2018-01-31 10:11:24

My lady reads a lot of  true crime  Guitarman and one of the most shocking books she read was about Ian Brady's next door neighbor, indeed I think it was called something like "the monster next door" or similar.
She new both him and Mira hindley, who were two truly nasty psychopaths (actually King mentioned them in a good marriage), who carried out some horrible murders on the yorkshire mores in the 1970's, ---- Brady recently died.
It was very much like that apparently, Brady was quite a nice guy, or at least he had the facade of being such, which is what made the story interesting, my problem was more with the affect of the story given that it never really seemed Darsy was that fond of Bob even before she knew he was a psycho big_smile.

I have Rose madder, Dream catcher and the girl who loved Tom gordon on my victor, though I am also tempted to stick four past midnight on there too, then again I'll probably give King a rest for a while.

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.)

2018-03-13 11:26:42

Okay my lady and I just finished Joyland.
I do hope to do a full review for the book, but in brief I did enjoy it.
It's ironic that King, master of horror could do a fairly simple coming of age story around an amusement park and yet make it so compelling.
I didn't see the similarities to doctor sleep mentioned earlier in this topic accept for the word "roobs" since for a start, the carnival people in Joyland had very different names and are in general a much different crowd, especially with how Joyland is  amusement park.

I especially applaud the fact King managed to make a story featuring a dying little boy and not need to reach for the treacle once, indeed I have noticed that King has improved at writing decent characters and stuff that is actually emotionally affecting without being cloying or trite.
Beware! spoilage ahoy! read no further lest yee want Joyland to become spoiland big_smile.

On the down side, I do wish he'd actually done a bit more with Linda Grey's ghost. She was a major element in the plot with lots of build up. I expected her to be involved in the plot to find the psycho murderer, and yet she mmmm, just left because she was visited by a psychic boy.

Talk about wasted potential. On the other hand, the  ghost in the book of Eddy parks was well done indeed, he was an unpleasant old cuss, but he was at least an honourable unpleasant old cuss even as a ghost, I also thought the resolution with Anny and the gun was very well put together, as was their cover story for the police, though I do wish King had  tried a bit less to obfuscate the killer.

When it's down to only one of two people and he uses the phrase "rhyming patter" to describe the person, there is only one character in the book who speaks like that so it's fairly obvious, so all of king's "the killer was standing there" type of artificial authorial obfuscation was a little annoying.

I also liked the fact that the romance in this one had some actual emotional content behind it even if it was by necessity a brief encounter, indeed I can't think of too many examples where brief encounters work this well on an emotional level.
That being said, Anny's change from dramatically hostile to weeping and suddenly nice was a bit too clean.

I can see that suddenly realizing your being selfish with the limited time your dying son has left would be a pretty major emotional shock, but to have Anny almost change personality (as well as have Devin instantly change from scared boy to competent male comforter), was a little jarring.

Still it's hard to write emotional changes in a book of this length, and in fairness to King their relationship did actually work.

My only last negative cryticism is erin. For goodness sake, can King possibly write a male/female friendship that doesn't! involve snogging?

This felt especially out since Erin was with Devin's best friend at the time.
I don't know if King subscribes to the When harry met Sally principle, that straight men and women can't be friends without! some sort of attraction  (and that was a terrible, horrible bloody annoying film anyway), but either way as someone who is male, straight and! has number of female friends outnumbers their male friends, this sort of character blind spot is rather irritating.

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.)

2018-04-19 10:19:42

Well I just finished The stand and have even banged out a review for fantasybookrefview.co.uk.

In general i really enjoyed it. It is one of the books where King's style impressed me, albeit I thought the politics got a bit draggy and directionless, ---- something King admited himself.
Still even with all the apocalypse stuff now the stand still, ---- wel stands out.

My only major issue was basically King wasn't great at female characters, indeed my lady acuses him (especially with characters like Franny), of writing women as what she referd to as "wet tissues" and really in the Stand the fact that the majority of tthe female cast basically sit around, cry have babies and get hysterical didn't help.

~Actually Fran sort of annoyed me with how childish she was.

Beware! spoiling spoilers!

i really liked Larry and his issues with Lucy, particularly because Lucy was just nice and so the potential Larry/nadine/lucy traingle was an interesting one, indeed it is sort of amusing that Nadine is probably the most three dimensional female character in the book.

That being said I hated the fact that basically you don't see anything of Lucy after Larry has got himself blown up and the implication is that she's happy because she's had babies, because all women want babies!

Anyway I've talked about that in my review so methinks I'll stop.

In general though there was so much good stuff here. Flagg is just awesome, indeed I could've stood a bit more of him, and I love how complicated trashcan man was.

People cryticise the hole dreams/hand of god thing, though to me that was okay since it worked in context of what was going on, indeed I find it interesting that one of King's inspirations was George Stewart's novel Earth abides which is also about a virus wiping out the world's population, since that book had such cardboard characters and is so blatantly moralistic and so bloody dated in its stereotypes from ratial to gender it was actively painful to read, so many points to king for sorting things out.

I did find the hole evil government thing a bit odd, ---- then again these days it would've been the evil companies, which I suppose now pretty much mean the same thing (especially in America).
either way, very awesome, and still! lots of fun, and a crying shame king had to cut a chunk from the first edition, though thankfully both times I read the stand it was the longer version.

I'll post up a link to my review when its up.

Actually that's three king books I've reviewed now, Under the dome, Joyland and The stand (I meant to do cell after I read it last year but never got around to it and no, I don't review short story collections).

Hmmm, methinks Rose madder or maybe needful things next, neither of which I've read before, actually I'm tempted to do Rose Madder as it's one of my lady's favourites, though I'll probably give King a bit of a rest for a while.

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.)

2018-04-19 19:40:09

I loved the stand!
I will have to take a look at George Stewart just because - though a lot of my favorite king books are his older ones.
Christine, firestarter, night shift are a few of my absolute favorites.
I'd really be curious if it would be worth it finding the older version of the stand to see exactly what got cut out or added to.

Barks at everyone, wags tail
great videogame music websites: http://www.vgmusic.com and http://gh.ffshrine.org/soundtracks.php?r=533

Thumbs up

2018-04-19 22:19:29

I would not recommend George Stewart's novel, its considered a classic but really I was majorly disappointed.
My lady has read the cut version of the stand, but what she tells me actually sounds as if the story is less coherent, for example the  scene where  Tom saves knick from the tornado  is completely missing, which my lady really didn't like since its one of the moments you realize Tom is actually more able than he seems.

A;Also group of women that Stu and co rescue from the bunch of thugs including Shurley and Daina basically they just run into randomly, and so Shurley's mental illness is never explained. Likewise, the hole relationship with Fran's mother doesn't come into the book which did at least go some way to explaining her character (irritating though I did find her).

and if I could ever find a substantive list of differences kicking around on the net somewhere i'd be interested to read it, but I enjoyed the Stand too much to want to read an inferior version just for the sake of curiosity, rather the same way I only ever saw the original theatrical cut of the Lotr films at the cinemar for the first time and ever since I've always watched the directors cut versions.

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.)

2018-04-24 09:04:15

To anyone who fancies reading it you can Go here to read my review of the Stand

and here to read my review of Joyland since I don't think I stuck the link in this topic before.

that is three King book's I've reviewed formally now counting under the dome, though in fairness I also forgot to do reviews for cell and the green mile so they're not a series or anything big_smile.

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.)

2018-06-01 11:23:31

Well since mrs. Dark and I just finished Rose madder yesterday it was time for some threadcromancy.

It's interesting that people are so polarised on this one, Grady hendrics in the above mentioned reread didn't like it at all (then again he doesn't seem to like much king), and apparently King himself didn't think it was his best book.
On the other hand apparently people have told King it was the impetus that made them quit abusive relationships, and there is This review blog which I really liked, both because the lady obviously knows what's she's talking about and because of how she relates it to her own experience.

I did enjoy the book, i thought Rose and her reactions were frighteningly realistic, and I liked the fact that king gave such a nuanced portrait of someone coming out of an abusive relationship. 
My only miner issues were firstly that Norman went waaaaay over board into evil stakes. Some things, like his instilling his wife with a fear of cops and his mopping up his wife's blood whilst casually easting a sandwich were frighteningly, and disturbingly believable, as were the details of Ros's fear of him, other things though, like the fact that  pretty much hated everyone, jews, black people, women, gay people, disabled people! he was casual about murder and torture and such, indeed he was pretty much nuts even before reality started to go.

It was all a bit too! over the top for my liking, which is a shame, since had Norman just been a more extended version of Tom Rogan from it he probably would've worked far more.

The fantasy elements for me in this one, while very nicely done also could've done with a bit of explanation.

Beware! spoilers ahoy!

While I'm quite okay with random immortal goddess woman, how the hell she had a child which wound up in the maze with the mad bull? also, at the end, why exactly she couldnt' just be hanging about inside the picture to deal with norman, but left Rose to taunt him through the temple for, ----- mmmmm reasons.

I don't mind my fantasy elements working because of prophecy or ka or something else, but the fact that here basically the climax could have happened anywhere in the fantasy world and got extended just because felt a bit too contrived to me. Had king actually said why, or given an indication, or had some sort of fantasy logic to it i'd have accepted it, but sadly King didn't give us that.

I was a also a bit sorry that the ties to the Dark tower weren't more specific, as we sadly don't see this semi immortal goddess and her child ever again, which was rather random.

On the other hand, yee gods King doing griek  was very cool indeed! and i'm always up for a fantasy quest story, especially one which fetures someone very much out of her depth who continues on anyway.

So definitely a good book all around. One of my favourite king books? I don't know, but certainly one I liked, and one which actually seems  attract far more harsh criticism than it deserves.

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.)

2018-09-12 17:42:18

Well threadcromacncy is because my lady and I have been reading King again.
She fancied doing a few of her favourite King short stories, and since they were all from Nightmares and Dreamscapes, I thought I might as well finish the book, so as has become sort of standard in this topic I'll mention what I thought of each, though of course if you've not read Nightmares and dreamscapes spoilers ahoy.

Crouch end: The first story my lady and I read together (especially because I have an awesome audio version by Tim curry).
this one has nostalgic associations for me, since a friend of mine read it to me at university as a great example of that sort of reality bending, King/lovecraft style horror.

A really awesome story, even if I do wince sometimes at the Englishisms King gets wrong: EG I don't think  anyone over here would describe an attractive young woman as "A pretty little hen and nobody in Britain has called someone who isn't there actual mother "mum" since about 1950 big_smile.
Likewise, I had to be amused when someone referd to "Two and five" on a modern taxi meater, meaning two pounds five pence.

Still all that aside, a wonderfully creepy story with an amazingly nasty ending, I also love the way Tim Curry says Cthulhu. The only thing that I didn't quite get is why the monster didn't munch the woman along with her husband, just left her sitting there and terrified, which  very scary, but not explained, then again while I know the goat with a thousand young is a standard Cthulhu mythos monster I'm not exactly sure about how it is supposed to operate.

We then read the rainy season, which I have disturbingly read by Yardly smith, yes! Lisa simpson reads horror.

I loved how amusingly standard the setup was in this one, the young couple coming to the town, being warned off about the rain of toads etc. Its one of these that is so blatant it was funny, though I do wish that the couple had been nicer to each other, King says they're very much in love, but basically most of what we see of them doing together is snipe at each other due to motorway rage. Yee gods the final conclusion was hell of disturbing! I don't think I'll think of toads the same way again, then again I admit I'm a sucker for a good monster if its described in nasty details, and King doesn't disappoint here.
Oh and having it read by Lisa Simpson was even disturbinger big_smile.

I then started reading the stories from the actual book:

Dolan's Cadillac" a rather amusing revenge story. It went on a bit too long for my taste, though the paralells to poe made me laugh, albeit since you could pretty much see where this was going a mile off it did rather drag in the middle, though King's description of someone literally half killing themselves just to bury someone alive was amusing.

"The End of the Whole Mess", This one I found quite worrying for several reasons, particularly since in my darker moments I've actually thought having humanity exit the planet stage left wouldn't be a bad thing. The end was very poignant, and even though the politics of the world going to hell was way off (comunist Mexico?), The bit about the wall across callifornia made me wince.
Not a bad apocalypse story, albeit not King's best.

"Suffer the Little Children", again this one I liked for having a very gray protagonist who went completely bonkers. Where as King's previous attempts to do stories about school shootings didn't work too well, this one got the right amount of fear plus unpleasantness.
I actually liked in this one how I wasn't exactly sure whether to be on the teacher's side or not, and even at the end when she'd completely gone off the deep end and was suspecting all children of being evil whatever they were, I still felt a bit sorry for her, and to say at the start of the story she comes across as just the sort of self important power mad teacher you really hated when you were at school that isn't half saying something.

"The Night Flier", A nasty reporter tracks down a vampire who kills by plane. Ironically in this one, the fact that the protagonist is basically a sociopath worked slightly against the story, since I honestly didn't care when he ran into trouble, though I was amused that the vampire left him alive at the end but removed all evidence.
The highlight though i think was the idea of a vampire invisible in a mirror peeing bloody urine, its so wonderfully gross and bizarre and uniquely King!
Not the best story in the collection, but not the worst either.

Popsy: This one was amazingly awesome! I wouldn't have assumed that you could write a story about child kidnapping, and at least implied child sex slavery that made me laugh, but King succeeded, I loved the bit where the vampire grandpa complained that he just wanted to buy his grandson some Ninja turtle figures big_smile.
My only criticism is it was really badly placed in the collection, since having it immediately after night flyer automatically makes you think of vampires, where as if it had been at another point the mystery of who and what the boy's "popsy" actually was would've been better preserved.

It grows on you: Okay, worst story in the collection by far. Lots of rambling remniscence from a group of old men in Castle rock about supposedly an evil house, or maybe an evil wife, or possibly an evil guy who killed his evil wife, I'm not really sure.
This had some disturbing imagery (the bit where the old man remembers the wife showing herself to him as a young boy is really flesh crawling and genuinely nasty stuff), but in general this one read  like a set of clip notes, character background and history than a real story, heck I wasn't even sure who the main character was or what point the history was supposed to show. I suspect its unfinished stories like this which give King the reputation of someone who thinks he can publish his laundry list and people would buy it.

"Dedication": Another very good, if extremely disgusting story,  the sort of creepy old witchy ladies which King can do so well.
My only miner gripe about this one, was the part that Martha told everyone that the right douchenozle of a writer was "quality", and defended him, even though he was a total scumbag, it probably  have been more effective if she'd just stuck to the fact he was a good writer who could write beautiful things despite! being a racist bigoted arse hole.
I actually wonder if there is a little personal justification here, since while I certainly don't think King is a snooty  racist arse like that writer, I do get the impression sometimes that in person he's  not an especially nice person.
Heck I've heard that about several writers, that they're arse holes in person but write wonderfully.

Oh and the bit with the sperm was absolutely disgusting, but the best sort of disgusting, disgusting in a good cause, though I did appreciate King was rather delicate with that.

The moving finger: Okay this one was good, though I didn't really like the way that the supposedly nice guy spoke about his wife. he was fond of her, despite repeatedly describing her as "dumb" or "fat" or something else.
That being said, the horror here was amazingly awesome, and wonderfully nasty, plus it shows I'm not the only person who's thought of something nasty coming out of sink dranes. Its something King seems to like since he also has it happen in It, but the finger here  wonderfully horrible.

Usually I am less keen on stories that end on a cliffhanger which you know won't be resolved, but this one worked for me, particularly with how you weren't exactly sure what the poor police officer would find in the toilet.

Sneakers: Okay I liked the setup in this one with the ghost and the music business, but I am not exactly sure about King's portrayal of homosexual characters, particularly the assistant. This was also one where he seemed to be dragging his feet slightly in the middle, though I liked the idea in the end that the ghost, the supp[osedly nasty corpsified ghost was actually trying to warn him off the music producer.

Home delivery: This one was fun. King doing zombocalypse and having great fun with it, especially with the wonderfully laconic way the people on the island took everything, though the "Oh what what old bean" british Astronomer was sort of amusingly overthetop big_smile.

I actually wonder if Max Brooks read this one, since some of the American and comunist china responses to the zombies definitely gave me a rather amusing world war z vibe.
I would've liked to know what the worms and the alien satellite were and how they tied into the Zombi thing, but I suppose short stories are there to make you wonder.
the only issue I had with this one, is King takes so much time at the start to basically show the main character ass so traditionally and passively feminine to the point where she can't even make basic decisions for herself, then leaves her half way through the story to cut to the manly island men's manly fight against the zombies.
Yes, she gets to slay her husband's zombie at the end, but this didn't really go far enough for me. Indeed, while I don't particularly enjoy reading about domestic abuse, this is one where if King had made her husband a nasty piece of work and had her slay his zombie corpse at the end it would've been more satisfying than having her husband be a nice guy and her basically survive the attack. Actually, to say the title was "home delivery" and a lot was made of the fact that she was pregnant, I was a bit surprised the story ended abruptly.
Probably one that would've been more satisfying as a longer piece I think.

My pretty pony: Basically a long philosophical discourse by a grandpa to his son about time.
A cute idea, albeit I don't necessrily agree with king that all adult time is automatically faster than time when your a child, however I was sort of waiting for the sting in the tale and never got one, especially strange given how King takes time to introduce the boy's sister as an abusive git, and his mother as an alcoholic.
Again, this one feels more like a piece of a novel than an actual short story, nicely done and interesting yes, but not really with enough direction to stand alone.

Sorry right number:  Once I got used to the screen play format I did enjoy this one, I particularly liked the various fake outs and how King for once actually wrote a nice couple who got on with each  very well (something needed for the story to work).
I admit I did see the tragic ending coming a mile off, and the second the story had a time skip I knew what was going to happen, but then again as a life long Whovian I'm sort of trained to spot predestination paradoxes.

The ten O.clock people: I enjoyed this one quite a lot, definitely an interesting premise, lots of fun and ironic descriptions of smokers (and that from someone who can't abide smoking), and yee gods the bat creatures were nasty. The only thing I didn't really like was the random way the main character (despite supposedly loving his wife and daughter), kept talking about how "sexy"  the blonde woman myra was. Again, attraction is fair enough, but the attraction here seemed to go a bit further and when King started mentionning him being "jealous" when he saw she had a boyfriend already I  sort of in headdesk mode. Then again, confusion over finding someone attractive and going off to sleep with them, or at least wanting to  is something King struggles with else where, plus of course King  doesn't seem to think men and women can be friends without! some form of attraction so I probably ought to just expect it.
My only other problem with this one, is that even more than home delivery this one felt far more the start of a novel than a stand alone short story. Sometimes cliffhanger endings work in short stories, sometimes they just leave you thinking "hay why didn't you finish writing that!" and ten O.clock people is definitely the latter case.

The house on maple street: Its significant that the children in this are called "Bradbury" since I'm fairly sure this was a tribute. I loved how we got an idea of each of the four kids personalities. I do wish the eleven year old girl had been less prone to cry, and make the big brother automatically in charge but hay the story isn't a modern one. This was actually one where you could see where things were going from half way through, but didn't mind since the execution  so fascinating, especially with how likable the characters were.
the step father was a total douchemonger, but then again he needed to be for the story to work, and while on the one hand the idea of someone who gets pissed at his wife for fainting and ruining his party is sort of off the scale as far as callousness goes, at the same time I can't deny there aren't people like that out there, and the implications of the emotional abuse were really unpleasant, making it all the more satisfying when he got what was coming to him.

The fifth quarter: Okay I know King has always wanted to write crime, but this story sort of shows why he shouldn't. While the writing was very immediate, the subject, four mobsters who have a map to buried money sounds like the  of god knows how many crime films.
On the other hand, I did like the way King made each of the mobsters unique, and I was amused at the trick with the scarecrow. So, not a bad story, but not really astounding either, then again I will freely admit that I'm not myself %100 a fan of mobster or crime fiction so its possible I'm more down on this one than others might be.

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.)

2018-09-13 01:16:57

Hmmm, not sure anyone is reading these but partly I admit for my own amusement here are my thoughts on the Doctor's case.
I applaud King for the premise a bit more here than the execution. The way he setup the mystery was reasonable enough, I admit the idea of a painting realistic enough to be mistaken for part of a room is a little hard for me to swallow but I'm no expert on paintings so I'll give a pass for this.
What was more of a problem is that King and Conan doyle really don't match up well. Aside from various misplaced Englishisms (I'm pretty sure no victorian ever used the word poof), King also  got both the characters and the method  of sherlock holmes rather wrong.

The reason Conan Doyle is one of the few mystery writers I've ever enjoyed is he wrote really good characters who were complex, this  is less true of King. Le strange is of course Homes enemy and a complete antagonist, while the Doctor is always in ore of the great man while being exasperated.
This is a disservice to both characters.

I also didn't like the way that King basically paints Homes case solving ability as some sort of sudden leap of insightful magic, where in the stories (at least the better ones), its always said to be simply putting two and two together with observation, ----- especially since Holms is occasionally wrong.

The execution of the investigation was also really sloppy, since the big revelation of the painting occured only part way through  the story and the rest of it basically wound around slowly to implicating all the other suspects. The "oh look! everyone! did it!" type of solution to a mystery these days is as hackneyed as making it the detective or the harmless old lady, heck one of the most famous mysteries of all time, Agatha Christy's  murder on the orient express used it.

Then the final end where Lestrange discusses all the sentences people will get and they all gasp shock horror, decide to let the suspects go was really not the surprise, King seemed to think it was, heck Doyle himself had this happen  several holmes stories like the Abby grange, quite aside from the fact that no Victorian author would ever refer to a women's prison as "poxy palace"

Again,I applaud King for trying something different, but crime  isn't his forte, and he really shouldn't! try to imitate Arthur Conan Doyle.

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.)

2018-09-15 03:23:05

Well again not sure if anyone is  actually reading this but I might as well continue  jotting thoughts on Nightmares and dreamscapes now I started.

Chattery teeth: Saved this one because Mrs. Dark wanted to read it with me. I'll credit King here for a really good bit of  slight of hand. Like the Monkey in Skeleton crew  Chattery teeth seemed to have a pretty  obvious point,  picking an amazingly creepy kids toy that should be the focus for a horror story and writing a horror story about it, hell I had a set of those teeth when I was quite little myself and I thought they were creepy, though mine didn't walk around, you just wound them up and let them  chomp together, also they were plastic and not capable of homicide. 
Unlike the Monkey though, King does exactly what you don't expect here, when your concentrating on the teeth, the actual threat is the hitchhiker, and the  fact that the teeth proved to be some grusome guardian angel was just awesome!
I also loved how King played with your expectations, having the psycho pick the  teeth up and stick his finger through them and taunt poor Hogan after the car crash.

Also, credit to King in making Hogan a decent, if slightly grim protagonist who was actually likable for once.
One itneresting thing in terms of character with this one,  is as it started Mr. and Mrs. Scooter, the couple who own the shop where Hogan buys the teeth seem pretty dislikable, a standard bickering middle aged couple who's sniping becomes ever more personal, (not helped by Kng's less than kind description of both people, but particularly the fat woman).

However, King actually gave both a little more complexity, making them out to actually have a few good points, I particularly liked how the story finished with Mrs. Scooter in a better place after her husband's death, but didn't have to resort to making the husband a scumbag, just someone with canso who was understandably not always easy to live with. I can see why Mrs. Dark likes this one so much.

Umney's last case: Okay as this started I admit I wasn't enthusiastic, I mentioned before King doing crime wasn't great, and every cliche seemed to be there, including a really dispicably blind blind kid, who was only slightly less annoying than the typically grouchy noire detective protagonist, though the scene where he beats the guy up with his white cane was amusing.

As the main character became arsier (which is a completely cromulant word), I was all set to right this one off when suddenly the point hit home.. While I imagine there were more raymand Chandler references in this one for people who know his work better, the idea that the main character is a fictional detective who meets his author was quite awesome,  continuity errors to the fact nobody in books has to go to the loo (well not unless your author is someone like stephen King anyway), and I admit I'm partial to a bit of playing with litary tropes, even in Noire fiction which isn't a genre I have too much interest in . , Also, definitely credit to King on the way reality started to crumble, it  was giving me definite Philip K Dick vibes.

My only problem with this one (apart from the scummy protagonist), is that the ending went on too long. I liked the idea of the fictional detective ending up in reality in the author's body, but I really wish King could've thought of something more interesting for him to do than threaten to write himself back into his noire world. It might have been cool to imply he becomes a real detective, or maybe have him get his revenge on the author by turning the then fictional author into a wuss. 
King really took the easy way out here which is a shame, hell the idea of a fictional character in reality could be a story in itself, and pretty much already has been (last action hero etc).

Head down: Okay I admit I did not care for this. The best I can say is that King writing on some thing he obviously loves was nice enough, however, I confess this just didn't do it for me.
Maybe it is the fact that even English sports don't interest me at all, and something so American as baseball with its set language games, its entirely unique lexican and the expectation that one is expected to care about the results (at least given the status it seems to have in most media, even as compared to other american sports), just doesn't do it for me, or at least not usually, ----- Ds9's episode take me out to the hollosuit was an exception, but that was mostly because the humour and interest came from the characters rather than the baseball.

I confess though, there was another reason why this one rather rubbed me up the wrong way, aside from the fact that whenever lovingly describing the process of hitting a ball with a stick and running in circles King became so unerringly technical it boarded on dull.

that was because this was, for Stephen King shmultzy! telling me all about the virtues of team spirit and how all the boys who hit balls with sticks loved each other despite their  social background, detailing how excited they were, how they all took time together, even taking a bit of time out to describe them all ogling breast adverts in a "look at those young scamps!" type of stephen King way.

maybe its because I had absolutely nothing like that  at twelve, or indeed throughout most of my childhood that I resent those  go on about how wonderful it is, maybe its because I sympathise too much with the ones who aren't quite as good at hitting balls with sticks and get hit  themselves for their pains, much less get included in the ever loving storm of team spirity goodness! Hell maybe its just that I simply don't like sports generally and baseball in particular and King didn't really do enough of showing character to draw me into the writing to care. Indeed its sort of interesting that this irritated me far more than the baseball bit in It, mostly I think because there King included two hilariously nutty baseball coaches, and actually gave a little sympathy for belch huggins, Ie did what the ds9 episode did and gave me some characters to actually make all of the grounders and tight and insides and walks and bunts and so on actually have some sort of point.

either way, I admit I really disliked this.

Brooklyn august: needless to say after  King's previous indulgence in the wonders of all American  this was pretty dire. I'm not even sure what the hell King was supposed to be going on about here. As poetry it didn't exactly work since I couldn't really understand the atmosphere, though again it had so much by way of baseball references I probably would be struggling.

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.)

2018-09-15 08:09:53 (edited by SirBadger 2018-09-15 08:10:48)

well dark, you know they got a hell of a band. grins.

I've just recently been reading some of his short stories again and 2 of my favorites have to be, the last rung on the ladder from nightshift, and willa from just after sunset. both have a hauntingly beautiful feel to them but in totally different ways. if you don't cry at the end of the last rung on the ladder I think you're broken.

riding the bullet is another one that always kind of gets to me but that's more standard creepy then the other 2. think that's from everything's eventual but I'm to lazy to go look.

oh and there's one called nona if I'm spelling that rite. has the same kind of feel as riding the bullet. again to lazy to look it up.

if duct tape doesn't fix it, you haven't used enough.

Thumbs up

2018-09-15 13:50:50

Dark, I would normally read your thoughts, but haven't read Nightmares yet, so on this occasion I can't. I will probably read it next. At the moment I'm reading The Warriors by Sol Yurick. I loved the film when I was a kid, though I might not feel the same about that sort of stuff now. So far the book's okay, but nothing special. Agree with Badger about The Last Rung on the Ladder. King moved away from his normal area and knocked it out of the park with that one. I think it would be a toss-up between that and 1408 for my favourite King short. I also really like The Ledge and The Raft. He gets so much out of such simple premises in both those stories. They Really show off his talent.

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2018-09-15 15:21:06

@Badger, some of those I've not got to yet,I don't know why, but when I was reading lots of King in my  teens and early twenties, it was his novels rather than his   short stories, which is a shame, I ran into a couple in other horror anthologies  or from  friends' recommendations like Lunch at the gotham cafe, 1408 and Crouch end, but I never sat down to read any of his collections cover to cover. I can't recall who, but a famous horror writer once said the short story is the purest form, and this definitely shows in King, I've largely enjoyed all the collections I've read so far and will probably do another one in the near future, maybe night shift, or maybe everything's eventual, not the  least because I don't write formal book reviews for short story collections as I do for novels so can take a break. 

@Flackus,  Nightmares and dreamscapes was a good collection generally and I'd recommend. yes, it had a few clunkers, but that's true of any short story collection, however it also had some really interesting ones, in particular I'm surprised  that about three of these could! have been novels, or at least the start to novels if King had expanded them.

Well I've now finished the last two stories, You know they've got a hell of a band and the beggar and  the diamond.
You know they've got a hell of a band actually does show up earlier in the collection, but  that was one MRs. Dark wanted to read with me, particularly since we have an audio version read by (of all people), grace slick, lead singer of Geferson  Airplane! big_smile.;

Needless to say spoilers ahoy for those two stories, so Flacus and  anyone else who hasn't read Nightmares and Dreamscapes should stop here lest yee be spoiled!

You know they've got a hell of a band: Okay, this one was fun.
the couple were sort of annoying for their disfunctional marriage, and the unpleasant dynamics, still the nastier things got the more I sympathised.

What amazed me in this one was the way King made a really great horror story based around rock and roll that you didn't have! to be a rock n roll aficionado to appreciate.

Yes, I got some of the references (I was waiting for  elvis and was quite amused when he showed up as the mayor),  I liked the way that those references I did get were wonderfully twisted, EG I have always thought of Buddy holly as sort of safe and well  so to see him as a zombie   wonderfully wrong, Mrs. Dark and I joked that it gives quite a different meaning to his song "every day itsa gettin closer!" big_smile.

However, despite some references I didn't get, like who the Dj guy was, the story just works on its own as a bloody creepy tale of a wonderfully bizarre version of hell.
Indeed, I couldn't help comparing it to ready player one, since King undoubtedly loves rock n roll as much as Earnist cline loves eighties pop culture, and yet while I have only a passing acquaintence with the former and an active love of the latter, I still found King's story to be vastly superior in terms of characters, atmosphere, setting, writing quality and all the things that actually make for a good story, references aside.

The beggar and the diamond: A hindu parable that King weirdly turned into one about the christian god instead. Not really sure where King was going with this. MAybe he was suggesting that some people are so miserable that attempts to improve their lot don't work, maybe he was trying to suggest that people are better getting what they know. Maybe he was trying to suggest that the Beggar was capable of being happy without! a huge great diamond if he just had the right attitude.

I'm not sure, I'll say the parable like anture of the story was well done, though I wish king had expended a little on atmosphere and setting to give it some flavour rather than the slightly ambiguous moral 

And that is all for Nightmares and dreamscapes, a good collection, despite the annoying baseball.
Since at some point in the near future Mrs. Dark wants to introduce me to needful things and gerald's game, and I'll probably be back with more King shorts as I said, this topic will likely get a boost sooner or later, at least from me big_smile.

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.)

2018-09-16 00:39:21

wasn't a huge fan of Jerald's game but it's not bad. needful things is good though.
it's a castle rock book. I think it's the last one actually so if you haven't read the others there may be references you won't quite get but it's a stand alone read anyway.

if duct tape doesn't fix it, you haven't used enough.

Thumbs up

2018-09-16 22:51:44

Interestingly enough, the RNIB sent me Gerald's game when I was a teenager,  but as the write up sounded both very much like Misery, (which was not one of my favourite King books I sent it back unread, well that and the write up sounded slightly x rated and I was still genophobic at the time.

the x rated side of things wouldn't matter now however, and my lady has said despite a seemingly similar premise, the book isn't actually much like misery.

As far as castle rock goes, I have read the dark half, so references don't matter too much.
My lady also recommends desperation and the long walk as well.

I'll probably get around to most of King's stuff sooner or later, though obviously some things have higher priority.

Btw, interestingly enough I recently read Floating dragon by Peter Straub, which was published four years before It and which has a lot of similarities.

I did bang out a review which should be appearing on fantasybookreview.co.uk soon, but its interesting to see how King's collaborator writes.

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.)

2018-09-24 20:30:01

Floating Dragon is a book I just haven't gotten around to finishing, for whatever reason, though I should do that one of these days.

If you don't like baseball, don't read The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (or maybe you have already and didn't like it). Baseball isn't the main theme, but it's woven throughout. King is a huge baseball fan and pretty much always has been, so this is tightly woven into his faction when that sport is concerned. I can see why it didn't affect you much though.
And yes, Yeardley Smith reading Rainy Season is awesome.
The End of the Whole Mess damn near made me cry, and really worried me to boot.
The Long Walk is just very, very grim. Desperation has Christian overtones that I wasn't expecting from a King novel, but is delightfully gory in places. Gerald's Game is slow and introspective...except when it's not. That one could've done as a novella, I think.

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

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2018-09-24 21:43:49

I have read lots of King books during the last years. Must start with the Dark Tower series soon. I always had books I wanted to read before beginning such a huge series.

For me, King books work exactly because they portray the less significant characters so torougly. Many say his books ramble on and on about how the friend of the protagonists sisters boyfriend opened his fridge and ate a pizza salami, but this usually works great for me.
My favorites so far are It, Misery, Shining and the Green Mile. Shining, It and Misery's movie adaptions are great too. Naturally the books are better, but sometimes you just want to hear the sounds to a good story.

Has any of you watched the old Carrie movie from Brian de Palma? In my opinion, this is one of the rare cases the movie is better than the book. This soundtrack always gets me.

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.

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2018-09-24 23:51:29

actually I can't stand baseball but I rather enjoyed the girl that loved tom Gordon.

the long walk is a great book but very dystopian. when I read the hunger games I was rather reminded of it.

oh and one book I would suggest flat out not reading is liseies story. most tedious thing I never finished. lol. but my friend did and said it was 3 days of her life she'd never get back.

if duct tape doesn't fix it, you haven't used enough.

Thumbs up

2018-09-25 00:03:06

Lisey's Story is really, really hit and miss for people. There's plenty to dislike in that book, but there's also plenty to like. There's some interesting ideas, and some good characterization of marriage and the way it can evolve into its own language...but if I have to hear "smuck" in place of "fuck" one more time...

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

Thumbs up

2018-09-25 09:49:21

As to floating dragon Jayde, its one I highly recommend sticking with, for a start, I'm pretty sure it inspired a lot of the plot of It, not to say King coppied straub, but there is some definite homage going on there. The first four hours are very draggy, and I've noticed that Straub really can't do overviews very well, also there are far too many moments when one character promises to "tell all" and doesn't, but if you can get passed that the book is awesome, what I pparticularly like is all those surreal horror moments where things go completely off the deep end and you think "ah this is a dream sequence" turn out to be anything but, indeed by two thirds through reality has gone so far out the window its almost a fantasy novel.
My review of floating dragon was literally just put up this morning and can be read here

My lady liked Lisey's  story, but other than that I can't say as much.
With the baseball thing, while baseball doesn't do anything for me personally, and I will admit to finding the language games a bit irksome, I don't mind if its part of the characterisation and has a point in the story. For example just last night my lady and I watched Hook and the pirate baseball was both rather amusing and  quite twisted in the Hook fatherhood angle.

What irritated me about King's head down was  the shear shmultzy American apple pie praise for normalness. as I said, this might  as much about myself and my own history.
I actually have got The girl who loved Tom gordon on my Victor at the moment since the premise of a nine year old girl lost in the woods  like an interesting one.

@Taga I've noticed with respect to King's vaunted longwindedness, that I've got far more patience for King these days, even in books like The stand that have a reputation to go over too many digressions. Then again I do recall really disliking the tommmynockers for the amount of time it spent over characters who were all faintly dislikable and about whom I really didn't care, so maybe its a case of no smoke without fire, but considerably less fire than most people think there is big_smile.

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.)

2018-11-06 07:53:38

Okay threadcromancy time here since I just finished The long walk by Richard bachman nee Stephen King.

Bloody hell it was grim! but also surprisingly compelling, I liked the way the characters were nicely complex, EG MCvrese had occasions of being a nice guy, but had quite the chip on his shoulder, and even Garaty had his arsy moments.
The crowd and the hole publicity aspect of it was a bit hungar games ish I thought, and in a good way, but yee gods how King manages to describe so many ways of feeling bloody exhausted.

My only issue is that I wish he'd not been quite as big with the "look this book has sex! in it, look at all the sex!" i got a bit tired of descriptions of "animal lust"

Likewise, it makes sense that Garaty as a teenaged boy remembers his girlfriend's body, but even when he realizes he's using her as a life line, describing her as "A piece of ass that is mine" is just not nice. I also wish we had a little more information about her other than what her legs, breasts and long blonde hair are like.

in this way things were very early king, very much raaaaaaagh! look at how adult and craass and shocking I am! which in a book about 100 boys being walked to death felt a bit like overkill, just like the randomly racist song Garaty sings at one point.

When not doing this though, yee gods the characters were good, and the writing was bloody dark! especially in how you only got hints about the american totalitarian government, despite all the usual stuff like drive in movie theatres and  and marching bands and so on.

Beware! spoilers ahoy for the ending!

Okay, I really liked the final plot with Stevins and how he eventually bought it. The deaths of Mcvrese and Baker were also wonderfully horrible, especially poor baker who was probably the nicest guy next to Mr. nice but dim married man Scram.

However what was all that with the dark figure Garaty saw at the end? I got that at that point  had quite literally walked off deep end, but things just seemed ambiguous. I was wondering if it would turn out to be Jan or his mother, or in another bit of grimness if it would turn out to be one of the soldiers taking him off to have a convenient accident, but to leave it hanging so you don't know whether its the grim reaper, some figment of garaty's imagination or what?

Obviously the book couldn't have a shiny happy ending, but that felt more like an ending that didn't really end, indeed I do wish King had given us at least an epilogue, even an epilogue showing garaty was basically scarred for life and haunted by memories of his friends.
That's something which the hungar games really did a good job of, showing that Catness had major ptsd, and it was something I felt rather missing here.

End spoilage!
All in all though, a very good book, I can see why my lady as well as lots of other people recommend this one, and I'll be writing up a review if I can.

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.)

2018-11-06 12:34:37

It was a great book, especially for how young king was in his writing at that time.
I read it less than a year after I walked a half marathon, so I could relate to the pain and exhaustion, and the will to keep going.
I marvel at how Stephen King can think something like, "What would happen if you had to walk forever and never stop oryou got shot," and turn it into a compelling read.

Has anyone read his newest book?
It was released on Halloween, and I think it's called "Elevation."
It's supposed to be an uplifting look at modern times, which intrigues me.

Thumbs up

2018-11-06 15:09:51

The Long Walk is probs my second favourite Bachman book after The Regulators, but I like them all. If I've read them all that is, not quite sure. Kin'gs a master storyteller, and it appeals to my personal preference when he writes in a leaner style.

Thumbs up

2018-11-06 15:13:29

Yeah Mirage, I've never walked a marathon, but I have done a 50-60 miles a day cycle up the tour defrance route in ireland, there were points where I got off the bike and literally couldn't stand so I definitely appreciated the way King described all the pain and exhaustion. What got me was his moments of really ghoulish humour, like the bit when poor Garaty needs to go to the loo right on the road in front of the crowd and he's speculating on his excreta being used as a souvenir.

its interesting that apparently people say thinner was the book that most showed Bachman was king, but for me that really showed through in the long walk just from how it was written.

I haven't read his most recent book myself or some of the crime stuff he's been writing of late, though I've still got a fair  king books that I haven't read (thinner included).

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.)

2018-11-17 16:08:01

Okay my lady last night fancied reading "last rung on the ladder" from nightshift. This probably also means Nightshift will be my next King short story collection too.

Last rung on the ladder was a really deceptive story.
As it started and you went back into all the folksy recollections of walking to school bare foot and how Larry's dad owned "the home place" I was thinking "Really King?"

Then all that was just to lul you into a false sense of security.

Beware spoilers!

the scene of jumping into the hay when the ladder broke was wonderfully horrible, and again was a setup for what was coming. We knew Kitty was okay, after all Larry had a letter from her in the future, and  the way King describe's the ten year old Larry's panic is wonderfully done.

then the kicker, we find out what actually happened to Catrina and what that letter was.

King gives us just enough information to know  how wrong Catrina's life went, and that Larry became a really cold fish climbing the corporate ladder.

of course, this sort of story wouldn't work now, not in the days of email and instant phone calls or the like but yee gods it was affective.

The odd thing was, I kept expecting some sort of ending, something to show Catrina hadn't held a grudge, or something to make the ending a bit less harsh.
This is King after all, and ghosts, even pleasant ghosts like Jo in bag of bones aren't unexpected. But no, Larry just has to live with himself.

I almost wonder if King read those morality tales by people like Bram stoker, the ones where you hear about someone who cocks up right royally and then gets some sort of spiritual redemption at the end, and then thought" hay what happens if they don't!"

Again, a bloody grim story though not in the way King's stories are usually grim, and  one of the best examples of tightly focused writing I've seen, since literally nothing (even down to the feeling of jumping into the hay stack), was wasted, it was all their for a purpose (thinking of that swan dive makes me shudder). 

I can see why people admire this story so much, and it'll be interesting to see what else Night shift has to offer when I want to get back to some short stories.

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.)