Reader 19: A Short Review Of MILE 81




Mile 81 hits a home run

King has done it again with his latest short story Mile 81. The story revolves around an almost 11 yr old boy (no new territory here), Pete, who longs to be accepted by his older brother. Set once again in Maine, it takes place almost entirely at the abandoned Mile 81 rest area. I am not sure what King’s latest fascination with rest areas is, but his previous story Henry Woulk is Still Alive also takes place in a rest stop, yet it is not abandoned.

The rest area is vividly described in great detail and you really feel like you are walking around with Pete, knowing, as the reader however, that his little curious jaunt into the deserted Burger King will become much more than he had planned when he went out that day, and yet, a day he will never forget. But when his story of what happened to those 4 adults that day is finally told, who will belieive him but his brother and best friend.

I think it is amazing that King knows a child’s mind and speech so well. Again, like so many of his stories, the protagonist is a boy. If you are an adult in this story, you better watch your step, you might as well consider yourself a security guard dressed in red beaming down with captain Kirk.

King uses a lot of foreshadowing in this story–I think so that as the reader you don’t get attached to the adults. A insurance salesman, a lesbian ranch owner, and a young married couple with kids all fall vicitm to King’s latest monster, a muddy driverless station wagon. Once again, it’s the kids who are the heroes in the story.

A quick read–read all but a couple of pages in one sitting. Liked having it on my kindle.

Oh yeah–and it cam with a e book preview of 11/22/63.

So next time you see a muddy stationwagon–watch out! You never know what may happen.

Correction: Dryden Theater's Screening Of THE SHINING

I want to correct an earlier post.

Oct 22 and Oct 23 the Dryden Theater will be showing Kubrick's "The Shining."  This version does not include the extra two minutes that Kubrick cut at the end of the film; it is the142-minute extended U.S. version that includes footage Mr. Kubrick subsequently cut from the European release.

Thank you, Dresden Engle for the clarification.

Hey! You Can't Read THAT!



The Barrington public library had an interesting event. . . a banned book reading.  It's not like it is hard to find a book that's been banned by someone.  According to Kathryne Tirrell at BarringtonPatch, guests read passages from banned books, listened to music and ate some tasty food Sunday evening. 

So what were the naughty books they read from?  Lady Chatterley's Lover?  The Awakening?  Nope.  Try Dav Pilkey's "Captain Underpants" , VC Andrews' "Flowers in the Attic" (that was a messed up / good book) , Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five" , Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle In Time" , and Stephen King's first novel, "Carrie."

Doesn't reading a book you know is banned make it taste just a little bit better?  Just the sheer naughtiness of it is delightful.  In High School, it was great when teachers would screw up their noses and say, "you read Stephen King?"  Implying that I was wasting my time.  But think about this, King is just now getting some serious attention as a truly great writer. . . and I'm about 30 novels ahead of my English teachers!  I believe the correct word is "moo-hahhahaha!!!"

More Dr. Sleep

Again, this is a youtube upload of King reading from Dr. Sleep. 

I really like the segment he read, it is very funny.  I am always taken aback that King is free to talk directly to the reader in his text.  It feels like there is a rule, somewhere, that you can't do that.  Note the way the clip begins -- he's talking so directly to the reader that it sounds like he's actually reading a speech to the audience.  That's one reason we love Stephen King!  He writes as if he were writing only for me.  The magic in King's writing is when it feels like he's just sitting across the table, telling you this messed up story, making you laugh and curl up in fear at the same time.

Oh yeah. . . here's the clip.  I'm posting this because it is much closer than previous posts.  Gigantic thanks to those of you who not only attended, but recorded for the rest of us to enjoy.

King Reads From Dr. Sleep

I just saw this at Lilja's Library, which has posted a segment of Stephen King reading from his current project, Dr. Sleep. 

King's Currently Writing Dr. Sleep

FairfaxCityPatch has an article on King's appearance at George Mason University's Center for the Arts, where King accepted the "Mason Award."  It is chalk full of King news.

Dr. Sleep Is Next!



At the ceremony, King revealed (and read from) the book he is currently writing -- Dr. Sleep!  King said, "I've always wondered what happened to that kid in The Shinning."  Well, over 30 years later, we'll find out!  I am really, really looking forward to this book. 

Where Do Idea's Come From?


Larson says that King related that King did not intentionally become America's boogie-man.  This lead him to share  some thoughts on why he writes what he writes.  Of course, there is his usual answer, he doesn't really get to chose what he writes.  He shares the basis for IT was distantly related to the Three Billy Goats gruff.  IT was intended to be his final word on kids and monsters.  He also notes that he doesn't know where some ideas come from. 

"In some ways the mother force [of my writing] comes from the horror comics of the 1950's," he said.  He also cited such influences as Edgar Allan Poe (Tell Tale Heart in particular) and H.P. Lovecraft's "The Rats In The Wall."  (I shiver at just the title!)

Here is what King said about his upcoming 11/22/63:

King said he tried to write this book in 1972, but the wounds were too fresh and the research required was too great for a kid his age at the time. "I was about 17 when Kennedy was assasinated," he said. "For us back then, that was our 9/11."


So What's Left?

Larson says that when King was asked if he ever leaves projects unfinished, the answer is yes.  Of course, we knew that.  But the number is a surprise -- about 40!  One of them includes a half written novel titled "Hatchet Head."  Sounds interesting.

Larson's full article is at FairfaxPatch

Pet Sematary Book Signing


I like this stuff. . .

This is probably from 1983.

Check out those hardcover copies of Pet Sematary and Christine.  In the news story, King says he doesn't know why people to it.  Of course, if any of those people still ahve their signed copies of either of those books, they're worth a lot now!  At the time King was just hitting the scene really big. 

New Orleans -- Here Comes Stephen King

Stephen King will be in New Orleans on Saturday, November 12 at The Academy of the Sacred Heart's Nims Fine Arts Center.  The event is $35, which is the price of the book.

This is the information from their website:



Octavia Books presents An Evening with Stephen King on Saturday, November 12, 2011. The event will be held at The Academy of the Sacred Heart's Nims Fine Arts Center, 4301 St. Charles Avenue (at Napoleon Avenue). Doors will open at 6:30 PM and the program will start promptly at 7:30 PM. Stephen King will do a reading, talk, and take questions from the audience.
Note: A total of 250 first editions of 11/22/63 will be signed by Stephen King prior to the event and will be blended in randomly with the copies available to all ticket holders. 
octaviabooks.com

King To Be Presented "Mason Award"



C-SPAN's Book TV is presenting Stephen King with the Mason Award.  According to their website, King will also be delivering a lecture as part of the award ceremony. 

Here is the information as posted at C-SPAN:
Author Stephen King is this year's Mason Award recipient. The award, presented annually at the Fall for the Book festival hosted by George Mason University and the City of Fairfax (Virginia), honors authors who have made "extraordinary contributions to bringing literature to a wide reading public." Past recipients include Chinua Achebe, Sherman Alexie, and Greg Mortenson. Mr. King will deliver a lecture following the award presentation.
Stephen King, a former high school English teacher, is the author of many novels, including "Carrie," "Misery," and the forthcoming "11/22/63." His non-fiction work includes "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft" and "Secret Windows." Mr. King was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2003. For more, visit: stephenking.com.

WATCH ONLINE LIVE FRIDAY @ 7:30pm ET: Fall for the Book Mason Award Presentation to Stephen King

What King Teaches As He Writes

Kathy Ceceri has a great post at GeekDad titled "Happy Birthday, Stephen King — Writing Instructor Extraordinaire."  She shares how she moved from being a "literary snob" (her words) to "a Stephen King fan."

So what got Ceceri interested in King?  Her kids!  She says she and her kids listen to a lot of Stephen King!  "By now, we’ve listened to so many that we have started to become scholarly experts on the short fiction of Stephen King."

Here is a summery of her critique of King's writing:
  • King is both kid and adult friendly.   Not too flowery and easy to understand.
  • He paces his stories.
  • King's early works are examples of "pulp fiction."
  • His stories are beginning to get excessively long.  Or, as Ceceri puts it -- "flabby."   This is funny, and relates to the pacing, "If you’re sitting in the car listening to them (and hence can’t easily skip ahead), it’s like being stuck in traffic when you can see your destination up ahead."  Of course, she raises the question -- does anyone still edit Stephen King?  The short answer is: Yes.
  •  His dialogue is always a little off (not "convincing"). She ponders if this could be purposeful.
She concludes with this birthday well wish: "For the kids and me, the work of Stephen King isn’t just a terrific way to pass the time; they’re great lessons in how to write fiction. So Happy Birthday, Stephen King! Your fans, unwitting or not, salute you."

The article is HERE.

Summary Of Upcoming Movie Projects




Here is an interesting article titled "13 ways Stephen King Could (Soon) Scare The Crap Out Of Us."  I've included the news portion of each movie, but check out the entire article.

1. UNDER THE DOME: "King is joining sci-fi movie legend Steven Spielberg to bring his latest story to life. The show is described as a supernatural thriller and is currently being developed for Showtime."

2. THE DARK TOWER: "What can we say about The Dark Tower that hasn't already been said? The ambitious movie-turned-TV-series-turned-movie-again has had its fair share of roadblocks. Ron Howard has been trying to get the film off the ground, but budget issues are forcing him to seek new financiers. It's not dead, but it's currently in limbo."

3. BAG OF BONES: "Unlike The Dark Tower, Bag of Bones has a solid cast, a green light and studio backing. The novel is being adapted into a TV movie for A&E and will star Pierce Brosnan as the unlucky writer and Jason Priestley as his literary agent. Priestley just can't stay away from Stephen King, can he? After working on Haven, he must have caught the supernatural bug!"

4. CARRIE: "Earlier this year, it was confirmed that Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (who worked on Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark and the graphic novel version of The Stand) was taking on the latest incarnation of Carrie. His version will supposedly be closer to King's novel than Brian De Palma's 1976 take. If you've read the book, you know that Sissy Spacek looks absolutely NOTHING like Carrie. But that's the magic of Hollywood for you!"

5. IT: "In 2009, it was reported that Warner Bros. was set to make an R-rated version of the film, with Dave Kajganich writing the screenplay. He will attempt to give the story new life as a single movie instead of spreading it out over multiple sequels. In other words, the remake will cut the fat."

6. CELL: "In 2007, it was announced that Eli Roth was bringing Cell to the big screen, but he dropped out two years later. In 2009, King himself claimed that it was still moving along, and there are reports that it could be adapted into a miniseries. Cell is still listed as in development on IMDB Pro, which means someone out there is keeping it alive."

7. THE STAND: "In 1994, the novel was turned into a TV miniseries that starred Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald and Rob Lowe. Harry Potter's David Yates and Steve Kloves are in talks with Warner Bros. to direct and write the remake, which could be produced as a trilogy."

8. 11/22/63 : "Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme bought the rights to 11/22/63 and is set to write, produce and direct the film adaptation. So far he hasn't found a studio to distribute it, but he's still aiming to start production in fall 2012."

9. PET SEMATARY: "Earlier this year, we learned that Paramount had plans to remake the film with Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Steven Schneider producing. And a few weeks ago it was reported that Alexandre Aja (Piranha 3D) was their top choice to direct. We're not sure how closely King will be involved (if at all), but we do know the studio is still developing it. Why? Because when movies about vampires and werewolves die down, cats, dogs and possessed children are next in line."

10. FIRE STARTER: "The book was originally adapted in 1984 with Drew Barrymore in the title role, and then Syfy produced a sequel in 2002 called Rekindled. But now a reboot is on the way that will supposedly have a little more edge. In December 2010, Mark L. Smith (Vacancy) was hired to write the script."

11. THE TALISMAN: "The Talisman has been developed, killed off and then redeveloped again for several years. First as a miniseries for TNT and then as a feature film. The movie is still on hold, but the graphic-novel adaptation hit shelves over a year ago."

12. THE TEN 0'CLOCK PEOPLE: "Director E.J. Meyers is shooting an independent adaptation of The Ten O'Clock People that's scheduled to start shooting in Rhode Island this fall."

13. CREEPSHOW: "Creepshow was a sleeper hit that spawned a few sequels and a graphic novel. In 2008 a pilot was shot for a Creepshow TV series called RAW, and Warner Bros. is supposedly interested in producing a remake of the original film. But no further developments have been announced."


SOURCE: HERE

More Details Emerge About The Dark Tower's Cancellation


Ryan Nakashima at Associated Press has an article titled "Hollywood cutting back on big budget movies" in which he references the Dark Tower movie cancellation.
In July, two major projects were stopped mid-stream because of budget pressures. The Walt Disney Co. halted "The Lone Ranger," starring Johnny Depp, even though sets were already half-built in New Mexico. Universal pulled out of "The Dark Tower," a three-movie, two-TV-series colossus based on books by Stephen King. 
A person familiar with Disney's thinking said the budget on "The Lone Ranger" was creeping north of $250 million, and the company wanted to shave it to around $200 million. 
Universal, which became a unit of cable TV provider Comcast Corp. this year, withdrew from "The Dark Tower" because of problems with the business model, according to another person, who is familiar with that matter.

Nakashima goes on to explain why big budget films aren't being produced anymore.  A hint. . . it has to do with DVD sales and the "DVD boom."  Did you know there was a DVD boom?  I didn't! 

He also offers this note on the Dark Tower,
The producers of The Dark Tower are faced with raising money and finding another studio to distribute the series. Producer Ron Howard said in a statement sent to The Associated Press, "we are continuing to be actively working on the project." Howard and his co-producer Brian Grazer face a tough fight. Not only did they produce the money-losing "Cowboys & Aliens," but Hollywood's love of sequels tends to fade quickly if the first installment fails to perform.

Link: David Roth's Review Of UR

David Roth at Tampa Writing Examiner has a nicely written review of UR.  More than that, he is actually excited about this book.

Mr. Roth spends quite a bit of time lecturing us lowly drones on his high standards for writers.  He doesn't just read anyone, ya know.  And if someone's writing doesn't grab his attention, they're ouuut!  The writers brief on Roth says, "David Roth is a writer, poet, photographer and gourmet chef with an opinion about almost everything."  I do believe that comes across. 

Roth's lecturing aside, I enjoyed his column very much.  He concludes by giving UR a "enthusiastic 5 stars." 

Roth writes, "The last time Stephen King nailed me to my chair in a single sitting reading was when I read The Stand for about the fifth time. In ways I haven’t enjoyed in decades, King’s matchless prose held me riveted to my screen. This was the Stephen King I remember from his early books, when he seemed to be having fun writing and fun poking fun at himself along the way. This is a witty King writing at his witty best. Not to put too fine a point on it, but this was just plain fun to read."

Add to Roth's credits: Only man on earth to have read the Stand in a "single sitting reading."

Info and Quotes From TCM's A Night At The Movies


October 3rd is going to be great!  That's when TCM is running "A Night at the Movies: Horror with Stephen King." 

The lineup looks awesome!  Interesting, all the movies currently listed are before 1936 and go back as far as 1919.  I guess A Nightmare On Elm Street and Friday the 13th just didn't rank up there for King! 

TCM will first run the documentary, then it's on to a parade of wonderful horror films.  Frankenstein, The Phantom Of The Opera, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

These are the movies TCM will be running in conjunction with the documentary, I'm including TCM's notes on the movies, because I find them helpful:
8:00 PM TCM "Night at the Movies: Horror" (2011)
9:00 PM Frankenstein (1931)  TCM offers this note: Long-censored footage, restored in 1987, enhances the impact of several key scenes, including the drowning of a little girl. Based on Mary Shelley's novel.
10:15 PM Freaks (1932)  A unique movie about a traveling sideshow and the camaraderie of its unusual performers, goaded to vengeance by cruel trapeze star Baclanova. Horror-film master Tod Browning gathered an incredible cast of real-life sideshow freaks for this bizarre and fascinating film. Severely cut in U.S. during release and banned in the U.K. for 30 years, some reissue prints are missing brief epilogue; aka NATURE'S MISTAKES. 
11:30 PM TCM "Night at the Movies: Horror" (1911)
12:30 AM Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932)  Exciting, floridly cinematic version of famous story with March in Oscar-winning portrayal of tormented doctor, Hopkins superb as tantalizing Ivy. Beware of 82m. re-issue version.
  2:15 AM Mark of the Vampire (1935)  inspector Atwill, vampire expert Barrymore investigate. Beautifully done, with an incredible ending. Remake of Browning's silent LONDON AFTER MIDNIGHT.
  3:30 AM The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1919)  Somewhat stiff but still fascinating German Expressionist film about ``magician'' Caligari and hypnotic victim who carries out his evil bidding. Landmark film still impresses audiences today. Remade in 1962.
  4:45 AM Nosferatu (1922)  Early film version of Dracula is brilliantly eerie, full of imaginative touches that none of the later films quite recaptured. Schreck's vampire is also the ugliest in film history. The making of this film is dramatized in SHADOW OF THE VAMPIRE. Remade in 1979.
  6:15 AM Phantom of the Opera (1925)  Classic melodrama with Chaney as the vengeful composer who lives in the catacombs under the Paris Opera House and kidnaps young Philbin as his singing protegee. Famous unmasking scene still packs a jolt, and the Bal Masque is especially impressive in two-color Technicolor. One of Chaney's finest hours. Most prints are of the 1929 reissue version, but the original is available on DVD; running times vary. Remade several times, and transformed into a Broadway musical.

Here are some of King's quotes (from dread central) 

No one really knows what makes horror work:
"The horror genre is an extremely delicate thing. You can talk to filmmakers and even psychologists who’ve studied the genre, and even they don’t understand what works or what doesn’t work. More importantly, they don’t understand why it works when it works."
It's all about the characters:
"Horror movies often work better when we have a stake in the game. The more we care about the characters, the more human they are to us, the more appealing they are to us and the more effective the horror tends to be."
The Changeling Overlooked:
"The ghost story movie that scared me the most was The Changeling with George C. Scott. I think that’s sometimes overlooked, but it’s a wonderful piece of work."
About Carrie:
"Carrie was a terrific piece of work. At the end of the movie comes, when Amy Irving kneels down to put the flowers on Carrie’s grave, a hand comes up through the grave and seizes her by the arm. The audience went to the roof, totally to the roof. It was just the most amazing reaction. And I thought, ‘We have a monster hit on our hands. Brian De Palma has done something new. He’s actually created a shock ending that shocks an audience that was ready for a horror film.’ And there were several people who did it after that."
TCM offers the following information:

Stephen King discusses how he discovered terror at the movie theater. He takes viewers on a journey through many aspects of the horror genre, including vampires, zombies, demons and ghosts. He also examines the fundamental reasons behind moviegoers' incessant craving for being frightened. Along the way, he discusses the movies that have had a real impact on his writing, including Freaks (1932), Cat People (1942), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Night of the Living Dead (1968) and The Changeling (1980).

NPR Top 100 SciFi And Fantasy Books



This August NPR posted the results of a survey that asked readers Science-Fiction and Fantasy books.  There were 5,000 nominations, and 50,000 votes.  So how did Stephen King do?  I mean, you could get washed out in 5,000 nominations!  NPR.org

Two King novels appear in the list:
#23 The Dark Tower Series
#25 The Stand

Of course, #1 on the list was The Lord of the Rings.

Here are some other beloved books that hit the NPR chart:
#2 The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy  (Really, this beat the Dark Tower and The Stand?)
#4 The Dune Chronicles
#6 1984
#7 Fahrenheit 451
#9 Brave New World
#11 The Princess Bride
#12 The Wheel Of Time Series
#13 Animal Farm
#16 I, Robot
#19 Slaughterhouse-Five
#20 Frankenstein
#24 2001: A Space Odyssey
#27 The Martian Chronicles
#28 Cat's Cradle
#30 A Clockwork Orange
#31 Starship Troopers
#36 The Time Machine
#37 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea
#39 The War Of The Worlds
#63 The Road
#65 I Am Legend
#70 The Time Traveler's Wife
#72 Journey To The Center Of The Earth
#79 Something Wicked This Way Comes
#80 Wicked
#91 The Illustrated Man
#96 Lucifer's Hammer
#100 The Space Trilogy

So where are. . . The Chronicles Of Narnia, Ben Bova's "Mars" and The Tommyknockers, HUH?!  Really. 

Okay, how many of these were required reading in school?  We had to read: Animal Farm and Cat's Cradle.  I'm not sure any of us understood Cat's Cradle at the time, we just  knew our English teacher was totally excited that we got to study this.

More On THE SHINING's Alternate Endings

Yesterday I posted a short bit of news about the alternate ending of Kubrick's The Shining.  I really appreciated a link Bev Vincent shared that gave some more information on the cut scene from The Shining, HERE.  (So yes, file this under. . . Bev Vincent still knows all things Stephen King!  I have no idea how he found this, but it's awesome.)


From The Kubrick Archives

The website offers the following information:
Any Kubrickphile given the opportunity will tell you there were in fact three versions of The Shining—the original release included a brief scene of Ullman visiting Danny and Wendy in hospital, where he assures Wendy that searchers have found no evidence of the supernatural events she had witnessed, and tries to convince her that her experiences were in her mind. It appeared between the final shot of Jack frozen in the maze and the long track shot closing in on the 4th of July photo.



This scene was cut from the film days after its first release (when it was only playing in a small number of theatres—this was typical of release patterns of the day, as opposed to today's "wide releases" that require thousands of prints); the cuts were made by hand from those prints, presumably by projectionists at the theatres, as well as from the internegatives that all subsequent prints were made from.


Consensus from those who saw the scene is that the film is better off without it. By taking viewers out of the conflict between the Overlook and the Torrence family the final menace of the hotel was weakened, and it unnecessarily pulled Ullman into that conflict (after ignoring him since the first act). The audience reaction was clearly not what Kubrick wanted, and so the scene was removed at the first opportunity. It has never been seen since, and presumably only survives in a vault in the Kubrick family's estate.


Two actors are still listed in the end credits, however: Burnell Tucker (the notably odd Clavius Base photographer in 2001) as a policeman, and Robin Pappas as a nurse.


None of the dialogue for the scene is available in any form. Three continuity polaroids from the sequence however appear in Alison Castle's The Stanley Kubrick Archives

Another Alternate Ending:


There is another alternate ending of The Shining.  This one is an alternate ending of the novel.  It belongs solely in Stephen King's mind!

In Tim Underwood's book, Stephen King Goes To Hollywood, he includes some really interesting quotes from King about The Shining.
"The Shining' was open right until the end. I didn't know what was going to happen until the very end. The shows in the book. The original plan was for them all to die up there and for Danny to become the controlling force o the hotel after he died. And the psychic force of the hotel would go up exponentially. . . But I got connected with the kid.
In the first draft of the book Jack beats his wife to death with the mallet and it was blood and brains and everything. It was really just terrible and I couldn't do it. I couldn't leave it that way." S.K. Goes To Hollywood, p.76
I sure would like to read that draft!  Sounds like fun.

I am glad King didn't kill Danny!  After all, many of us are still hoping for Dr. Sleep, which is supposed to focus in on the character as a young man.  I blieve King has even toyed with the idea of having Danny meet up with Charlie from Firestarter.  That would be totally awesome!

New York Theater To Show THE SHINING With Alternate Ending



Rochester New York's Dryden Theater is showing Kubrick's The Shining -- like you've never seen it before.  This version includes "coda cut from the original release." 

Drew Grant at the New York Observer notes that Stanley Kubrick was a perfectionist. "The Shining is actually in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most number of takes of a single scene. With that type of fascist filmmaking, you know that anything left on the cutting room floor of the 1980 Stephen King film was cut for a reason."

Grant directs readers to IMDB contributors express excitement at the new footage, saying ". . . it'll be the first time the footage has been seen since the original theatrical showing and before Kubrick had it removed."  But they also spot a problem, "The only discrepancy here seems to be the running time they list. 142 minutes. That's the running time for the normal longer version. The Version including the Coda should be 146 minutes."

FANGORIA: Review Of Mile 81



Here is a review of Stephen King's short e-story "Mile 81" from Fangoria contributor Trevor Parker.  He gives the story three out of four deadly skulls.  Not bad.

Parker gives us a helpful list of King's ebook works, including: The Plant, Riding the Bullet, UR and the chapters from The Cannibals.  I really enjoyed what I read of the Cannibals.  A lot. 

So, Mr. Parker, does Mile 81 belong with the Full dark, No Stars, body of work?  Is it dark, terrible, depressing and just generally nasty?  No sir!  This darling belongs in the likes of Skeleton Crew:
"MILE 81 reads like a ricochet from King’s early short-fiction period, a time when he sold his terse supernatural thrillers to whichever magazine editor valued lurid shock over good taste. If not for the inclusion of modern touchstones like iPads and Justin Bieber, MILE 81 could easily tuck inside King’s 1985 collection SKELETON CREW and not disrupt the tenor of that classic book one smidgen."
Okay, go read the review!

11/22/63 Excerpt


Simon and Schuster has posted some excerpts of King's upcoming novel, 11/22/63.  HERE.

It looks to me like the same excerpt that was earlier posted at Dread Central.

September 11th And The Dark Tower




Our World Tied To The Dark Tower
The last three Dark Tower novels not only pick up the pace of the story, they began to pull things together.  Three things are tied together by the Dark Tower: King's own life, the Dark Tower and our world's history.  These three things are tied together in a not so neat knot.

Stephen King The Character

Stephen King makes himself a character in the Dark Tower.  It is one of my favorite sections of the book!  Fictional Stephen King darting all through a Dark Tower novel! 

In The Song of Susanna, Stephen King’s life becomes intertwined with the world of the Dark Tower. It is not an instance of King falling into the book -- the direction such plots usually take. In the Dark Tower, the book comes to him! Roland enters our world searching his creator.

I love the scene where Roland Deschain finds Stephen King.  The Gunslinger's reaction is delightful.  He actually has twinge of dislike for his creator -- that's Brilliant!  No one but Stephen King would have had the guts to do that.


The Towers:

In a sense we are all part of the Dark Tower narrative.  How?  We all have the shared experience of September 11, 2001.  Certainly those killed were most directly impacted, but the nation and world were tied together in that single event.  We all saw it together.  We experienced it together. And so the nation and the world are invited into the Dark Tower to imagine a twist.

What if the villains in the Dark Tower played a role in the destruction of the Twin Towers?

No longer did the Dark Tower simply loom over Roland – it looms over all of us.

In New York of 1999, Jake and Father Callahan need to destroy black thirteen.  How can they remove such an item?  They hide the item in a locker inside the world Trade Center.  Naturally, when the towers fall, Black 13 will be destroyed with them.


Bev Vincent explains,
The idea is that Black 13 will be buried at the bottom of tons of rubble and will therefore be out of anyone's reach. As Callahan says, "one glass ball under a hundred and ten stories of concrete and steel? Even a glass ball filled with deep magic? That'd be one way to take care of the nasty thing, I guess."
I love the way King draws our world together with the world of fiction.  Not just his own life, he boldly grabs events we all have an emotional connection to.

Cliff Robertson dies


Cliff Robertson, who played Peter Paerk's Uncle Ben in the Spider Man movies, died today.  Robertson had a long career that included The Twilight Zone (A Hundred Yards Over The Rim), and several movies.  He was the lonely farmer in Stephen King's "Riding The Bullet" who offered to give Alan that nice ride.

Willa Trailer 2

This is from the 2012 film, Willa.  I like this trailer best so far.

How much can a cowboy movie cost?



It appear that Roland's world has moved on. . . without us.  Deadline reports that Universal has purchased David Guggenheim's 364.  And who is going to head the project?  Ron Howard.  As new and very complicated projects emerge for Howrd, it makes us wonder what happened to the Tower.  Universal flinched -- but what about Howard? He couldn't find anyone to take on the movies? 

Howard is going to say that he's still working on it.  But not full time, 24/7.  He's off doing new stuff.  I'm not sulking here, no sir!  But I am wondering if he understands the ENTIRE UNIVERSE rests on the Dark Tower. 

Why is it so hard to get a studio to do the Dark Tower?  Money.
Disney recently had to give up plans for the Lone Ranger because they said the budget was too big.  Now, come on!  The Lone Ranger is about a masked guy, his horse and his Indian friend. 

Makes me wonder: Just how much does it cost to make a cowboy flick these days? 

The first gunslinger novel isn't much more than a cowboy story!  Even the drawing of the Three isn't big bucks stuff.  Has no one realized that once they've made the first movie, they can start raking in the money to make the next. 

The first book really does have a wild west feel. Let's see, what could bazooka the price right on up there?  The Battle of Tull?  Maybe.  We can go to the next book -- and giant whopper's there?  Sorry, nothin' too big.  This one is mostly a mobster story.  Again, we Americans used to pull off our own fair share of mob movies.  Could it really, seriously, cost that much to build a doorway on a beach?

WAIT!  I know where the money is going!  Dida-chick
That's it!  Those nasty little beach creatures that take Roland's fingers -- they must cost millions each.  And, we need quite a few.

DVD File: review of Children Of The Corn

92 Minutes / 1984 / Rated R / Release Date: September 6, 2011

I really enjoyed DVD File's review of Children of the Corn.  Why?  Because it is heart felt!  There is not attempt here to trash the film; nor is this review trying to convince us it was really a pearl in the rough and we all just missed the glory.  There is an honest assessment of what works, what doesn't -- and why we kinda like it anyway.

Children of the Corn is not a favorite of mine.  But wait. . . give it a chance, DVD File argues.  The movie might have a few things going for it.  Here's a list of pro's I spotted int he review:

  • It remains one of the most faithful in terms of capturing the creepy essence of King’s original work.  "When I finally saw the film version, it was amazing how much it resembled my own ideas of the characters and settings."  He says later, "the film is well cast and does an admirable job of staying true to the essence of King’s original short story — albeit not a wholly faithful adaptation."
  • It contains themes that would reappear throughout King's work.  "Children of the Corn is one of the first stories to explore recurring ideas and themes that the author would continue to harvest: cult-like religious obsession, the havoc wrought from a mob mentality, and the disturbing idea of children murdering their own parents."
  • The film does have it's scary moments.  "There’s still some genuine shocks and unnerving bits — like that initial shot of Isaac glaring at his “children” from outside a diner window as they begin systematically murdering all the adults inside — that are just as chilling as anything Hitchcock or Polanski devised."

    So what doesn't work?  We can all say it together: Special effects! 
The review also examines the movies look and audio.

Melissa George Talks About "Bag Of Bones"


Bag of Bones is filming, and actress Melissa George said in an interview that Stephen King had been to the set.  Full article here

About Pierce Brosnan, George said, "A bit divine.  Lead role with him.  I just love working with him.  I have this list of actors that I want to work with and he's one of them.  He just treats me so well, and he's so funny and so gracious, and all I do is laugh.  Any handsome leading man, I crack up laughing."

Here's a little of what we know about the Bag of Bones mini-series:
  • Directed by Mick Garris
  • Pierce Brosnan: Mike Noonan
  • Annabeth Gish: Jo Noonan, Mike's dead wife
  • Melissa George: Mattie Devore
  • Caitlin Carmichael: Kyra Devore
  • Anika Rose: Sara Tidwell, a ghost haunting the house.
  • Jason Priestley: Noonan's literary agent.
  • William Schallert: Max Devore, Mattie Devore's rich in-law who wants custody of her child.
  • David Sheftell: Young Max Devore.
  • Gary Levert: George Footman
I'm putting this together from several sources, so please correct me if you spot an error!

I Don't Even Remember Writing The Tommyknockers


Okay. . . this is from The Onion.  News is a lot more fun when it's really just creative writing. 

I Don't Even Remember Writing The Tommyknockers

By Stephen King

May 5, 1999
ISSUE 35•17
THE ONION
 
So, I'm doing this book signing for The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon at the Barnes & Noble on Manhattan's Upper West Side last week, and this woman comes up to me, gushing about how The Tommyknockers is her "absolute, all-time favorite book." The name really didn't ring a bell, but I figured I must have written it, seeing as this woman is bothering to tell me how it's her all-time favorite, so I just kind of play along like I know what the heck she's talking about.




"What Bobbi Anderson and the other people of Haven went through, well, that was just the ultimate in horror fiction," this woman said to me as I nodded along, clueless. "I must have read it at least 50 times, and I swear, not once has it failed to scare the living daylights out of me."


Anyway, when I got home, I looked up The Tommyknockers in this literature reference book I have and, sure enough, I wrote it in 1987. Apparently, it's the story of this woman in this small town in Maine who discovers a metal object that was buried for millennia, and the thing gives all the townspeople super-powers. But then there's this deadly evil that's unleashed by the object, and the town becomes a death trap for all outsiders.


After reading the plot synopsis, I sort of remembered it, but, then again, maybe it just sounded like something else I wrote. After your 50 or 60th one, it's all kind of a blur. But if I had to venture a guess, I'd say I probably did write The Tommyknockers. It sounds like my kind of thing, what with this invisible evil being unleashed on a town full of innocent people and all.


To be honest, that wouldn't be the first time I'd forgotten one of my books. I'm usually pretty good about remembering the early stuff, like Carrie and The Stand and so forth. And I never forget my most recent one. It's those middle-period ones, though, that always seem to slip my mind. Like, what's that one about the writer who uses a pen name, and then the pen name develops into this evil, Mr. Hyde-type alter ego and commits a brutal murder? The Dark Tower? The Dark Zone? I'm pretty sure it's the "Dark" something, but I could be wrong.


Oh, and then there was that one about the werewolf. I honestly don't remember anything about that one, except that there was some kind of killer werewolf attacking a whole bunch of people. Hopefully, no one will ever mention that one at a book signing, because I don't think I could fake it for even a minute. Like I said, it's all a big blur after a while.

National Read A Book Day



September 6 is national read a book day.  I'm not sure if you have to read the whole book on September 6 or if part of it counts.  If whole book is counted, then I'm definitely leaning toward The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and Of Mice And Men.

I was interested reading this list of 50 stars favorite books.  For one thing, I like a lot of those books, too!  But also, I had to note that no one had a King title on their lists.  It makes me wonder how connected to mainstream the stars really are.  Or. . . could it be that they like him in secret, but when asked their favorite book, they feel obligated to proclaim their love for Twain and Poe and Dickens.  Hey, wait. . . Dickens wasn't on the list, either!  Go figure.  I mean, Moby Dick. . . seriously Chevy Chase?  We know Chevy is probably reading Creepshow late at night, and admitting the guilty pleasure to no one.

King's work might not be on the list, but his favorite book is.

Here's a sampling of the stars favorites.  I'm choosing to post the ones that I also like the same book!  That way, if I ever meet one of these people, I will have something to talk about.  I haven't read Obama's selection. . . but it is cool to note the presidents favorite book.  If he comes over for dinner, I'll be reading it real quick! 

Jeff Foxworthy, The Bible
Stephen King, Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Natalie Portman, The Diary of Anne Frank by Anne Frank
Nicole Kidman, The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
Rue McClanahan, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
Alec Baldwin, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Lavar Burton, Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling
Billy Joel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
Bette Midler, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Chevy Chase, Moby Dick Herman Melville
Jerry Lewis, The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Rosie O’Donnell, The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
Barack Obama, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Sen. John McCain, For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway

BOOKS I LOVE:

I'm listing here fiction books I think are absolutely wonderful.  No attempt to rank them, though I do consider Pillars of the Earth my favorite non-King book.  I piles of books I love that include biography, apologetics, commentary and theology.
  • The Stand, Stephen King
  • Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
  • Cold Sassy Tree, Olive Ann Burns
  • The Pilgrims Progress, Bunyan
  • 1984, George Orwell
  • Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
  • Lucifer's Hammer, Larry Niven
  • Sherlock Holmes, The Hound Of The Baskervilles, Arthur Conan Doyle
  • This Present Darkness, Frank Peretti
  • Of Mice And Men, Steinbeck
  • The Grapes Of Wrath, Steinbeck
  • Swan Song, Robert Mccammon
  • The Hunt For Red October, Tom Clancy
  • The Martian Chronicles, Ray Bradbury
  • The Illustrated Man, Ray Bradbury
  • Night Of The Moonbow, Thomas Tyron
  • The Pelican Brief, John Grisham
How about this list, also. . .
I'm not a fan of: Christian Amish novles, Monk novels, the Twilight series, Gone With the Wind, Left Behind series, The Beast Within.

Please post yoru favortie books -- King or non-King.  And if you like, include a second list of books you don't like.

Bryant Burnette: REVIEW OF "SHOCK VALUE"


I am glad to post this review of Jason Zinoman's "Shock Value."  Check out Bryant's blog at: Ramblings Of A Honk Mahfah.  I hope you enjoy this as much as I did. . .





JASON ZINOMAN'S "SHOCK VALUE"

by Bryant Burnette


What Is Shock Value?
Earlier this summer, New York Times critic/reporter Jason Zinoman published a book called Shock Value, the subtitle of which is as follows: "How A Few Eccentric Outsiders Gave Us Nightmares, Conquered Hollywood, And Invented Modern Horror."

The book is, ostensibly, the behind-the-scenes story of how a new breed of horror film emerged out of the New Hollywood movement of the late '60s and the 1970s. This environment is a big part of what enabled Stephen King's rise to mass popularity.  I thought it might be useful to write a review of the book from the standpoint of a King fan, examining the book's worth as a document of part of the King story.

Let me cut to the chase and answer that question right up front: though King is a peripheral figure in a few of these stories, Shock Value is essentially worthless as a book about King himself. And that's fine, because the book does not purport to be a book about King. (It does deal with DePalma's Carrie, though, and also very briefly with Kubrick's The Shining.)

Here's a more interesting question: given the fact that King owes his ascendance to the status of household name in no small measure to the commercial success of the movie version of Carrie, is Shock Value worthwhile as an exploration of the climate within popular culture that allowed Carrie to become as big a success as it became?
The answer to that question is trickier, but I can settle for saying this as a short version: as an exploration of the rise in popularity of horror cinema in the 1970s, Shock Value is a misfire ... but an entertaining and occasionally illuminating one.

My biggest problem with the book is that it is not really about much of anything. In part it wants to be an Easy Riders, Raging Bulls-like tell-all; in part it wants to be a serious socio-cultural commentary piece; in part it wants to be a compendium of biographies. Any one of those things would have been a great idea for a book centered on horror films from roughly 1968-1979, and a much longer book could have melded all of those things together and ended up as a classic. It's a great topic. And Zinoman is a pretty good writer, so he might have even been the right person for the job.


A Few Issues:

However, Shock Value is scarcely more than 200 pages in length, which is simply too slender a page count to properly deal with a topic as expansive as this one. Zinoman barely scratches the surface; I got the feeling while reading it that 200 pages could have been given to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre alone, or to The Exorcist, or to any one of several other films which Zinoman touches upon here.

Here is an example of what's going on in this book. An excerpt from the Introduction:
“The publishing industry has long relied on that indestructible commercial artist Stephen King, but now Twilight helps drive the business, and the undead have brought a new generation to the stories of Jane Austen in the bestseller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Some of the most popular shows on television include serial killers (Dexter), demons (Supernatural), zombies (The Walking Dead), and vampires (True Blood). A-list actresses such as Jennifer Connelly and Naomi Watts are now scream queens. Pop stars like Lady Gaga are just as likely to dress in gothic style and strike zombie poses as to project a bubble-gum image. Horror has become a billion-dollar industry.”
Well, I've got a few problems of viewpoint with this paragraph. First of all, I doubt that Supernatural would make a list of the Top 100 most popular shows on television, much less rank alongside heavy-hitters like The Walking Dead and True Blood (which themselves are nowhere near the top of the popularity list if we are talking all of television into consideration). Also, I'd have to be convinced by someone that either Jennifer Connelly or Naomi Watts are A-list actresses, and while you might eventually be able to convince me that they are, you'd have to do a heck of a lot more convincing before I counted them as scream queens. As for Lady Gaga posing like a zombie ... I honestly don't even know what relevance that could possibly have.

These are good examples of Zinoman's occasional tendency to overreach in his goals. It might be possible to draw a direct line from the New Hollywood movement to Lady Gaga to the supposed status of horror as a billion-dollar industry ... but Zinoman doesn't really try to do so, and if you're not going to try, then why bring it up at all?

No, the book isn't about that. What's it's about is exactly what its subtitle indicates: a few eccentric outsiders. Roman Polanski, George Romero, Peter Bogdanovich, John Carpenter, Dan O'Bannon, Wes Craven, William Friedkin, Tobe Hooper, and Brian DePalma, to be specific. All of these men made interesting horror films during the period chronicled in this book, and all of them were -- arguably -- Hollywood outsiders. You could make the same argument, though, about Steven Spielberg, who directed a decent amount of horror for television (including the very successful movie-of-the-week Duel) before making THE biggest horror-movie hit of the decade, Jaws. These movies are mentioned, but only in passing; the only rationale I can see as to why Spielberg didn't get a larger part in Zinoman's story is simply that Zinoman didn't feel like including him. Also ignored almost entirely: David Cronenberg, possibly for no better reason than that it would have extended the book's scope further into the '80s than Zinoman felt comfortable with.

The book also totally ignores several of the genre's biggest hits of the decade, including The Omen and The Amityville Horror; the former is at least mentioned, but the latter may as well never have even existed as far as Shock Value is concerned. Say what you want about the quality of those films, but they were undeniably popular, and deserved consideration.

I might also have considered the ways in which so many of the science-fiction films of the era -- everything from Planet of the Apes to The Omega Man to Westworld to the remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers -- leaned on horror tropes at least as much as they did on robots and rayguns. In this sense, Alien -- which IS discussed quite a lot, although you might be surprised at how little director Ridley Scott is discussed in those pages -- might be seen as a bit of a culmination. Instead, it's viewed as something of a culmination of birth-horror, as well as the culmination of writer Dan O'Bannon's perfectly understandable fears about an intestinal condition with which he was afflicted. Alien, obviously, was a culmination of those things ... but that wasn't ALL that it was, and Scott's participation should not have been given short shrift.

Another dropped ball: the exclusion of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Zinoman spends a good amount of time making some persuasive arguments about the ways in which New Horror moved away from old monster-movie tropes and gimmicks, especially in Bogdanovich's Targets. However, I'd argue that The Rocky Horror Picture Show did just as much work to move away from those conventions of Old Horror. It just happened to go in a different direction from, say, Rosemary's Baby. But that direction does not figure into Zinoman's narrative, despite the fact that it almost certainly has more to do with how we arrive at the goth stylings of Lady Gaga.


Zinoman and King

Alright, so, I've complained for a while. Let's talk about Zinoman's brief dealings with Stephen King and King-based movies. Here's what he has to say about the novel Carrie:
“Carrie was rooted in his” [King’s] “experience teaching high school and his childhood anxieties about sex, puberty, and the popular crowd. The novel follows a fat, ugly outsider, Carrie White, with uncontrollably violent psychic abilities to make objects move through the power of her unease and anger. As it happens, she has cause to get upset. Her mother is a dominating religious scold, and her classmates are impossibly cruel, mocking her for bleeding on herself when she has her first period. After the gym teacher chastises the class for cruelty, one of the girls, Sue Snell, gets her boyfriend, Tommy, to ask Carrie to the prom. Less charitable classmates use this as an excuse for more hazing, fixing the election of prom queen for Carrie and then dumping a bucket of pig’s blood on her head after she accepts the honor onstage. King invites you to identify with Carrie and be vicariously thrilled when she destroys the school and everyone in it. It’s a vigilante revenge fantasy that anyone who felt like an outsider in high school could indulge in.” (from Chapter Eight: He Likes to Watch)
Hmm. Not entirely sure I agree with that. It is true of the DePalma movie (which I continue to feel is vastly overrated), but the novel, a revenge fantasy? I don't think so. I see it more as a tragedy of both personal and cultural proportions: personal in that Carrie seemed destined to end up that way, and cultural because society seems to be helpless to prevent both what happens to her and what she does to others in return. The fact is, King gives us a decent amount of the murderous mayhem from the point-of-view of someone other than Carrie, so that we experience it not as actions "we" (as Carrie) are taking, but as actions which are being done to "us" by Carrie. And during the scenes which are from Carrie's point-of-view, there is evidence aplenty that in some part of her mind, Carrie knows she is committing acts which will lead to the darkness of eternal damnation. There is nothing thrilling about any of this; it is sick-inducing, horrible stuff, all the more awful because we have spent the entirety of the novel identifying with the character who is now committing the atrocities.

I would say that Zinoman has either never read the novel, or that he has allowed his love for DePalma's movie to color his perceptions of it. This is genius insight compared to his treatment of The Shining a few chapters later, however. In Chapter Ten he makes the following statement: "There was perhaps no more striking illustration of the artistic triumph of the New Horror genre than at the end of the decade, when Stanley Kubrick announced that he was going to make what he called 'the ultimate horror film'."

That's a bold statement, and one that you would expect to lead directly into a serious discussion of the making of The Shining. Instead, Zinoman repeats the old saws about Nicholson's performance outshining the rest of the film, and King disliking it, and Kubrick's elimination of the story's themes and background details. And that is where he stops. He has nothing to say about the film's significance, or its lack thereof, and for a movie about which he has just said that there is "no more striking illustration of the artistic triumph of the New Horror genre" than the mere announcement of the movie's impending creation. Love the movie or hate the movie, a statement such as that one must be supported; Zinoman is instead content to make the statement and then proceed from it with no clarification of its significance. That's pretty sloppy.


Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down ?

Lest I sound like I hated the book, let me transition a bit and say that I definitely did NOT hate it. I was disappointed by it in some ways, because of what I perceive to be errors in concept and in scope, but the book itself was entertaining. Anyone who is interested in horror films of the period is almost certain to feel like their money was well-spent, unless they are literally so well-versed in the genre that they could have themselves written such a book. I, for example, knew nothing about Dan O'Bannon, and knowing more about his story actually deepens my relationship to both Dark Star and Alien, and makes me want to check out some of his other films (especially Return of the Living Dead). I also read various things about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre which I did not know, and the biographical material about Wes Craven and Brian DePalma was extremely interesting.

So, yes, I was disappointed. But I was also entertained, and you probably will be, too. Maybe some diligent reader will even go on to write a better version of this decade's horror story someday.

Until then, just remember: they're coming to get you, Barbara.
Look! There's one now!

* * * *
If you’ve enjoyed this, you might want to consider checking out my blog, Ramblings Of A Honk Mahfah. Drop by sometime, won’t you?



Dollar Baby: THE THINGS THEY LEFT BEHIND



I saw this first at Lilja's Library

This is from the press release, as posted on Dread Central:
In 2008 great American author Stephen King released Just After Sunset, a novel featuring a collection of short stories. One story, "The Things They Left Behind", is King's approach to the tragedy that struck NYC on 9/11. Almost a year after 9/11, strange things start happening to the main character, Scott Staley, who, at the time of the attacks, is employed at 'Light and Bell Insurance' on the 110th floor of the World Trade Center. Not only is Scott unable to get rid of his survivor's guilt, but things belonging to his late colleagues start to appear in his apartment.

After a run of bi-monthly short films on their YouTube channel, independent filmmaker Pablo Macho Maysonet IV and his Shattered Dreams Productions (SDP) sought out to obtain permission to produce a non-profit short film based on a story written by Stephen King through King's "Dollar Baby" program (in which King will allow a filmmaker to adapt his story for $1). This program was originally started when Frank Darabont, director of King's feature adaptations of The Shawshank Redemption, The Mist and The Green Mile, produced the short film adaptation to The Women in the Room in 1983. This would pave the way for other qualifying up-and-coming filmmakers to produce short film adaptations of King's work.


In late 2010, after signing a non-profit agreement with Stephen King, Maysonet was allowed to produce the emotionally charged adaptation of "The Things They Left Behind".


Production began in December of 2010 on a budget of $10,000 and included shooting in Times Square as well as various locations mentioned in the book. After completion, the film was immediately sent out to over 30 film festivals around the world including Sundance 2012. The Things They Left Behind is quickly stirring up attention around the world with festival screenings in Spain, Argentina and the Netherlands.


4/14/65 What If It Had Been Lincoln Instead Of Kennedy?


Time travel to save a president.  It's the theme of 11/22/63.  What if Kennedy's assassination could be pre-empted?  What affect would it have on the world to come? 

This reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode titled "Back There"
(aired 1/13/61).  Get Serling's opening lines: "Witness a theoretical argument, Washington, D.C., the present.  Four intelligent men talking about an improbable thing like going back in time.  A friendly debate revolving around a simple question: Could a human being change what happened before?  Interesting and theoretical, because who has ever heard of a man going back in time -- before tonight, that is.  Because this is. . . the Twlight Zone."

In Rod Serling's script, Lincoln cannot be saved. . . but time is altered!  The one policeman who believes Peter Corrigan, a man who traveled back in time to warn the world Lincoln would be shot, becomes a wealthy man.  His heir was an attendant at the beginning of the story, but when Corrigan returns to the future, the attendant is now a wealthy man because his great grandfather had been the only policeman who believed Corrigan.

Serling: "Mr. peter Corrigan, lately returned from a place called back there, a journey into time with highly questionable results, proving on one hand that the threads of history are woven tightly and the skin of events cannot be undone, but on the other hand there are small fragments of tapestry that can't be altered. . ."

I like the episode a lot! It makes me anxious to see how King will carry this out.  Not in a  30 minute snippet, but in a long novel. 

Links between Lincoln and Kennedy are numerous.  I once got a penny with Kennedy's profile drawn over Lincoln's, and attached to it a list of similarities.  This is an example of that list (from wikipedia),
  • Both presidents were elected to the presidency in '60.
  • Both presidents were elected to the United States House of Representatives in '46.
  • Both were runners-up for the party's nomination for vice-president in '56.
  • Both their respective Vice Presidents/successors were Southern Democrats named Johnson born in '08.
  • Both presidents were concerned with the problems of American blacks and made their views strongly known in '63. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862, which became law in 1863. In 1963, Kennedy presented his reports to Congress on Civil Rights, and the same year was the famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  
  • Both presidents were shot in the head.
  • Both presidents were shot from behind.  
  • Both presidents were shot in presence of their wives.
  • Both presidents were shot on a Friday.  
  • Both presidents were accompanied by another couple.
  • The male companion of the other couple was wounded by the assassin.  
  • Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theatre. Kennedy was shot in a Lincoln automobile, made by Ford.  
  • Lincoln had a secretary named Kennedy who told him not to go to the theatre. Kennedy had a secretary named Evelyn Lincoln (who was born 100 years after Lincoln, and whose husband Harold's nickname was Abe) who warned him not to go to Dallas.  
  • Both Oswald and Booth were killed before they could be put on trial.
  • Lincoln and Kennedy each have 7 letters.  
  • Lincoln and Kennedy both have five syllables in their full name (which counts Kennedy's middle initial).
  • John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald each have 15 letters and 3 words.  
  • There are 6 letters in each Johnson's first name.
  • Booth ran from a theatre to a warehouse, Oswald ran from a warehouse to a theatre.

Don't get too excited about that list, though -- a lot of it has been debunked.  I do wonder what the world would have been like if Abraham Lincoln had lived.

Twilight Zone's Haunted Car. . .
The episode that aired after "Back There" is titled "The Whole Truth" and was about a used car dealer who suddenly is cursed by the inability to tell a lie.  Remind you of liar liar?  But wait. . . this episode is actually about a haunted car!  I kid you not.  The old man actually says, "This car is haunted."

King has the ability to take themes we are familiar with and max them up. 

Happy Birthday LILJA'S LIBRARY!


Lilja's Library is celebrating 15 years.  AWESOME!

Check out his website for a pretty cool look back: LILJAS LIBRARY

Lilja's is my favorite Stephen King website for a lot of reasons.  Here's a few:
1. Lots of news and updates.
2. The site is huge.  There's always room to dig around and find something new.
3. Lilja is a genuinely nice guy passionate about Stephen King's work.
4. There are often interviews.  I like interviews.
5. He has a full grasp of the Stephen King Universe.  Not just the scope of the books, but the different avenue's King appears in.  He can talk easily about the comics, movies, dollar babies and so on.

Here's a clip from an interview he graciously granted in may 2010:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 book covers in different countries. I wish that I could have more covers but that would be too much work.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.  

TSK: Thank you so much for your time and commitment to the Stephen King fans.
LILJA: Thanks! It was a pleasure.

Links:
Website: http://www.liljas-library.com/
Swedish S.K. site: http://www.foljeslagarna.com/
DVD reviews: http://www.dvdkritik.se/
*Purchase Lilja's Library the book: cemeterydance.com