The Stephen King Book Tournament 2017

This year I’m doing something a little bit fun on the site…a Stephen King book/novella tournament.empty-brackets

Over on the Google plus, Stephen King Community

https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/116358524459731933858

And over on Stephen King Forever on Google plus community

https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/118018234999179868877

 you can vote for your favorite book(s) to move on in the tournament.  The most votes between the half week’s match-up moves on until a winner is crowned. There’s a field of 64 novels and novellas in this tournament. 17 Novellas didn’t make the cut this year. They are as follows:

  1. The Breathing Method
  2. Fair Extension
  3. Hearts in Atlantis
  4. The Library Policeman
  5. Morality
  6. Blockade Billy
  7. A Face in the Crowd
  8. The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet
  9. The Gingerbread Girl
  10. In the tall Grass
  11. Heavenly Shades of night are Falling
  12. Throttle
  13. Blind Willie
  14. Why we were in Vietnam
  15. The Sun Dog
  16. Everything’s Eventual

The #1 seeded by region Books are followed:

  • The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger (Mid World Region)
  • The Shining (The Overlook Hotel Region)
  • The Stand (Captain Trips Region)
  • IT (Derry Region)

 

Mid World Region:

The Dark Tower I vs Blaze

Carrie vs Dr. Sleep

Cujo vs The Langoliers

The Dark Tower II vs Thinner

Insomnia vs The Dark Half

The Body vs Finder’s Keepers

The Dead Zone vs Needful Things

The Tommyknockers vs Dreamcatcher

 

The Overlook Hotel Region:

The Shining vs Cell

Pet Semetary vs Revival

The Dark Tower III vs Misery

The Long Walk vs The Dark Tower V

Desperation vs Shawshank

End of Watch vs Gerald’s Game

Christine vs A Good Marriage

Firestarter vs The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

 

Captain Trips Region:

The Stand vs N.

‘Salem’s Lot vs Under the Dome

Mr. Mercedes vs The Colorado Kid

Apt Pupil vs Roadwork

The Dark Tower VI vs The Green Mile

Rose Madder vs The Dark Tower VII

Big Driver vs UR

Secret Window, Secret Garden vs The Wind Through the Keyhole

 

Derry Region

IT vs The Regulators

Bag of Bones vs Joyland

Rage vs The Dark Tower IV

Lisey’s Story vs From a Buick 8

Gwendy’s Button Box vs 1922

The Talisman vs Duma Key

Riding the Bullet vs Eyes of the Dragon

Cycle of the Werewolf vs The Running Man

 

Cell Book Review

“The idea came about this way: I came out of a hotel in New York and I saw this woman talking on her cell phone. And I thought to myself, What if she got a message over the cell phone that she couldn’t resist, and she had to kill people until somebody killed her? All the possible ramifications started bouncing around in my head like pinballs. If everybody got the same message, then everybody who had a cell phone would go crazy”.-SK

Cell for me was one of those novels that could have really, really been expansive much like The Stand. It kind of dealt with the same kind of problems…in a way. It was apocalyptic in nature and there was a heaviness that carried all the way through to the end of the book. To me that was the one thing that stuck out in Cell; the heaviness of the situation.

This novel could have been another The Stand. Easily. But I was glad that he took a worldwide disaster and minimized it to a little over 350 pages. Don’t get me wrong here; Cell would have been awesome if it was expansive as The Stand. But the compactness of it works well.

So why does Cell work:

1)  Cell works because there’s another ‘what if’ situation that King thinks of. King always does a great job at bringing the ‘what if’ card to the table because the ‘what if’s’ in life are the scariest things, aren’t they? ‘What if’ a pulse sent by whomever through ALL cell phone signals turned all those that answered into mindless, murderous animals? This plot isn’t anymore crazier than a super-flu being unleashed in The Stand, is it? When King wrote this novel 2006, phones weren’t like they are now. Now they are a way of life, but ten years ago the usage and tech was growing into what we now have. Think about it: A terrorist group finds a way to jam all cell phone signals and when the phone rings and people answer it they hear a pulse and go crazy…that’s scary. I’m surprised some one or group hasn’t already tried. Maybe they have and the public just doesn’t know it. Hmmmmmmm.Stephen-King-Cell-Movie

2)  Cell works because this book didn’t bog down within itself. King could have gotten too wordy with this novel; could have done extreme overkill. Concerning the subject matter it would have been easy to do. But I think one of the best aspects of Cell is that King didn’t go into too much back story, too much characterization. I usually love that about his novels, but he toes the line making it work here. Fast pacing seemed to work pretty well here.

3)  Cell works because there was a character that I hated to see die. When Alice Maxwell is killed by those idiots in the car by the cinder block my heart fell to pieces. I think I hurt even more as she lay dying talking about things that she was remembering at certain points in her life. For me as a reader it was one of the hardest deaths in all his novels. It stayed with me for a few days.

4)  Cell works because you get captivated by what’s going to happen next. That kept me turning the pages until the end. You journey with this rag tag group and you have to keep reading because you want to know how all this is going to end. And often times in the King U. these type of stories don’t end well for those involved…

 
5) Cell works because the Raggedy Man/President of Harvard was a dark character and force. He had the full use of telepathy, could get into places of the survivors minds to make them do things at his will. A very supernatural character. The zombies were the villains as well as the humans that were still sane, but the Raggedy Man/President of Harvard was the boss. When he came into a scene he stole it because he was such a presence. King did really well with this baddie…

Cell rings in at-3/5 (Very Good)

Stephen King and the Conspiracy Theories

I ran up on something the other night that made me think about how stupid some people can really be. Maybe paranoid would be a better word. Yup, let’s use paranoid here.  We’ve all heard about conspiracy theories in our lives. Probably from someone we know closely or from some random guy sitting beside us in a hospital waiting room. Hell, we’ve all got that one family member that thinks the government places tracking strips in our cash to follow us around and listen in on our conversations. Oh, your family doesn’t have that odd ball?…my bad. I thought that was commonplace. 


Anyways, back to point here. Awhile back I’m surfing the Internet just prowling around looking for obscure Stephen King interviews from decades gone by, when all the sudden I stumbled upon this website about Stephen King and all the wild conspiracies out there that involve him…I never knew such things existed about King. Sure, I’m naive, here I thought King was just a writer, actor, musician, philanthropist, etc., not the topic of someone’s wild and crazy ideas.


I was reading page after page of these people who seriously think this crazy shit about King. At some point I had to make sure that I wasn’t reading a spoof. Nope. It was the real deal, Hollyfield. These people have thought about this for a long time and thanks to the Internet, they have a soapbox. Or had, hell I don’t know…for all I know they can still be peddling their insane ideas with a room full of cats.


Here’s a list of some of the conspiracy theories (Not in order from my memory). I was stunned by some of the craziness I read. And usually I don’t get stunned or surprised that much on the Internet. But by God I did this time…


1. Mind control- WTF?? Mind control? Some out there think that King puts subliminal messages in his books using his words to motivate people to do some of the crazy things he writes about.hyptnotic eyes Granted, they’re some mentally bent people out there that are suggestible, but to say King has some sort of mind control that maybe the CIA was looking into? That’s a little much…come to think of it, after my dog Lucky died when I was 14, I did have this eerie pull to go bury him in an old part of town where it was rumored that Indians had buried their dead…damn you Stephen King and your mind games!


2. The Dollar Baby Deals- Ever heard of this? Well, the Dollar Baby Deals are simply this: If you’re an aspiring film maker and want to adapt one of King’s works for the small/big screen, just send him a dollar for the rights and the finished film.dollar bill However, some crazies out there have theorized that King does this only because he feels badly because he’s stolen so much material over the decades and that the Dollar Babies is his way of setting things right. I’ll say this: Writers are often inspired by other writers, okay? That’s just natural. 


3. King Was Behind the Murder of John Lennon- This is nuts. I mean off the reservation. Supposedly, this crackpot some time after John Lennon was murdered  was sending out 24 page leaflets telling everyone his crazy accounts about who really shot and killed John Lennon. Apparently, somewhere in the book this guy wrote, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon had gotten with Stephen King and arranged the murder of Lennon.john lennon The writer (who I’m not even going to name; you want the name look it up. Pretty easy to locate) also claimed that King had written about his part in the murder throughout his books (there’s those subliminal messages again).  In later years when Stephen King was ran over and nearly killed in 1999, the same writer claimed it was some covert government group that was sent to kill King because he was about to expose not only his role in the murder, but those presidents that told him to do it…I don’t even know how to respond to this one.


4. Ghost Writer Team- There’s one conspiracy claim that he’s got a team of ghost writers who write his books. How else can one man write that much, right? Wrong. All I got to say is look at Agatha Christie; she wrote 66 novels and 14 collections in her career.ghost writers Should I even mention Ray Bradbury’s lengthy work and career?  So that “there’s no way one person can produce that much so he must have a team writing for him” is complete and utter bullshit. I mean come on…I file this one under JEALOUSY 


There’s perhaps more conspiracy theories out there but these were just a few that kind of made me laugh and wonder where our world is. Don’t get me wrong, I like to question things because in questions we find the answers. But I think sometimes people go too far. If I’m Stephen King and read these “theories”, I don’t know if I’d laugh or be afraid. 


The scary thing about all this is: These people think they’re right. They’ve spent time and energy thinking about it. Maybe King needs to write a book about this. Who am I kidding? He should pick someone off his “team of ghost writers” to do it for him because he’s probably busy with writing “mind control” passages in his books and talking with the president on who he should murder next…

Stephen King Stories You Ought to Know

“I like this story a lot; it tickles me. And the old guy’s voice is soothing. Every now and then you write something that brings back the old days, when everything you wrote seemed fresh and full of invention. “Mrs. Todd” felt that way to me when I was writing it.”-SK

Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut

This story is one of the classic stories, at least for me it is, in King’s second collection in 1985 called Skeleton Crew. The story itself was originally published in 1984 in Redbook magazine.

blue-ribbon1

Blue Ribbon Award-Winning Short Story

There’s a certain freshness to this story when you read it. Even if you’re reading King’s work in order or skipping around, when you come to this story there’s something unique about it. I know, unique is a broad word when describing King’s work sometimes. But this story is remarkable.

The story is about a woman who is obsessed with finding shortcuts and saving time. And who doesn’t like a good shortcut? But those of us that have read King know that sometimes shortcuts can lead to danger. Not here…not really.

Mrs. Todd tells Homer about these special shortcuts and how taking them cuts literally miles and time off of her trips. Doubtful of some of the tales she was telling (much because Homer knew how long some of these trips would actually take), Homer takes Mrs. Todd up on her offer to ride with her one day on a trip so she could prove to him she was truthful. 200px-SkeletonCrewHC

On the trip, Mrs. Todd takes a shortcut with Homer in tow. As they drive down the mysterious and unknown road, Homer sees things that his eyes cannot believe nor his mind comprehend. And as he sees these weird and odd things like live tress and odd creatures on either side of the old country road, he sneaks a peek at Mrs. Todd who seems to be looking younger.

Later on, Mrs. Todd turns up missing and is never found or heard from again. But Homer seems to think that he knows where she has been all these years; she’s found another shortcut that has taken her to parts unknown. And the end of the story, he’s right…

This story is about a woman finding a country road that turns into a portal of sorts between our world and the world unseen. Todash, if you will. And these “todash” places have cropped up a lot in King’s work over the years.

Mrs. Todd’s Shortcut is a great shortcut indeed- 5/5 (Certifiable Classic)