Carrie is Quasimodo

This is how Stephen King will mess with your head. . .

I'm watching The Hunchback Of Notre Dame with my daughter.  I said to my wife, "does this remind you of Carrie?"
"No," she said.
So I offered this:

An outcast is rejected by his family, told crazy religious things and feels totally alone and laughed at.  Summoning all his courage, he attends the prom -- I mean Festival of Fools -- where he is crowned King.  But at the moment of triumph, they don't throw pigs blood, but tomatoes. I only wish the poor guy had the powers Carrie had to wipe them all out.

Carrie Cake Pop

My daughter spotted this on her own.  So this is her caption. . .
Carrie isn't very popular in her own world,  but in our world she is popular  enough to get a cake pop that looks like her.
--Thanks girl, you are the banana queen.


King Threatens To Send Vampires After Clive Barkers Publisher

The text reads:

Dear Ginger Buchanan,

It's easier, I find, to blurb a book (or series of them) when you're not quite as exited and bowled over.  I think Clive Barker is so good that I"m almost literally tongue-tied.  Yes, I stick by it: I have seen the future of the horror genre, and his name is Clive Barker (the paraphrase actually comes from Jon Landau, who said in 1970 that he had seen the future of rock 'n roll and his name was Bruce Springsteen).

What Barker does in THE BOOKS OF BLOOD makes the rest of us look like we've been asleep for the last ten years.  Some of the stories were so creepily awful that I literally could not read them alone; others go up and over the edge into a gruesome territory that no one has really traversed since M.L. Lewis's THE MONK.

Barker's scenes of glaring pulpy horror should cause instant dismissal, but forty or fifty pages is enough to convince any reader of sense and taste (funny word to use in connection with stories like "The Midnight Meat Train," but it's the right word) that this is a tool, and not an end.  The stories are compulsively readable and lit here and there with furnace gleams of wit.

Here's an original.  I hope there are folks at Berkley who understand just how good he is, and how proud you should be of publishing him.  What he's doing will shortly make him an enormously saleable writer, but what he's doing is also important and exciting.

And if you don't send me his novel, I'll have to send a few vampires after you.

Stephen King

Under The Dome: MEET THE CAST

Joyland Reviews Keep Coming

I loved Joyland!  And, it seems the positive reviews continue to pour out.  Of course, most of the major book reviewers have had their say on the book; but just as important are the reflections of more ordinary folk.

Alison Reeger Cook wrote a review for in which she admitted that this was her first Stephen King book.  Her reaction?  Impressed that King was able to take well worn themes and work them anew.  She also noted that King was able to keep from creating paper cutouts of characters, but created real depth.
 This is not a fast-paced novel. It takes its time getting to the central mystery about the haunted house and the legacy of the infamous murder. Yet, the story is steadfastly engaging and, at times, touching. King gives as much care and thought to this novel as any of his more highly publicized literature. And his writing seamlessly combines tinges of natural humor, subtle drama and just the right amount of tension for suspense.
He final take?  She'll be reading more Stephen King!

Also published this past Sunday, Davin Arul writes a review of Joyland for, calling the novel, "a murder-mystery that’s sweet, fluffy and a tad lightweight," and then promises, "but you’ll savour every little strand."

Arul, like Cook, has not been keeping up with the most recent Stephen King offerings.  He starts by saying "IT has been a long time since a Stephen King book grabbed my attention from the start and held it right through to the end."  Is IT capitalized simply because it is the beginning of the article, or is it a clue that IT was the last novel by King that was joyfully read cover to cover?

He notes,
 Where the book really scores high marks is in its depiction of carnival life, the parlance and little behind-the-scenes nuggets of information, in capturing the things that go into creating the mass illusion – call it magic if you must – that makes such places so special in people’s lives and memories.
I had thought about this as well:
There is a supernatural element in here that is somewhat jarring when you consider the core theme of the HCC imprint is supposed to be “hard boiled crime” after all. But then, this is a Stephen King book, so we shouldn’t be surprised to find its murder-mystery spiced with ghosts and people who have the “Shining”.
Arul suggests that the great story telling found in Joyland is a hopeful sign of good things to come in Doctor Sleep.  I couldn't agree more!

Claiborne Opera Forced To Move In New Directions reports that Mezzo-soprano Dolora Zajick has withdrawn from the San Francisco Opera's production of Dolores Claiborne.
 citing the physical and vocal challenges of the role along with recurring knee problems. She will be replaced in the title role by soprano Patricia Racette and mezzo-soprano Catherine Cook.
In a statement, she said, "I am devastated that I am unable to continue my work on 'Dolores Claiborne.' I feel it is best to withdraw at this point rather than try to push forward."

The Stand still in the works

The Hollywood Reporter posted that Ben Affleck has set aside his work on The Stand  in  order to play Batman.  Fellow actor/filmmaking Scott Cooper, is now slated to rewrite the script and take over directorial duties. Mark Rozeman notes:
Needless to say, Affleck’s heavy schedule is the reason for his departure. Besides that whole Superman/Batman deal, Affleck is set to write, direct and star in an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel Live By Night as well as play a lead role in David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl
For his part, Cooper recently completed his follow-up to Crazy Heart, Out of the Furnace, which is scheduled for a limited release on Nov. 27 and stars ex-Batman Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana and (in a nice twist) Ben Affleck’s brother Casey.

Under The Dome: America Is Smarter Than You Think

I've loved Under The Dome until  the last couple episodes.  I've been willing to let small things slide because I thought the acting and story were strong.  However, the last couple episodes have  slipped into soap opera mode. 

CBS is committing a pretty big offense in my opinion; they're acting like America is stupid.  Well, we are sometimes, but we don't want to be talked down to or spoon fed plots that wouldn't even work on daytime TV.

Houston, we have a problem.  Wait, negative Houston, we have a few problems!

Spoilers ahead. 

I've liked Under the Dome a lot. But last weeks episode was terrible.  The mystery they are trying to create is getting lost by the whacky way they choose to leave clues and introduce characters.

First some small stuff.  It seems someone can't keep good time between scenes.  For instance, we'll get people driving across town, cut away to a long scene that should take hours, then cut back to the people driving and they are just arriving.  Didn't they get there already?  When Julia and Joe go to the mini-dome, they communicate with the dome then head back.  There is a scene break, and when we get back  to Julia  and Joe  they are coming back into town -- but it's night.  It was day when they left the mini-dome.  How long does it take to move across this town?

The writers worked overtime to make it clear that Carolyn would not be in this episode.  They talk about her, but only to explain to us -- the poor dumb audience -- that her presence is unnecessary. They even skipped the burial scene so as not to have to bring her into the episode.

Then we have Ollie.  He manages to surround all of his enemies -- the Sheriff, Big Jim, Junior and Barbie.  So what does he do?  He gives them a big warning and sends them on their way.  Because, of course, it's a good idea to save  the battle for another day when it won't be so easy.  If Ollie is power hungry, why does leave all of his opposition in power when he has opportunity to take them down?  It's no surprise that Big Jim goes right back and gathers his forces.  And, to make it worse, he then trusts the son to kill the father.  No chance of the boy backing out on that, right?

Scenes between Big Jim and Ollie are reduced to melodrama. It amounts to Ollie saying, "You want the power,  but I want the power.  And I'm going to get the power from you." And Big Jim saying something like, "This is my town. I'm going to do whatever I can to keep the power."  (That's not what they actually said.)  After watching scenes like this, where characters are reduced to stating the obvious for the sake of the poor audience who might not be able to keep up, I find myself mentally checking out.

The best place Coggins could think of to hide his stuff is in a coffin?

Why have  people stopped congregating outside the Dome?  Where is the press?  Did the military chase everyone off?  It seems the citizens have very little interest in making or maintaining contact with the outside world.

With Ollie removed, it seems the writers realize they need someone to create tension with Big Jim.  So, out of the blue, we're introduced to Max.  Understand, this isn't near the beginning of the series, but well into the character development already in play. She knows these characters, has history in the town and seems to have the goods on everyone. 

But wait CBS. . . where did Max come from?  Is she like Maggie Simpson, able to slip under the Dome and back? Not at all!  There's a much more reasonable explanation.  See, she's been trapped in the dome all this time, but just decided to spy on everyone. Unbelievable in itself, the situation is more sticky when she explains that she managed to keep from making contact with anyone when the Dome came down.  So all of her news has come by independent observation and by listening to the radio station.  Yet she seems quite in-the-know as to what's happening.  This entire line of plotting is the kind of thing that frustrates me.

Also, we are supposed to think that Max resisted to urge to get with other people, reconnect with society, and instead has simply been plotting how she might benefit from this crisis.

She's been hiding all this time -- apparently in a salon, because she looks like she just stepped out of the Barbie dream house.  She slipped into Big Jim's house (of course a paranoid like him wouldn't lock his door) in high heels?

This is where television writers lose credibility.  "We can do anything," the reasoning seems to go, "because you're dumb enough to follow."  Just because we like a show doesn't mean we're ready to swallow anything they throw our way. We start watching a program because it seems to hold some level of credibility.  To be enjoyable, a big idea has to be carried out with some realism; all the more when the central idea is science fiction.  When viewer start to get the impression that the writers aren't going to play by fair rules, then interest wanes. 

I am getting concerned that the writers don't know what the Dome really is.  They are piling on so many clues they can go any direction they want.  But will it all add up in the  end?  I hope so.

The Wastelands Journal #2: Choo Chooo

I think I last read this about 3,000 years ago.  The flow of the story is familiar, but the details feel all new.  I'm spotting things I would swear I never read before -- yet, I'm also sure I read this  book more than once.  King gives this edition of the Dark Tower a wonderful layer of details and intricacy. Not only is the plot thick,but the characters are rich.

Many things I missed the first time through because I was simply trying to keep up with the plot.  But now that I've read the entire series, I am able to go back and read it again, watching for the details instead of just trying to stay on the road to the Dark Tower.

Things I'd almost forgotten!
1. Midworld is mirrored in our world in strange ways.  John Tower / Dark Tower. Jake refers to midworld instead of midtown.  Blane is Charlie, Charlie is Blane.  The man in black moves between both worlds.

2. Does this book remind anyone else of Star Trek 3, the Search for Spock ?  It's the third volume oft he story -- (the Gunslinger reminds me of Star Trek One !) -- the innocent was lost in episode two, but the search is on in part 3.  Like McCoy, who carried Spock's Katra, Roland carries the memory of the boy Jake.  It's not the Search for Spock, it's the Search for Jake.  I'm sure that was very enlightening y'all!

3. Charlie the Choo Choo is a great read! I knew that Charlie was important to the story, but could not remember why.  What I've discovered is not only is Charlie important to the plot, it's a great children's story. It's so good, I think I'll read it to my kids.  I wonder if anyone has published

Jake buys his copy of Charlie at The Manhattan Restaurant of the Mind; a bookstore as committed to the art of playing chess and offering riddles as it is selling books.  What's funny -- that's how some used bookstores really are! More social gathering places than happy reading haunts.

Charlie the Choo Choo as simply a children's book stand alone.  By the way, Charlie the Choo-Choo is by Beryl Evans, also known as Claudia y Inez Bachman.  (Check out this cool list of fictional authors and books inside the world of Stpehen King List_of_fictional_books_in_the_works_of_Stephen_King)

The Dark Tower wikipedia explains further, "Beryl Evans is the name of the author who wrote Charlie the Choo-Choo. In Wolves of the Calla, Beryl Evans' name is changed to Claudia y Inez Bachman when Eddie Dean and Jake Chambers go todash and visit The Manhattan Restaurant of the Mind."  Notice that Claudia y Inez Bachman is 19 characters.

"Charlie The Choo-Choo" by Beryl Evans

Don't ask me silly questions
I won't play silly games
I'm just a simple choo choo train
And I'll always be the same.
I only want to race along
Beneath the bright blue sky
And be a happy choo choo train
Until the day I die.

Notice the art work for Charlie the Choo Choo. Jake doesn't trust that smile, thinking that it looks evil.  I have the same feeling when I look at the picture.  Of course, King saw it in his mind first.

4. Roland doesn't like people.  Stoic is not quite the word for Roland.  I don't get the feeling he likes his new companions, Eddie and Susanna, so much as he puts up with them.  I really think he would prefer to go the journey alone, but ka has required he gather a ka-tet and so he does what he must.  Is he worried he might also betray these friends on his journey to the tower?  Probably.  I know from reading on that Roland will warm up with time, but boy this guy is pretty cold!

5. Samson's Riddles.  The issue of riddles, one that will continue quite a ways through this series, is first introduced to Jake at the bookstore.  The riddle  mulled over is a Biblical one that Samson asked the Philistines.  The riddle is: Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet. (Judges 14:14, NIV)

. . . . . . . . .
Here's the context: 
(From my book, Judges, The Wild West of the Bible)

At his wedding party, Samson challenged his new friends to a battle of the minds.  He would tell them a riddle, and they in turn would have the duration of the entire wedding feast (seven days) to try and figure it out.  They could Google, talk, pass notes or phone a friend.  But, to make it even more fun, Samson suggested that the loser pay the winner thirty linen garments and thirty sets of clothes. Not bad – probably equivalent to a several thousand dollar Wal-mart gift card in our culture.
Samson’s new buddies are up for the challenge – until he tells them the riddle!  It makes no sense.  This should be a simple lesson: Hear the riddle before you bet if you can answer it.
The riddle is: Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet. (Judges 14:14, NIV)
The Philistines must have stared at one another in dumbfounded horror.  They had no idea what that meant!  And no one would know what the answer to the riddle is unless they were there when Samson killed the lion and later took honey from his dead carcass.  Then it makes sense! Out the eater – a lion – comes something to eat, honey!
Samson may be testing more than his friends mental powers. I think he is also testing their loyalty.  It might even be possible that he is putting their spiritual nature to the test.  He asks them a question that only God would know the answer to.  This was certainly true of how Daniel  was able to answer the riddle of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2.  Could Samson be testing  these men to see if they will call upon God to get the answer?  Well, they have a way to get the answer – but it doesn’t involve praying to the Lord.
The Philistines are at a total loss! It’s like a suduko puzzle that just doesn’t work.  By the way, the label on Lyle's Golden Syrup pictures bees in the lion that Samson killed, with his riddle under it.  A picture would have helped the Philistines figure this out!  If only these poor men had a bottle of Lyle’s Golden Syrup!  But, since they don’t have syrup, what they do have is Samson’s new wife.
Imagine one of the men quietly pulling the new bride aside, “Listen here, we need your help.  You want to be good to your own people, don’t you?”
She already knows what they want.  “What?” She asks, rolling her eyes.
“Get Samson to tell you the meaning of that riddle.”
She grins a bit, “I don’t think I can do that.”
“Pretty girl like you can do quite a lot,” the Philistine says as another comes and stands beside him.  “We understand if you can’t help us, though.”
The one who just approached leans in and whispers, “We was just tryin’ to be nice, ya see?  Some of our people aren’t too happy about this here union.”
Fear darkens Mrs. Samson eyes.  “What? What are you saying?”
“Not us!  We wouldn’t do anything.  We’ve tried to talk them out of it.  But you know how stubborn men can be.”
She looks around, wondering where Samson is.  “What are they saying?  Tell me!”
“Well, a few folk...”
“A lot of folk,” the other says, nodding toward the party of drunken men.
“Yes ma’am, a lot of folk have talked about maybe doing a bit of cleanin’ up around here. Talked about burnin’ you and your entire family to death.”
Her eyes go wide, “Burning?”
“Not us!   No, not what we said.  But that’s what we’re hearing.  Best to get rid of the whole family than put up with these kinds of shenanigans.”
The first one nods, “Say, what’s with this riddle?  You invite us here to befriend your new husband, or to rob us?”
“We’re just askin’ nice as can be, you see?  Would you maybe help us out a bit and give us the meaning of the riddle?  In return, we would feel very comfortable makin’ sure your family is safe as a lion in the woods.”
She sighs.  “Okay, I’ll see what I can do.”
“Don’t go tellin’ on us now, you understand?”
That night, in the safety of their private quarters, Samson’s wife put on a show that would have impressed Star Trek director J.J. Abrams! She sobbed alligator tears, “You don’t love me at all!”
Samson must have been stunned by this.  Quite the way to start a marriage!  He surely tried to comfort her, but she just sobbed all the more. How could he possibly assure her of his love?  Well, since he asked. . . she suggested that he could tell her the secret of his riddle.  Samson’s response is funny, “I haven’t even told my mother and father, so why should I explain it to you?”  How do you think that went over?  He won’t tell her, his wife, because he hasn’t told his mommy?! Enter Marie Barone – really, I sense an episode of Everyone Loves Samson here.
Well, Samson’s honeymoon turned into seven days of his wife crying her eyes out.  Of course, she didn’t have to manufacture all those waterworks, because she really was scared to death that if she didn’t get the answer to the riddle and prove her faithfulness to the Philistines, they would burn her entire family! On the seventh day Samson cracked and told his wife.
“We got it!” One of the men must have shouted.
“You got what?” Samson asked.
“We got your riddle.  We understand it.”
“Impossible!” Samson sneered.
“Nope – listen close, ‘cause you’re about to be impressed. What’s sweeter than honey?  What’s stronger than a lion?”
Samson’s face probably turned bright read.  “Stronger than a lion, eh?”
“That’s it, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, that’s it,” Samson acknowledged, his eyes searching the room for his wife.  “You got it.  But here’s the thing, you wouldn’t have figured that riddle out if you hadn’t plowed with my heifer.”
Plowed with his heifer?  He’s calling his wife a cow!  This marriage was doomed before the Love Boat could untie from the dock. Samson was now required to come up with thirty sets of clothes.  The Philistines surely think he’s going to hang his head and admit that a poor boy from the hills of Israel can’t afford thirty sets of clothes.  But Samson is not to be so easily out  maneuvered.  Remember, this entire encounter is because God was seeking an opportunity to confront the Philistines.  Samson went out and “struck down” thirty Philistines and took their clothes.  Of course, struck down means he killed them.  So there were thirty naked Philistines laying dead in a field somewhere.
I wonder if the new clothes looked familiar to the Philistines.  They surely didn’t expect him to actually pay up!

. . . . . . . . .

Why did the Philistines have to go to all that trouble to figure out the riddle?  Because it's not logical!  You can't think out the answer, you have to have been in a position to observe a story unfold.  I will simply point out that much of the Dark Tower itself is a riddle that doesn't make sense unless you just sit back and let it unfold.  Once you've seen it once, it makes some sense, but you would never figure it out based simply on the clues.

Back to the Dark Tower. . . 

King takes Samson's riddle serious.  As if the answer makes sense.  But I don't think the answer  works at all.  It's not a riddle at all, because you can't logically work it out.  You had to be there to see Samson kill the lion and know that bees built a hive there in order to know why something sweet comes out of the eater (the lion).

When Jake asks the explanation of one of the riddles, he's told to come back in a few days.  A riddle is not a joke, it's a puzzle.  I never thought about that.  It is something to turn over and work on, chew on, turn over and over  until the answer comes.  

Moore and Moretz Photo

Carrie 2013 film
photo credit: JOSE DOMINGUEZ

Julianne Moore (L) and Chloe Grace Moretz (R) pose for photographers while attending the presentation of the movie 'Carrie' in the framework of the Five Summer Fest of Sony on April 18, 2013 in Cancun, Mexico.

LINK: Everything I Know About America I Learned from Stephen King

Here is a fun essay by Lydia Kiesling titled, "Everything I know about America I learned from Stephen King." (

About King's natural abiulity to write, she notes, " it just feels so easy for this guy."  Isn't that the truth!  King's stories flow so  naturally, it seems like any of us should have be able to sit down and hammer out his next novel before he does!  But that feeling of ease is the real gift, isn't it?  Like a public speaker, who makes it look easy, but the truth  is hours of work and refining have gone into the art.

This is great:
The success of a novelist has to do with the extent to which his work allows the reader to lose herself in the story, but the novels that really resonate are the ones that also invite the reader to apply them to her particular circumstances. In my case, Stephen King books appealed to my lingering sense, even in high school, of America’s fundamental glamour, that feeling impelled both by the act of circumnavigating the globe broadly in the service of America’s aims, and the foreignness imparted by its distance. And they achieved several things besides scaring and entertaining the hell out of me. At some level, Stephen King novels issued a necessary corrective to my wanton teenage materialism and overweening belief in American goodness.  They did their own kind of national myth-making.
. . . and this . . .
 Stephen King’s novels transmit deeper things than hometown nostalgia. As Johathan P. Davis points out in his book, much of King’s work is concerned with the American devotion, in theory at any rate, to individual liberty. When King isn’t being gross, with his bone splinters and clots of blood and patented semantic move of creating an appalling noun just by adding the word “meat” to the back of another one — e.g., “boymeat” or “greymeat” — he spends a lot of time on the freedoms of the individual. Glenn Bateman, the retired sociology professor of The Stand, spends most of the novel talking about the formation of society and the tension between freedom and social cohesion. When, at the end of that novel, spunky Fran and Stu, a laconic badass from East Texas, make the choice to leave the crowding and rules of the Boulder Free Zone for the rugged, dangerous liberty of the Maine coast, this is posited as a sensible choice, one that only a couple of badasses would make.
So the whole essay is really good.  I'm going to stop giving big quotes and just tell you to go read the thing!  (

Will Paton giving voice to Doctor Sleep

Simon & Schuster Audio has announced Will Patton is the narrator for the audiobook version of DOCTOR SLEEP. Patton is a beloved audiobook narrator who currently stars in the TNT series Falling Skies.

King Interview At Telegraph UK

Jane Mulkerris at met with Stephen King in Wilmington, North Carolina, a few days before the Under the Dome's launch.

King tells Mulkerris that though some of his work has been well treated by adaptations, some certainly have not!  He specifically mentioned Firestarter as one that was not a good translation to screen. 

King also says he is glad to be on TV, indicating he was a fan of television when it wasn't popular. He acknowledges that television can be weak because executives are so cautious, but that doesn't seem to stop him from thinking a good time might be ahead with Under The Dome.  Interesting, as Under the Dome has been signed up for a second season, King told Mulkerris, "There’s a tendency to run things until they’re threadbare. Some of the cable networks also went to the well too long. I think Dexter has run a season too long, for one thing.”

King told Mulkerris, 
“I’ve never been an intellectual writer.  The relationship that I want to have with readers is more visceral than that. I hope there’s something to think about in the books that I write but I wouldn’t like it if you read them twice and thought about stuff the second time.”
With this, Mulkerris says King grins and says he just wants to scare you the first time.


This is way beyond Where's Waldo.  411 Mania offers this interesting tidbit of publicity hype for the upcoming Carrie film:
A new website, has been launched whihc allows you to break into the White home and explore either one your own, or with movie characters Christine Hargensen or Billy Nolan. The two will text you as you go along. A "friend" watches as a lookout. To use the website, you have to sign in with your Facebook account.

King back on Forbes Top Earning Authors

Jeff Bercovici has an interesting article about top selling author E.L. James. He notes in his introduction,
The club of the world’s top-selling authors is an exclusive one, with only a few established paths to entry. Many of its members have been in it for decades, like Danielle Steel and Stephen King, who were both born in 1947 and published their first novels, “Going Home” and “Carrie,” in 1973. This year, Steel is No. 5 on the list and King is No. 10.  (
Check out Forbes profile on King at

The Wastelands Journal 1: Cowboys and Dead People

I'm reading The Wastelands as I wait patiently (not) for Doctor Sleep to come out.  I last read this in high school.  Interesting thing, while I remember massive portions of the first two volumes of the Gunslinger, this third edition is full of stuff I've forgotten.  I remembered there was a train -- and I know later there is a guy named Tic Tock (I think) and I remembered the bear and  the restoration of Jake.  But there's so much more I've forgotten!

I'm impressed that King is able to cross genre's with real ease.  Is this a western, is it fantasy or is it Scifi?  It's all of those!

Some much needed character development takes place in the Wastelands.  Drawing of the Three was pretty action packed, and so far the Wastelands has been focused on building the people.  No doubt, the action is yet to come!  The driving action in the early book is a rather anticlimactic fight with a gigantic bear.  The question in the readers mind is not if anyone is actually going to get killed in this fight, but what in thew world  the bear is.

When it comes to characters, King builds his house of cards carefully.  Roland is tortured by two realities; one in which the boy exists, and one in which there was no boy.  Likewise, Jake struggles with the sure knowledge that he died, yet he lives on.  He is stuck reliving events, knowing what will happen next, but seemingly unable to make different decisions.

King doesn't spend much time explaining Eddie and Susannah's sudden love.  It just seems that two people  in the same proximity have  no choice -- they're going to love each other.  The scenes with the two are tender.  In particular, King continues to develop Eddie's character.  In the Drawing of the Three he was little more than a street wise junkie.  But in this novel, King quickly shows his hands, revealing a kid who is going to be a great asset to the quest.

To me the most interesting stuff actually happens in our reality.  Jake Chambers knows  something is wrong -- in fact, he knows he's dead -- and yet he continues to move through our world.  He remembers the car accident, the priest (man in black) and every detail of  the scene.  In fact, when he arrives, he knows everything that is going to happen -- except this time he does not get hit by a car.  Jake and th gunslinger are separated by worlds, but are  both experiencing a duel reality.

Levere Promises An Explanation To The DOME Mystery

Just five episodes of this season's Under The Dome.  Are the many tangled mysteries starting to bother you?  Worried they might not resolve what the Dome is?

Rachelle Lefevre appeared on Access Hollywood Live and confirmed that the mystery of the dome in CBS’ “Under the Dome” is going to be explained. “That mystery will get revealed as time goes on, but basically… it’s not just the dome, but it’s what it represents and what its purpose is, which is sort of the larger mystery.  So first, you’ll find out what it is and then why it’s there and what its purpose is.”

She also said that Stephen King had been to the set several times, and he is hard at work writing the first episode of season two.  In fact, she suggested changes in the plot came when King signed on to do the episode.

Lefevre quoted King, "Look , if you do a series, you can make changes and it can continue on, and he said, for him, it was a chance to explore what would’ve happened to these characters that he created should they have been in this situation for a lot longer and things got even worse,"

She compared the story to William Golding's Lord of the Flies, when society breaks down and the bullies rule.  Well, in Lord of the Flies, it was as simple as a plane crash on an island.  Under the Dome is a little more complicated than Lord of the Flies!


Annie Wilkes Is Loose. . .

Check out Lisa Barron's article at titled, "Misery Nurse Set For Early Release."

Seriously -- this lady is thought to have killed up to 45 CHILDREN and is set to walk out of a Texas prison because she was on good behavior. I woulda never thunk it, Texas.  Barron says her release date is February 2018.
King based his "Misery" character Annie Wilkes on Jones, according to Rob Reiner, who directed the movie based on the book. Kathy Bates won a best actress Oscar for her portrayal of Wilkes.
Which makes me wonder. . . what Stephen King character would scare you if you knew they were actually lose on the streets?

Interview With Hans Ake Lilja

My favorite Stephen King website is Lilja’s Library. ( There is actually more content on this site than King’s official web presence! Full of interviews, news, podcasts and links, Hans Ake Lilja has created one awesome Stephen King hang out. He is also a very gracious person, always quick to answer questions and upbeat about King projects.

Talk Stephen King: Hi Lilja! Thank you so much for agreeing to another interview. I really liked your book, Lilja’s Library.

Lilja: Thanks! It’s always a pleasure talking to you!

TSK: I see you have a new book coming out, The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Trivia Book. Can you tell me a little about it? What makes it different from other trivia books?

LILJA: Well it’s actually The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Trivia Book and it focuses on the adaptations on King’s stories and it covers movies, TV series and Dollar Babies. The questions span from quite easy to really hard so anyone, die-hard fan or just an avid reader, can enjoy it. It’s up to date and it has illustrations by Glenn Chadbourne and an introduction by Mick Garris. I’m very proud of it and I think readers will enjoy it.

TSK: The book was written by several outstanding authors. How did you collaborate?

LILJA: Well, it’s written by me, Kevin Quigley and Brian Freeman. We all came up with questions for the book and sent stuff back and forward to each other by email. It’s amazing how the world has shrunken. I’m in Sweden and Kev and Brian in the US but it still worked without any problems. When the questions where done Glenn did the illustrations and Mick wrote the introduction and it was all then put together into a great looking book by Cemetery Dance.

TSK: One of my favorite features of both your book and website is the interviews. Any upcoming interviews we can look forward to?

LILJA: Well, I always try to get a chat with interesting people and I hope to keep doing that for as long as I run the site. Who might depend on what happens next in the King world…

TSK: Do you have a favorite interview (other than King himself?)

LILJA: Frank Darabont. I have interviewed him three times and it was always interesting to talk to him and he was very open and easy to speak to.
                                Lilja's February 2007 Darabont Interview
                                Lilja's January 2008 Darabont Interview
TSK: Under the Dome seems to be breaking ground and making headway where other King television projects have failed; what do you think of the series? 

LILJA: Well…it’s OK but it has problems. Let me explain. First, the show looks amazing (except from that cow that was cut in half which was a big disappointment). And I don’t have that big problem with the fact that they have changed the plot quite a lot like many others seems to have (and that King himself defended) but I do have some problems with the characters. I don’t like the Joe and Norrie characters. They feel very strange to me. I also have problems with Carolyn who feels too much out of place. The dialog sometimes feels more like it’s from a daytime drama than from a Stephen King series. However, my biggest problem is that I don’t get that feeling after an episode that I need to see the next episode ASAP. I get that with shows like Dexter and The Walking Dead but not with Under the Dome and that is a problem.

TSK: Were you glad Under The Dome was renewed for another season, or were you hopeful it would be wrapped up this year?

LILJA: I was hoping for it to wrap up this year. I think it risk losing viewers during a second season and maybe get canceled before they have the time to give us the ending they want and we’ll be hanging. I hate when that happens! I think that if it had aired at any other time then during the summer when the competitions from other shows are less fierce it would have been a one season series…

TSK: I recently did a post discussing possibilities of what the Dome might be. Any ideas?

LILJA: No, not really, could be anything. I’m glad though that they have decided to do a different ending then the one in the book. I don’t like that one.

TSK: Are you still tracking with Haven?

LILJA: Yes, I am. It doesn’t have much to do with King’s book any more but it’s a nice show and I can’t wait to see how they will solve the ending of season 3. It better be good though… :-)

TSK: Do you have a favorite thing about operating a Stephen King website?

LILJA: Talking to all the other fans! I love hearing from other King fans both through the site, email, facebook and twitter. I have made a lot of friends from all over the world thanks to the site and I love talking King with them.

TSK: I’ve been watching for news about several proposed movies – any news about remakes of IT or The Stand? 

LILJA: No, it’s been very quiet about those. I haven’t heard anything in a long time so maybe they have been canceled of stuck in the famous development Hell…

TSK: Having seen Under The Dome, I can envision a television show based on The Stand. What do you think?

LILJA: Yeah, I guess it could be done. We could have people trying to survive the plague for many seasons but I prefer to have King’s books adapted without an open ending like an ongoing TV series. There are so many original ideas being turned into TV series that are good anyway so I say “Keep close to the original when it comes to King”.

TSK: I don’t see a review of The Shining. Do you think you might post one with Doctor Sleep coming out soon?

LILJA: Don’t plan on doing that. I will review Doctor Sleep through and I bet I’ll be referencing back to The Shining in that review.

TSK: Doctor Sleep sounds absolutely incredible to me. It’s not really like King to return to previous works. Do you think this might be a trend of things to come? Could he give us a little more of Charlie from Fire Starter?

LILJA: No, I think this is a one thing deal. Given the history of King’s book it’s like you say not often that he goes back to older books and write about those characters again, other than if he lets them do a guest appearance in a new book. But you never know, maybe this has gotten him interested in following up on older characters. I would personally prefer a third Talisman book.

TSK: What do you do outside of the world of Stephen King?

LILJA: Well, I run the site The Walking Dead News ( that’s dedicated to all things about The Walking Dead
and I speak my mind on the facebook page “Lilja Speaks” (
Then, together with a friend, I run a Swedish Stephen King site called Följeslagarna (
and a DVD review site called DVDKritik (
So, I keep busy. :-)

TSK: Thank you so much!
LILJA: You're welcome.

Chloë Grace Moretz Talks Carrie

I like this interview a lot!  Stay with it through the foreign clips, the interviews are in English.

Moretz Explains Carrie Reshoots

photo credit:
Why was the release date for Carrie postponed?

“We actually prolonged the film, to be honest,” Moretz, who portrays Stephen King’s telekinetically gifted prom queen, told Fangoria. “We did some reshoots [in Toronto this past May], and added three extra scenes with Julianne [Moore, playing Carrie’s mother Margaret] and I to make the movie even deeper and darker. We prolonged a couple of scenes that needed to have an extra moment or an extra beat just to make it even deeper. It wasn’t about cutting anything out or trying to edit around things; it was about adding more to make the movie scarier and more intense.”


Under The Dome: Why I Like The TV Show Better Than The Book

I like Under The Dome a lot.  I thought the book was fantastic; big, well written and nicely paced.  As much as I enjoyed the book, I think the television show actually has the upper hand.  I think it's a stronger story.  Of course, I say this not yet knowing how they have decided to resolve the mystery of what the Dome is.

The television show has several advantages over the book that lend to its strengths.  For instance, they didn't have to come up with an idea and characters, King did that for them.  What they were able to do was fine tune and play with the core elements, making it even better.  They also had the advantage of group think!  Of course, sometimes this doesn't work; but it seems that in the case of Under  The Dome, many minds at work have done the story good.

There are things I find strange in the television show.  Like how long it takes to travel across town while entire other scenes unfold.  And why didn't anyone think sooner to head to the Dome's center to look for its power source?  Having it covered with dirt was a good way not only to hide it, but be able to show it visually on television -- since the force-field dome is invisible.

Here's why I think the television show is a stronger story than the novel:
  • More mystery.  The book revolved around one central  mystery -- what is the Dome?   However, the television show keeps heaping mystery upon mystery!  With each newly introduced question, the viewer is drawn deeper into the mystery.  What is the little dome?  How did it rain?  What are the pink stars?  (that was int he book)  Is the Dome itself alive?  Does it have will?  What's up with Barbie?
  • Greater tension.  The book certainly had a lot of tension; but the television show heaps it on by giving Big Jim an enemy, Ollie Dinsmore.  It's strange how I actually find myself feeling sorry for poor big Jim!
  • More character depth.  Big Jim's relationship with his son is explored with more depth in the television show.  Also, Big Jim himself is a more multidimensional character; as is Barbie.
  • The plot is more tangled.  King gave us a story with a pretty massive plot, and taking its cue from the book, the television show gets even more complicated.
About the little Dome -- with the egg -- revealed in last weeks episode, Darren Franich at hypothesizes:
Looks a little bit like pink stars, doesn’t it? Of course, they’re not falling…they’re rising. Was this somehow evidence that the Egg was absorbing the dying Alice’s life essence? Could it be that the little Egg is absorbing the souls/bio-electromagnetic field of everyone who dies inside of the Dome? Assuming that no one has died offscreen, the number of pink stars looks about right for our total body count so far: Three cops, one local diner attendant, a reverend, an out-of-town lesbian psychiatrist who vividly remembers all her med school training, and a couple murderous townies. Am I missing anyone? Could the Egg be absorbing Chester’s Mill life force in order to give birth to some new creature? Like, the Anti-Christ? Or the Alien Anti-Christ? Is the egg the source of the Dome’s power, as Joe implied, or is it a beneficiary of the Dome?

Carrie Heads To The Philippines

Theater actress Mikkie Bradshaw as Carrie in Atlantis Productions' locol staging of the Broadway musical. -- Photo from the theater company's official Facebook page

Wow, look who's getting a lot of attention these days -- Carrie!  Miguel Dumaual,, says that the 1998 Broadway Musical will be coming to the Philippines via Atlantis Productions.

The musical version of Carrie is set in the present, in the Chamberlain, Maine.  It appears high school bullying is something people can identify with world wide.
Coinciding with the debut run of "Carrie: The Musical" in the Philippines, Atlantis Productions will also release a four-track EP of the play featuring the local cast.
The local production will run until October 6.
the  full article is at:

Mark Pavia DRAG

Mark Pavia writes, I get a lot of email asking how Stephen King discovered me, then hired me to make THE NIGHT FLIER. This was how...

The Vimeo page notes:
"DRAG is the best short horror film I've seen in twenty years- smart, scary, and ferocious." -- Stephen King
"DRAG" - Mark Pavia's legendary 16mm zombie short was discovered and championed by the master of horror himself, Stephen King. This is the film that landed Pavia in the writer/director's chair for Stephen King's "The Night Flier", the vampire cult classic.
Shot in and around Pavia's home town of Lockport, Illinois, "DRAG" was also an early effort by Academy Award winning DP Mauro Fiore (AVATAR). 

Maximum Overdrive GOBLIN Goes On Tour

photo credit: TOM DODGE | DISPATCH
Ken Gordon posted at the Columbus Dispatch an article titled, "Collector takes Stephen King movie's goblin on ‘tour.'"

The article discusses Ken Shockey's unique movie prop collection, and one particularly interesting find -- the eight food  Goblin from Stephen King's 1986 film, Maximum Overdrive.  Of course, in the movie it was attached to the front of a truck.  When th eyes of the goblin lit up, you knew the  fun was about to begin!

Gordon takes us on some of the Goblin's  journey since  he was last seen in 1986.  Seems the prop had found its way to a North Carolina junkyard, and then to Shockey's yard in Columbus, Ohio.

How does Shockey pay to restore the Goblin?  He sells "Goblin Dust" for $10 a vile.  That is the dust created when he sanded the head.  Talk about having something unique in  your collection!

Check out the full article at

Which leads to a question -- What SK movie prop would you love to have?

King Makes MSN's Choice For Great Commute Audobook's

Shannan Rouss at msn has an article titled, "LISTEN UP! 10 best audio books for your commute." (Rouss lists more  than ten.)  King makes the list twice. I think he is the only author to be mentioned more than once.

The first choice is an obvious choice, but you better have a long commute!  It's the unabridged version of The Stand.  Rouss writes:
Clocking in at just under 48 hours, this Stephen King thriller is by far the longest on the list. When you finish it, you'll realize that you've spent the equivalent of two full days driving, probably over the span of a few weeks. That's a lot of time, but this book makes for good company. It begins with a super-flu that wipes out roughly 98 percent of the population. The survivors converge and attempt to rebuild society, but first they must contend with the Dark Man, who haunts their dreams. 
 The second choice is another classic King story, Salem's Lot.
Before Stephenie Meyer's lovesick vampires sucked the menace out of the genre, there was Stephen King's contemporary classic about a small town in Maine and the terrifying vampires who haunt it. (Sorry, no Edward Cullen here.) Salem's Lot is an ominous story with relatable characters that will draw you in and keep you reading long after the sun has set. 
The full article, and many other great suggestions, is at

What's your favorite Stephen King audiobook?

I have two.  Dolores Claiborne is a great one to listen to, since it is told in first person like a confession.  You really feel like you're in the room with her as she tells her dark tale.  Chatty, wise, observant -- this is one of my all time favorite novels.  A story of revenge with a great twist!

I also like the most recent recording of The Stand quite a bit.  I didn't blog much about my most recent trip through it, since there's not a lot new to say.   But it is wonderful, and Grover Gardner makes it a great journey.

OH!  A third. .  . I also cherish King's own reading on Needful Things.  I forget to list the King recordings, because they stand out as something else; something other than just a recording of the book.  Something special happens when King reads this story.  You can feel it the moment he starts with "you've been here before."  His accent is right and his narration is quite energetic.  Of course, he know how to play each line, since he wrote the book!

My favorite non-King audio book is Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

So, do tell -- favorite King audiobook.  (or  non-King if you want.)

Excerpt From Doctor Sleep

AARP has printed an excerpt of Stephen King's upcoming novel, Doctor Sleep.

By introducing Dick Hallorann, King acts quickly to make it clear that this story is building from his novel, not Mr. Kubrick's version of The Shining.  The narration actually feels very much like the voice King gave us in The Shining.  Same author -- but after all these years you would think it hard to return.

In Prefatory Matters we learn that Wendy and Danny received a small settlement from the owners of the Overlook. We quickly get to revisit room 217 (another nod to the novel over the film.)  In this short scene, Danny is eight.

This is masterful:
Close your eyes, Dick Hallorann had told him once upon a time. If you see something bad, close your eyes and tell yourself it's not there and when you open them again, it will be gone. 
But it hadn't worked in Room 217 when he was five, and it wouldn't work now. He knew it. He could smell her. She was decaying. 
In Chapter 1, titled "Welcome to Teenytown," an adult Danny has turned to drinking, shadowing his own father's misery. He bops from job to job and town to town, reminding me of David Banner in The Hulk.

King quickly takes us back in time. Note the narrative voice here,
Sorry, Deenie, you lose, but nobody leaves empty-handed. What have we got for her, Johnny?
Well, Bob, Deenie didn't win any money, but she's leaving with our new home game, several grams of cocaine, and a great big wad of FOOD STAMPS!
Check out the excerpt at 


Why Is IT So Mean?

I've been on vacation with my family.  My mother loved the Stephen King novel IT. She mentioned several times that she wanted to see the mini-series, even though I discouraged her.  However, I finally gave in (okay, she didn't have to push too hard) and spent the $7.  I might have paid too much.

I haven't seen the entire mini-series in years. I was startled to discover just how good it is!  "This thing still bites," I said. The first half is excellent.  I find the scenes with the children over the top scary.  When the clown in interacting with children, their fear is very real.  But then something really bad happens -- and it's not Pennywise -- it's part 2.  All of it.

Part 2 should have been the stronger part, since it not only contains Pennywise's defeat, but well known actors take the stage.  These are people who, by 1990, had plenty of time to hone their craft.  But they were terrible!  The show sinks into melodrama.  Scenes that should scare, get a laugh.  When Pennywise makes bad  things come out of the fortune cookies, it's just flat out funny.  In fact, not once does the second half of IT produce a scare of any kind.

There is something sincere in the children's portrayals, and something quite plastic about the adults. Interesting how young people who did not have the time to learn to pretend brought the real deal to the small screen.

The second half fails to produce any real drama, romance or tension.  The viewer is not left wondering if Pennywise  will live or die.  In fact, by the time we get to the final battle with the monster, we've lost so much interest in these characters that it would be just A-Okay if the monster did take them down.

My favorite scenes: 

  • The attack at the beginning of the show.  The girl playing on her trike, then you see a clown through the hanging cloths on the cloths line, then just a knocked over trike with the wheel still spinning -- outstanding!
  • Pennywise and Georgie.  This is great stuff because it's so scary.  Everything about the scene is perfect.  Georgie scared of the dark basement; the rainy day; the boat floating in the drain; and that clown.  The scene is so good, it leaves you talking to the TV.  "Don't do it, Georgie!  Run!"  But his brother made him that boat, and your heart just goes out to the little guy.
  • Pennywise and Bev.  When Bev hears the children's voices coming from the drain, I think that is down right spooky.   Worse, when the balloon explodes with blood all over the bathroom, it seems a little silly at first -- until she realizes her father can't see the blood!  She is a quick thinker and tells her daddy it was only a spider that scared her.
  • Stanley's suicide, with the word IT written in blood in the bathtub.  My mom thought the scene was reminiscent of Psycho, where Janet Lee slides down the shower wall and you see a trail of blood.
  • The scenes with the scrap book are kinda fun.  I like it when the thing drips blood, or when the pictures from back-when comes to life with Pennywise taking center stage.
Least favorite scenes: 
(Please keep in mind that this does not mean I disliked the same scene's in the book.  In fact, often these were scenes I thought rocked in the novel and was saddened they were not brought to life with any zeal.) 
  • The attack on Pennywise at the end.
  • Bill's final ride on Silver.  Great in the book -- not so great on TV.  Because, of  course, if your ride fast enough on a bike, people come out of their monster-induced coma.  
  • Library with blood balloons.  Seriously?  And, only the Loosers Club is supposed to see the balloons, or Pennywise for that matter -- but there is a lady in the scene who definitely jumps when the balloon pops.
  • . . . this list can get too long and critical.  You get the idea.

My favorite stupid line: Adult Bev to Ben, "Why is IT so mean?"  Why is it so mean?  WHY IS IT SO MEAN? BECAUSE IT'S A MONSTER!  They don't make nice monsters in Derry, you have to go to Mayberry for that one!

The 50's
The show authenticates a small town circa 1950's so well, it makes the stuff with the children more believable.  You get the feeling this really happened back then.

I was a Knotts Berry Farm with my family this week when a quartet came into the Johnny Rockets there  and asked if they could sing for us.  Sure!  Their song?  "It's alright."  Same song used in the movie during the dinner scene.  (The group was The MoonRays)

Final thought: There isn't much they can do on screen that beats what Stephen King can do with a  typewriter. 

NY TIMES Discusses The KING Family

Check out Susan Dominus' lengthy article, Stephen King’s Family Business. ( There is actually more personal information in this article than in most of the Stephen King biographies I've read!  Which brings to mind, I am still waiting for George Beahm to update his wonderful biography of Stephen King, America's Best Loved Boogeyman.

Here's some bullet points:

  • They do read Dean Koontz. Some like 'em -- some don't.  They also like Larry McMurtry, Wilbur Smith, Tolstoy, C.S. Lewis, James Cain, John D. MacDonald, Neil Gaiman
  • Stephen King bribed his kids to read books on tape for him.  Including some pretty nasty stuff, like Raven, which is about the Jonestown massacre.
  • At bedtime, King's children were expected to tell their parents bedtime stories.  That's pretty cool!
  • Stephen King used to win prizes in Sunday School for memorizing verses.  No one should be surprised by this; his writing shows a working knowledge of the Biblical narrative.
  • They also took time to read after dinner books like The Hobbit and The Chronicles of Narnia. 
  • Joe Hill cannot stop working if a sentence ends on an odd count of letters.  (Who counts?)  Rather compulsive, he has been known to miss appointments because he keeps going home to make sure the oven is off.  I understand this!  I run back to make sure the door is locked, then think, "now, did I really check?"
  • Naomi King wrote fantasy as a kid.
  • I appreciated Tabby's point that her children should not sulk too much about the burden of being children of writers -- since everyone has parents they will be compared to in some way.
  • As always, I love the love story between Steve and Tabby.  Not only how they were  young, in love and poor -- but how she was willing to confront his worst habits and demand the best in him. Dominus writes: Tabby explained to all of them that if their father did not agree to get sober, she would ask him to leave. “I didn’t want to lie to my kids,” she said. “I’ve never really gotten lying anyway, because all you do is postpone the day at which you’re revealed to be a liar.” As the family discussed the intervention all these years later, the conversation grew almost hushed. “It was terrifying,” Naomi said. “Are you going to have a dad anymore?”
  • The critic they all fear is Tabby.  She got Joe to change the ending of one of his books!  (And remember, she's the reason Dreamcatcher isn't named Cancer.)
  • Naomi King isn't really a fan of the horror genre -- she's a fan of theology.  Dominus quotes Naomi, "I do care about monsters — I care very much about theological interpretations of how we make friends with our monsters. If we demonize other people and create monsters out of each other and act monstrous — and we all have that capacity — then how do we not become monsters ourselves?”
  • Joe is a positive guy. (read the article)
photo credit:
I found this just down right sweet, about Owen King's wife, Kelly, and the King's:
The relationship between Kelly and Stephen has the easy rapport of in-laws relieved to enjoy each other’s company, the conversation light, less likely to turn to the mysterious process of writing than to the end product — either someone else’s work or their own. The Kings’ embrace of her writing is clearly not a function of politeness; they seemed to be competing to outdo themselves in their praise of “Save Yourself” when the subject came up. 
The full article is at: