it's the all time favorite among King Fans! Obviously the writing is great -- in the revised version. But take a look at the original and notice how dry it feels. It has a hollow feel, almost appropriate for the 1970's! But then notice the writing in the revised version. King didn't just add scenes, he reworked the novel itself. It made a good novel a truly great novel (By the way, Cell gives me that same hollow feeling. I don't know why. I really want to like it!)
By the way. . . based on the picture above, I think I know where Beaver from Dreamcatcher caught his toothpick habit.

Posting At Talk Stephen King. . .

Well, I never intended to put up any notes about the blog. ever. This is supposed to be totally committed to posts on King and literature. However. . .

My original plan was to keep as many posts as possible up so that you can scroll down the page and have lots to read. I got a new computer recently, and it has trouble loading the page! The reason, my computer savvy wife says is that I have too many posts for the blog to load. Thus the computer gets stuck. Anyone else have thist frustration? So, I'm limiting the number of posts on the main page so that it will load quicker.

Those of you who email me, thanks for the encouragement! This is lots of fun and a great distraction from life! But, alas, life calls (in the form of a 3 year old)

By the way, I always love reading comments on the blog, so leave lots as you please. Okay -- the 3 year old. . .

Under The Dome Notes #5

Picture -- Raffi Anderian / Toronto Star
As usual, just notes.
  • I think that picture (above) is great!

  • It is interesting that King manages to discuss in his novels the great "unmentionables" -- Politics and Religion. So, as a conservative preacher, how do I think he handles the two? Obviously, I see the world through very different lenses than Mr. King. So far, I'd say he gets at least a B. It is interesting that the Cannibals had hints of very religious people as well, so it's a theme that seems to stick close to this story.
  • Big Jim is exactly the kind of "born again" Christian that could make any preacher cringe, or leave the ministry. King is good at getting inside people's heads, but a deacon who runs a used car lot who is a town selectman who is running a meth operation. . . something just isn't adding up for me. But, I'll go with the flow here. It is true that the scariest people are those who feel the end justifies the means.
  • The descrption of the fight scene between Junior and Barbie was great. And I like it that the chief's wife isn't just a marshmellow after her husbands demise.

  • The image of people washing the Dome was wonderful! If only we could do that on planet earth. I have this mental picture of those planes that drop water on fires coming over the dome and dropping water on it so they can see exactly where it's at.

  • King does a good job getting inside people's heads. It's disturbing!


Favorite Villain:
5 (16%) Pennywise
13 (41%) Randall Flagg
2 (6%) Jack Torrance / Overlook
0 (0%) Leland Gaunt
4 (12%) The Crimson King
2 (6%) Big Jim Rennie
0 (0%) Christine
0 (0%) Tak
2 (6%) Atropos
3 (9%) Annie Wilkes
total votes as of December 6, 2009: 31
So Randall Flagg is ya'all's favorite villian, eh! Me too. I mean, the walkin' dude crucified people in vegas! And he just keeps popping up. He is, I think, supposed to be the embodiment of the devil himself -- evil personified. Scary because he won't go away. Even if he gets nuked, he'll reappear! And, he can slip into your dreams. Not nice! I love the scene in the Stand where he rips his face off. All had been going so well for him, until he lost control of the Trashcan Man!
You can continue to vote at the bottom of the page. Multiple voters will be sent on a joy ride with Christine. Which, based on the poll, shouldn't be a prblem. But Randall Flagg will be driving. Poll resutls are unscientific but absolutely right. So there.

Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe

My mother loves Edgar Allan Poe. I prefer Stephen King. Understand, I don't dislike Poe. I just think King is better. 2009 was the 200th birthday of Edgar Allan Poe -- so, before the year runs out, let me offer up this post. This subject is bigger than my brain at the moment (as are most subjects) so I'll post more as I learn. Please post connections I miss between King and Poe.
Some comparisons:
In tone: The Gunslinger reminds me of Poe's style of writing. It keeps me off balance and a little bit depressed.
Narration: Probably unintentionally, King's Dolores Claiborne has hints in style to The Tell Tale Heart. It is a rambeling monologue where there are moments if you wonder if the narrator (Dolores) is totally sane. And what does she have to confess? Murder!
There are some slight similarties in their biographies. For instance, both dealt with drug addiction. In his book On Writing, King openly refutes the idea that drugs make an artist a better artist.
Of course, King writes novels, Poe wrote poetry and short stories (novella's?)
Nick Mamatas at The Smart Set writes, "Poe was one of the first authors of modern horror in that he was not interested in resolving the social trespasses his work depicted with pat morally correct endings or appeals to cosmic justice. In this way, he was also one of the only modern purveyors of dark fiction. The bloodiest slasher flicks often betray a Puritanical ideology, with only the virginal characters allowed to survive. Gangsta rappers love their mamas and write songs about them. Noir writers made sure their sleuths had a code of ethical conduct, even if it only consisted of a single line they would not cross but that the baddies they hunted would. Stephen King's novels summon up dark miracles that threaten families, towns, and occasionally civilization itself, but these evils are put down more often than not thanks to the power of friendship. Poe's an acquired taste."
What I like about Poe:
Fall of the House of Usher.
The Pit and the Pendulm
The Raven
The Tell Tale Heart
The Cask of Amontillado
Why King Is Better:
If Poe had lived longer, I think he would have produced even better works than what he had to offer the world. Stephen King is better at terrifying us, giving us a good story and laying out chilling prose partly because of experience. After writing novel after novel after novel and short story and even poetry, King has mastered the craft.
Poe tends to build off a single idea, moving the story into that idea and then drawing it to a conclusion. King novels involve multiple ideas being drawn together. Also, I think King does more editing than Poe did. A personal trait I admire on King's part. The flowery langauge isn't as important to King as telling the story. So you don't sit under a tree and recite King to your love. . . but his stories stick with you long after they are read.
By the way. . .
Those of you who are looking for an original copy of The Gunslinger, or that very rare Salem's Lot (you know THE ONE. . .) might do better to hunt for a copy of this book:
Poes first book, Tamerlane and Other Poems, just sold for 662,500. Yikes!
It is reported that only 40 or 50 copies of “Tamerlane” were printed -- talk about small press! Of those 40-50, only 12 are thought to still exist. I guess the others hit the library discard pile.
Also, in The Shadow of The Master (Poe stories with attached essays by famous authors), Haper Collins says, "Stephen King reflects on Poe's insight into humanity's dark side in "The Genius of 'The Tell-Tale Heart.'" Sounds interesting.
Of course, the real reason to prefer King over Poe is that Stephen King has cooler book covers. So there.

Stephen King to sign books in Bridgton

Now here's a good deal if you live nearby:

"Four hundred tickets will be sold at $36.75 each, which includes a copy of the book and the opportunity to get King's signature and meet him during the event. A limited number of Collectors' Editions will be available for $75 plus tax."

A signature copy of the book for 36 or 75? WOW! When is King coming to Southern California?


Is Stephen King Typecast?

Albert J. Marro at the Rutland Herald has an article posted about king in Manchester. It's an itneresting story, including some good quotes from King and John Irving.
The article ends with this:
King ended by taking a poke at his own fame and how well he is and isn't known. He said he had been stopped in an Oregon supermarket by an older woman who told him she recognized him and didn't respect what he did.
"I like uplifting things like that 'Shawshank Redemption," she said.
King said, 'I wrote that one, too."
"No, you didn't!" She said.
That's a wonderful example of the prediciment King and his readers find themselves in. It's called typecasting. It's why George Reeves couldn't find a job after playing Superman all those years. Leonard Nemoy got so frustrated with being typecast as mr. Spock that he wrote a book titled, "I am not spock." Adam West was typecast as Batman.
Of course, Bela Lugosi only played Count Dracula once -- in the 1931 production of Dracula. But, it stuck, and he was forever stuck witht he spooky image. But don't worry, Lugosi had Ed Wood to save his reputation! (Any Ed Wood fans out there?)
Can any of us really watch Tony Shalhoub and not think. . . MONK! Well, we can, can't we. In television and movies I don't think the problem lies so much with the audience as it does producers and casting directors. They don't think we can make the mental shift -- but a good actor causes you to forget his other roles. In fact, my wife was watching Monk the other day and said, "Who is that guy playing the judge? I know I've seen him." And you know, at the moment -- I've forgotten! Because all he was on screen was the Judge, not anothe ractor from another show.
Wikipedia notes that "Ted Knight nearly left The Mary Tyler Moore Show because fans typecast him as Ted Baxter; he later played the comic role in Too Close for Comfort."
King Typecast -- A Problem For Constant Reader
.Will we return to the dark tower?
For those of us who like Stephen King it can become frustrating that so few people actually understand what he writes. People automatically assume that we are reading something equivalent to literary pornography -- of the horror genre. Just blood and guts, Texas Chainsaw type stuff.
King's writing doesn't always match his image. See, even if a book is "horror" there are still other elements that pull it together. Let's take the Shining as an example -- regarded by many as King's most frigthening work. The Shining has some pretty scary scenes! However, it is also a drama as we see the family slowly come apart. It is strong because of it's characters and story -- it's not just a cut-em-up. And that's where people often get King wrong! They assume King only writes slashers -- but I can't think of any he's produced. Now, George Stark might be guilty as charged.
Does King Prepetuate His Typecast?
Of course he does! Why? Well, for one thing, he does seem to like writing horror. Most of his mainstream books are horror. And, his early work especially is full of scare factor. Carrie, Salem's Lot, The Shining -- one after another caused him to get the Master of Horror image.
The genre itself is a fascenation to King, thus the existance of Danse Macabre.
Also, the image sells books.
But King is also good at breaking out of that mold when he wants to. If anything, I think the typecast challenges him to sometimes break free and do other stuff.
A quick list of books that aren't in King's "typecast."
1. The Body.
2. Shawshank Redemption.
3. Breathing Method.
4. The Sun Dog. ? More Twilight Zone that vintage "King."
5. Gerald's Game
6. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon
7. X-Men comic book
8. Faithful
9. The Dark Tower series.
10. The Eyes of the Dragon
Now Richard Bachman. . . that dude deserves typecasting!
Is Bart Simpson typecast?

My Book Rabbit Contest Answer

There was a fun contest at bookrabbit.com. For a copy of Under The Dome british edition, they asked that you describe "your scariest Stephen King book, character, scene from one of his films… whatever has spooked you the most… try and make our fur stand on end!"
The winners were Shawn A. Meriano and Neil. So, uh. . . that means I lost, right? No! It means I didn't win.
Here's the link, you should check over there often as they seem to have a lot of contest -- New Moon / Twilight stuff, too.
Here was my answer to the scaiest Stephen King book:
I would like to say: The Shining scared me. Or Salem’s Lot. Or even Needful Things. All certainly are creepy. . . but there is a book that truly scares me.
Under the Dome is freaking me out.
Here’s why: Under the Dome has left me almost unable to drive. And I’m the only driver in my family. I’ve been reading this book in little spurts as I drive, and in my minds eye, there is becoming a certain surity that there is an invisible barrier I am about to hit.
I’m a speed demon usually — but these days I am driving slower and slower. Hey, I don’t want to hit the barrier too hard.
The problem is complex:
1. I haven’t finished the book. So I don’t now what caused the dome. And so I can’t say, “Ah! That won’t happen to us!” Because I don’t now!
2. I live in a small town. I don’t drive far. So when I leave the town, I feel that a certain WHACK will come any moment.
3. In my mind, I have seen the Dome do some bad stuff. A news helocopter got smashed; a plane when smack-o like a bug on a windshield; and worst of all, cars! Not just one or two. No, we are given a front row seat to car accident after car accident.
I might never meet a Vampire, Cannibal (I hope) or enter a haunted house. But I drive every day. And the Dome is becoming a scary reality.
I need to check my insurance policy for Dome Insurance.