2020-08-10 16:32:18

Bag of Bones used to be my favourite King novel. It's fallen out of the top spot, but not by much. I admit that it's kind of slow at the start, but I'm willing to forgive King this because character is always building. Mike doesn't strike me as prickly, and rather than see him whining about spots on the bestseller list, what I actually got from him is the understanding that he knows he's good, but not great. He only matters if the list goes up to 15, after all, so while he wants to stay successful if he can, he also knows he's not changing the world. I remember, in specific, a conversation that Mike has with Harold Oblowski, his agent, where Mike thinks of saying, "So I don't come back. So what?", or some such thing. I don't see this as a condemnation of his character. His relationship with Jo is painted with pretty deft strokes, for the most part, so I agree with you there. Kyra is a bit too idealized, I agree there too, but most of the rest of that book is pretty much spot on.

Now, with Duma Key, I only have a couple of criticisms. It's a bit faster and meaner in some ways, but it's also a bit more contrived. I could've done without Candy Brown entirely, and I also wish that King had handled Wireman and Edgar meeting up a little better. The whole laugh-till-you-almost-pass-out-and-now-we're-buddies thing just feels like lazy shorthand to me. Don't get me wrong, the relationship between those two blossomed beautifully after this, but this felt like a shortcut where you get through the first 5-10% too easily, and King probably could've done without it. Some of the "how to draw a picture" bits drag just a wee bit, IMO (not the early ones), but overall it moves along well and builds to some pretty horrific stuff. Now, as it comes to the ending, my understanding is that the two of them sink the steel canister in a deep lake, then go do whatever they're gonna do. Edgar doesn't get to Mexico in time, and Wireman dies of a heart attack because life sucks like that sometimes. But because his family is shattered, he ends up going there anyway, to try and pick up the pieces. While I feel bad for Edgar by the end of this, especially due to the loss of everything just when he began to think things were coming back together again, I've never minded an ending like this because I don't feel that characters who do well have to be rewarded for it. Oh, it feels good when they do - I smiled when Mike talked to John about getting custody of Kyra one day, for instance - but sometimes, that just doesn't happen, and that's okay with me.

Those two are two of my favourite King books. He gets a lot right, and not much wrong, and I guess that part of the genre is what draws me. Ghosts, psychic events, pseudo-gothic intrigue, that sort of thing. I'm glad you ended up liking both of these books though.

Check out my Manamon text walkthrough at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1

Thumbs up

2020-08-21 22:52:04

Alright, my review of Duma Key is now up and posted and can be Read here.

As for what King book next, we'll see.
I'm doing game of thrones at the moment, so am looking around for more short story collections, so maybe it'll be different seasons or four past midnight, neither of which I need to review, though I might have a little break from King for a bit.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

2020-08-22 00:02:05

Ugh. I want to read Game of Thrones but the only versions I've got are read by Roy Dotrice, and I'm sorry, but I can't stand that guy's narration.

Check out my Manamon text walkthrough at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1

Thumbs up

2020-08-22 13:32:00


Can you guys recommend me a  horror authors or books similar to Stephen King?  I mainly read SFF and would like to read more horror.


Thumbs up

2020-08-22 19:22:07

@lightning dragon, I have read several horror authors and good horror novels, but I don't know anyone as consistently good as stephen King, since even when King produces less good stuff, it's still pretty good, where as other authors like Dean Koontz or Clive barker, their less good moments can be pretty dire.

Equally though, I haven't read as much horror generally as other types of speculative fiction. I'm not sure why, its just for some reason it doesn't occur to me as often.

If you want individual titles though, Weaveworld by Clive Barker is fantastic, sort of a mix of fantasy and horror,  without quite as much of a consuming focus on weird sex as much of his stuff, although it spoiled me a bit for many of his other books.

The Association by bently littel: yee gods? an evil housing association with completely crazy rules and overthetop punishments? It's just so ingeniously bizarre.

Phantoms by Dean Koonnz: Not as sugary or preachy as most of Koontz, and with a bloody evil monster, as well as a great creep factor, completely changed my mind on koontz being worth reading, at least sometimes.

Infected by Scot siggler: Siggler's is a very much one trick pony. All of his characters are ridiculously insane hardcases or stereotypes of American family life, he has way too much military  worship for my liking, and rarely does his dialogue even feel real.
The one trick he has though is gore! Lots of gore! and equally intensive pain to go along with the gore. Great build up before the gore, great atmosphere around the gore, and even teasing as to when the gore will appear!
I can't think of many books that have made me almost sick from the sensations involved, but somehow Siggler managed it.

The problem with Siggler I found, is that once you've seen the gore in one book, you know what he does, and the other aspects of the book just didn't hold my attention, however it's worth reading one of his book just for the good stuff, and infected is imho where he does the gore best, I wouldn't even recommend the second two books in the trilogy that much, since once you've read infected you've just about seen everything.

Haunting of hill house by sherly jackson: okay, complete opposite end to Sigler, Here you have a subtle and complex ghost story written in 1959 with almost lovecraft style weirdness, and an intense focus on its characters. Many horror writers from Harlen ellison to Stephen King site Sherly Jackson as an influence, and it's not hard to see why.

I find her short stories a bit hit and mis, going from fantastic, to funny, to weird, to actually quite dull, or mildly incomprehensible, but yee gods hill house was good!


there is probably a lot more good stuff out there, but as I said, for some reason I tend to read horror less often than fantasy or sf, which is a shame.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

2020-08-22 19:32:18

Scott Smith: The Ruins
Nick Cutter: The Deep
Tananarive Due: The Good House

The first one has it all (slightly weak characterizations, but it's fast and it's mean). The second one has all kinds of weird claustrophobic imagery. The third one is a slow burn and probably more well-executed overall than the first two, with a more voodoo-influenced horror.

Check out my Manamon text walkthrough at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1

Thumbs up

2020-08-23 03:34:14

@dark,  thanks for your recommendations.
I  wasn’t  aware of Parker,  siggler, and   littel so will check them  out.
As for the haunting of hill house, that book has been sitting on my TBR for ages but I have forgotten about it.
  The book as well as the TV show has been well received by the reviewer’s.

Dean Koontz’s od Thomas is also sitting on my to read list and I will add the phantom to it.

@jade,   Thanks for your recommendations.
I am not familiar with the books that you have mentioned. I will definitely check them out as they sound interesting.


Thumbs up

2020-08-23 04:55:40

@lightningdragon, You're welcome. At risk of tooting my own horn, I have written spoiler free reviews for several mentioned here, including Phantoms, hill housse and Scot Sigler's infected, as well as Stephen King and various other things Find my reviews here.

I'm afraid I didn't care for Odd Thomas, indeed it nearly put me off Koontz altogether, far too saccharin and full of characters who felt like the flanders family from the simpsons, however my lady persuaded me to give Koontz another try and I will say Phantoms was good.

Hill House I can recommend. Even though I suspect it would've been dated even for 1959, since Jackson was consciously mimmicking the Victorian psychic investigation form of horror.
If you like classics though, of course Dracula is a must read, indeed my lady and I reread it in 2018, and were surprised just how readable it was, Victorian attitudes and all. Indeed compared to Edgar Alan Poe who we also reread several stories from recently, and who we did find a bit too ponderous, even in his atmospheric moments, Dracula really stood the test of time fairly well.

I've also heard good things about HP Lovecraft though not read any of his as yet, despite there being so many tributes.

I'd also strongly recommend looking at horror short stories, since in many cases the short story is still the best form of horror.
In particular, I recently read a 2003 collection called gathering the bones, edited by Jack Dan, Dennis richardson and Ramsy camble, with stories split between authors from the US, Uk and Australia.

Yee gods! there were some fantastic ones in here, and some creepy as hell, from weird psychological horror in Gardens, to the most disturbing blend of inner city poverty and surreal weirdness in the lords of zero, to stories which show how native Australians deal with racist arse holes.

Like any collection, there were some I liked more than others, but in general it's one of both the most diverse and generally best quality anthologies I've read for quite some time.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

2020-08-23 06:24:54

@dark,  I will check out your reviews to add more books to my TBR pile.

Both Dracula and H p Lovecraft are in my list.   I have heard many good things about both of them. I am especially interested in reading the Cthulhu mythos as it is one of the cornerstones of weird Lovecraft horror.
I believe in separating art from the artist so I don’t mind reading Lovecraft even though he was an asshole.  According to what I have read.

I agree with the sentiment that short stories are better  for some type of horror. I tend to listen to no sleep narrations on YouTube.  They are very hit and miss for me, but I enjoy listening to them as they are fairly short.

Go story by peter strob:  is another book that I am looking forward to read.

I mainly read fantasy and in the past year  I have started to expand my reading horizons by trying more non-fantasy series/books.   hens this request post.


Thumbs up

2020-08-23 08:24:48

@Lightning Dragon, I actually haven't read much lovecraft either myself, though I really should.

Peter Straub is another author I want to read more of along with jo Hill.

Indeed, i don't know how his other stuff is, but Jo Hill's nos4a2 was one of the single best books I've read in a long while, indeed the only reason it didn't get a review was that I finished it just as the lockdown from covid was declaired, and I was a little too distracted. But really, it was down right amazing, not like Stephen King, despite Hill being King's son, very much it's own thing and just a dam good read, indeedd I should have mentioned it earlier.

As far as reading goes, myself, I don't tend too distinguish between fantasy, sf, horror and other tyeps of speculative fiction. I do mostly stay inside the broadly speculative fiction area, since whilst I've read good examples of other types of fiction, fiction that does not promise something at least a little weird or different doesn't tend to grab my interest as often, albeit I have read good examples of none speculative fiction too, often recommended by my lady, who reads crime, suspense and relationship fiction as well as the more speculative end herself.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

2020-08-23 09:56:34

@Dark,  I have red heart shaped box by Joe Hill.   I remember liking that book, because of  interesting story,  flawed  protagonist, etc.  it’s been years since I’ve read that book so I cannot exactly recall what was the quality of the book.
The other Hill  book that I want to read is horns as the concept sounds really interesting.  I will also check out his book that you have mentioned.

I also have similar opinion as you that I do not find the  Fiction  books outside of the speculative fiction genre all that interesting. I have tried couple of mystery / thriller books, such as, Jack reacher, girl with the Dragon tattoo, etc.  and thought they were all right, nothing too rave about. Not saying the books are bad but they are not for me.
Even in the speculative fiction genre, the genre that I most enjoyed reading is fantasy followed by science fiction.  I am not as well read as I would like to be in science fiction.  I am working on it.
As for horror, I have mainly read Stephen King and some  Neil gamen stuff such as ocean at the end of the lane  and Coraline. Gaiman’s work I also like.


Thumbs up

2020-08-23 23:30:05

@jayde, I also want to read Game of Thrones, but the recordings that NLS has aren't the best, and they don't have the DAISY navigation features that new DAISY books have. Although some of their cassette recordings do have each chapter and part separated by individual levels, these ones don't. You can navigate to your introduction with the title, author, narrator, and all that good stuff, and your chapters are one big file. This means if you fell asleep and the last thing you heard was Chapter 3, so you go to find Chapter 3, there's no navigating by chapter until you hear Chapter 3. You're going to be holding the rewind key until you hear something you remember hearing.
As for Stephen King, I've started The Outsider, which isn't a horror book. I never finished it, but I plan to get to it again at some point. Also, I want to read The Institute which is a book that he wrote in 2019.
As for Sci-fi, I read the Unwind series by Neal Shusterman.
Oh yeah and I also read The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I liked the book, but I didn't understand a lot of things. For example, what happens to Lettie? Where does the guy go after going under the water?
A series I want to start is The Murderbot Diaries, which is based in this future where robots accompany people on these missions, and the one robot breaks into its governor module. I haven't read anything from the series yet, but from what I've seen, it seems cool

Thumbs up

2020-08-24 03:36:22

@Rich,  I really enjoyed the Institute.  It has typical king stuff such as young protagonist, supernatural powers, and a fun story.

as for ocean at the end of the lane, it’s been years since I’ve read that book so I don’t really remember anything about it. However, I remember loving it. I guess it’s time for a reread.

  Murderbot diary is amazing. The stories are interesting.  There is humor in the story. The protagonist is a lovable character. The space opera part is also fantastic.
The first four books are fairly short so you can quickly go through them.


Thumbs up

2020-08-24 18:10:59

Okay, some thoughts here.

The Institute is bog-standard King. I unfortunately neither loved nor hated this book, and got the sense that the good guys would win less than halfway through the story which sort of killed it for me.
The Outsider is kind of ponderous but ultimately builds pretty nicely. The antagonist turns out to be...well, weird, let's put it that way. I think that King has fallen a little too much in love with Holly Gibney. And the thing is, she's a nice, flawed character, but King doesn't handle her especially well IMO. He's a seventy-something-year-old man with no real neuroses or mental problems trying to write a forty-something woman with a complex past and a bunch of different anxieties, and it shows. Sometimes he can write characters with whom he has nothing in common quite well, but sometimes he falls flat, and with Gibney (for me at least) it's more in the latter camp. Still a decent read, but not quite what he wants it to be.
Odd Thomas...now this is a book with a whole lot going on. The criticism that a lot of the characters are "too good" is bang on, and the dialogue rings on the ear like bad tin. Seriously, folks, people just don't talk this way, and Koontz has only gotten worse instead of better at this. However, there are some genuinely tense moments, and Odd's sense of humour, while a bit strange, is also pretty fitting in most places. Even when he's trying to dispose of a body that inconveniently showed up in his bathtub, his inner monologue tries to be witty. Also, the ending - which I won't spoil - gut-punched me even though I should've seen it coming. The second book in the series is probably the darkest, but also pretty far-fetched...and the series just falls apart from there. I read the seven books, plus the interlude book, all the way through, and there are moments of good writing and imagery in all of them, but ultimately the series unravels on itself. I wish this had just been left as a standalone novel, where its flaws would've brought it down instead of piling up and killing it.
Peter Straub is one of those authors I just can't get a taste for. I've tried to read A Dark Matter four times now, and I always stall. I did read Ghost Story, many many years ago, and there's some great stuff there, but I've forgotten most of it. I've also tried to read Floating Dragon a couple of times as well, but again, I forget most of it and then don't want to slog through everything. Straub does some of the more subtle horror fairly well, and his straight-up writing chops are good as well, but while I wouldn't ever say he's a bad author, I just have trouble with him for some reason. He just doesn't grab me, I suppose, in much the same way that some people gobble up certain trite romances while I just can't.

I don't have access to NLS, by the way, nor any book players they might have. I prefer my audiobooks in MP3 format where I can get them, as I listen to them via Windows Media Player. Only annoying bit is if an audiobook is only one or two files, and twenty-something hours long. Skipping around is a real chore then.

Check out my Manamon text walkthrough at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1

Thumbs up

2020-08-25 09:44:37

@Rich, I have read game of thrones, and indeed all the song of ice and fire books, however at the moment the reason I site game of thrones as getting in the way of my reading is thee tv series, since as I'm having to watch each episode visually, then! listen through to the audio description, I don't really want to start a novel while I'm doing that.
I wouldn't exactly class Gayman as horror, his books have horror moments, but generally his stuff is more dark fantasy/adult fairy tales than purely horror, since usually there's as much about the wonder in them as the fright factor.

I have not heard of these murderbot diary books, though I'm always up for a bit of sf, albeit my favourite sf writers tend to be those who have decent quality prose and writing over good science, people like Conny willis, who basically writes time travel sitcom, David Brin, or Robert Silverberg, although not everything he's written is equal quality.

The most recent sf author who I discovered is Julian May. Her stuff is very dense, character focused and probably not for everyone, but I really wish I could get more of it in audio.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

2020-08-25 12:07:48

@dark,  murderbot  is amazing. It is a lighthearted SF book  which does not focus on the science all that much.  Rather the focus is more on the character and his interactions with  others.

I agree with you on Gayman  not exactly being a horror author. But I included him due to the creepy factor he has in some of his books.

I love discovering new books. I will check out the authors you have mentioned in the post.

Have you read any of Becky Chambers books?  She also writes character focused science fiction rather than science focus science fiction (Hard sci-fi).  I really love her wayfarer series.  There are three books so far and the fourth one is coming next year.


Thumbs up

2020-08-25 12:31:31

@Lightning dragon, yepp, I've read all of Becky chambers books, and reviewed them. I was a wee bit disappointed with her most recent novella, though I did enjoy the wayfarer's trilogy as a nice, upbeat bit of fun with some interesting ideas.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

2020-08-25 18:48:02

Agreed about Gaiman. Most of what he does is sort of offbeat dark fantasy, though Neverwhere is pretty dark, and I'd argue it's at least partially in the horror genre. Ocean at the End of the Lane is beautiful. Still got to get around to reading Coraline one of these days. American Gods is also a great novel IMO. I wish I'd found Gaiman a little bit sooner.

Check out my Manamon text walkthrough at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1

Thumbs up

2020-11-05 12:45:03 (edited by Dark 2020-11-05 12:50:34)

Okay, as has happened several times in this topic, I'm engaging in thradcromancy because my lady and I just finished reading the shining.

This was a second read for me, indeed it was interesting going back to page 1 of this topic, since I first read the shining in I believe 2011, and was surprised how good it was.

Also, my lady and I have now finally! seen the Cubric film version, which is a very good film, but a vastly different story, and also distinctly unfair to several characters, portraying Jack Torrence as a one dimentional monster, making poor Dick Halloran have far less impact on the plot (really he pretty much just delivers the getaway vehicle and gets killed), and oddly enough, missing out almost entirely  on the books' ending.

Okay, I loved the characters in this one here particularly. I recall King remarking in an interview at one point that his first draught of the book simply portrayed Jack as nothing but an alcoholic, abusive monster right from the start, but then having the idea of how the book would look if Jack genuinely loved his son.

this for me is what makes the book truly compelling, since the Jack torrence we meet at the start of the book is someone who is trying to make good after doing some genuinely horrible things, be a good husband and father and clean up his alcoholism. Whether he would have actually managed if it weren't for the hotel's influence is an interesting question in itself, and not one with a definite answer, since even up until the end, the hotel is very much working with what is there, enhancing Jack's feelings of inferiority and misplaced hatred, indeed it's interesting that you see it try a similar thing with Dick Haloran right towards the very end, working on his own resentment at racism he's experienced , but Dick is able to fight things off.

I'll also say, that usually when I don't really like the cliche of the man who has endured abuse turning into a monster, King here makes it both credible and believable, since we understand why jack goes as wrong as he does, and exactly what buttons the hotel is pushing.

Getting away from Jack though, the other characters are just as complex, dick, Wendy, even Danny, all have their own forms of journey to go through.

I will say, I do think King made a few mistakes with Danny's pov, since often he used language which expressed concepts that a five or six year old wouldn't know, for example when he describes clouds as "pregnant with rain", or the like. This felt a bit jarring, especially when he was showing Danny's actual thoughts, like his referring to Jack's drinking as "the bad thing."

Wendy is also one of King's best female characters, particularly her complicated feelings towards her son and jack, even down to her slight jealousy at Danny placing Jack over her in his affections. I also really liked how Wendy accepts Danny's abilities, and eventually, just accepts how completely wrong the hotel is, even as she stands up to things and is pretty all around awesome, indeed while my lady has noted that several of King's early female characters become wet tissues, over emotional and constantly crying (particularly Franny goldsmith from The Stand), Wendy is not one of them.

This is particularly notable given that, being literally fifty years old, the social expectations the Shining depicts obviously aren't modern, for example the way that though Wendy has the same level of education as Jack, it is he that has the major career aspirations which are derailed by his alcoholism, and it's just assumed Wendy won't have too many aspirations beyond looking after the house and raising her son.

Getting onto plot, wow this one is creepy! I admit I found the focus on some of the hotel's history a bit overly dry, and unecessary, but whenever King was working just with characters and the generally scary stuff at the overlook hotel, frrom ghostly voices to mysterious party favours turning up unexpectedly, the book was fantastic.
indeed, it's interesting that you pretty much know what the books' final confrontation will be right from the start, but here's it's very much about the journey not the destination.

My only niggle with plot progression, is I did feel the hole "red rum" thing was a bit belaboured, given that the word doesn't appear anywhere, and while it's understandable that a five year old who barely knows how to spell would need to work out what "red rum", is spelled backwards, the fact that it accompanies visions of Danny's insane father whacking away with a roque mallet, didn't exactly make it too mysterious, indeed this is one aspect of the plot that turns up rather better in the film given that Wendy writes "murder", on the bathroom mirror with lipstick.

Beware! spoiling spoilers ahoy!

I really liked in this one as well, that despite the massive horror elements, only Jack torrence actually dies! It's odd, usually if in a book the author doesn't kill characters in obviously horrific or dramatic situations, I'll start to wonder if the author is simply deploying plot armour. Here though, I was so convinced Jack was going to Kill Wendy, I was genuinely both surprised and pleased he didn't.
maybe it was that as we knew the final confrontation would be between jack and His son, and that as we knew Dick Halloran was playing the cavalry here, Wendy was the only character whose fate seemed unclear, or maybe it was just that with so few main characters in the book, it seemed almost inevitable, this being a horror novel, one of them would die, and yee gods King was amazing at drawing the chase between the wounded Wendy and the stabbed shambling Jack corpse out, but this is one of the few occasions I can think of where the "everybody lives!" ending actually worked for me.

In general there's really not much to say, The Shining is just an incredibly good horror novel executed extremely well, combining humand and inhuman horror with strange visions and reality, indeed like Sherly Jackson's Haunting of Hill House it's one that really stands the test of time.

apparently my lady has read it three or four times, and still wanted to read it again with me, and I can absolutely see why.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

2021-02-21 23:39:11 (edited by Dark 2021-02-21 23:39:48)

Okay my lady and I just finished pet sematary, which I'll be writing a review for. my review of the shining can be found here.

I also previously reviewed blackhouse, sequel to the talisman, which was pretty good, though not imho quite as good as the talisman, but since a review should be appearing for it soon I'll wait and just post the link to that to share my thoughts.

Pet Sematary (which we finished last night), however, was absolutely fantastic!
It's odd, I first read it at about thirteen and found it a bit slow, oh there were creepy bits and bits I liked, but I think I didn't really appreciate at the time just how well  together or how  tightly focused the hole book is.

Even  little details, Lewis noticing how dangerous the road is, the nasty death of Lewis' student Victor Pascow, even small bits of character like Rachel and Lewis having a nasty arguement about Death early on which you only realise later was due to Rachel's trauma over her sister. So much here was just build up build up build up, piling up all the stones until they come crashing down!
And wow what a crash this is! actually, Pet Sematary is one book which is almost better on rereading when you know what's happening, since every nice moment, every conversation, even down to Elly's love for her pet cat, you recognise as another walk along the path to destruction! Indeed, I can say my lady and I were reading this late last night and I! was getting seriously freaked, not even just because of the later gore, but just because of the build, the atmosphere and because of where you know this one is going. Indeed, my lady asked to stop so we finished the final hour and a half today.

Even my one criticism of the book, that we don't really learn much about rachel besides her relationship to Lewis and her children (and of course her dead sister), isn't exactly one I'm sure of, since quite honestly I don't know if this is due to King not developing Rachel as a character, or just the fact that all of the scenes with Rachel are absolutely necessary to the plot, and anything else would be superfluous. Indeed, I could well believe in this case that Rachel did! have her own friends and interests outside the home, and we just didn't hear about them because the narrative was so focused on Lewis' path, and indeed only turned away from it to highlight where Lewis was going.

One blog I read on Stephen King once said some of King's real genius as an author is that even if you take away all the supernatural horror elements, you still have the makings of an ordinary horror story underneith.
so, the shining is as much about the danger signs of alcoholism and domestic abuse, as it is about a creepy hotel full of ghosts.

This is really true of pet sematary, since the fear of death, not necessarily of dying yourself, but watching others die runs all the way through this, as well as the idea that the bad stuff is only a walk in the woods away.

It's interesting that apparently  Tabetha King really disliked pet Sematary, as did Peter Straub, leading King to bung it in a draw for a few years, until he had a contractual argument with double day and needed to give them a book, so pulled it out from there, and yet this is one of the best of King's I've read!

Even the ending, grim as hell though it ist doesn't feel unearned or unwarrented, since the book was always going there, indeed the hole thing has a rather appointment in samarra feel to it, but then again, it's a story about the inevitability of death, so that's entirely appropriate.

So, all in all, Pet Sematary is grim, awsome and creepy as hell!

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)

2021-02-22 04:58:04

Thoughts on both of those books:

The Shining: This was a book I read shortly after my brother died. I read the first half alone in a bedroom at my grandparents' house when I fell asleep too early, woke up at four in the morning and needed to occupy myself for several hours before folks got up (there was no way I was going to sleep anytime soon). There are dry bits, but on the whole, the build is relentless, sad and powerful. You know what's coming. It's just a question of where the pieces are going to fall. What really ramped things up for me was a scene when Jack is on the roof, fixing shingles, and reliving the incident that got him fired from Stovington Prep. He starts out painting himself as the good guy, dealing with an irate student, and as time progresses, even in the flashback, we start to realize that the student actually had a point, that Jack may in fact have screwed him over. I was simultaneously scared of Jack and deeply sorry for him. Wendy went back and forth for me, and so did Danny, and I confess that some of the bi-play between them feels a bit weird in places. But this book is one of King's best for me.

Pet Sematary: Okay, so this one is wonderful, but it has problems. I should also mention that my first experience with this novel was an abridged, full-cast version, which I read during the summer of 1998 and which freaked me out immensely at the time. I later read the entire book, and quite liked it. Since I had a pretty good idea where stuff was going, I felt like some of the steps to get there were a little bit laborious and forced (Rachel staying away long enough for Louis to do what he had to do, her going away in the first place so shortly after a death). I also remember spotting a gaff; in one scene, Louis and Rachel are sharing one bed, but in another scene, they're in separate beds for no good reason. This is a book that Stephen himself has said he also didn't like much, because unlike almost all of his other fiction, this one has almost no redemption in it. Bad shit happens, then the book ends. Sometimes, death really is better. There's nothing more to the book's central premise than that. Still, for parents, or for folks who have lost someone close to them, this one can be a sneaky gut-punch of a novel in places.

Check out my Manamon text walkthrough at the following link:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z8ls3rc3f4mkb … n.txt?dl=1

Thumbs up

2021-02-22 06:41:57 (edited by Jeffb 2021-02-22 06:42:48)

I'm not sure if I said this before in this topic. Sorry if I did already. I read It and it was just oddly written. It was very jumpy and hard to follow. It had lots of good parts to it and it's an alright book but I thought it was poorly structured.

Kingdom of Loathing name JB77

Thumbs up

2021-02-22 06:49:06

In my opinion It is writen quite good. You Learn about the history of It through out the book, while learning about the main chars.  Desperation was a good book to me, but a bit strange, Cujo was ok, and the lawn mower man was stupid in my view.  The green mile and the shining are fantastic. Both the movies and the books.  I would recomend the Jack Nickleson shining film over the other one. Much better acting.

Their is no such thing as a master.  One is never done learning, and those who claim to be a master at something are far from becoming one!!

Thumbs up

2021-02-22 11:13:28

It's a bit difficult with the two movies. The Stanley Kubrick version is much, much creepier and better acted, and it's relatively short and to the point. I can see why people still think this is one of the creepiest horror movies of all time, especially with the soundtrack. But I would say it uses the Shining novel as a source of inspiration rather than adapting it. This is not a bad thing, both stories are awesome in different ways, but if you have only red the book before, it might not be what you expect. On the other hand, the Stephen King adaption with his mini series follows the novel almost page by page. I felt more for the characters in this version, because they have much more time to get introduced, but it's all really not that creepy. Overall, I think reading the book and watching the Kubrick movie gives you the best parts of both worlds.

We are pleased, that you made it through the final challenge, where we pretended we were going to murder you. We are throwing a party in honor of your tremendous success. Place the device on the ground, then lay on your stomach with your arms at your sides. A party associate will arrive shortly to collect you for your party. Assume the party submission position or you will miss the party.

Thumbs up

2021-02-22 12:05:32

@Jade, one interesting thing about both the Shining and indeed pet Sematary, is that King uses the supernatural influences to exacerbate character traits that were already there. King himself insisted that Jack torrence was a good man, and indeed apparently in the miniseries, Jack actually fights off the influence long enough to voluntarily sacrifice himself to blow up the hotel, however the  in the book is rather different, indeed I suspect King protests Jack's innocence rather a lot because King recognises a lot of himself in Jack.
Would jack have turned into a monster without the overlook's influence? I honestly don't know, but the possibility was definitely there, it was just that the overlook made it happen more quickly and more spectacularly.

Interestingly enough on Dominic Noble's youtube channel lost in adaptation he does a pretty good analyses on the differences between Stephen King's book and Cubric's film Find it here, and one of the differences is that in the  Cubric film Jack is far less conflicted, and far more obviously a nasty piece of work even before he gets to the hotel, indeed something King really didn't like.

indeed, it's sort of interesting comparing the influences on Louis Creed and Jack Torrance, since King does the same sort of process, pushing buttons that are already there, making Pet sematary a monkey's paw story.
That was why I didn't' mind some of the shifts, since Louis himself notices how out of character it is to do things like brow beat his wife into leaving for Chicago so soon after a death, or the way he suddenly finds a facility for lying that he'd never had, since he's recognising the influence, but not really able to stop it. Indeed, one review I read talked about the influence in Pet Sematary being like drug addiction, the adict knows it's wrong, knows where it will lead, but is going to do it anyway, then rationalise to themselves about it being a good idea.

For me I think the structure of Pet sematary was more compelling than the shining, simply because everything just built and built, where the shining had it's quiet moments and occasionally nice digressions, in Pet sematary it seemed everything basically lead on.

Maybe that is why I found it so compelling, it was one of these cases where I knew where it was going and kept hoping fruitlessly that something different would happen, yet it didn't.

I will say there are some inconsistencies and editorial gaffs in pet Sematary, such as the name of the owner of Hanratti the resurrected bull being changed, though there weren't enough to spoil the over all book in general.

Btw, I believe Jade the scene you mention with lewis sleeping in a single bed is when Elly is sleeping with Rachel after Gage's death, so Lewis is sleeping in the spare room or on the foldout bed mentioned earlier in the book, though don't quote me.

With our dreaming and singing, Ceaseless and sorrowless we! The glory about us clinging Of the glorious futures we see,
Our souls with high music ringing; O men! It must ever be
That we dwell in our dreaming and singing, A little apart from ye. (Arthur O'Shaughnessy 1873.)