Bardem: Bond Or Tower?

I don't think Javier Bardem will be standing in any unemployment lines this year. Deadline has posted that Bardem was offered a starring role in the upcoming James Bond film recently set for a November 9, 2012, release. Deadline notes that the role being offered Bardem is probably the villain.
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Deadline writes, "Bardem received his Best Actor nomination for Biutiful and another high-profile offer of a lead role, that of gunslinger Roland Deschain in the Ron Howard-directed trilogy based on Stephen King's novel series The Dark Tower."
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The full article is here: http://www.deadline.com/2011/01/javier-bardem-offered-big-bond-role-as-mgm-leveraging-007-distribution-with-co-financing-deal-to-improve-its-cash-flow-jockeying-studios-increasingly-frustrated/

Shine On After Nuclear Holocaust


So I'm watching Modern Marvels. This episode is called "Secret Underground." Described as a look under the feet of Americans, one of their entries was the Hutchinson mine. It's a salt mine -- partly. It's also a document storage site. The U.S. Government stores secret decrements there because it can survive nuclear war.
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Something else is saved at the Hutchinson mine: Original prints of classic films. So the original print of Sound of Music, Gone with the Wind, Oceans 11 and The Shining are all safely stored 600 feet below the earth.
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Know what that means? After governments have finished turning the planet into a nuclear wasteland, we will at least be able to go underground and watch old Stephen King fans. I like caves.

Is A New Dark Tower Game on the way?

aintitcool.com posted some interesting news from a source he says is someone with "verifiable inside info on the Dark Tower Project." He doesn't say who his source is. Reminds me of Deep Throat.
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Anyway, here's what the source said about a game: "There's also a very ambitious Game component being planned that will further utilize elements from the books. [If everything continues on schedule and the budget is approved], it looks like things are coming together for a late-summer or early-September start." http://www.aintitcool.com/node/48244
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See also: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-01-28-new-stephen-king-dark-tower-game

Challanger Explosion & S.K. Universe


"We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for their journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God."
-- Ronald Reagan.
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25 years ago today my friend Ryan -- who was usually full of nutty stories -- arrived late to school. "You won't believe what happened today," he said. Well, when he told me he was watching TV and that the space shuttle just blew up, he was right -- I didn't believe him!
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Hard to think that was 25 years ago. If feels like yesterday.
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King mentions the Challenger explosion in Rose Madder. The novel is about battered women. Anna Stevenson explains to Rose that when the Challenger exploded, there was a woman who experienced intense guilt because she had written letters encouraging manned space flights. Her point is simply that battered women are able to feel personal guilt about things that have nothing to do with them.
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The disaster is cited again in Dreamcatcher, as a metaphor. "To say that Beavers marriage didn't work would be like saying that the launch of challenger space shuttle went a little bit wrong."
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Stirring Truth Into Fiction
King's ability to reference and draw from our common story as Americans is part of what makes him such a great story teller. His novels wind through our bigger history, citing things and events that deeply touch us. Our memories are jarred at some of these events, and King doesn't overplay his hand at this point. But like a master, King uses our shared past to add depth and familiarity to his stories. King's world becomes a little more real when his characters remember events I too remember.
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By the way, 1986 is also the year Stand By Me came out in theaters. Nothing to do with challenger, except that they shared the same year.
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Twisted Memories:
Now I want to point out something strange. I have read two writers already today who mention how memory of the challenger disaster is distorted. They remember things happening that day that didn't actually happen until later. Time is messed up in their head in relation to that event. Know what -- it's that way for me, too. I remember being 9 or 10. But I was 12. that's crazy! I remember seeing it all from a child's point of view; but I remember being 12 and being confident I was no longer thinking like a child. I found myself thinking, "I couldn't have been that old!" Anyone else out there finding mysterious mental vertigo when it comes to the challenger disaster?
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For more on memory distortion related to the Challenger Disaster and Stephen King, see this article published a couple of years ago titled "Twisted Memories." http://iwanticewater.wordpress.com/2009/10/25/twisted-memories/

Fangoria #133: The Stand


Almost as much as I love books by Stephen King, I enjoy books about Stephen King. And almost as much as I like books about Stephen King, I dig old magazines about Stephen King! Go figure, it's kinda strange.
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I got a copy of Fangoria #133, which had as its cover feature the 1994 mini-series The Stand. In fact, there's a pretty nasty picture on the front of Flagg bearing his teeth. He won't win Miss America with that pose.
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The articles include:
  • Elegy, "The Stand Comes To New York."

  • Baby, Can You Dig "The Stand"? Douglas Winter does, and finds plenty to praise in the lengthy miniseries.

  • "Stand" By Your Book, after seeing dozens of his works adapted by others, Stephen King takes on the script for "The Stand" himself.

Time warp:

One of the things I like about the magazines is that it gives us King's stories in a cultural context. They act as a kind of time warp. In 1994, Clive barker was on the rise. In fact, Fangoria wrote, "If Clive Barker hasn't already staked his claim as a one-man horror/fantasy industry to rival Stephen King, then 1994 looks set to propel him into the stratosphere. No fewer than four movies are set to go before the camera's this year, plus a major eight-hour TV miniseries."

There is also a great interview with Fiath Domergue. She did a lot of 50's B-movies, including: Where danger Lives, The Duel at Silver Creek, This is My love, This Island Earth, It Came From beneath The Sea, Cult of the Cobra. This is funny, Domergue says, "House of Seven Corpses was backed by Mormons. There was always one on set making sure there was no smoking or alcohol."

Douglas E. Winter's "Television Stand-Out" piece is outstanding. Not only the article itself, but the pictures and layout are quite nice. the cover of the review looks like the cover of the Revised edition of The Stand (good fighting evil on a desert backdrop). He writes, "King and Garris wisely chose to adapt the book, not to reinvent it; because any shorter version would have required the unpalatable (and for some, heretical) act of cutting or consolidating characters, no one who has treasured Kings' novel (or, indeed who has written fiction) will fault their decision."

I must admit, my favortie thing in this magazine: The ad for life sized skulls, only $30. I'm getting up early in the morning and leaving one on my pillow, just to show my wife how much I love her.

ROLAND... alas

Picture: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000849/
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We have official word as to who will play Roland in the film and television series The Dark Tower.
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Stephenking.com has posted: "Mike Fleming of Deadline Hollywood is reporting that oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem will play Roland Deschain in the upcoming Dark Tower films and television series."
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I wonder if Bardem knows he'll have his fingers bit off somewhere around movie #2.
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Mike Flemming at deadline.com writes, "I'm told that Bardem has officially been offered the lead role by director Ron Howard and Universal Pictures. While formal negotiations haven't yet begun, there's a high level of enthusiasm internally that they've got their cowboy. Akiva Goldsman has scripted the first movie, and will write the TV component as well. Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer is producing with Goldsman and the author. Universal is financing and distributing the films, and NBC Universal Television Entertainment is backing the TV component, which will either be a limited run series or a miniseries."
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Notes from The King Cast Interview with Marsha DeFilippo


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The King Cast has an interview posted with Marsha DeFilippo. This one is really good!
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DeFlippo is Ms. Mod at the King website. "I couldn't ask for a better boss to work for," she says about King. The interview is posted in full and is easy to access. The question answer session is really interesting. For instance, she doesn't like chocolate. Stunning! The interview is just over 40 minutes.
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Here are a few of quick notes. . .
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She started working for king as a "Kelly girl." Cool. . . I once worked as a "Kelly Girl." She typed Eyes of the Dragon -- the book I'm currently reading. She also typed Tommyknockers onto disks to be sent to publisher. She did her work on a wang word processor with 8in floppy disks!
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She notes that one reason for the website is to offer accurate information. If you wonder if such a site is needed, just google who will be cast int he upcoming Dark Tower movies. There's a lot of opinions out there, but not all of it is backed up. Personally, I tend to trust King's own site for news and Lilja's library.
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Also discussed are King's two ideas for books. Dr. Sleep and the next Dark Tower book (Wind through the Keyhole). The website was used to poll King's readers, just to determine the mood.
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Interesting, she says that horror is not her preferred genre. So who does she read? Well, truth is -- she doesn't read much because that's what she does all day long!
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What impresses her about King? "That he has kept his roots." She shares how King is a very ordinary person, not tainted by his public persona. He's humble.
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I really liked her talking about how things quiet down in between book releases. Found myself thinking, that's probably the time King likes the most -- when the world backs off and he's just allowed to write books.
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Here's a funny question someone submitted: With so many cuss words in his books -- why can't people cuss on the board? The answer: Books are age appropriate, while anyone can click on a site -- including younger children.
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She mentions more than once that she is very cognizant of the fact she represents King. What she says or does could reflect on him.
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Oh, and bummer. . . she says that we will not see the rest of the Cannibals. Man! I was hoping to read the rest of that. I really really enjoyed what was published.
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There is not a huge office at work behind Stephen King. No factory of workers! It's just King and a couple of secretaries.
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Okay. . . stop reading my notes and go listen to the interview! It's fantastic.
http://thekingcast.ca/site/?p=129

Eyes Of The Dragon Journal 2


Eyes of the dragon really picks up pace once the old King (Roland) gets knocked off. This is the part of the novel I like a lot. The early part of the books is spent building characters and setting the stage. King does this like a pro, of course.
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The story is really about Peter, who King does not develop much in the early novel. Most of his focus is on Thomas, King Roland and Flagg. Hey, catch any Dark Tower irony here? Roland the Good verses Flagg?
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Peter's authority and natural tendency toward what is right is a powerful draw to his character. He has inner strength and conviction that Thomas is lacking. When he agrees to stand trial for the murder of his father, he does it with surprising confidence. King doesn't have to work a lot to get the reader to like Peter -- it's natural. Any scene Peter is in, he quickly becomes the center of attention. King aptly conveys Peter's ability to show authority, love righteousness and honor the law.

Photo: Maximum Overdrive behind the scenes


I like this behind the scenes photo from Maximum Overdrive at Aint It Cool News. Actually makes you go, "Wow, ain't it cool."
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"Quint" writes, "I unapologetically love Stephen King’s Maximum Overdrive. Granted, I saw it as a kid and loved the shit out of it and I’m also a giant Stephen King fan, but come on. It’s a silly movie about all motorized machines gaining life where a truck that has a giant Green Goblin head leads an assault on a small southern truck stop. I mean, a soda machine kills a coach and a steamroller crushes little leaguers to death. How can anybody hate this movie?"
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I dunno how anybody could hate a movie directed by S.K. I loved it! But alas, some of the world is not as cultured as Quint and I.
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Notable Bangor

picture: http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/cOElEn9DGguG-06PB-532w?select=WThIExmqHHsGNhKhMpMpgw
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I first spotted this story at Bev Vincents website. Edgar Allen Beem has a neat article in Downeast. He asks notable residents to share their observations about Maine. Yes, one of them was Stephen King.
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King says:
"BangorMy idea of the real Maine is lunch at Rosie’s Diner in Lovell. Especially in the fall, after the summer folks go home. Grab a copy of the local paper (the Bridgton News), sit at the counter, and order the blueberry pancakes (with real maple syrup). Bacon on the side’s optional. The cook wears a Red Sox hat, there’s a picture of Elvis over the specials board,and the locals talk politics and football while the leaves fall outside. If you like, when you finish your lunch, you can stroll across to the public library. Not bad."
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There's a lot of great contributions to this article that you should check out. I enjoyed all of it.
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Blockade Billy Journal 2


Wow, this story is crazy! I planned on doing two journal entries for Blockade Billy, but I'm actually afraid I can't say much about the second half of the book without giving something away. I will say that it is good -- very good, and a big surprise for me. I liked it a lot.
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The narrator, Granny Grantham, is both energetic and insightful. As an old man, he enjoys King's company and hopes King will return and talk more. By using Grantham's voice and speaking as if talking TO Stephen King, King has again made himself a character in the story. Innovative.
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Though not exactly a story of revenge (but almost), this short novel would have fit neatly into Full Dark No Stars. Reading King lately has been a joy. His recent work is not only very good, it's exceptional. Under The Dome, Morality, Full Dark No Stars, Blockade Billy have all shown King at is best. He has aid for years that he hopes that he is getting better as a writer, and I think recent books really display his gift and passion for writing. King doesn't let constant readers down.
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Bill Sheehan writes in the Washington Post, "Blockade Billy" works as well as it does for a couple of reasons. The first is the narrative voice that King has conjured up for Granny Grantham. Funny, sharply observant and casually profane, it is the voice of a quintessential baseball insider who happens to be a natural raconteur. Equally important is the lovingly detailed evocation of the game as it was played in 1957, when, with few exceptions, the players were neither celebrities nor millionaires but "working stiffs" who earned, on average, $15,000 a year. King's descriptions of these tough, hard-bitten men and the hardscrabble contests they engaged in add both a dash of nostalgia and a touch of gritty reality to this dark, absorbing portrait of a vanished era."

Eyes Of The Dragon Journal 1

I started a journey through Eyes of the Dragon the other day. It's been a long time since I read this book -- like 1992! That was the year I graduated high school and got my first job, an usher at the Hollywood Bowl. I have fond memories of reading this book every chance I got. I couldn't stop!
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I recommended my daughter read it, thinking she would love the fairy tail. I had forgotten most of the details of the story, just fond memories of the joy it gave me at the time. As I started back through the novel I had a surprise coming to me. There's a lot of . . . uh. . . talk about how babies are made. And Flagg (the King's evil magician) has this magic potion that is a super version of Viagra.
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The story is not a typical King novel. The writing in particular is different. King usually builds a story scene by scene, like episodes in a television series. Eyes of the Dragon often pulls far above a single scene to give a birds eye view of a character or storyline, and then the narration dives in for a particular scene.
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King also narrates the story in his own voice. What I mean is. . . while it is third person, he often speaks directly to the reader. Much like a father pausing to explain something in the midst of a story.
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Each character is carefully introduced before the meat of the story is served up. This leads to a slow build up in plot as the reader sees each player. Thomas in particular is vividly portrayed. I think there is something in all of us that identifies with Thomas. He's not as good as his older brother. He feels like his father doesn't pay him adequate attention. And when he gets to peep through the eyes of the dragon at his father alone in his den, he discovers that his father the king farts and picks his nose and pees in the fire; not the kind of guy he can respect. King does a masterful job explaining, in simple language, that we all do things in private that we would never do if we knew people were watching.
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I like it that King's "bad guys" have depth. People who do bad things oftne have motive and reasons that make them feel they are not really so bad. King doesn't give us simple black and white characters, but shows us a real picture of humanity.
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Thus far, my return to the kingdom of Delain has been a joyful one.

King Collection


picture: http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/42003/fright-rags-launches-stephen-king-collection-t-shirt-line
Do you have a "King Collection"? I mean -- T-Shirt. Dread Central has announced that Fright Rags just launched the "King Collection" line of tees.
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Stand By Me Headed To Blue Ray


As Stand By Me heads to Blue-Ray, Jessica Grabert writes, "The film was initially released in 1986 and features the late River Phoenix alongside Corey Feldman, Jerry O’Connell, Kiefer Sutherland, and Wil "Don't Call Me Wesley" Wheaton. Since no one back in the '80s was anticipating DVDs and recording special features, we’ll have to make do with a bunch of thrown-together “remember when” sequences." That's the bad news. I like her comment -- Will don't call me Wesley... haha! I love his role on Big Bang Theory.
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Grabert then shares the good news: "The features will include a picture-in-picture chat with director Rob Reiner, audio commentary, a featurette entitled “Walking the Tracks,” and the video for the epic song “Stand by Me.”
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The Other - OTHER Pet Cemetery

picture: http://honan.net/PetCem/
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Who would have thunk it! There's another one... Pet Cemetery, that is. And, to my delight, it's right here in the beautiful state of California -- San Francisco to be exact. But the city seems to sport two Pet Cemetery's! There is one just above Crissy field, at the corner of McDowell and Cowles. The other one is a secret! Well, not that big a secret. You can find it at the link below.
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Full Dark Journal 6: Fair Extension


I was excited to jump into Fair Extension, because so many have expressed that it was their favorite of the four Novella's in Full Dark No Stars. This one left me a little wide eyed. "Really!"
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In order for our cancer ridden protagonist, Dave Streeter, to extend his life (and get rid of cancer), he makes a deal with the devil: He will pay a tithe of his income to George Elvid -- aka: The Devil. He must also "do the dirty" to someone else. That is, someone must pay for his life extension.
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Theology:
I am again struck by the layers of theology here. Forgive me, I can't help it! Note: The concept of blood atonement (eye for eye, tooth for tooth, life for life), and the devil's price: 15%. A much steeper demand than the tenth (ie, tithing) demanded by God.
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So the deal is: The price is higher, but if you can live with yourself, the dark "blessings" can be counted ahead of time. I mean, think about it; you serve God, and you have to trust him to take care of you. You give to God, and believe He will bless. But God chooses the blessing (unless you're into TV preachers). So you have to trust God to know what you really need. But the Devil (at least in Fair Extension), is ready to give you exactly what you think you need. The price is higher, but the exchange is clearly stated up front.
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By the way, I don't think King is actually seeking to build a theology here. He's having fun. But he does it with skill and real depth.
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FAIR!
Now here's the catch: The devil turns out to be a fair trader. It's crazy, but it works. Streeter faithfully pays his dues, and watches over the years as disaster rains down on his frenemy. Probably the strangest thing about the novella is that Streeter feels no guilt. None! In fact, he watches with inner glee as his friends life unravels. I really like this. The simple exploration of a man who is so totally self focused, he is incapable of human compassion.
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For most of us, "doing the dirty" to someone else would take a huge toll on us emotionally. Even if we made the deal, we would experience intense guilt for bringing such harm on another person. But not Streeter! He's that rare creature who is perfectly matched to make a deal with the devil.
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Would Streeter do it again? You betcha! In fact, he wants more! Picture poor Oliver Twist holding out his bowl to the devil, "Please sir, I want more."
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NEEDFUL THINGS
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Elvid reminds me very much of Leland Gaunt. Needful Things was one of my favorite novels. It was brilliantly executed, in my opinion. An entire town was spun in circles by the manipulations of one wicked store proprietor. Of course, in that story the characters felt deep shame for their dealings with the devil. And old Gaunt didn't play fair.
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In Fair Extension, King narrows his focus. Instead of an entire town being the landscape, just one man and his relationships are looked at. I think it serves as a nice companion piece to Needful Things.

Morality



This is a great short story! Or novelette... or whatever you call this, it's good. I am becoming a big fan of King's shorter work; something I previously avoided. I am startled by just how strong King's writing is when developing a shorter work. See, I think I would be tempted to save my really good prose for the big novels. But King never holds out on the reader!
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More than simply a good read, Morality has two facets that are worth mentioning.
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First, it is tense -- really tense. I'm listening to it, and find that I sit in the car alone listening because I just have to know what's next. This story tightens with suspense that would make Hitchcock grin with approval.
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The story is also theologically engaging. King deals with subjects here that I thought only preachers really thought about. The idea of double sin -- the worst kind of sin -- is solid Bible. That is: The worst kind of sin is the kind that says: I know this is wrong, but I'll simply ask God to forgive me.
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King explores a subject that has become a common thread in his work -- the impact of sin on the individual. In that sense, Morality is very much like 1922. The real strength of the story is what Nora is asked to do in order to collect a very considerable payment. No, I won't tell you what it is. But, it's really not a big thing. Not murder. Not adultery. Not even on the list of the seven deadlies. It's just one small act. But that one small act changes Nora.
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The story is not about getting caught, it is about living with yourself after you've deliberately brought harm on another human. A justice system might not catch up, but a persons own happiness, pleasure, relationships and sanity are at stake just the same.
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There is a weakness in the story. The evil priest. Old men don't suddenly turn wicked, do they? In fact, men who have strived all their lives to please God tend to run harder that direction as they approach the judgement seat. Men who have run from God often continue in that direction; but the sudden turn toward evil seemed pressed to me. It was necessary to advancing the story.
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I found the story theologically deep. Like many of King's stories, I did not know at any point what was going to happen next. I made my drives to work extra long in order to listen to a little more of the story.

Reader 19: Review THE CRATE


Review by Reader 19 (TSK contributor). There are spoilers ahead. This review is primarily a summery of the story. It is not meant to take the place of ACTUALLY READING King's work. Now the reivew. . .
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The CrateKing does it again! Even though this is a newly published work, it was written early in his career. But definitely has the classic King style. There is some suspense and some scare and a bit of gore. You know it will be quite a tale when the main character Dex, has a tale to tell and there are two people dead.
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Oh and he is recounting his tale to his best friend Henry, who has an annoying wife, Wilma, who always tried to control him–this is key to the story at the very beginning even though you don’t know it yet.
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So here is the premise–the janitor and Dexter Stanley–Dex-- a Zoology professor are at the university during Summer break cleaning and moving things from an old classroom building to new one. The janitor finds a crate under the stairs–this is a returning theme in The Crate "under the stairs." The crate is very old, the date says 1832 on it. They carry this crate to the zoology lab-very heavy close to 200 pounds and it makes an odd sound when its moved.
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After some discussion, the janitor decides they should open it. The nails are evidence of a very old crate, square type nails, not shiny like they make now. He pulls off the first board–they can’t see inside. It is about halfway open by the time he removes the fourth board off the top–and now our fun begins. If you don’t want to know what happens next then don’t read any more but here part of the story. The janitor’s arm gets pulled inside the crate by something–something very strong with teeth and its begins to tear at his arm. Dex tries to free him but it is useless; the thing has a hold on him and is not letting go until he finishes his meal. The thing comes out of the crate eventually and tears at the janitor’s jugular to finish him off.
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More excitement and scare round out this brief story of horror. I was truly engaged throughout the whole story. One phrase he likes in this story is"squat and mute"–the character Dex seems to think the phrase sounds creepy. Cool, yes, but I am not sure it’s creepy.
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I like his descriptions of the moon in this story–just pay attention and you will see thery are very vivid.
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The wrap up was a surprise to me–but very cleverly done. The plot was never boring and neough gross out for those of you who like gross out. Just don’t forget King always introduces characters for a reason–that’s all I have to say about that.
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Overall, the story was well done. I liked his use of imagery and his descriptiveness throughout this brief story. There are some truly bloody descriptions after the creature has attacked.
One thing not explained however is the consistency in its description. The first encounter withe the creature it is" dry, brown and scaly" ,like a reptile. Then in the next encounters it is furry and has the head of a lynx has 6 legs and " eyes the color of an owl’s eyes only smaller." I am not sure how it got fur-- maybe it morphs-- I don’t know--but whatever, it is still a good tale.
It is amazing to me how well a guy who can write 1000 page books can also write short stories well. Well told, vivid story Mr. King!

Creepy Tribute To The King


picture: http://www.dreadcentral.com/news/41896/hail-king-stephen-king-tribute-art-show-heading-des-moines-iowa
Here's an interesting press release from Finders Creepers, a local book store in downtown Des Moines, Iowa.
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The press release:
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January 12, 2011 – Finder's Creepers and D. Ryan Allen Present: Hail to the KIng, a Stephen King Tribute Art Show featuring artists from across the country and around the world! This show will have an opening reception on January 22nd and will run through the end of February at Finder's Creepers, located in downtown Des Moines at 515 18th Street. This show includes numerous locally known artists as well as artists from across the nation and around the world.
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Artists included in this show are: Allison Hall, Anastasia Catris (UK), Andrew Barton, Brent Houzenga, Brian D (NY), Bryan Baugh of cryptlogic.net, D. Ryan Allen, DeAnna Herrington, Jacqueline Roate, Jeff Bonker, Jessica Pertzborn, Job Yamen, Joe Jones, Kelly Hutchison of DarkVomit.com, Kettle Art, KimB Kreatures, local film maker Kristian Day, László Lampert (Hungary), Lisa Beck, Lyndal Ferguson (KY), Misty Hover, Nate Fetus, Regina Riordan, Ryan Jon Gillispie, Satanimals, Shannon Gausten of Effectionhate, Shawn Palek, Tanner Saltzman and Van Holmgren.
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In addition to the horrific artwork, Jonathan Crowl (a local Des Moines Author) will be releasing his book "Alone with the Living Dead" for the first time to the public. The first ten people who purchase this book will also receive an original zombie illustration from Brad Askvig. For the opening reception, there will be horror movies on the big screen, horrific drinks and treats and in-store specials on all used horror books and horror tees!
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Shivers 6 Arrives!


Hooray for Cemetery Dance! Shivers 6 has arrived, and it looks great. I didn't realize the copy I bought was signed by Chizmar -- what a happy surprise. I have already dug in to The Crate, and look forward to reading all of these dark tales. I am also looking forward to reading Richard Thomas' story "Stillness." This is gonna be fun.

Wishing For A Runningman Remake

Zach Oat (The Moviefile) has a fun blog entry titled, "Schwarzenegger Remakes We'd Rather See Than Total Recall." And yes, there are plans in the works for a Total Recall Remake. So, in essence, they are Recalling Recall to make a new Recall. I agree wholeheartedly with Oats on this one, "Blasphemy!"
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Oats choices for Schwarzenegger remakes we'd rather see include:
  • Twins
  • Commando
  • Red Heat
  • Hercules in New York
  • The Running Man
About The Running Man, Oats writes, "The Running ManWe've suggested a Running Man remake before, but only to more accurately reflect the great Stephen King novella it's based on. In this case, we would stick to the ridiculous American Gladiators-esque storyline, cast Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the lead role, and increase the special effects budget to show a future where the gladiators are turned into actual superheroes, and not just guys wearing hockey gear and Christmas lights."
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Haha, "christmas lights" that's funny!
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I don't think budget was the problem. For what it was, I liked the movie. However, I do pine for a Stephen King / Richard Bachman version. See, it's just not the same story! The movie is good, but it's not one bit the one Bachman gave us. I remember being honestly on the edge of my seat as I read that little gem.
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My review of Running man: http://talkstephenking.blogspot.com/search/label/Running%20Man
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Oats blog entry: http://www.televisionwithoutpity.com/mwop/moviefile/2011/01/schwarzenegger-remakes-wed-rat.php

The Writer Is Worthy Of His Hire

I read an interesting article today titled, "Pay the writer." It had this theme, "Writing has become almost slave labor, with companies offering pennies for large scale jobs. Know what you are worth and how to get writing jobs that will pay off."
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Billy Ritchie explains in his article, "I actually get paid to sit and be creative and write all day, which according to Stephen King, is 'an agreeable thing to be able to do'."
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But truth is, Ritchie isn't so agreeable to the pay some companies want to offer for the written word. He agrees with Harlan Ellison -- the problem is all them dang amateurs! (My words). People who will take anything, any payment, any job -- and thus lower the standards for everyone else.
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Stephen King has discussed his problems at Doubleday. Even when his novels were making them loads of cash, they bound him up in contracts that would take years to pay off. It does bring to mind first Timothy 5:18, which says, "Do not muzzle the ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages ."
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This article actually makes me glad King is well paid for what he does. Why? Because it allows him to keep on doing it! Also, it gives us a glimpse into the deeper life of the person. What a person does with what they have says much more about them then what they say about themselves. What causes a person invests in says volumes about the inner person.
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I won't list King's charitable giving here, but if interested, you should do a search. I think you'll find he has a heart for artist who have fallen on hard times. Also, he did pay the way for a reserve unit to come home for Christmas a couple years ago. There's more, much more, and I would again suggest that a better picture of a persons inner self than a running chronicle of their thoughts or ideas or books. How we handle what we have says something about who we really are.
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http://www.buzzle.com/articles/pay-the-writer.html

The Mist rates "brilliantly depressing"


I enjoyed this article by Colin Covert titled, "Saluting some brilliantly depressing movies." Covert, writing for the Minneapolis Star Tribune, highlights The Mist as one of the brilliantly depressing movies.
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You know, I've got to agree -- the Mist fits right into that title. It is both brilliant and depressing. And, wonderfully horrific!
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Covert says, "the Stephen King horror novella "The Mist" becomes a classy, classic bummer in the hands of screenwriter/director Frank Darabont ("The Shawshank Redemption")."
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Classic bummer! That's good. By the way, on Lilja's recommendation, I'm still planning to watch this in black and white. The next quote that really caught my attention:
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The film is more focused on the flawed, fearful Maine townsfolk than the tentacled invaders, weaving an intense character study of how humans persevere -- or crumble -- in a hopeless situation.
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That is true of King's word, it's more about character than monster. One family member mentioned recently how much they did not like the monsters in the mist. Crazy! In fact, The Mist is one of my favorite stories because of the monsters. The town folk, in some instances, don't really do that much for me -- like the religious freak. But the monsters... oh my, that is sweet stuff my friends. I mean, as a horror fan, how do you beat nasty flesh eating tentacles sweeping out from a heavy mist? How? -- You don't!
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Covert says, "The finale is so shattering it's a wonder it ever wriggled through the studio system." Yeah, well, I'll just be quiet, since my views on that ending are already overstated.
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Check out the entire article here:
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Blockade Billy Journal 1


As I did with other books, I will not be offering a review of Blockade Billy. Lilja has a very nice one on his website. However, I find it easier to make notes as I read. Imagine the journal entries as a scrapbook, with notes from my favortie things.
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I like this book. However, like a lot of King's work, it was not love at first sight for me. I'm not a sports fan (come on, I'm a horror fan!). After about three tries, the magic finally fell.
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Stephen King is the perfect author for a story revolving around baseball. As an avid fan, King writes about something he knows well. His passion bleeds through this story.
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I really like the narration. It is an old man talking to Stephen King. It is written as if you are King, sitting in the chair listening to every word spoken. Even pauses for drinking water are recorded. And the narrator keeps mentioning King by name. That would get annoying if King did it in every novel, but it's kinda a nice change of pace in this little gem.

Number 19 again

Just started reading Blockade Billy. For real this time! Blockade Billy was #19 on his team.

Famous Monsters Movie Festival


Wow, right here in California! This is directly from vcstar.com:
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Famous Monsters of Filmland announced it’s first annual film competition and showcase: The Imagi-Movies Festival. The company announced the festival will be held at the Plaza Cinemas 14 in Oxnard on April 1-3.
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“The Imagi-Movies Festival will celebrate Forrest J. Ackerman’s legacy and his devotion to inspiring and evoking the imagination of storytellers,” announced Publisher Philip Kim. “The weekend will be filled with independent works that have been submitted to Famous Monsters alongside a great lineup of special features honoring the filmmakers and actors we have all come to love.”
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Along with the independent shorts and features from our submission finalists, the Imagi-Movies Festival will be the first stop in a series of Vincent Price Centennial celebrations in 2011. The celebration will include screenings of Vincent Price’s films, a presentation by his daughter Victoria Price, and special tributes from guests.
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Also featured at the festival is a Famous Monsters and The H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival compilation of Lovecraft films in honor of one of horror’s iconic writers. Another highlight will be a Stephen King Dollar Babies. Throughout the weekend we will showcase independent films based on the author’s short stories. Writers and directors from Stephen King’s feature films will be present. Upcoming horror films such as Universal’s “The Thing” will be showing exclusive previews.
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Filmmakers can still submit their short films, feature films or screenplays for the competition via Withoutabox and at Imagimovies.com by Feb. 28. Event tickets are now available for sale, and sponsorship opportunities are now open. “We’re honored to be holding the first Imagi-Movies Festival in the new year,” added Kim. “The film premieres still to be announced and celebrity guests we have planned are sure to be a hit for the fans.”
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With a publishing history spanning over 50 years, Famous Monsters of Filmland is the most well-known magazine devoted to fan-oriented coverage of horror, fantasy and science fiction. Features range from previews of upcoming films to respectful looks back at film history, interviews with the principal personalities in genre and in-depth behind-the-scenes discussions of specialized aspects of film production, including visual and makeup effects.
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http://www.famousmonstersconvention.com/

Is Naomi Harris headed for Dark Tower?

photo: http://www.thebahamasweekly.com/publish/bahamas-international-film-festival/Naomie_Harris_named_as_BIFF_2007_Rising_Star_Honoree.shtml
Mike Moody at digital spy has a short article (citing New York Post) suggesting that Naomie Harris is being considered for the part of Susannah Dean in the Dark Tower film trilogy. Moody says that Harris previously appeared in the Pirates of the caribbean films, 28 Days Later and Miami Vice.
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Last Rung Of The Ladder To Be Filmed


Andrew Neff at Bangor Daily News has posted an article titled, "NESCom students to film Stephen King short story."
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Students at Bangor's New England School Of Communications will be filming King's shrot story "The Last Rung On The Ladder." The story has been previously filmed, and this production is going to be pretty low key. However, they are hoping that King's name on the project will be a head turner."
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The story revolves around a man who learns his sister has killed herself. He remembers a summer when they were children and the ladder broke as she climbed to the loft. She jumps, at his insistance, and falls into a pile of hay. But she insists that she had forgotten abotu the hay and was simply trusting him. The story uses the theme of falling. The woman saved as a girl from falling off a ladder, later falls from a building. Her brother realizes years later that just as she needed him to save her as a child, she was once again in need of him.
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Stephen King Apps


So... Not being real tech savvy, I actually know next to nothing about apps. Except my wife thinks they're super cool, and is waiting for a shoe identification app like the one Penny and Sheldon were developing on Big Bang Theory. This got me to wondering, are there any Stephen King apps?
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I did not find a lot. There is a Stephen King quote app. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't really read a lot of Stephen King quotes. I read the entire book! I guess I could find piffy quotes, but I don't really get it. Sorry. Except, of course, the quotes I put all over my blog! Which is all of, uh ONE!
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But wait. . . the app isn't what it appears. The website offered this explanation: "The Stephen King Quotes app is actually a quiz app. And although the quotes are written by Stephen King, they’re quotes from his books – the 50+ plus books that he’s written. Some are very easy and can be answered just by looking at the character’s names or by trying to deduce the situation that’s currently taking place in the quote. The quote “Smucky the Cat. Now he was obedient,” can easily be guessed that the quote comes from Pet Sematary. However,other quotes such as simply, “Sally,” are a bit more difficult."
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On another note, you can download Stephen King books to your phone. Is there something seriously messed up about reading CELL on your cellphone?
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Is A Christmas Carol Stephen King territory?


Dr. James Emery White has an interesting article on crosswalk.com titled, "The Real Christmas Carol."
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Get this line from Emery's post, "when I first read the novel itself, after viewing various editions of the movie, I was shocked. Scrooge was not the buffoonish, almost cartoon-like character some of the movies made him out to be. He was genuinely evil. Cruel. Malicious. He was a dark and sinister. The story actually reads more like a Stephen King novel."
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I've been noticing connections between the two authors for years. And while Christmas Carol is a ghost story, understand the exact connection Emery is making -- it's an important one. He is not saying that the novel is like a Stephen King novel because it's a ghost story, but because of the strong characters.
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Redemption?
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There's another connection that is buried deeper in the article. In fact, I don't know if Emery means to be making this connection, but it has to do with redemption. As Christmas Carol is a story of redemption, many of King's stories are also redemptive in nature.
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However, while Dickens shows us a man turning from evil to the Light, King's redemption is usually a bit different. Redemption in a King novel has more to do with the innocent finding freedom or justice. It is rare in the Stephen King universe for a truly evil person to see the error of their way and turn. Of course, even Dickens had to employ three ghosts in order to get Scrooge to turn.
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If there is one story in the King cannon that offers Christmas Carol like redemption, it would have to be the Dark Tower. On the second journey, will Roland once again betray Jake? Will he continue to make the same mistakes? Or has he been changed? I don't think villain in the dark tower is not so much Walter or any other monster -- it is Roland himself. he is capable of both great wrong and good. He is strong, and for an unknown reason, is given a second chance at his journey. Wouldn't we all like that!
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Get this: I'm saying that in the S.K. universe, Luke is more likely to go over to the darkside than Anakin turn from evil.
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Not so redemptive:
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Of course, the message of Christmas Carol has a dark side. Not just ghost appearing to Scrooge, but Marley is chained in death, weighed down in a miserable pit. Or, at least, that's what the Disney movie conveys! I didn't exactly get that from the book.
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2011 Book Chick Challenge: Read More Stephen King


Can you read at least six Stephen King books this year? Sure you can. I mean, even if you're a slow reader, you could opt for Blockade Billy and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. Book Chick has issued a challenge to read more Stephen King -- and she's dead serious.
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Book Chick writes, "Welcome to The 2011 Stephen King Challenge! I love horror, and I've loved every Stephen King book I've read. Unfortunately that's not that many. I really want to read more books written by this amazing author, which is why I created this challenge. So, if like me you want to delve further into the dark imagination of Stephen King, then join me in my quest!"
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My list (which is subject to change at my own whims)
1. The Stand
2. IT
3. Lisey's Story
4. Blockade Billy
5. Duma Key
6. The Talisman (I'm going to try this again. )
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WISH LIST:
1. Dr. Sleep
2. Wind Through The Keyhold
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My chosen format will be audio. Thank God for Audible! I'm only opting for six because I'm a slow reader, and I'm choosing long books. Now if Doubleday could help me out and get The Stand published in audio, all would be good.
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Of course, this all leads to a simple question: Is more really better? Every year I used to take on that challenge to read the Bible in a year. I've read the whole Bible, but never in a year! I'm not sure speed reading is the right pace. But anyway, I'm ready to go!
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My Choice For Roland

Well, there's a frenzy in Hollywood as Ron Howard seeks to fill the role of the Gunslinger. Who will be the face of Roland for us? I see a lot of suggestions. Of course, I've always had my own version of the crusty, determined, introverted gunslinger. .
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They'll never cast him, because he's too old and elderly. But you know, they can do some nice things with computers these days. to pull this off would require George Lucas, not Ron Howard. But then, I would have also chosen Lucas to have directed the series. Look, we've learned from Lucas that if he really screws a movie up, he'll just go back and edited it later!
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So my choice is:


EW: It was fun


Stephen King's 7 year commitment to his EW column The Pop Of King has come to an end. He's been an energetic, insightful writer for EW -- and it's been a lot of fun. King brought things to an end by giving a nod to Microwave Dave & the Nuke's, a Huntsville blues band.
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Kyle Buchanan at nymag.com has a neat article titled, "What We Learned About Stephen King During His Seven-Year Entertainment Weekly Stint."
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Buchanan's insights include the fact that King isn't always the most contemporary reader and that he would be an interesting person to sit next to in the theater. Also, he notes that King is not afraid to love "junky" movies. That's great! And I totally agree. I really like this line, "He uses many turns of phrase that would feel just as convincing if they came from a 13-year-old Corey Feldman."
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LINKS:
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Microwave Dave & The Nukes on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEiQMOOc9Zo
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