running themes stephen king books

(202 Posts)
marissab Sun 16-Jun-13 20:50:09

I'm reading Duma Key and am picking up lots of themes from other books. For example, one man who can't sleep says he feels like he's floating above himself like a balloon. This is an obvious ref to insomnia. I've read about links between books with randalf flagg and other baddies with `RF` initials. I would like to know more about these themes. Does anyone know if anyone's written anything i can read up on? It's something I'm interested in because I'm going back and re-reading the old SK's.

SarahAndFuck Tue 25-Jun-13 17:55:03

I did like some of his books, Intensity was very good if I remember, and I think Dragon Tears and Strangers were both good. And Lightning. But I haven't read them for ages so I'm not sure if they will have stood the test of time for me.

It is all a little bit perfect though, in his world. Children are always good and good people are usually beautiful. I agree about the Christianity as well, it is a pretty big presence in his later books, which can work against the story.

marissab Thu 27-Jun-13 20:59:04

I always found DK to be a poor SK substitute. Whereas james herbert and clive barker were right up there alongside him as my fave horror writers. They're different to SK but just as exciting and scary. DK was a bit meh. Was it him that did the cool poems at the front of his books though? They were good. Or was the CB. Anyway, i'm about to start the gunslinger. Right. Now. grin

SarahAndFuck Thu 27-Jun-13 21:33:17

There were poems at the front of all the DK books.

Love James Herbert and Clive Barker too.

And you are reading The Gunslinger! I hope you enjoy it smile

I don't like Clive Barker - more fantasy than horror but not v good fantasy imho (then again, there is a heck of a lot of not v good fantasy around, sadly).

Marrisab - don't worry if you're not overly taken by The Gunslinger. Just read it quickly then leap into book 2 immediately! smile

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 18:33:29

Yep, far too much of his own personality in DK's books.

I can never forget a line from one of his books (paraphrasing slightly)

"This wasn't just an ordinary an orgasm she was having. He'd already given her several of those. It was something different on an epic level, removed from all time and place. He took her to a distant place beyond the stars, and she followed him pleading for more."

Yeah, right...in your dreams Dean hmm

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 18:34:45

Sarah yeah, in DK's books the parents always utterly adore the children, and vice versa...and he works so hard and making them appear like the perfect family, with their own little buzz words/phrases and rituals. I find it all very twee.

Ugh - I feel ill.

Then again, there's that bloody awful sex scene in Needful Things too. In fact, I hate reading sex scenes generally. Pat Barker is the worst.

SarahAndFuck Fri 28-Jun-13 18:45:12

Oh, that is horrible LaQueen, awful writing.

It should have won one of those

mignonette Fri 28-Jun-13 18:54:29

DK's own childhood may go a long way towards explaining his idealisation of the family. He was born to abusive, neglectful parents and had a dreadful childhood.

He has spoken about this in interviews and credits his love of reading and writing as one born out of escapism.

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 19:38:25

Interesting Mig I've often thought that his portrayl of happy family is very, very romanticised. His parents are endlessly patient and loving hmm

mignonette Fri 28-Jun-13 19:43:01

Yes it puts it in a whole new light doesn't it? Think his childhood was on a 'locked in a cupboard and beaten' level.

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 19:57:46

Oh, that's so sad Mig. I bet he writes about families, in the way that he assumed (hoped) they'd be?

KittenofDoom Fri 28-Jun-13 20:00:18

Needs to be stressed that The Dark Tower series is not "Western", not about cowboys .... I can see why people might make that assumption from the word 'gunslinger' and the general atmosphere of the opening, but Roland's world has much more of the medieval about it.

I avoided TDT for years because I don't generally read fantasy, but I was finally persuaded, and found it staggeringly different from what I was expecting. I was warned not to judge it by the first book, which is not that gripping and leaves things unexplained, but it's well worth going on. As others have said, it enriches the experience of many other SK books.

mignonette Fri 28-Jun-13 20:01:45

It would appear that way. I read his first books but cannot get past the first few pages of his newer ones. Think I have outgrown them.

I find SK's books very moving and do not see them primarily as 'horror'. SK's depiction of Americana is wonderful and as a literary figure he is unfairly disparaged and bracketed in a way that clearly frustrates him. His 'On Writing' was one of the best books about the craft of writing and what drives him ever.

Yes. Roland is a descendant of King Arthur.

Or an Arthurian figure at any rate.

LaQueen Fri 28-Jun-13 20:09:54

I actually think SK is a gifted writer, in the proper sense of the word. Many of his observations are piercingly acute, and he does a nice line in lyrical prose.

mignonette Fri 28-Jun-13 20:15:39

Yes I agree. He has taught me as much about American culture as any academic has. He is responsible for my life long interest in American literature/culture/history and every other 'ology'. And he makes me cry more than a lot of other authors do.

At his best, he is a God/a poet. I read some Neil Gaiman stories recently and, whilst they promised a lot, they delivered very little compared to the best of King's.

Rufus43 Fri 28-Jun-13 20:32:37

Love Stephen King, there are a few duds and I have had to steel myself to give away the ones I don't like. Loved joy land and was crying by page 86, I can't wait for Doctor Death.

Also can't wait for the new Joe Hill, I enjoyed heart shaped box and 20th century ghosts but was not as impressed with Horns

I think the Stand is my favourite, though The talisman is great too! Now I'm confused!

May try reading some of the older books that I got rid of

confusedmuch Fri 28-Jun-13 20:40:39

I adored Lisey's story and it is up there with my all time faves. It read more like an alternative autobiography I felt. In his book on writing novels SK described his process as being something like finding a thread, picking it up from the grass and following it to see where it went. I really like that someone as prolific a writer as he can simply stumble across these amazing worlds and then pour them on to the page for us to share.

I have never been able to get into DK, just always seemed too contrived to me.

I liked Joyland a lot - until the end.

RussiansOnTheSpree Fri 28-Jun-13 20:45:26

It's all Dark Tower. All Dark Tower, all the time. There are loads of books and web resources devoted to this. It's brilliant.

marissab Mon 01-Jul-13 10:46:36

I'm really hoping that by reading the DT's it will open up the other SK books to another level of understanding so that i can get something new from all my old, well read, favourites. I feel the stand is such a 'big' novel. So many themes and almost biblical themes i thought. And i just adored the shining and still do. The book, the film, jack nicholson! The whole lot. So really looking forward to the sequel.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 01-Jul-13 11:00:37

The Stand is big. And yet it's just a tiny teeny weeny little bit of The Dark Tower thing. There's a real punch the air moment when Captain Trips gets a mention though (not the response I every thought I'd have to that!) and also when someone says.....something. You can probably guess. smile

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