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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

King of the Hill: A Question for My Readers

Merry Christmas to Me
As you can see from the photo above, I had a pretty nice Christmas. Actually, I really did, and for more than just those reasons. I got to see my oldest daughter, who lives north of me so I don't get to see her very often, I saw the new Star Wars movie (it rocked!) and I think I managed to find the right gift for just about everyone concerned.

And thanks to my wife, I have now completed my King collection, and started my Joe Hill collection on the ground floor, as it were.

For those of you who don't already know, Joe Hill is Stephen King's oldest son. He was born Joseph Hillstrom King, and chose the professional name Joe Hill in order to insure that whatever success he had in the writing world would be due to his own efforts, not just his connection to his incredibly famous father.

I must confess, I've never read a Joe Hill novel. I have long wanted to, but never got around to it. I have, however, read his comic series Locke & Key and found that to be amazing. I can safely say based solely on that series that Hill has earned his spot among the great horror writers of today. Like his dad, his horror is often subtle, and gets to you the more you think about it. Also like his dad, he doesn't always try to scare (from what I've read about him). He also tends to go "cosmic", as in, writing about ordinary people being affected by things man was not meant to know, which is very Lovecraftian and therefore, I love it. I am really excited to get to these books.

And now, a question for the readers: Should I include Joe Hill's books and stories in this blogging project?

Do you want to see me (eventually, as I have a long way to go before I get there) make casts for Hill's books? I automatically exclude Horns because its adaptation is less than a decade old, but his short stories and the other two novels might be ripe for adaptation.

There are arguments for doing so. First, I'm going to read them anyway, and I do plan on adding them to my chronological list amid King's books. If I'm gonna read 'em, why not blog 'em?

Second, I already have two Hill works on my list; Throttle and In the Tall Grass, which he co-wrote with his dad.

Third, I understand that King has said that as far as he's concerned, Little Joe's stories take place within the same canon as his own. I say "canon" instead of "world" because King's canon already encompasses umpteen different worlds, some mostly like ours but subtly different, others incredibly unlike ours. There's no reason that two writers from the Keystone World aren't being used of Gan (and if that sentence confuses you, read the Dark Tower books). The fact that they have collaborated and that references to each others' works have shown up in their books (again, I'm told) just solidifies that.

There are a few arguments against it, as well. First, and most obvious, is that this is a Stephen King blog, not a King Family blog.

Second, there are six stories of his that don't appear to be available unless you happened to purchase whatever it was initially published in (usually magazines). They're not even available on Amazon that I can see. Therefore it won't be even as complete as my King reading (and even that isn't 100%, though it's as close as one can really get).

Third, if I include Joe Hill, why not include Owen King as well? This one I'll actually answer. Owen King, despite being the one who kept his last name professionally, has really set about doing his own thing. He doesn't really write horror at all, at least, from what I've read about him. Hill, meanwhile, is something of an Heir to the Throne.

But I'm engaging my readers here and asking their opinion. Would you like to see Hill adaptations when I get there? Would you prefer me to stick to things King put his name on and nothing else? I want to hear from everyone on this; regular commenters, lurkers, people who just found this blog today, etc., etc. The more the merrier.

In the meantime, I'll wish everyone a Happy New Year, advice you to party responsibly and we'll see you in 2016!


  1. I vote yes. And technically, Hill IS a King, so your blog's title sort of permits for it. ;) Even if it doesn't, any excuse to read Joe Hill is a good one.

    I found long ago on my own blog that when and if I feel like writing something that isn't strictly within the bounds of the blog's mission statement, it was okay to just go ahead and do it. I usually do so with a half-hearted apology, but I go ahead. Half the time, those end up being the posts that get the most hits, too!

  2. Right now, it's Stephen King who's on my radar. I know I read a book of short stories several years ago which I'm pretty sure I liked, but it's been years ago, before I decided to try King, and I don't remember any of it. I'm more interested in the extensive King canon right now, but you seem excited about this, and it's your blog, so I won't bitch if you include Hill.

  3. Well, I guess that settles it. When I get to Hill's works, I'll be blogging about them, both in the manner of stories I skipped (I already can tell I won't be adapting all of Hill's short stories) and castings for others.

    And Aaron, I understand your preference there, and trust me, there's a LOT more King to get through before we start getting to Hill's stuff, and even then, there's more King to read as well. I just started the 80's, and Hill's earliest short story that I have access to didn't come along until 1999.

    I'll have the Firestarter post up in the next couple of days.