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(Boston Globe)   A handy graph of Stephen King's critical reception over the decades. Apparently they didn't know he was doing his best work thirty years ago   (bostonglobe.com) divider line 52
    More: Silly, JFK Assassination, chain reactions  
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3761 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 30 Sep 2013 at 12:43 AM (42 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-10-01 04:57:38 AM

Jim_Callahan: I want to take the fact that I have a working knowledge of horror literature in the first half of the 19th century and just say "ha, ha, no" outright. Stephen King is the literary equivalent of a competent pop artist, he's known to be reliable and reasonably craft-ful in his output but none of the individual works are anything particularly brilliant. He sort of defines "generic" in terms of horror, nothing he does is new or terribly interesting in itself but it's reasonably entertaining.

But I guess I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. What horror standards do you think King originated?


King is a master of taking ordinary people and putting them into extraordinary situations.  This is especially evident in his earlier work, ranging from "Carrie" to "Misery".  I've always respected his ability to insert the supernatural into many of these stories and really make the reader buy into it.  So many of his great early stories revolve around some kind of What If?  "What if you bought a used car and it turned out to be haunted?"  Sounds kind of stupid, eh?  Most people would take that idea and write something rote.  King wrote a story with rich characterizations and a propelling story that made you care about the principles, and sold us on the idea that a car could be possessed.  "What if a vampire moved into a small town?"  "What if you had a child who turned out to have pyrokinetic powers?"  "What if a famous person actually fell helplessly into the hands of a stalker?"  These ideas may not be wholly original, but it's what he does with them that counts.  He doesn't write by-the-numbers stories that take these ideas in all the obvious directions; he writes stories that really explore these ideas and bring them to life.

It may not be your cup of tea, but I think the cultural impact he's left behind speaks louder than any critic.  Simple pop artists aren't remembered for more than one or two hits 20 years later, and sometimes then only for nostalgia.  It takes real talent to make a career out of this material, material that still resonates decades later not out of nostalgia but out of genuine impact.  In the end, it's all about the storytelling, and by any standard Stephen King has proven himself to be a masterful, extra-engaging storyteller.
 
2013-10-01 05:47:46 AM

COMALite J: Jim_Callahan: Confabulat: Big_Doofus: A bunch of cliched crap.

Yeah, but Stephen King made up a lot of those cliches.

I want to take the fact that I have a working knowledge of horror literature in the first half of the 19th century and just say "ha, ha, no" outright.  Stephen King is the literary equivalent of a competent pop artist, he's known to be reliable and reasonably craft-ful in his output but none of the individual works are anything particularly brilliant.  He sort of defines "generic" in terms of horror, nothing he does is new or terribly interesting in itself but it's reasonably entertaining.

But I guess I'll give you the benefit of the doubt.  What horror standards do you think King originated?

Who said that it had to be horror? I'll give King props for the first four Dark Tower novels (as secularsage noted above), not so much for themselves but because they are the first that I know of to seamlessly blend multiple genres (not like Pier Xanthony's "Apprentice Adept" novels that had a set boundary [a "curtain" in fact] between the fantasy and pseudo-SF worlds), nor like "Cowboys & Aliens" where it made a big point of mixing two genres that normally wouldn't go together (though I do recall a horror western movie decades ago: Dracula in a Wild West setting).

In one of the later books when he got all metafictional after his van accident, he had his characters refer to this, wondering if readers preferred stories to be all one "thing" or if they'd try several genres blended into a "stew."

You have to admit, those first few books of the series do an excellent job of this: Tolkienesque high fantasy (Gilead, the Man in Black, Merlyn's Rainbow, etc.), SF (the technology of the Old Ones, not to mention the whole interdimensional travel thing), horror (even before the later silly inclusion of Father Calahan and vampires, you had the demons, lobstrosities, etc.), and Western (duh!), in roughly equal measure, all blended seamlessly without hard divisions betw ...


maybe, but they're probably serial killers. Rather have the man writing than acting, except for, of course 'meteor shiat!'
 
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