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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 18-Jun-13 12:56:40

You mean the lobstrosities and Roland Remus can't have him, he's mine! don't you. Okay, there's a lot more to it when you get to the third one grin

As a weird kind of introduction to the Dark Tower, you could try The Wind Through The Keyhole, which will put you in the middle of the action but will not give away a great deal if you choose to then go back and read them all properly. I think SK described it as Dark Tower 4.5 because it fits in-between books four and five but isn't a proper part of the series that you would have to read.

Otherwise, you could try The Eyes of The Dragon, which SK wrote for his daughter when she was thirteen, and is a bit fairytale/medieval but gives you the first introduction to Randall Flagg.

Or, if you absolutely had to, you could read Wizard and Glass first, which will be a bit more spoiler-like as it's the fourth of the seven DT books bait mostly contains backstory from Roland's teenage years.

SarabiDog Tue 18-Jun-13 13:24:02

You really have to read the Dark Tower books.

While a number of the books cross over characters and stories, at least 80% have DT references in some way - if nothing else, you'll realise what a tangled world King has crafted over the years.

The structure is fantasy, but there's a lot of elements of horror, suspense and religion - there's a huge steampunk style element too.

It's not always easy or comfortable reading, but it's totally worth it for the insight.

SarahAndFuck Tue 18-Jun-13 13:31:43

Stephen King's books really influenced me as I was growing up too.

People who haven't read them often dismiss them, but the themes he covers are complex and thought provoking once you look at them.

WhispersOfWickedness Tue 18-Jun-13 17:00:27

Yes, people can definitely dismiss King without really knowing what he's done. My mum was all 'ugh, no, I don't do horror' and nearly fell off her chair when I pointed out that The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile are both SK grin

Get yer thieving hands off my man, Sarah. smile

I hated Wind Through The Keyhole - waste of paper imho. I love Eddie's naked gunfight in book 2 and from there in, I think it's great. I agree that book one is hard work and not v exciting, but you do need it for the back story and especially for the Roland/Jake relationship. Wizard and Glass is lots and lots of back story and again, I could live without most of that. For me, it's the 'gang of five' stuff that's so gripping, and the relationships (which is what SK does best).

insancerre Tue 18-Jun-13 17:38:16

oooh, another SK thread

I loved the Dark Tower series, I loved that it was just so familiar, that a lot of characters i had previously met (yes , they do feel that real) were in the books.
it all seems to make sense when you read the dark tower books

SarahAndFuck Tue 18-Jun-13 18:25:30

I read him first Remus and I'm not just claiming Roland, there's a basket with Oy's name on it as well grin

I know WTTK and W&G are both backstory (or perhaps aside-story might be a better description for WTTK) but they are also the least fantasy I think and give away the least in the way of spoilers, so for someone who hates fantasy but wants to try the DT series might ease their way in with them and then go back to the beginning with a more open mind to the rest of the books.

Did anyone look at the Dark Score Stories website yet? It really is interesting.

marissab Tue 18-Jun-13 18:52:52

Yes i def read sk novels in my teens on face value. Which is ok as they are mostly stand alone horrors. But now i'm older i'm more interested to re read them as i have started to notice deeper threads and themes which seem to weave through them. Just from memory ( 15 years ago!) i can remember theres often a typical setting with people in ordinary lives. But an undercurrent of evil presences. Like in the shining and IT. I gues, again from memory, insomnia makes the guy more aware of the parallel universes and forces working alongside us. If the dt books are set in such s parallel universe, maybe insomnia was a prequal to them. Set in our world but beginning to introduce the idea of other worlds and creatures living alongside us. I remember it is the massivest, thickest book i've ever read. That certainly stuck in my mind!grin

ladymalfoy Tue 18-Jun-13 19:01:57

Don't move to Maine. Bad things happen frequently.

I've read a few SK and I'd live to go back and read some more, is it worth reading them in the order they were written? Or doesn't it matter?

You can have Oy.

But I read The Gunslinger as a teenager in about 1985 so I'm sure that a) I am much older than you and b) I saw Roland first!

Boobs - if you google the Guardian and re-reading Stephen King, there's a guy doing just that. I think generally it's fine but he had a pretty dreadful druggie period in which he produced 'works' (or travesties) such as The Tommyknockers and Needful Things, which (imvho) are beyond dreadful. Also, I'd read the DT series in one chunk rather than as published, personally.

SarahAndFuck Tue 18-Jun-13 19:59:50

Okay, you saw him first. I concede defeat on that one.

But I'm taking Oy and crossing over into The Stand to claim Stu, Nick and Larry AND then I'm going over to Derry to claim the grown up Ben from IT.

You can have em all!

Which one is Ben? I can only think of Bill.

tillyfernackerpants Tue 18-Jun-13 20:40:11

Ben was the fat one, who became the architect.

Sorry for the hijack btw blush

This is one of the reasons I love SK - I really enjoy reading his books and spotting the threads of other stories in there.

Remus, totally agree about his drug/alcohol period, I really hated Needful Things. It just seemed so distasteful in a way.

The other books I haven't reread loads of times are Dolores Claiborne (ok but not outstanding), Gerald's Game (good story/idea but it just really creeps me out!), Desperation/The Regulators (don't know why, they just never appealed), some of his latest ones like Lisey's Story I couldn't get on with and Duma Key was ok but it took a while to get into.

WhispersOfWickedness Tue 18-Jun-13 21:32:39

I liked Needful Things blush

I've not read anything recent really, I started The Dome and didn't finish it, can't really remember why, I think I had a baby and got distracted grin What other recent stuff would people recommend? I bought The Cell and hated it after one chapter. Also hated Dreamscapes (?) and ended up buying it twice as it had a different cover hmmblush

marissab Tue 18-Jun-13 21:40:48

Whispers, have you read duma key? Really enjoying it. I didn't find it hard to get into at all. But, and its a big but for me, it is long. I'm a bit adhd and i like a fast exciring read then move on to the next. Duma needs some sticking with.

Oh of course - I clearly need to re-read, 'It' again soon!

Yes - Needful Things is cheap and tacky and nasty, with none of the compassion that marks him out at his best.

Dolores C is just boring - nothing really happens. Gerald's Game is silly.

I like The Regulators a lot though; Desperation less so.

Have you read the JFK one, Whispers?

I've just started Joyland this evening - will report back later but probably won't have time to finish it before the weekend as have lots on at work.

SarahAndFuck Tue 18-Jun-13 23:20:25

Yes, Ben was the fat one who grew up to be quite lovely.

I haven't got Joyland yet.

Does anyone like Buick 8 and Lisey's Story?

tillyfernackerpants Wed 19-Jun-13 09:26:37

I loved Buick 8, but struggled with Lisey's Story. What about Bag of Bones? And Insomnia always seems to be a bit of a marmite book - I enjoyed it anyway

SarahAndFuck Wed 19-Jun-13 09:32:23

I always wondered if the Buick went to Booya Moon though.

They are probably all Mid-world really, but they seem to be the same part of it, if that makes sense. They had that same eeriness about them. But then when I read Under The Dome I wondered if the Buick and it's driver were really more connected to that story.

I had to read Lisey three times before I liked it.

I didn't like Bag of Bones the first time but I like it now. It's not my favourite but I like it. And that link I posted further up is worth a look at if you haven't seen it already.

Insomnia I gave up on the first time I started it, then read it through the night a few months later and loved every word.

DeepPurple Wed 19-Jun-13 12:18:31

I can't believe I had no idea that Stephen king has a son that has written books! I have added them all to my wish list and shall kindle my way through them promptly!

insancerre Wed 19-Jun-13 17:17:27

I didn't like Buick 8 and have never re-read it
I love Insomnia and have read it 3 times
Re-reading SK is almoast as good as reading it for the first time
In fact, you have to re-read them as you miss so much the first time around

SarahAndFuck Wed 19-Jun-13 17:20:21

NOS 4R2 is his best by far Purple, then I think Heart Shaped Box and finally Horns. 20th Century Ghosts is short stories and a bit of a mixed bag.

mignonette Wed 19-Jun-13 17:25:19

I finished 'Joyland' on the day it came out. It is a fast, enjoyable read full of nostalgia for the 70's.

I find SK's books to be about love, not horror in the main. Many of them deal with how to be a man or a Father and about loss (The Shining; Cujo; Pet Sematary; Misery; Carrie; Dead Zone) There is nostalgia and yearning for a childhood and adolescence long gone plus a nostalgia for an America, long long gone too.

The main character in The Dead Zone called John Smith and the murderer he 'saw' George Bannerman are mentioned in several other books as most of the books are set in small towns in the state of Maine. They form part of a fictional regional history...

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