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Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Picture of Things Past...and Things to Come

This is my "King Shelf". I had to expand the shelving on it recently.

If you see it here, it's on my list to be read for the blog (or already has been). Obviously the reading order vs. the order on my self isn't perfect, as the collections are shown in publishing order, while the individual stories themselves are being read in initial publishing order. That means I've already read everything in Skeleton Crew despite it being the next book on my shelf after The Eyes of the Dragon. I've also read several stories from Nightmares and Dreamscapes and one story from Just After Sunset. The one exception on this shelf is obviously On Writing, which, while I'm glad I own and will likely read when I get there, can't be adapted as it's not a story. There is a lot of Kingian non-fiction that I don't own, and really am not sure I want to. After all, unlike Bryant over at The Truth Inside the Lie, I don't consider myself a King scholar, just a fan, and thus, while I'm reading all his fiction, no matter if I already have or think it might make a good film/TV series, I'm not out to read literally every word he's ever written.

If you don't see it here, and Stephen King or Joe Hill wrote it, I probably have it as an ebook, and some I have as Word documents! I don't have The Plant and there are three Joe Hill short works, The Lady Rests, The Collaborators and The Devil on the Staircase that don't appear to be available anywhere, and there are a couple of comics of his I don't have, but for the most part, if it got published, I have it. And it's getting read for the Blog. If I don't adapt it, I will continue explaining why with Skipped Stories posts (honestly those are some of my favorites to re-read, and I don't know why).

Since getting Sleeping Beauties for Christmas, I have been struggling with the question of whether or not to include Owen King's other works on this blog. Ultimately I decided against it, even though I probably will read his other stuff at some point, if only Double Feature, which sounds quirky and cool. I decided against it for several reasons:

1) The purpose of this blog is to "create" the Stephen King Cinematic Universe. It is not to literally collect and expound upon everything everyone related to King wrote. After all, that would mean I'd have to track down Tabitha's stuff as well and then, well, where does it end? What if Joe's or Owen's kids start writing!?

2) The only reason I even wondered for a moment about including Owen's stuff is that I've already decided to include Joe Hill's stuff. But I didn't do so just because Hill is Stephen King's son. I did it because both men have stated that most (if not all) of Hill's stories are absolutely part of the same mythos that most (if not all) of King's works are part of. I think they've even started referencing each other, though as I haven't gotten to Hill's stuff yet (I read half of Heart-Shaped Box a few years ago and all of Locke & Key, and yes, that is all six volumes of Locke & Key you see there and yes, it's being included) I'm not sure how much they do that. Owen King's material is apparently entirely his own, doing his best not to follow in his dad's footsteps, and even though he's now collaborated with Daddy, I doubt he'll want his books to be thought of as part of a grand mythos his father created.

3) I'm spreading myself thin as it is. Having committed myself to reading all of King's and Hill's output, and realizing that there's more to come from both and that I'll be buying them well before I get to reading them, I just can't add another author. Not yet. Maybe once I've caught up with Daddy and Junior, I'll get to Owen's stuff. I would like to read it, so we'll see. But not now.

As things stand, I'll probably be finished with The Eyes of the Dragon in a couple of days, or perhaps sooner. After that we return to the Tower for a while and then we enter a period where I've strangely read very little in the past. The early 90's is a period I've only read scattershot, so it will be an experience!

Stay tuned!


  1. Yikes, I didn't realize you were doing Joe Hill too! Not that I have a problem with it, I just realize you still have 30 more years and counting of a VERY prolific writer of (mostly) VERY long books. I just did a count, and I'm not as far through the King library as I've been thinking. Roughly half, but that's been spread out over 4-5 years, and I thought I had made a bigger dent.

    Are you enjoying Eyes of the Dragon? That one hasn't really grabbed me just yet, but that's mostly due to my own inclinations against anything I expect to resemble D&D in any way. So I haven't started on The Dark Tower either. I expect that when I do, I'll realize how silly I was, but for some reason, my eyes glaze over at Zelda, D&D, or anything I perceive as extreme nerdiness. It's silly, given how into LOTR I got in the early 2000s, and my enjoyment of various sci-fi. Just one of my many quirks.

    1. Yeah, I made a post about it two years ago:

      You were on the side of "it's okay if you do" include him but you yourself were mainly focused on King.

      My own King reading experience, prior to this blog, was all over the place. I read the ones everyone's read (It, The Stand), some of those considered his classics (Carrie, 'Salem's Lot, The Shining) and the entire Dark Tower series. I also read several others but seemingly all of it was either quite new (at the time) or his early stuff. I tried to read everything relating to The Dark Tower, but I'm sure I missed some things.

      I am enjoying EOTD, as I did the first time I read it, but explaining why will have to wait until my casting post, which I've already started working on and will be up either today or tomorrow.

      I don't know what you mean by "resemb(ling) D&D in any way", but to me, EOTD has about as much in common with D&D as I do with Hugh Jackman. We both are white guys who haven't lost any limbs, and we both have hair, and we both sing. But no one's EVER going to confuse me with ol' Hugh.

      I also don't play Zelda, or D&D, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE fantasy novels. Most of those I read are those intended strictly for adult audiences as they're quite violent, profane and might contain graphic sex scenes. Game of Thrones didn't invent that aspect of fantasy at all, even if it is the most popular example.

      If you ever were into LOTR, I would recommend giving some more modern fantasy a try. It's grown a lot, and the way it's being written has also changed. It seemingly used to require archaic-sounding "high tone", like something you'd hear in a period costume drama. That's rapidly going away, and it's kinda funny to read Bryant's review of this book where he talks about the language being "too modern" when honestly the prose and dialogue are almost a throwback to how fantasy USED TO be written.

      I hope I'm wrong, but it kinda sounds like you hear something described as "fantasy" and assume it's like D&D. If The Dark Tower seems like it could be close to D&D to you, nearly anything with fantastical elements probably does as well. I must as, have you actually played D&D? Because really, D&D is just random quests and battle campaigns while quite a bit of fantasy prose is much deeper. Modern fantasy is often cynical, usually doesn't feature young kids as the heroes (or, if it does, forces them to grow up right away and has them put in decidedly non-kid-friendly scenarios) and even tends to stay away from standard fantasy tropes like elves, dwarves, dragons, trolls, orcs, etc. Quite a few even minimize the magic aspect, and some incorporate technology, such as steam or gunpowder.

      I'll be saying more about that in my forthcoming post.

    2. You are dead right, and I know it's unfair, but I have certain trigger words that make me want to avoid some fantasy stuff. I've never played D&D, but have seen it depicted, and I remember seeing the kids who played Magic before school, and that has been enough to make me want to run away screaming. And, this is important: I was never a jock, bully, greaser, or any other type who made other kids' lives hell. If that brings someone joy, I'm all for it. My brother loves Terry Brooks' fiction. I know I'm not truly informed about it, but he also loves Zelda, as millions do, and that never appealed to me. So I generally don't give anyone else a hard time over what they love, but I have very strong and ignorant opinions based off things that probably are completely inaccurate. With The Dark Tower series, it has as much to do with the fact that it's thousands of pages as the other stuff. Bryant has promised it's not necessary to cram it all into a few months, and even suggests that pacing myself might be more enjoyable. I'm sure I'll get to it sooner than later, but I'm more committed right now to reading The Shining and a few others first.

      I'm aware that there exists some VERY adult fantasy stuff, and again, if dragon porn or anime or whatever gets you off, fine, but I haven't found a need for it.

      I think the high tone and the magic are both factors in my distaste for D&D and similar things. I also am wary of dragons, which has probably helped keep me away from Eyes of the Dragon. Although I did love me some Smaug in the Hobbit movies. I'm aware of the contradictions in myself. Mostly I just shudder at the thought of myself arguing about why a Demogorgon is better than an army of Orcs, or rolling a 4 to find out whether I've saved Lady Gwenivere.

      Anyway, looking forward to the new post. Perhaps it will open my eyes to putting EOTD higher up on my list.

    3. I think we both have disdain for D&D and even for similar reasons. I think of D&D as something that trivializes speculative fiction and makes it look like it's "for kids" or something like that. A prime example of why I hate it is that you are nowhere near the first person I've met who automatically thinks the way you do about most fantasy, and D&D and the kind of people who play it have created this impression that fantasy is immature and silly and not on the same level as "real" literature.

      By the way, don't assume I mean the fantasy I read is pornographic (and I just cannot understand or appreciate anime at all). It just doesn't always turn away when two characters start getting it on. I brought up the level of adult content mainly because I know non-fantasy readers probably think it's essentially on the same level as the Smurfs or the Gummi Bears or something, when really, it's more like period drama (think "The Tudors" or "The Borgias") but with magic and such.

      As for your last paragraph, don't worry, we're both pretty much on the same page here. I would much rather read about an assassin in the kingdom of Naar'lech being hired to kill his own king who happens to be his best friend (a sort of plot you'd be far more likely to find in a fantasy novel) than to read about what character class the hero is in, or what he has to roll for initiative or what monster attack to use.

      Anyway, the post is up now, hope you enjoy! I don't know if it will change your mind about fantasy in general (I'm actually sure it won't) but hopefully it will make you more interested in reading this particular one and the Dark Tower series, which really ties King's mythos together well, and honestly that really draws me in. Maybe it's not the same for all King readers, but the more little connections I find in his works, the more I love it all. And it all centers around TDT.

    4. I never actually thought you were into dragon porn. That was just for laughs. Although, I've come to realize that there is a fetish for E-VE-RY-THING. People are plumb loco.

    5. I have a Google Alert for Stephen King that sends me whatever "news" it finds during the course of the day. When it comes in, I read through the emails looking to see if there's anything I need to check out.

      Lately, I've been getting a lot -- a LOT -- of "It" fanfic, most of which seems to involve Richie and Eddie.

      I just sigh and press delete.

  2. "The Devil on the Staircase" can be found in the trade paperback edition of "Horns."

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