IT Book Review

“I think that It is the most Dickensian of my books because of its wide range of characters and intersecting stories. The novel manages a lot of complexity in an effortless way that I often wish I could rediscover”. SK

 

Masterpiece. That’s what I call this novel by Stephen King. Every page in this 1,138 page epic is simply amazing. I don’t think that King has ever written anything quite like this novel since as far as depth and complexity with the characters. He’s written a lot of great work over the years since IT came out, but in my opinion this novel is head and shoulders above them all. There’s a certain intangible quality to this novel that I haven’t found with any of his work since.IT

 

So why does IT work?

 

  1. IT works because of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. Or Bob Gray. Or IT. Whatever you want to call the monster/alien of Derry, it is perhaps the best supernatural villain of all of King’s works. IT is the embodiment of every nightmare, every child’s fear whether it be the wolfman, the mummy, Dracula, Jaws, a giant prehistoric bird, or an abusive parent in Beverly’s case.

 

  1. IT works because we get to see how IT came to earth. We get to read about how long IT has been causing carnage to the small Derry town from the olden days all the way up to the modern days. It was fascinating to me as a reader that King was able to have Pennywise be a part of and causing some of the worst atrocities in Derry’s long history. Derry had a long and bloody history and Pennywise was the one that lit the fuse in all instances.

 

  1. IT works because the entire town had pretty much learned over the long years that IT was a part of the town just as much as the citizens were (even though they had no idea what exactly what IT was). When things would begin to go deadly wrong in Derry, people would just try to turn their eyes away and either not think about it or just wait until the cycle ended for another 27 years. I think King used his “small town values” really well in this novel much like he exercised them in ‘Salem’s Lot where people tried to dismiss the fact that the town was turning into the un-dead. People know that something is wrong in Derry and always has been, but as long as you ride it out IT will go back to wherever it sleeps and hibernate for another 27 years. To the townsfolk, that would be a welcomed nearly three decades worth time of peace. King does great when writing about small town secrets that everyone knows but do nothing to stop it.

 

  1. IT works because King wrote some of the best kids in any of his works: The Losers. Each one of them brought something to the table as children to defeat IT. And the crazy thing was that Pennywise knew that the Losers were formidable and for the first time in forever, literally, IT was frightened by the power of the Losers. So much so that IT tried to divide and conquer them using Henry Bowers twice and Alvin Marsh (Bev’s father) in human forms. IT was afraid of the Losers as much as they were afraid of IT.IT alt cover

 

  1. IT works because King like in another one of his works, The Body, takes us back to a time when we were kids and had the best friends a kid could have. We’ve all been there at one point in our childhood; having friends that we thought would stick around forever only to find out that as the older we get the more everyone drifts apart. This was what I found identifiable with IT. The Losers were so close during that summer, so connected, that it was kind of a stunner that they barely remembered each other as they reunited back in Derry in 1985. Then I realized that me and my friends are like that. I barely know them nowadays. But isn’t that how some things are? When you’re kids you’ll think you’d never forget your pals, but as you age, the years strip away more and more of your memories until you can only barely recall what it was like being a kid around your friends. I like that aspect of IT as it pertained to years gone by. Sometimes there’s nothing more powerful than just being a kid around your friends. I think I got that message loud and clear from King.

 

  1. IT works because there’s more than just Pennywise that messed with the Losers. You had Henry Bowers. Bowers was to me the every bully. And I swear to God every small town has them and everyone, adults and kids, knows who they are. In smaller towns they’re more infamous. King has always been able to write a good bully character. Maybe he’s seen a few in his time like we’ve all had. I think Bowers works really well because he is a tormentor to the Losers much like Pennywise is but in human form. And eventually Pennywise is able to turn Bowers by using him to try to kill the kids. So it’s basically in 1958 the Losers v. Pennywise and all his bag of tricks and Henry Bowers and his goons. Let’s not forget that an older Bowers comes back to Derry in 1985 summoned by Pennywise in the moon to get revenge on the brats that deviled him that summer.

 

  1. IT works because of its length. Some people will say that this book is just too damn big. That can turn people off and has to the casual King reader. But the hardcore readers like you and me thrive on the more lengthy novels. IT could have went longer, really. I think there was still a lot of plot points and characters’ back stories to mine. But in the end, King was able to strike a perfect balance with the length. 1,138 pages was long, but if you were like me you could have kept going.Image result for It book covers

 

  1. IT works because King doesn’t have the Losers kill IT in 1958 until the final act in the book where he flickered between there an 1985. I liked that flipping back and forth. Some people have argued that he should have broken the book into two parts like the miniseries did: the front part of the book about 1958 and the last part about going back in 1985. I disagree with this notion. I think that King paced the book very well. I think having us see Stan kill himself as an adult early on when Mike began calling all the Losers back home was a ballsy move on King’s part. When that happened you just knew that things were serious. So serious in fact that Stan couldn’t bear to return to Derry and fight the nightmare again. I thought that set the tone for the rest of the book as far as the Losers going forward in 1985.

 

  1. IT works because it’s the most imaginative novel in King’s library. This excludes any of the Dark Tower books because let’s be honest those books are in a different stratosphere all by themselves. When I say most imaginative think about what he had in there: the Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula, the Mummy, Frankenstein’s monster, Jaws (in the canal), the werewolf from I Was A Teenage Werewolf flick, Christine even made an appearance, dead kids in the Standpipe where Stan was in 1958, a prehistoric bird that tried to kill Mike, dead kids’ voices in the drains, the pictures coming to life in Georgie’s room and the photo album that Mike had, IT’s truest form (a spider), and last but certaitly not least a clown named Pennywise. Whew…there’s a lot of stuff going on.

 

  1. IT works because it’s an awesome, entertaining read. From beginning to end this novel kept me interested and turning the pages…all 1,138 of them.

 

  1. IT works because at the end it makes you sad because everyone is forgetting the events and most importantly each other. I especially felt a pang of sadness when the names in Mike’s address book, the names of Stan, Eddie, Bill, Beverley, Richie and Ben begin to fade off the page. Mike begins to forget the simple things like their last names and what was wrong with Eddie. It was as if later on they were never friends at all. And I think after all that we, the reader, went through with those characters, it hits us kind of hard when a couple of them die and the rest of them begin to fade in the memories of each other. You just know that eventually that none of them will remember anything or each other because they had finally ridded the world of IT.

 

IT brings it…5/5 (Klassic King)

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Award-Wining Novel

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2017 Stephen King Book Tournament

This tournament has been very interesting to say the least. And there’s been a huge turnout on the voting through Google + Stephen King communities since it’s been going. And that’s been awesome because at the end of the day, we’re fans of King’s writing, his voice, his characters and of his books.

Now we’re down from 64 to 32.

So without further delay, here’s the next round:

 

Mid-World

The Dark Tower vs Carrie

Cujo vs The Dark Tower 2

Insomina vs The Body

Needful Things vs Dreamcatcher

 

Captain Trips

The Stand vs ‘Salem’s Lot

Mr. Mercedes vs Roadwork

The Green Mile vs The Dark Tower 7

Big Driver vs The Wind Through the Keyhole

 

The Overlook Hotel

The Shining vs Pet Sematary

Misery vs The Dark Tower 5

Desperation vs Gerald’s Game

Christine vs Firestarter

 

Derry

IT vs Bag of Bones

The Dark Tower 4 vs From a Buick 8

1922 vs The talisman

Eyes of the Dragon vs Cycle of the Werewolf

Monday Mailbag

us postal service

Daphne W., Bad Ax, Michagen

What do you make of all the King movies recently? And do you think there’s too many?

I think new filmmakers, who are my age now and are in control of Hollywood, are going back to King’s source material in either grabbing new work that people have never read b/c they’re not Constant Readers, or they are remaking films, like the blockbuster, IT. The Stephen King library has a ton of earth for Hollywood to still til for years to come. I love the recent round of TV shows (Mr. Mercedes, The Mist) and recent movies (The Dark Tower, Gerald’s Game, 1922 and IT). As far as too much king? Is there such a thing?

Dave R., Red Devil, Alaska

What is the scariest Stephen King novel you’ve ever read?

This is easy for me— Pet Sematary. That book was full of dread and gloom and death. Lets not forget the death that’s all throughout the book. But I think the scariest parts of the book were of when Louis was walking through the forest. Those parts of the book gave me chills. I also think it’s scary because if you have a family, and something terrible happens to that family, what would you do if there was a way to bring them back? Would you bury them in a place where they could come back, but not really all the way back? PS isn’t only scary as hell but it also evokes a very morbid question between the covers—how far would you go to bring your loved ones back from the dead?

 

Gwen W., New York City, NY

Hi. I’m a 13 year old kid and wants to read Stephen King. Where should I start?

This is always a great question for me to answer. And my reply is always the same—start with Carrie, ‘Salem’s Lot, Night Shift (Collection of shorts) The Body, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, The Talisman and Cycle of the Werewolf. Don’t try reading stuff like The Shining, Desperation, Rose Madder, Insomina or even IT. Those are books where you’re going to need to be a little older to fully understand. I read The Shining at 12. I liked it and then when I went back and read it at 32, and being a father, I fully understood the characters. Sometimes, King’s work is best when read when you have aged a little and have experiences under your belt. But if you think you’re ready to take on Gerald’s Game or Under the Dome, go for it. And then read them in 20 years later to see how much more you really get it.

 

As always, email me your questions or tweet them @kingbookreader

 

 

 

Stephen King Stories You Ought To Know

Strawberry Spring

 

This short is by far and away my absolute favorite. I can’t say enough about this hidden gem. If memory serves me correctly, it was the very first short story that I read of King’s way back when I was 12 back in 1990. Wow, looking at the calendar that was 27 years ago! Anyways, back on topic here: Strawberry Spring debuted in 1968 in a mag called Ubris. Eventually this tale of terror was collected in King’s first short story collection, Night Shift.strawberry spring picture

When Strawberry Spring comes to the town signaling a false spring, the unseasonable weather brings with it a dense fog during the nights. It’s in this thick fog that a serial killer that is dubbed, Springheel Jack, lurks on a college campus and murders students. As the police scramble to indentify and stop Springheel Jack, Strawberry Spring goes away and so do the killings on New Sharon College campus. Eight years later, at New Sharon College, another Strawberry Spring comes about and so do the killings.

This story isn’t well known but it needs to be. In all of King’s work, this one stands out as one of his best short stories in his entire career. A young Stephen King paints us a truly melancholic picture of a town, specifically a small college, that is in the grip of fear as a serial killer chooses his victims at random using the thick gray fog as his cloak. This is vintage King before there was such a term.

Strawberry Spring rolls in at- 5/5 (Klassic King)

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Blue Ribbon Award Winning Short Story

Pet Sematary Book Review

“When I’m asked (as I frequently am) what I consider to be the most frightening book I’ve ever written, the answer I give comes easily and with no hesitation: Pet Sematary.”-SK

 

Okay, this book is a classic. Ask anyone about it. But you’re perhaps more apt to hear them talk about the film adaptation than the novel. I guess that’s fair because we’re a society that watches more TV and internet than reading. Although the movie is really good, the novel has a certain dread to it; a somberness if you will. And no matter how many times you read this work it never fails to bring you that aforementioned dread.

Anyways, Pet Sematary is a bonafide King classic. He hasn’t written anything quite like it since. As far as King’s work goes, this is the scariest novel he’s written to date. I think what makes this novel frightening and unsettling is that King hits hard on every parent’s worst fear: The death of a child. At its core, that’s what this book is about and how those affected in the aftermath deal emotionally. Unfortunately we all know how Louis deals…

Pet Sematary has so many elements within it, it makes for a chiller of a book. Engaging plot? Check. A mysterious and powerful parcel of land that can resurrect the dead? Check. Dead animals and people coming back from the dead when buried in said parcel of land? Check. A decimated and broken family both physically and emotionally? Check again. Creepy scenes? Check and double check.

So why does Pet Sematary work?

 

  1. Pet Sematary works because it deals with mortality. Of course a number his works do but in Pet Sematary that was the main focus. And King posed a profound question to his Constant Readers: If a loved one died and you had a way to bring them back, would you? I think some of us out there would consider it depending on the circumstances. Pet Sematary is an existential journey where we have to ask ourselves, ‘would we do something like what Louis did’?Pet Sematary

 

  1. Pet Sematary works because King wrote two of the best chiller scenes I’ve read from him in a long time. Both of them involved Louis going to the Micmac burying grounds. The first time he was carrying Church in a bag with Jud. The next time he was carrying Gage through the seemingly Wendigo haunted forest. Those scenes chilled me and I haven’t been spooked like that in a long time. I wonder if reading those scenes late at night alone had anything to do with that?

 

  1. Pet Sematary works because death is working OT and each death deepens the novel. You get the story of Zelda’s death, you get Victor Pascow dying in the entrance to the hospital on Louis’s first day, you get Church’s death, Gage’s death of course, Jud’s wife, Jud himself, Gage again, Church again, Rachael, Timmy Baterman…wow that’s a lot of people and one cat. Told you this book was heavy on death.

 

  1. Pet Sematary works because King uses the place beyond the pet sematary and the Micmac burying ground as the nexus for the novel. Everything that happens in the book is directly connected to the Micmac burying grounds; from Jud taking Louis to it to bury Church all the way to the truck driver speeding down the road and killing Gage. That parcel of Micmac Indian land was a great King villain and a great unseen force.

 

  1. Pet Sematary works because King left the ending ambiguous. I’m pretty sure that given the events of the rest of the novel that Louis is killed by Rachael. But who knows really. He could have turned and killed her like he had to do to Church and Gage. It really hinges on how you think in life: Positive or negative. Me? I’m an optimist…one thing is for sure: I’d love to see a follow-up novel with Ellie Creed trying to deal with her past as she goes back to the Pet Sematary. How good of a book would that be?!

 

Pet Sematary is a chilling place to walk through- 5/5 (Klassic King)

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Blue Ribbon Award Winning Novel

Why Stephen King’s Work Is Better Reviewed Today Than It Was Thirty Years Ago

I thought about this topic for awhile. Reason being is that most reviewers that I read, indie book bloggers or from a nationally known magazine or newspaper or bookstore website (and son of a bitch, even Amazon), the reviews for King’s work has seemingly gotten better and better. It’s almost sacrilege to say anything bad about his work these days. So I started to think about this subject for a little bit.

Why? Why are most of the reviews that I read these days cast King in a better light? Is he a better writer at an older age? Has all the haters from the 70’s and 80’s finally quit, yielding to a younger generation that read and liked King’s work? Or is it simply because there’s more fans able to use technology to tell the world about how good his books are? Perhaps it’s all of these possibilities.

It’s true, back in the day when King was turning out books like The Stand, The Shining, ‘Salem’s Lot, The Dead Zone, etc., reviewers would often times rake him over the coals saying this and that and that King couldn’t write and that horror was just a low-brow form of writing. A lot of older reviewers from back in the day that I read said that King couldn’t write at all and that the people that were reading him were just the dregs of society with minimal education. These were some pretty solid hits on King’s work early on. Of course none of this turned any of King’s fans off. King writes for the fans, not the elitist, stuffy book reviewers that can’t and won’t read anything that wasn’t written 80 years ago or someone from current times that writes like the authors they read when they were growing-up. They are entitled to their opinions, however.B-81-363-34 Sitting at Desk with hands coming towards the camera

Obviously these old school Hemmingway, Wolfe type fans can’t get into the modern world with King. While these self righteous reviewers were looking for the next Herman Melville, King was hammering out novel after novel like Christine, IT, Pet Sematary much to the disdain of these reviewers that were already in their fifties and sixties when King was early in his career. The more that King wrote and published, the more some of the reviewers hated his work. Pretty soon there was a dividing line being drawn in the literary world between those reviewers that hated King and couldn’t/wouldn’t accept him in literature and those that did.

The reviewers that loved King told the world through their nationally read book reviews in newspapers or on TV and in the last two decades the internet.  This new school bunch of reviewers were the reviewers that King had hooked way back when Carrie had hit the scene. Some he hooked on The Shining, some on ‘Salem’s Lot and others on The Stand (and as time and books went on, so did his fan base). What I think is great is that some of the reviewers of his work today were the same kids that read King and watched the movies adapted from the pages. You’ll be hard pressed to find a generation X’er that doesn’t like King’s work whether it be all of it or just a portion.

Once King made more fans through his inventive imagination, some of those fans would grow up reading King’s work even today and those same fans took to whatever medium they could get their hands on and review Stephen King’s work, me included. Most reviews of his works are positive today, unlike the stale old book reviewers that expected books to be boring, and about times that no one in the last century could recall. I understand there’s classics out there, I do. I’ve read those same classics that the old school book reviewers can’t let go of. I think the biggest problem that the aging elite book reviewer of King’s work is that they can’t accept that the world has moved on and no longer care for long gone forgotten novels. And I will hazard a guess that as time goes on, most of King’s work will be forgotten save for a few novels and shorts that will probably outlive us all. It happens to all the greats. How many Ray Bradbury novels can you name right now?

Very, very few writers write like writers did 80 years ago. I feel that one of the biggest reasons that older books don’t get looked at much anymore is simply because they just don’t translate well into our vernacular anymore. King still does and has been for decades; for my generation and the one behind me.

I re-read Firestarter not too long ago and that book still translates well into 2017. It helps that I was alive when the book was published and know a lot about the pop culture that King references in the novel. However, in 2020, when a 19 year-old kid picks up Firestarter, are they going to be able to relate to that novel and the pop culture references? No, probably not. Does that mean King then becomes Mark Twain?

Samuel Clemens

The thing that really help boost King was the adaptations of his work to the small and big screens. People that didn’t like to read could watch his work on film and they loved it. Then you had the people who read his books and then watched the films. With this double-pronged attack, it was hard for Stephen King’s name not to be a household one. Even my mother knew who King was even though she never watched a King adaptation or read any of his books but she knew what he was.  He’s the blue collar writer that connects with most of the people that buy his books and goes to the theaters to watch the films because at the end of the day, no matter how much the man is worth, he likes to write and tell stories. I have a strong feeling he’d be writing even if he wasn’t doing it for a living. It’s very rare that anyone gets to turn a hobby into a career.

It’s not to say that all book reviewers from back in the day were harsh on King. Not all of them were. Early on King had a slew of supporters helping him along the way. King has always had his share of supporters and detractors from the baby boomer generation. But in my opinion, the detractors are diminishing in numbers. Why? Several things actually have contributed to his more positive reviews.

One. I think many of King’s early antagonists voices have become irrelevant. These golden oldies don’t like change and with the way the internet is the prime source of news nowadays, no one is reading their tired reviews about writers that no one is going to read except the elite much like them. Like it or not, things in this world have become a niche market. Thing is, these King haters held on as long as they could slamming his work every time King put something out (Harold Bloom comes to mind). But time and technology has slowly pushed their audience, voices and reach to the margins. They don’t have the clout they once had say in the 1980’s. Sure, King still has staunch haters out there that simply do not like his work. And that’s okay, because we are all entitled to our opinions. But let’s be honest here; how many of these elite reviewers over the years really read and gave King a chance? I’d say not many.

I have more respect for a reviewer that has actually read the work he is discussing and give it a chance with an open mind. I think King’s rep forced a lot of these old school reviewers from back in the 70’s and 80’s and hell, through the 90’s, to just look at the jacket synopsis and they’d write a review based off that. Not saying that it happened, but I think it did for those that hated his work that much. I can’t see these stuffy old folks sitting down and reading through Desperation.

Two. Another reason Stephen King’s work isn’t getting the negative feedback as it once did is because his writing has gotten a lot sharper and with deeper meaning. I guess this all came with age. I’d say from Carrie to The Dark Half, King was what I would call a gunslinger (yeah, I went there for all the DT fans). He just wrote like he was on fire and gave us some of the most awesome stories, both novels and shorts and novellas the literary world had ever seen. He was becoming what very few writers become: Successfully prolific. From Needful Things through Desperation, King was still giving us some great novels and shorts and novellas, but there was a maturity in his writing. That maturity I saw came in The Green Mile, Bag of Bones and with The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. That’s where I saw King beginning to get some age on him and start to get a little more profound with his work. Then his near fatal accident happened. And then came Dreamcatcher, a seemingly return to the gunslinger King. But as he healed both mentally and physically, he wrote meaningful books afterwards like Lisey’s Story, From A Buick 8, 11/22/63, Duma Key, a return to The Shining with Doctor Sleep just to show us all that he could still bring it, and even Under the Dome with a hardboiled detective novel, his first, Mr. Mercedes. King has shown us all that he can still come up with great stories, unforgettable characters and everyday situations that can turn bad on a dime. To me and I think to most fans and reviewers like myself, King’s best work lies in the last 21 years from The Green Mile to Revival. I love all of King’s work on some level or another, but I think he’s done a terrific job of keeping things fresh and new even though he’s been at this for over 40 years. And if you think it’s easy to keep things fresh after four decades, think again.stephen king pic

Three. I think another reason King’s work is better reviewed nowadays is because more of his fans are out there with technology at their fingertips. Now, thanks to the internet, you don’t have to be a newspaper columnist with your own section in the weekend paper to review things that you like. Now, if you hate or love something you can take it straight to your own blog or social media page and tell the world what you think. Stephen King blogs like mine I think are important because we’re fans first. Why else would we take all this time to write about something if we didn’t like it or that our heart wasn’t into? It’d be silly. Also, I feel that me and all these other Stephen King bloggers are helping to extend King’s past books by reviewing them our way. Let’s be honest here: Will King be popular in 50 years from now? Let’s see, I’ll be 88…ummm. I don’t know. Stephen King himself was asked which of his books he thought would still be popular 50 or 60 years from now. He replied The Stand, ‘Salem’s Lot and The Shining. I think there’s more than that that will be popular. But then again I don’t truly know. I bet people back in Mark Twain’s day thought he’d never be forgotten. But he nearly has if not for some of our public schools that still require his books as required reading. Twain isn’t totally gone out of sight, but he has to a degree because time goes on and people die and things are forgotten. It’s people like me and others that do blogs about King’s work, review the books that entertained us for decades hoping that a younger generation that has never read King stumbles upon our reviews and reads what we, the fans, have to say about this prolific and folksy and award winning author. Maybe we’re able to turn someone onto King’s work later on. Hopefully.

People have their own opinions when it comes to things. Stephen King’s writing over his career is not different. At the end of the day it comes down to preference. I got that. But I can stomach someone that reads King and gives him a bad review as long as they read his work, not what’s inside the flap.

I don’t give every Stephen King novel or short I read a rubber stamped 5/5. I can’t do that; because not all his books and stories are that. He knows that and so do all his fans and reviewers. But to me there is something that works in every King tale; something that makes us keep reading on even though it isn’t our cup of tea at the moment. It comes down to trusting his narrative and his voice. I have since I was 12 way back in 1990.

It’s true, King has written some not so good shorts, novellas and novels. In 40 years he’s bound to write some bad ones. However, with that being said, I’d still rather read his worst story than another writer’s best…it’s Stephen King’s voice that has always kept me coming back. He’s like an old friend I sit with that likes to tell stories. And there’s a comfort in that I think; bad reviews be damned…

Stephen King Stories You Ought to Know

Night Surf

 

Originally, this story was published in 1969 in Ubris magazine and was later on collected in King’s first short story collection, Night Shift. What is Night Surf? It’s the short story that served as the jumping off point for The Stand. Not a whole lot of people know this. And I suspect when people read this month’s ‘You Oughta Know’, they’re going to find this story and read it and really like it.

As a standalone story it’s very good. Looking at it now as a sibling to The Stand, it’s even better. There’s more meat on it, more of a point to it; not to say there wasn’t before The Stand. The latter just enhanced Night Surf.night surf

Basically Night Surf is about a group of teens that think they have survived a virus (A2 and then later a more lethal virus, A6 aka Captain Trips) that has wiped out nearly the entire world’s population. As they spend the night at a beach, one of the teens that had joined their group begins to show signs of Captain Trips and the narrator of the story, named Bernie, begins to think about the bleak future of humanity and his eventual demise.

Night Surf comes in at- 3/5 (Very Good)

 

 

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 and 1 novel 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
  17. Black House

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…