Michael Collings On Kubrick's Shining


Many who read The Shining and then watched the movie left deeply disappointed. Of course, I saw the movie as a child or teenager long before I read the book. So Kubrick's version was already stamped in my minds-eye as the official telling. I was certainly surprised at the complexity and strength of the story when told by Stephen King.
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If there is a Stephen King scholar out there, it's got to be Dr. Michael Collings. He doesn't simply make connections to the Dark Tower, or show us how the books are innerconnected; Collings is able to dive pretty deep when it comes to King.
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Dr. Collings has a very enlightening article on The Shining, Kubrick and King simply titled, "On Kubrick's The Shining."
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By the way, I'm currently reading a book --textbook, I think -- titled: The Many Facets Of Stephen King. Good stuff, and I'll review it soon.
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Concerning Kubrick's The Shining, Collings takes time to explain where Kubrick was coming from. Why did Kubrick fumble when given such strong matereal? (Collings will argue that Kubrick didn't stumble or fumble at all). Dr. Collings seems to think that Kubrick's need to give the work his own stamp ended up changing the heartbeat of the story. Collings writes that Kubrick "adds his own imagistic complexity to the film" and he concludes that "at every level from script to casting to set design, Kubrick imbues The Shining with his own personality, his own vision."
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Beyond simply digging into Kubrick, Collings gives us the added gift of showing us what makes the Shining such a strong text. Collings offers three thoughts: First, the novels ability to draw in other texts naturally. Second, the unique ability to ease the reader into Jack's head, until for both Jack and to some degree the reader -- fiction and reality are lost. Finally, he notes the novels ability to create symbol. By the way, the most important section of "symbol" that Collings discusses is wasps -- something Kubrick left out all together.
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In particular Collings interest is why it is such a popular novel for University level scholarship. In fact, Dr. Collings calls the Shining one of the most "teachable" novels for a classroom text. He also notes that the novel is popular in the classroom because of its many literary nods. Collings notes, "It becomes in some senses a compendium of the literature which has preceded it, summarizing and transforming multiple themes, techniques and moves through its own narrative of hauntings and madness."
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Of course, the primary subject at hand is Kubrick's version of the Shining. Collings deals with several of the major diversions from the King story. For instance, the decision to use a hedge maze instead of a topiary garden. Collings writes, "Again and again, Kubrick replaces critical points in the novel, constructing his own narrative that touches only tangentially on King's."
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Collings cites David Schow as saying that Kubrick "proved himself incapable of handling King's material." That is not Collings conclusion, though. I'll not say quite what his conclusion was -- check out the link.
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Collings has been writing on King since 1985, and hasn't lost interest yet. According to charnelhouse (Kevin Quigley's wbesite), Michael R. Collings is author of the following books:
  • Stephen King as Richard Bachman (1985)
  • The Shorter Work of Stephen King (1985; with David Engebretson)
  • The Stephen King Concordance (1985; with David Engebretson)
  • The Many Facets of Stephen King (1986)
  • The Films of Stephen King (1986)
  • The Annotated Guide to Stephen King (1986)
  • The Stephen King Phenomenon (1987)
  • The Work of Stephen King (1996)
  • Scaring Us to Death (1997)
  • Horror Plum'd (2003)
  • Stephen King Is Richard Bachman (2006)

Read Collings essay at: http://www.starshineandshadows.com/essays/2007-05-30.html

2007 Nightline Interview


Here's a 2007 interview Nightline did with S.K. The theme of the interview is characters.
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"I'm always more interested in the people than I am in the monsters."
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Huh! I'm always pretty interested in those monsters. . . but I know what he's saying. In fact, it's what makes King such a great writer. We don't want Georgie to talk to the monster in the storm drain, even though we are all very interested in the monster.
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King was quoted as saying, "In my stories, the most important thing is that you see genuine human feeling in the characters in the books, and I want you to care. Whether it's the writer who's chained to the bed in 'Misery,' whether it's the woman with her son trapped in the car in 'Cujo,' or whether it's David Drayton and his little one in the market in 'The Mist.' I want you to care about those people, and I want you to like those people."
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I enjoyed it a lot. Check the article out here: http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/story?id=3872181&page=1

Haven Promo

Follow the link. . . a short promo for Haven from media bistro. http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/adaptation/stephen_king_adaptation_coming_to_syfy_channel_162518.asp?c=rss
"[The story] revolves around an FBI Agent, Audrey Parker (Rose), who arrives in the small Maine town of Haven to investigate a murder and discovers that the townsfolk have special powers. Those who have read the novella will recognize very little in the series from the actual story, but Stern insisted that there was much more to this series than just slapping King's name on a project."

TIME: 10 Questions For George Romero


Time.com has an interesting interview. Readers submitted questions, ten were chosen that Romero answered. Did you know he worked with Mr. Rogers before making Night of the Living Dead?
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In the King world, Romero directed Creepshow, Christine and The Dark Half. My favorite of those three is Dark Half.
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Time Warp: CASTLE ROCK July 1989











Do you remember the Castle Rock -- The Stephen King Newsletter ? Let's go back to July, 1989 -- Vol. 5, no. 7. Back in the day, this would have cost $1.75. These days, closer to $5. By the way, I really like the newspaper format for a newsletter, this was very professionally done. In 1989 I was in Middle School -- the closest place to hell next to a concentration camp. In 1989 George Herbert Walker Bush was president. There was no Internet. And Stephen King was still King of the hill when it came to horror.
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Notes:
The paper was 12 pages long.
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The papers primary focus in this issue was the 1989 Horror Fest at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park Colorado with 300 attendees. As Ray Rexer said, it was raining "Church's and Cujo's" at the convention. The paper was full of photo's from the event. Don't I wish I could have gone -- but alas, I had to go to middle school.
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There was a short review of the audio version of Silence of the Lambs, letters to the editor with questions about books and movies. In fact, letters to the editor is interesting, since there was no Lilja's library back then ready to give us the world of Stephen King in a single blink. There was also a short story (part of a short story contest), this one titled "Lullaby Haven." The paper includes several book reviews, and an advertisement to make reservations for My Pretty Pony by a store named Time Tunnel in NJ. The cover price for My Pretty Pony was $50. My wife liked the ad for WZON's T-Shirts, "Creep Shirts" which say, "Welcome to the Rock and Roll Zone" with S.K.'s signature. There was also an article by Barry Hoffman on censorship.
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Classified ads were kind of an ebay of 1989. People both selling and looking for S.K. books. Want to buy the Dark Tower 2, mint condition -- $59. How about Startling Mystery #6 with King's first short story for $100? A Different Season's for $30. And M. Smith from Little Rock was looking for a first edition of Carrie. I wonder if he ever found it. Oh wait, Guy from Oakland wants to sell is entire S.K. collection, which includes every first edition, limited edition and magazine appearance. (I doubt it). He says his prices are very reasonable. I would buy it, but remember -- I'm on that middle school budget in 1989. Yep, $25 a week mowing grass. Crud.
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George Beahm's book The Stephen King Companion was due out in October. G.B. publishing was offering a thousand copies of the limited signed numbered editions for $35. (Any takers?) Or a deluxe edition in a slip case for $75. Gosh, I was born at the wrong time!
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There is a cool note that coming next issue Michael Collings will have an article on early Stephen King. Now, back then you would go, "oh, wow, I've got to make sure to get one of those." But today you say, "Man, how do I find that now?"
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Finally, a blackjack dealer from Las Vegas got to take Stephen King home from the Horror fest Convention for $46. Pretty cool, but the Stephen King he got to take home was a cardboard cut out.
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UNDER THE DOME CONNECTION?
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One writers submitted a short story for a contest that didn't win. He wrote a complaint that he was "violently angry" at the editor for declining his short story as one of the six finalist. He said that his story reveals a "shocking truth about Stephen King and his obsession with offing woodchucks."
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WHOA! Maybe someone needs to warp back in time and give this guy a medal. He nailed it! Anyone remember how UTD began? With a woodchuck getting knocked off. What are the chances? Ask Michael Collings to analyze that! And the poor dudes story still wasn't accepted into the finalist category. Put that under the heading: Even when you're right, life stinks.
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:
From Tom Cooper, Boca Raton Fl
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To the editor,
upon hearing that Misery will soon be made into a movie I was excited since it's one of my favorite books by King. Recently, I found myself mentally juggling the possibilities of who'd play Annie Wilkes and Paul Sheldon. I figured Castle Rock readers would have fun considering the possibilities as well.
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For Annie Wilkes, I was thinking about Rosanne Bar, but I don't know if she's ready for a major film yet, especially a King adaptation. My number one pick for Annie, hands down, is Louise Fletcher. My friends agree that there's probably no one better suited to play the role.
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For Paul Sheldon I think Richard Dreyfuss and Robin Williams should be considered, since we don't want a square jawed, uncharacteristic wall playing the role. My number one pick, however, is someone not even remotely related to suspense: Gene Wilder. My friends said he'd be an awful choice, but when given an extra moments consideration, you find that Wilder can put a lot of zest into his acting, spirit an actor will surely have to have for playing the part. Not to mention that he's an underrated actor.
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Who would you like to play the roles? Any word as to who will really play them?
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EDITORS REPLY:
For Annie Wilkes I like Glenn Close. She showed her true talents as the insaniac in Fatal Attraction. For Paul Sheldon lets be bold and try English actor Jeremy Irons. Those of you who caught Irons in his duel role as twins in Dead Ringers will have no trouble imagining him as the persecuted punctuator. As for who will actually fill the roles, no word as yet.
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(For those of you holding your breath, that was covered by James Caan and Kathy Bates, directed by Rob Reiner. Just didn't want to leave you hanging there.)

Fangoria: King of Anarchy

Fangoria has a short article on King's appearance on Sons of Anarchy. Also, a lengthy quote -- which is really taken from King's website. So check out both, Fangoria and stephenking.com for more on the Sons of Anarchy filming.

Truth is, I'd never heard of Sons of Anarcy until King got involved.

http://www.fangoria.com/index.php?id=986:the-king-of-qanarchyq&option=com_content&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=167

Link: Unboxing Knowing Darkness

Michael at the Travelin' Librarian has posted a video of his unboxing his deluxe copy of Knowing Darkness. The cool thing is just how big this book is. When the video starts, just note how massice that box is! Of course, it is just like Christmas. . . boxes inside of boxes.
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Michael writes, "The text, written by King critic George Beahm, looks back at 34 years of King in print. It provides a detailed look at the writer and his life, supplemented with interviews with Michael Whelan, Bernie Wrightson, Drew Struzan, John Cayea, Dave Christiansen, and many others. The traycased edition is signed by over 33 artists, including Michael Whelan, Bernie Wrightson, Mark Ryden, Dave McKean, Rick Berry, and many more. The deluxe is housed in a large traycase that holds the book, a second book of oversize extra prints."
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I like his comment, on the video, "I don't have a shelf that will hold this." No kidding!
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Check it out here: http://travelinlibrarian.info/2010/05/unboxing-knowing-darkness-artists-inspired-by-stephen-king/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TravelinLibrarian+%28Travelin%27+Librarian%29

Interview With Lilja of Lilja's Library


For years Hans-Ake Lilja has given Stephen King fans the best, most up to date website out there. Lilja’s Library has been the premier site for Stephen King news, interviews and reviews. It has been a personal favorite for me. I really appreciate the fact that the website is updated so frequently. A genuinely humble man, Lilja took time to answer all of my questions -- and as is true of almost every interaction -- I learned a lot! Note, in particular, his announcement that he is co-author of another new King book.
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TALK SK: You started the website in 1996 – why?
LILJA: Well, back in 1996 when I started the site Internet was something new and very exciting. I was curious about it and when I didn’t find that many sites about King that had what I wanted, updated news, I decided to start one. At the beginning it was a very simple site, red text on black background and a lot of spinning skulls and other lame stuff. It has evolved since then though.
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TSK: I know you’re not from the States – tell me about yourself.
LILJA: Not that much to tell really. I’m soon 40 years young living in Sweden with my family. In real life I’m working as a software developer.
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TSK: Do you have a personal favorite Stephen King work? 
LILJA: I do but it’s impossible to pick just one so please don’t ask me to do that. I really love The Long Walk. The Stand is a great book. The Talisman and IT as well. Those are the once I’d probably pick as my favorite. Oh, and The Dark Tower as well. Can’t forget that one.
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TSK: Do you have a preferred format; audio, paperback, kindle?
LILJA: I love a new and unread hardback. When you know you have a whole book ahead of you. That’s something special. I also like to listen to audio books. Both because it’s very interesting to hear someone else narrating the books but also because it’s very practical. You can listen almost anytime, whatever you do.
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TSK: You talk to a lot of Stephen King fans, what do you think the current favorite book is? Is it still The Stand?
LILJA: Well, people ask me what my favorite book is more often than I do but I would say that from what I hear The Dark Tower is the favorite.
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TSK: You recently expanded the website to facebook and twitter – how was the response?
LILJA: Fantastic. I was skeptic to Facebook and Twitter but it’s working out so well for me and the site. It’s a fantastic way to reach out to people and also getting quick response. I love it and from what I hear people seems to appreciate it as well.
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TSK: Lilja's Library website is huge. Is there a section of your site that you think people tend to miss or overlook?
LILJA: I hope not but if I were to pick the one that people might look the least at it’s the International section. Personally I love all the foreign covers. It’s very interesting to see how the interpret King’s bookcovers in different countries. I wish that I could have more covers but that would be too much work.
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TSK: I notice your guest book is signed from all over the world. Where are the largest clusters of King fans? Do you know?
LILJA: If you mean among my readers it’s definitely the US. If you mean in the world it’s probably where there are most people living.
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TSK: Do you enjoy the entire horror genre, or are you primarily a S.K. fan?
LILJA: I enjoy all horror. Unfortunately though I don’t get as much time to read as I wish to. Besides running Lilja’s Library I’m also one of two people running a Swedish King fan site (www.Foljeslagarna.com) and I’m a DVD reviewer (http://www.dvdkritik.se/). I do see a lot of horror movies though.
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TSK: King and his work is so prolific, do you find it hard to keep up with so many books, movies, and now comic books?
LILJA: No, it’s a joy and I love the fact that there are so much stuff out there. Imagine if King was only to write one book every second or third year. We’d go crazy.
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TSK: You have a book coming out this Summer, how is it unique in an ocean of Stephen King books?
LILJA: I hope it’s more personal. The reviews and interviews in it was not written as part of a book. It was written out of joy for King’s work by a fan. Hopefully that shines though. I also hope that my interviews will be somewhat more personal than many other and since I’m a fan and not a journalist I hope I’m actually asking what people want to hear and not the same old questions that’s been asked over and over again.
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TSK: Just from reading the table of contents, the book must be huge! How is it different from the website?
LILJA: It’s 512 pages huge and mostly the stuff in it is from the website but this version is easier to put in the book case than the website J Just kidding. There are stuff in the book that hasn’t been published on the website. Exclusive stuff for the book.
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TSK: Have you published any other books?
LILJA: No but I have a book coming out in 2011. It’s called “The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Trivia Book” that I wrote with Brian Freeman and Kevin Quigley. It’s a movie quiz book that I hope you shall all love.
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TSK: What’s the release date for Lilja’s Library?
LILJA: The most precise date I have today is mid July but I hope to have an exact date in a week or so.
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TSK: Anything I forgot to ask? . . .
LILJA: No, I think you covered it all… If anyone has anything they want to ask after reading this, just go ahead and mail me. Or visit me on Facebook and Twitter.  
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TSK: Thank you so much for your time and commitment to the Stephen King fans.
LILJA: Thanks! It was a pleasure.
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Links:
*Purchase Lilja's Library the book: http://www.cemeterydance.com/page/CDP/PROD/lilja01

IT Journal 4, Child Abuse

Chapter 6 deals with a disturbing subject -- child abuse. It is an uncomfortable read. So long as King is discussing children and monsters, there is at least a little bit of reality that can be suspended. But when he begins to deal with parents, step-parents and all too often abusive relationships, things get painful for the reader.
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While the subject itself is terrible, King sharpens the knife in this chapter by choosing to introduce stories of abuse through a series of newspaper articles. The reader knows up front that there is a monster killing children -- but not all the children are killed by a monster called Pennywise. Along with the child abuse itself, King relates the self-loathing a parent involved in something so terrible would feel. Add to this, the mistake the law makes in thinking previously abusive parents must have killed children that Pennywise has killed. This information is vital to keeping the plot real, since the reader is likely to ask at some point, "What will the police say about all these children getting killed?" The answer, King suggests, is simple: Parents aren't always such nice people.
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To soften the blow of this chapter, King gives several rather affectionate sub chapters related to Mike Hanlon.
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Other King books that deal with child abuse are Carrie, The Shining, Gerald's Game and Dolores Claiborne. My favorite of these, just as child abuse as a subject, is Claiborne because Dolores gets such sweet revenge. Of course, domestic violence is a constant theme worth further consideration in King's novels. I haven't read, but am aware of the domestic violence theme in Rose Madder. Spousal abuse also appears in Salem's Lot.

The Stand And Me

Easily, my favorite Stephen King book is The Stand. It was the first book I read by King. Now, it wasn't the first book I started. I started with The Gunslinger, but I was quickly lost and my friend told me to give up on the Dark Tower for a while and give The Stand a try. I was hooked!
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A Stephen King collection needs several copies of The Stand. Of course, my original paperback of the Complete and Unabridged no longer exists. That edition was a strange paperback with a birght orange shiny cover, good and evil fighting. Of course, it fell apart -- but was well loved. Here's what I've wrestled up so far:
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1. First edition The Stand, purchased from Betts Bookstore. Price inside dustjacked says it was $12.95. Has an undated inscription inside from someone giving the book to a graduating student. The price at Betts was tagged at $195, but I think I remember getting it for half that.
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2. Book club edition: The Stand. This edition is everywhere! Value is between $5-$20. It is almost identical to the first edition, so if you're just looking to have a reliable edition of the original edition of the Stand, this is a good option.
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3. First edition The Stand Complete And Uncut, British edition. This really is the true first edition, first appearance of this book. The Hodder edition has blue lightening bolts shooting across the cover.
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4. First edition The Stand Complete And Uncut, Doubleday. The price on the dustjacket is $24.95. It's hard to discern first editions of this book. In fact, Doubleday makes it truly difficult to discern what edition of a King book you have. This creates no end to confusion on ebay. Anyway, this was a beautifully bound and illustrated book -- nothing like the cheap original edition of The Stand.
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5. Paperback reading copy, signet (NAL), #7 on the numberline. The cover of this edition is tied in to the mini-series. "Now an ABC TV miniseries."
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What I still don't have: The ONE! You know what that is, right? The Holy Grail for King collectors. The leatherbound special edition housed ina wooden box of the Uncut edition. This goes for around $2,000, but I noticed the Betts has recorded that they sold theirs.
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Another thing I don't have is the audio recording of the orginal edition of The Stand. I've listened to it, read by Grover Gardner. Actually, I paid to join a lending library just so I could listen to this book. But, I haven't bought it because not only would I have to purchase the book, but would then have to pay a company to convert the whole thing to CD. Besides, Grover Gardner's narration is -- how do I say -- uh, not inspiring. He's no Frank Muller, okay! Anyway, the edition does exist.

FIREWIRE: S.K. Presented Literary Award

The firewire has a firsthand article on King's literary award titled, "Stephen King Presented Literary Award At The 15th Annual Los Angeles Public Library Awards Dinner."
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Check the link. There are also several very nice pictures.
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thanks to Bev Vincent, since I spotted it first on his site.
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http://larryfire.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/stephen-king-presented-literary-award-at-the-15th-annual-los-angeles-public-library-awards-dinner/

THE MIST: Transferring Tapes to CD


As I shared earlier, Dave at Betts Bookstore came up with a copy of the Mist on audio tape for me. This was an edition I had long hunted for, since it is not the mass produced "The Mist in 3D sound" stage production. This is a simple unabridged recording by Frank Muller.
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Of course, as soon as Dave sent me the tapes, I wanted to listen to them. I rushed to my office -- the last place on earth that still has a tape recorder -- and began to listen. Time is not kind to tapes, and I could tell that while Muller's voice was still clear, it was losing crispness, and soon the tape would stretch and be lost for good. Now Dave included with my purchase some detailed notes on how to perform the task of transferring tapes to CD. However, I don't change my own oil -- a rather simple task -- and I had to get a friends help to rebuild a fallen fence, so I decided I did not want to risk a "learn as you go" process in transferring my tapes.
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There are actually several companies that specialize in this. None of them are what I would consider cheap. Bottom line, if you're transferring tapes to CD, figure about $10 per tape.
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We went with "Reel 2 Reel 2 CD" and were very pleased with the results. Here's what they did:
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1. Each tape was put on CD.
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2. Each side of the tape was given it's own CD.
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3. Each CD was given short "tracts" which makes it easy to skip around and find things.
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4. This one is important: They appear to have digitally enhanced the recording. Background fuzz and the wear of the years disappeared. Muller's voice is once again crisp. Now, there are sections where what was just said can be faintly heard repeating itself -- but I don't think that is a big deal. The CD's are actually much much superior to the tapes.
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5. Each CD was labeled, clearly marking which CD it was with a picture of the original art work on the CD. So the label reads, "Disk 1, tape 1, side 1" and so on.
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The company contacted us when they received the tapes and gave us an estimate of the costs before they proceeded. As soon as the work was complete they billed and quickly sent back out.
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Anyway, from my chair, I've got to say that this was a great decision. I feel like something special was preserved, and made much better.
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Listverse: Unscripted Moment In The Shining

PICTURE: http://www.slashfilm.com/2008/10/09/cool-stuff-the-shining-posters-and-tribute-artwork/
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Listverse has a psot titled "15 Great Scenes That Were Unscripted." Interesting from the start, since the websties subtitle is "ultimate top 10 lists." I guess this one is a ten and a half list.
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This list is also full of fun facts. For instance, in Mars Attacks, Lisa Marie was sewn into her dress every day because the outfit had no sipper, so it would be seamless! And in Midnight Cowboy, Dustin Hoffman kept pebbles in his shoes to make sure his limp was consistent.
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Of course, the unscripted moments are worth the read. I liked the section on Full Metal Jacket's R. Lee Ermey, who really was a drill sergeant. His part was largely unscripted. That is, Holloywood didn't do that to this guy -- the army did! By the way, I work with the military on a daily basis. But the closest I've come to meeting anyone like Lee Ermey is my high school Marine ROTC instructor.
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About the Shining, the article notes, "A film adapted from the Stephen King novel about a father that goes mad while staying in an evil, isolated hotel for the winter, has become one of Kubrick’s most well-known films. The dark mood that is created as Jack Nicholson smashes his way through the door is juxtaposed with his version of a catchphrase used on the Johnny Carson Show (A hugely popular show at the time), giving an incredibly creepy, yet humorous effect and making it the best-known line from the film. It was, of course, improvised by Nicholson."
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By the way, the article has a boo boo. It says that Lucas told Harrison Ford to just say what he thought was best in the carbon freezing scene. However, Empire was directed byIrvin Kershner, not George Lucas.
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The Empire Strikes Back Turns 30


30 years ago today we were transported back to the world of Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader and Princess Lea. With the release of The Empire Strikes Back, George Lucas hit a home run. Of the six movies, Empire is by far my favorite. It’s dark, the snow battle is beyond awesome, the chase through the asteroids is great and most of all we learned that Darth Vader is Luke’s second cousin – or something like that.
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Oh, and another great thing about Empire – there was no annoying Death Star super spaceship that could blow up planets. The Death Star left me rolling my eyes, even as a kid. A cool idea, but who’s the idiot who connected an external tunnel to the self destruct button? Did they not think that someone might fly down their little canyon and press the self destruct button? And then they did it again in Jedi! But I digress. Anyway, Empire is full of good, head on battles. Walkers, Falcon, Star Destroyers – and no teddy bears whomping on the Scout Walkers.
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I'm passionate about Star Wars because it was so central to my childhood. It was everything! I had the toys, posters (I hung them with nails, to my parents chagrin) and used metal shelves to land spaceships on pretending they were mighty Star Destroyers -- never a lame Death Star. I went to school every day with a Empire Strikes Back lunch box, until it rusted. Star Wars was something my grandparents knew nothing about; my prents accepted as important, but didn't know just HOW important it was.
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The King Connection:
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So I found myself asking: is there a connection to the Stephen King universe? Well, of course there is! Lawrence Kasdan co-wrote the script for The Empire Strike Back also directed Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher.
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In Wolves of the Calla, King described the robot andy as looking like C-3PO.
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Under the topic, "Stephen King writes Star Wars" poster Johnny Flynn writes, "the villains in the book, the Wolves (riders on horses), use these futuristic weapons called light sticks to do their dirty work. In the finale of that book, when the riders come to town and finally use them in a battle, it is revealed that the light sticks are actually light sabers. King says this with some awe in the book and, in fact, It seems that most of the wolves’ weapons are derived from Harry Potter or the Star Wars series, just as most of the books’ language derives from Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings." http://boards.theforce.net/star_wars_community/b10012/14802220/p1/
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I already suggested that the best director for the Dark Tower would be George Lucas. I won't repeat what a good idea I think this is -- inspired -- brilliant -- like it's from another universe -- we're talking Yoda level of thinking here, okay. http://talkstephenking.blogspot.com/2010/05/just-thought.html
.Dark Tower Star Wars Connection
Remember what the file about Big Jim in Under The Dome was named? You bet you do. . . it was the "Veder file" wasn't it! Liking Big Jim to Darth hismelf was a little over the top. Just because Big Jim wasn't nearly as cool as Darth Vader. See, Darth wasn't one bit wimp, but Big Jim was really a giant wimp. Big Jim wouldn't have fought Luke Skywalker, he would have gotten one of his pee-on's to do it.
.Stephen King Empire Strikes back
I also already noted that Stephen King's Carrie shared casting with George Lucas' original Star Wars.
.Stephen King Star wars
In 1980, when Empire Strikes Back came out, Stephen King had two big projects hit the public. First, the movie The Shining was released and second his novel Fire Starter was published. Also in 1980 Stephen King's short story The Mist first appeared in a collection of stories titled Dark Forces.
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Now for the big question: Dare I tell my wife that when I drive our mini-van, I still pretend I'm flying the X-Wing fighter? Then she might understand those tickets. . .  

That's One Small Step For Randall Flagg


Randall Flagg may not have to wait much longer to unleash his terror on us little mortals. Is our world looking more and more like the world that birthed the super-flu? The amazing thing about The Stand is that with each new decade it becomes even more relevant.
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USA Today's Dan Vergano has an interesting article titled, "Scientists create 1st bacteria strain from man-made DNA." Yikes! See, some of us can think of a certain author who already thought of this storyline. . . over thirty years ago.
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Vergano writes that Genome researchers Thursday have unveiled the first bacteria strain from man made genes. He's drawing from the journal of Science, which notes that it is a $40 million milestone in "the nascent field of synthetic biology."
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So -- bottom line -- what does that mean? According to Jim Collins of Boston University, the breakthrough "represents an important step in our ability to engineer organisms."
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Now enter Liz Heinecke at MinnPost.com -- she points out today that this breakthrough is disturbingly reminiscent of The Stand. She writes, When I told my husband that scientists at the J.Craig Venter Institute had assembled a functioning bacterium from bottles of chemicals, he said exactly what I was thinking. “It’s like The Stand.” Even if you’re not a Stephen King fan, you’ve probably heard of his novel where a genetically engineered strain of the flu virus wipes out almost every human on earth."
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LINKS:
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SYFY Crossovers


Over at techland, Graeme McMillan observes, "With Syfy announcing yesterday that characters from Warehouse 13 and Eureka will be swapping series this August, I started thinking about the other possibilities of crossovers from the dyslexic network." He then offers five fun crossovers -- with this one, of course:
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Eureka/HavenSyfy's secret genius town and Syfy's upcoming secret supernatural (and based on a Stephen King novella, which has to earn it some points) town, both with law enforcement professionals from outside having to deal with fitting in and the locals. What if there was some way the two could come into some kind of rivalry or conflict? Science versus faith! You know you want it.
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Personally, I want to get a grasp on Haven first.
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Haven Writer: Show different than King novel


Dreadcentral has a very interesting article on how the Haven series "differs from its source material." Now, I've got to admit, this is something I've been wondering about. Haven has sounded fromt he beginning like many things -- but none of those many things included the Colorado Kid!
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Here's the relevant King information -- check the link for the fulls story.
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Several comments along the lines of "Haven seems to have absolutely nothing to do with the Stephen King novel (The Colorado Kid) on which it's based" got us wondering about the upcoming Syfy series. Luckily, thanks to the magic of Twitter, the show's co-writer, Sam Ernst, has cleared things up a bit.
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According to Ernst, who is scripting the series along with his partner Jim Dunn, "We basically absorbed the whole book and then added a supernatural storyline and back story for the characters."
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He also added, "Stephen King read the supernatural storyline we added and the mythology and emailed us: 'sounds like a blast!' Then Jim and I drank."
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Link: Marvel Comic D.T. Review

Jesse Schedeen offers a review titled, "Dark Tower: The Gunslinger - The Journey Begins #1 Review."

Check it out here: http://comics.ign.com/articles/109/1091288p1.html

IT Journal 3


In the opening scenes, King spent time giving us peeks at Pennywise. In chapter three he introduces the seven protagonist who will face off against the monster. All of the adults have forgotten the events of their childhood, until Mike gives them a call.
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The sub-chapters are titled, making this very long single chapter a series of short stories. When the mini-series was filmed, they paired these introductory scenes with an encounter with Pennywise. So each character got a shot as an adult, then a flashback. Anyway, the book doesn't do that.
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Interestingly, just from a literary standpoint, is that King tells several of these scenes from the viewpoint of someone who loves the central character. So Stanly Uris' story is told from the standpoint of his wife; Beverly Rogan's story is told through the eyes of her abusive boyfriend.
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It is scary how easily King takes the reader inside the head of an abuser. In this case, a violent abuser who likes to whoop on Beverlay Rogan. No slow build-up like in The Shining, you're just dropped right into this guys head. Ouch.
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Some quick notes:
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1. I really like Bill asking, "can't you guys let a story be a story?"
2. Eddie marry's a fat woman who reminds him of his mother. She is both pathetic and icky.
3. George Orwell makes appearances in this book also, as he also had quite a role in Firestarter. It is obvious that Orwell's work has had an influence on King.
4. King also gives honorable mention here to Ray Bradbury and William Goldman.
5. Bill Denbrough appears to be King's closest alter-ego in this novel. He's not only a writer, Denbrough is even published by Viking.
6. The cultural references are more than I can count. Grateful Dead, Carson, O.J. Simpson (Hertz ad), Esquire -- and a trillion more.
7. All of the characters are very successful. I'm not sure how King is going to play on that. But they're certainly not "losers" as adults.
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Foreshadowing - The Scar
The foreshadowing is awesome in this section. I especially like Bill showing his wife his scarred hands, a sign of a blood covenant. But it is a scar that has suddenly appeared -- come back with a single phone call. How cool is that?! And then, King delivers a true shiver: Stan did it. What did Stan do? He cut their palms. Now this is powerful because Stan just killed himself.
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Bill tells his wife, "I can' remember Stan doing his own hands last, pretending he was going to slash his wrists instead of just cut his palms a little. I guess it was just some goof, but I almost made a move on him . . . to stop him. because for a second or two there he looked serious." p. 131 pb
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The titles all make use of the verb "take."
Stanly Uris takes a bath
Richard Tozier takes a powder
Ben Hascom takes a drink
Eddie Kaspbrak takes his medicine
Beverly Rogan takes a whuppin
Bill Denbrough takes time out
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Hemingford Home

In the section about Ben Hascom, we learn that he lives in Heminford Home. This is the same place mother Abigail from the Stand lives. It is also the site of one of the upcoming stories in King's upcoming book, Full Dark, No Stars. We are given this description of Hemingford Home, "Downtown Hemingford Home made downtown Swedholm look like New York City; the business district consisted of eight buildings, five on one side and three on the other." These include a barber shop, a hardware store, a bank and a 76 gas station and the Red Wheel -- the local bar.

Strange Maine


Can a blog turn in to a book? Sure! Michelle Souliere has written a fantastic little book, Strange Maine, drawing largely on her blog http://strangemaine.blogspot.com/
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The book is a small treasure chest!
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Joyful Writing
Souliere's humor is sprinkled generously throughout the book. Her introduction assures readers that her book should not -- ever -- never ever! -- be used for trespassing. This peaks the readers interest at once. Where am I not supposed to go?
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Souliere offers energetic prose and a refreshing attention to details. Her writing style is chatty, like she's talking to a good friend about a beloved subject. You can sense her passion as she shares these strange stories about her home state.
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Souliere does a good job documenting her sources. Personally, I get tired of chasing end notes and footnotes. And I get very annoyed at the author who could just care less. Souliere discloses her sources right in the text of the book itself. So, as you read, she explains where she found an item, and then moves forward with her quote or retelling.
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Content
Souliere wastes no time taking the reader straight into the heart of strange Maine. Or, more appropriately, spooky Maine. She gives a haunting tour of several graveyards, including first hand testimony from someone who was literally chased out of the cemetery by a very angry spirit. I'm not going to recreate the scene, but it was wonderful and that freaky story alone would have kept me up late bug eyed.
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She also tells a pretty scary story about a ghost caught in a "loop" wandering from his living room to his sauna. Again, I was spooked.
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Souliere dives into the strange history of Maine. This includes a chapter on crime (let's just say Lizzy Borden had a few country bumpkin rivals up in Maine). She gives a wonderful chapter on monsters and other odd creatures. My wife was impressed by Dr. Doves Unicorn, "cracked me up," she laughed.
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With so many monsters ghosts and creatures roaming the borders of Maine, at least part of the always annoying question "where do you get your ideas, Mr. King" might be answered here. Of course, I've always said, Who cares where King gets his ideas, just so long as he writes them down. But I must admit a certain pleasure in thinking at certain points, "Ah, I wonder if that might have inspired Stephen King!" After a serious description of a place called "Hubcap heaven" I found myself thinking that maybe some of these people King describes in his novels aren't really so far fetched. By the way, she included directions to Hubcap Heaven, if you're interested.
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Photo's
This might sound childish, but I like books with pictures. There, I said it. I worked my way toward pictures when I read the updated version of the stand. Throughout this book Souliere offers unique photographs that both work with her text and stand alone. They are well captioned, allowing punks like me to read ahead and anticipate upcoming stories.
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Strange Maine and Stephen King
If you're remotely interested in the world of Stephen King then you will be interested in the State of Maine. And Strange Maine is a great guide for those of us who can't jump in a car and explore the wonderful state. Souliere points out that Maine is known for its eccentrics. . . Like Stephen (p.18)
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Things that don't make sense to a Californian suddenly spring to life as Souliere explains the raw details of Maine. I had trouble with Salem's Lot partly because it was so hard for me to believe a town in America could really be that far off the beaten path. However, Souliere notes "Maine contains over 400 unorganized townships." (p.17) Suddenly Salem's Lot registered as much more interesting in my book.
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And where did the green glow in Tommyknockers come from? Well, Souliere has a suggestion. Of course, you must remember, to Souliere the interest is never in if something really inspired King or not, she is chasing the story itself. But this is worth a nod, okay! Interested? Check out page 34.
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While the book is not directly about Stephen King, it is a great resource full of insights for anyone who wants to dig just one layer deeper. My wife wants to make sure I tell everyone that it's a "fun" book. So there.
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It Journal 2


Not what you expect:
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This book doesn't start where you expect it to. If you are familiar with the mini-series, the second opening to the book is pretty chopped up. if you previously read it, this is stuff you probably forgot. Because it's not what you expect.
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After George's death, the book starts with the year 1984. This is to let us know that IT is back. IT was spotted while some gay-haters beat a homosexual youth to death. But it appears that the monster himself got a few bites of his own in. In particular, a big chunk of the victims arm pit. This is actually a powerful opening, since it gives the reader an inside look at how police are going to deal with this "clown" story (several people saw the clown, but police ignore this). It also shows that Pennywise enjoys attacking those who are culturally oppressed.
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The next chapter leaps us ahead one year, to 1985. Stanley Uris is the focus of this section -- and his unfortunate demise. Again, the humanizing of the characters is strong. King moves quickly to sketch his characters. Interesting that he chooses to show his hand so early. There will be numerous scenes to come that include Stanley, but he lets the reader know up front that things will not come out well for poor Stan. This would be an out right gamble for any other author -- can this be pulled off? But in the hands of Stephen King, it is a master stroke.
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The turtle?
I might note that there are several references in this chapter to "the turtle" that I somehow missed the connection to. Dark Tower connection? I'm not sure.
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The writing:
Another note on King's narration is in order. On page 37 of the paperback he once again speaks directly from writer to reader, stating, "At the time of this writing, all three sentences are under appeal" Leaving that section of the story open-ended. That is, King does not always choose to write as omniscient narrator, but sometimes acts simply as a story teller who is also locked in time and space and is relying on what information he has at his disposal. It does give the story a deeper sense of reality.
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The reading
Weber's reading is awesome! The voice for Pennywise is no Tim Curry rip-off. But you don't realize just how good Weber is, what a joy he is to listen to, until the scenes with Richard (Richie) Tozier appear. These call for him to do the voice of Kinky Briefcase, WC Fields and so much more.

IT Journal 1



Well, I'm off and running on this long narrative called IT. Actually, I'm listening to the book on my computer, read by Steven Weber. I think this is the same actor who starred in The Shining. The reading is very good. He gives Pennywise a great voice!
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Already King shows that he is the master of characters. And these are not easy characters -- they're children. But with ease, King takes us back to a world we had forgotten. He resurrects thoughts and fears long buried; the thing in the cellar, arguments about who's the biggest a-hole, and the love/hate tension with siblings. What's amazing is that he so skillfully does this in just the opening pages.
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George's death sets the stage for everything that's going to follow. He is the first of the terrible killings, and King gives us a front row seat. I could smell that drainage ditch -- and I swear I saw teeth -- yellow eyes for sure. There's no messing around in this novel. No wondering if maybe it's the work of a serial killer; King shows us right up front who enemy is. He pulls back the curtain quick, giving us a long hard look at Pennywise before moving on. That face will haunt the reader as they proceed.
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I was wondering if you could do that:
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King's narration is a college course of its own. He is the master of his craft, and this book stands as one of his strongest.
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First, notice King's ability to speak to the reader outside of the time period the story is set in. I was working today on a story set in the 30's. I wanted to reference something from the 40's in my narration. Could I do that? This lead to a family discussion. Wife said yes, friends said yes, mother-in-law said no. Could I mention Roadrunner, even though it was the wrong decade? Well, Stephen King answered my question. "If George had been inhabiting a later year, he would have surely thought of Ronald McDonald before Bozo or Clarabell." p.13 Ah, thank you Mr. King.
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Second, even when writing in third person, there are times King himself speaks directly to the reader. Note the opening of IT, "The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years -- if it ever did end -- began so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain." Those prose are beautiful, by the way. He sets the stage for a true horror story, promises a beginning, middle and maybe an end. But did you catch the "I"? There it is, boldly at the very beginning of the novel. I wonder if he had to fend off some editor telling him you can't use "I" in a third person narrative.
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He done it again! Check this out, "The boat dipped and swayed and sometimes took on water, but it did not sink; the two brothers had waterproofed it well. I do not know where it finally fetched up, if ever it did; perhaps it reached the sea and sails there forever, like a magic boat in a fairytale. All I know is that it was still afloat and stilling running on the breast of the flood when it passed the incorporated town limits of Derry Maine, and there it passed out of this tale forever."
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Again, he speaks directly to the reader. Also notice that he takes ownership of tieing some knots int he story. For instance, he doesn't let some college professor make a symbol out of the toy boat. . . he does it himself! I like that a lot.
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Of course, there's a whole world of publishing out there that will warn you not to take your cues from Stephen King. As one published writer told me, "Stephen King can do what he wants because he's Stephen King. You need to play by the rules." But, I want to object, we read Stephen King, don't we?! Why not write what that inner-voice says is true?
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IT and Me
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This is a strange novel to me. I was born in 1973, so the stories about the children happened sixteen years before I knew this world. I grew up in the 80's. This means that things feel a little reversed in this novel to me. the 80's in the book are supposed to represent the harsh reality of today's world. But I have fond, tender memories of the 80's because that was my childhood! And don't knock the 80's, they gave us the best of the Star Wars films, Michael Jackson, Atari, and Sam the Eagle. All I'm saying is that the "now" portion of the book, the section that is supposed to represent harsh modern reality, is romanticised in my own heart.
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One of the things I didn't like when I heard about the upcoming IT movie was that they changed the time frames -- moving everything by 20 years. So the children's scenes take place in the 80's. But, as I listen to this novel, I understand why that change would be made. The 50's weren't my generation -- I can't identify with that world; that world belonged to my parents.

Screening Of Kubrick's The Shining

this is from pr-inside.com
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Writers In Treatment, Sunset Statue Sober Living AND www.ModeraXL.com/witdiscount presents:
  • 30th Anniversary Screening of Stanley Kubrick's THE SHINING by Steven King.
  • Introduction by Dr. Seth Kadish, author of the seminar, A World of Fright: Alcoholism and the Work of Stephen King
  • Food and beverages available.
  • To attend you must RSVP Leonard at 818-762-0461

The announcement notes:

This is a community screening sponsored by the Quit Smoking Beverage~www.moderaXL.com/witdiscountA man, his son and wife become the winter caretakers of an isolated hotel where Danny, the son, sees disturbing visions of the hotel's past using a telepathic gift known as "The Shining". The father, Jack Torrance, is underway in a writing project when he slowly slips into insanity as a result of cabin fever and former guests of the hotels ghost's. After being convinced by a waiter's ghost to "correct" the family, Jack goes completely insane. The only thing that can save Danny and his mother is "The Shining".

Jack Torrance becomes the caretaker of the Overlook Hotel up in the secluded mountains of Colorado. Jack, being a family man, takes his wife and son to the hotel to keep him company throughout the long and isolated nights. During their stay strange things occur when Jack's son
Danny sees gruesome images powered by a force called "The Shining" and Jack is heavily affected by this. Along with writer's block and the demons of the hotel haunting him Jack has a complete mental breakdown and the situation takes a sinister turn for the worse.

http://www.pr-inside.com/stephen-king-stanley-kubrick-s-the-r1893636.htm

Fire Starter Journal 6


Wow, this book may be a little slow in the middle, but the last few chapters are a bang. I mean, really good. Typical King, he spends lots of time building up to an incredible ending. And, King did something nice, something he didn't give us in Carrie -- an emotional conclusion. With Carrie, you were kinda left wondering "what happened?"
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Both books are very much the same:
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1. Both Carrie and Firestarter have a girl at the center.
2. Both are coming of age stories.
3. Both experience serious betrayal. Carrie at school / Charlie by John Rainbird.
4. Both are driven to a destructive conclusion. Carrie, to destroy her high school / Charlie to destroy agents of The Shop. Actually, High School is a lot like The Shop.
5. Both Carrie and Charlie have abilities usually dulled out by the likes of Rod Serling. For Carrie, it's telekinesis / for Charlie it's a pyrokinetic ability.
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Firestarter might have a better ending than Carrie, but it doesn't have a seriously messed up character like Carrie's mom. I think that role was meant for John Rainbird, but for some reason he just doesn't work for me. I was glad to see him go.
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I have just a few pages to read and I'm really enjoying it. The thick of the plot is done, King is just sweeping up the floor and tightening up loose ends. Again, I like it when he does this. Often with King novels we are left to wonder what happened with a lot of the lose ends.

The Viking Crisis


Viking has put my life in a serious crisis. They released a LOT of Stephen King audio books all at once. We're talking everything from Cujo to Christiane to mega novels like Tommyknockers and IT. IT!!!
.Come back Roland!
What's the crisis? Well, it's obvious, right? What do I read next. Just finishing Fire Starter, which was wonderful. But the options are overwhelming.
.redrum
Having given this problem serious consideration, pricing things at Amazon, reading through Bev Vincent's Stephen King companion again -- I decided on my next book. I loved Vincent's chapter on Pet Semetery and decided I would give it a fresh reading. So, off to Amazon I went -- only to realize something incredible: Pet Semetery wasn't published by Viking! It's not among the books on audio. NO WAY! Can you believe my life?
.I'm really waiting for wind through the keyhole
So, alas, it's time to break down and read IT. Cover to cover. No skimming, no skipping like I did in High School. It's me and this book. I'm ready for a long read, like Under the Dome. Best to get it read before the new IT movie comes out -- of which I've heard absolutely no news.
.the darkman fled across the desert
By the way, I do have all of these books -- in digital format from audible. But my car is still CD. So. . . I'm listening on my computer, trying to convince my wife how wonderful a new stereo would be in the mini-van. She's not going to go for it, though, because she knows that will mean HOURS of driving and listening to the evil clown eat little kids. Yummy.

King Cameo in Sons of Anarchy


From stephenking.com:
Stephen will be filming a cameo role for the FX series Sons of Anarchy. His part is currently scheduled to be in the third episode of the new season set to air in September. Steve promises to give fans a full report of his adventures filming the part later this month in California.
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Wow, California. I hope he stops by.
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What is Sons of Anarchy? According to wikipedia, it's a television series about the lives of a close-knit outlaw motorcycle club operating in a fictional town in Northern California. The show centers on protagonist Jackson "Jax" Teller, the Vice President of the club who begins questioning the club and himself.

High Resolution Cover Full Dark No Stars

This is the high resolution cover for Full Dark, No Stars from stephenking.com



Several things I really like about this cover:
1. It's very simple. Similiar to the other books of four, Different Season's, Four Past Midnight, now Full Dark, No Stars.
2. The cover art is mysterious.
3. I like the ladies handing reaching down beyond the borders of the picture.
4. It looks like a classic book -- not a traditional "Stephen King."
5. King's name doesn't suck up every inch of the page. Same with the title. (ie: Insomnia, Tommyknockers and so on)

An Evening with George Guidall

Have you heard George Guidall? If you listen to books on tape, you probably have! He's recorded more than 900 audio books. In the Stephen King universe, Guidall picked up on the Dark Tower series after Frank Muller's accident.
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Lackawanna Country Library is holding a "evening with George Guidall."
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Thetimes-tribune has this interesting quote from Guidall -- regarding people's tendency to prefer a certain reader:
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"Once they latch onto that person, they rely on that person to give them a vicarious experience they can't otherwise have," he said. "They feel like that person is talking to them."
It makes for some very interesting encounters. Once, he was at a library in West Virginia and a librarian kept pointing out to him the tapestries she had made while listening to his audio books.

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"That's me and you doing 'Crime and Punishment.' That's me and you doing 'Frankenstein,'" she told him.
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"People go into a library and ask for a book by George Guidall," he said. "People are writing me from all over the country. They've all experienced that book the same way, because I'm the one who told them the story. They're in a tribe all by themselves."
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What: "An Evening with George Guidall," presented by the Lackawanna County Library Lecture Series
Where: Scranton Cultural Center at The Masonic Temple
When: Thursday, 7 p.m.Details: Admission is free with a library card.
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http://thetimes-tribune.com/arts-living/books-on-tape-narrator-geoge-guidall-next-library-lecture-series-speaker-1.777909

Time Warp: CARRIE


So, what was happening in the world when Carrie was published? The year was 1974. Imagine, no Star Wars, no Internet, this was even before a peanut farmer named Jimmy Carter took the country by storm.
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In 1974, Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese soldier, surrendered. He held out a pretty long time, convinced that the Americans were just tricking him. Richard Nixon also surrendered, becoming the first president of the United States to resign in office. Think about it, just as America's political horror story was coming to an end, the master of horror was stepping up to the plate, pen in hand.
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Inflation reached 11.3% -- that's not good. It was the middle of a global recession. Very early word processors hit the market. They looked like typewriters. (Typewriters are machines that were used by primitive people that involved moving plates hitting the paper and leaving a mark when a key was struck. You're welcome.)
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You could buy a house for $34,900. Sound good? Well, the average salary was only $13,900. A new car cost around $3,750 and the cost of gas to fuel that car? Try 55 cents.
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In 1974, the 55 speed limit was set. The Sears tower was completed, making it the tallest building of its time and Leonardo DiCaprio was born. (I was a one year old.)
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This is interesting, because of the energy crisis, daylight savings time commenced nearly four months early. I guess everyone just agreed to get up earlier. A space station called skylab was still orbiting the earth. If you were a patron of the Marshes Supermarket in Troy Ohio, you could see them using the first bar code scanner.
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If you were headed to the movies, you might be watching: The Sting, The Exorcist, Death Wish, or Murder on the Orient Express. King noted that Carrie was written "after Rosemary's Baby but before The Exorcist, which really opened up the field. I didn't expect much of Carrie. I thought who'd want to read a book about a poor little girl with menstrual problems? I couldn't believe I was writing it." http://en.allexperts.com/e/c/ca/carrie.htm
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On television you would probably be watching The Price Is Right (say it ain't so!), The Waltons , Kojak and The Six Million Dollar Man.
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Out of this strange time period, Stephen King gave us his first masterpiece: Carrie. It mirrors the dark mood of the country. Carrie is set in the the world of the 1970's. While it is not heavy on cultural references, you will spot marks of the 70's. (Just the idea of women showering together in High School -- that wasn't happening in my high school in the 1980's. Though my wife and I are "discussing" this, since she thinks open showers stuck around long past the 70's.) you still took "gym" class instead of the now watered down "P.E."
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Time Warp: The Gunslinger

Fantasy and Science Fiction
Date: February 1981
Cost: $1.50
King story: The Oracle and the Mountains
Also in this edition: Isaac Asimov
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ads of interest:
"Hypnotism revealed. Free illustrated details powers. . ."
"ESP Laboratory. this new research service group can help you. For free information write. . ." (hey, careful now, this might be a shadow ad for the Shop.)
"Mimeograph Press, type, write or draw you own full size pamphlets, newsletters, etc. SASE for details; shipped complete, $50." (Do you all remember mimeograph's? I do. . . from school.)
"Beautiful Mexican-Oriental ladies needing American husbands. Free details. . ." (Talk about time warp! That's pretty blatant, though.)
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Articles of interest:
Next to the King story, my greatest interest was Baird Searles' article "Films, strike stricken." He was sad about an actors strike. In fact, poor Searles writes, "So here I am, nearing my deadline and no new season on which to report. Well, not quite true. PBS apparently being above such sordid things as labor disputes, did indeed debut a new series which is of peripheral interest to this column." (The series he was referring to was Cosmos, by Carl Sagan.)
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What is interesting reading this column is that a reporter would be stumped by a actors strike. No cable television to bridge the gap
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Story of interest:
I did enjoy Michael Armstrong's Short story, "Absolutely the last, this is it, no more, the final pact with the devil story." Yes, that's really the story. And it's wonderfully strange. It's a series of short letters between and editor rejecting a story and the author. Today this correspondence would be done by email.
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The King entry:
It is interesting to me that Fantasy and Science Fiction was the place where these stories were published. I don't think there was any way to know the King story was upcoming -- if you subscribed to F&SF, then you just got a nice surprise. But, a strange one, since you had to keep up with a story that was last printed years earlier!
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What are the time warp posts? -- http://talkstephenking.blogspot.com/2010/05/time-warp.html

Time Warp


If you just want to read Stephen King, paperbacks from used bookstores will do just fine. If you want to collect Stephen King, first editions are a must. Now, if you want to super-collect Stephen King, you have to look for special first editions, signed items, and so on.
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Know what I like? Well, like everyone, I like first edition hardcovers. But I also like to get stories in their original format. How cool is it to thumb through the magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction as you read an entry to the original Gunslinger. I like stuff that has King's work printed in it, but also has other things that mark the times. The entire thing becomes something of a timewarp. From ads to other writers, politics and so much more transports you back to -- the 70's, 80's and 90's.
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So, I'm going to do a series of short posts that relate various stories by King, and the time warp reading them in their original publication will put you in.
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One of the reasons for King's success, I think, is that he writes about our time. NOt a lot of heavy historical fiction in a King novel. Now sometimes he'll drop back a decade or two, but I can't even think of a World War Two novel, or a Civil War novel. His work is usually set in the now. Thus, the stories themselves preserve a bit of America in the time they are written. Add to that the story in its orignal publication, and you have a taste of another era.

Lucas and The Dark Tower -- Just A Thought!


Who should be doing the Dark Tower series? Put aside all the Ron Howard excitement for a moment, okay. This is just a thought -- but it's a good one; How about George Lucas. You know, the Star Wars dude!
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Here's why:
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1. He used to making strange movies. And Dark Tower needs to be strange.
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2. They can do awesome stuff over at Skywalker ranch. The special effects won't be a repeat of the Langoliers.
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3. He knows what's involved in creating an entire universe. And that's what the Dark Tower is, a universe. Lucas thinks big. He's dealt with stories with massive amounts of characters.
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4. He's already a ka-jillion-aire, so he wouldn't be in it for the money.
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5. If he's focused on a new project, he will finally stop re-cutting the Star Wars films. And giving us cartoon versions of Star Wars. And, not to mention, Star Wars 3D. . . please, give this man a new project! Redoing Star Wars every few years is like Picasso painting over his classic's with new touch-ups because he can finally afford better brushes.
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6. He could get Harrison to be Roland. By the way, did you knwo that duel audions were held for carrie and Star Wars? Yep, it's true! Harrison Ford would make a great older Roland (Wolves and beyond). And Roland ages quickly in the series.
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7. The idea of a "used universe" is perfect for the Dark Tower series.
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8. The Dark Tower has several Star Wars moments. (Roland hypnotizing people -- "these aren't the droids you're looking for.") C3PO is mentioned in Dark Tower 7.
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There you go. No news, just another annoying opinion from a nervous fan. I think everyone wants to say to those preparing to put their hands on the Dark Tower series, "Don't mess this one up!" We better not get another Children of the Corn here.

Suicide By Garbage Disposal?

Is it possible? I reflected earlier that while I really like the scene in which Dr. Herman Pynchot sticks his hand in his garbage disposal (while wearing his wife's undies), I'm not sure a garbage disposal would really create as much damage as King conjures up.
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Now, this brings us to an interesting news article. The CNN reports that NBC is getting sued because its show Hero's shows a woman getting her hand chomped up by the garbage disposal. Who's suing over that? A garbage disposal company!
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The article includes this:
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Dan Callahan, spokesman for Emerson, said the company, of course, does not recommend anybody put their hands in a garbage disposal that is turned on.
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But he also pointed out that, according to data from the government's Consumer Products Safety Commission, you are actually ten times more likely to get injured by your dishwasher than your garbage disposal.
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And I've been told that if you did stick your hand in a garbage disposal (not that I've tried) you would hurt yourself but you would not wind up losing any fingers as was the case with the girl on "Heroes."
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http://money.cnn.com/2006/10/17/commentary/mediabiz/index.htm