Thursday, September 21, 2006

Happy Birthday Stephen King

Back when I was in the military on TDY in some God forsaken place and homesick for New England, I would read drugstore paperbacks by Stephen King. Despite the fact that today if King were to vomit alphabet soup someone would publish it, I think he's a vastly underrated author. Sure he's sold a few books, but I don't think he gets the recognition he deserves for the quality of his writing. To me his best book is Different Seasons, whence the movies Stand By Me, The Shawshank Redemption and The Summer of Corruption come from. The are four stories to match the four seasons, each very different in tone and subject, none can rightly be called horror. If you haven't read King that might be a good place to start. In 25 years King will start to get the critical acclaim I believe he deserves, kind of like what happened to Phillip K. Dick towards the end of his life. I have old P.K. Dick paperbacks with cigarette adds in the middle of them, now the same stories are sold in glossy large format collector's editions. At least Stephen King sold enough books that he didn't have to eat ground horse meat like P.K. Dick.


Dexter said...

As well as the forgettable film, Apt Pupil...If Different Seasons is a good place to start...Misery would be a perfect place to stop...I think that is the last time he used an editor. My favorite was always the Stand, Manichean post-apoclyptic battle...with the strains of Blue Oyster Cult in the background.

El Duderino said...

"Manichean" now that's two black eyes from Hemingway for you. I loved The Stand, some say it's far too long, but I dug it, as in "Baby Can You Dig Your Man". In truth, since college and having been made aware of my ignorance in that, our august alma mater and having so little time to read in any event, I try to read books a little higher on the literary food chain than one could reasonably expect to find at a drugstore, like Tom Clancy novels. Now there’s a guy who can spin a good tale but can’t really be said to be a great writer. All his characters are fairly flat, really good or really evil, seldom if ever conflicted. All are great at their jobs and super motivated, I guess he is a fiction novelist.

Dexter said...

Ernie is a blowhard. Nice suit by the way... And good memory of the song...Clancy is another I gave up on after Clear and Present Danger I think... I do admire the way he kept coming back to the same small book store in New London, CT after he made it big because they supported him early on before becoming megabestseller.