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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.

SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 01-Jul-13 11:41:47

All about The Stand and IT as far as I'm concerned; was thinking about The Stand again this morning on the way into MNHQ, when someone was coughing up a storm on the train!

There's a great rereading-Stephen-King series running on the Guardian, for anyone who's interested (ie everyone here)

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 01-Jul-13 13:13:03

Sarah My point wasn't that The Dark Tower is my favourite - I think Under the Dome is my favourite. Or Duma Key. Or, indeed, TheStand. It's that As far as SK is concerned it's All Dark Tower. Almost all his books are actually (small) elements of The Dark Tower. His life is an element of The Dark Tower. And RF, for example, is just a small baddie compared to ...the real ones.

I love the fact that King is himself a character in the DT - and I love the way that On Writing focuses on his accident, which in turn informs the DT.

But I hate the film of The Shining - Jack Nicholson completely miscast.

RussiansOnTheSpree Mon 01-Jul-13 19:51:18

See this. See this very well. grin


Long days and pleasant nights...

SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 02-Jul-13 16:30:19

Sorry, Russians, I didn't mean that to be directed specifically at you! More a general reflection on my particular King-love ...

On DT though - I've read the first two books but haven't been grabbed by the throat by them in the way I was with others of his; should I persevere? Several people have said the same thing - that to understand his universe you really need to read them ...

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 02-Jul-13 17:25:20

Sarah absolutely yes. The first book is pants really, until you have read some of the subsequent books when suddenly you get it. The second book is a slow-burner but I was grabbed by the end. Are you reallly not fussed about what happens to Eddie and Susannah?

I love the second - love the Eddie stuff. But really you need to get into the third to start to appreciate some of the layers he's building, when book one will start to make more sense.

Do carry on - if you love The Stand (which I think is probably his most effective and most popular stand alone novel), I truly think this goes further and does more - I don't think he'll ever write anything finer now (but live in hope!).

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 02-Jul-13 17:59:56

Remus I love Under the Dome. Of course, it's DT, which is one of the things that makes it fab. But I do think that without knowing about DT it's a great book (the first time I read it, I hadn't read DT). Completely agree about Book 3. The Wastelands is the point at which it becomes CRACK. grin

SarahAndFuck Tue 02-Jul-13 18:27:49

Is Under the Dome particularly DT?

I don't remember 'getting' DT from it, not in the same way as from something like Insomnia for example, but it has been a while since I read it. I thought it perhaps had more in common with Buick 8 and possibly Lisey's Story than anything that made me think "ooh...DT reference!" What with Booya Moon and whatever the place is that the Buick came from.

I can see I'll be joining that bloke in Sarah's link and rereading everything, with notes, just to refresh my memory on it all.

SarahAndFuck Tue 02-Jul-13 18:29:50

Although obviously, Booya Moon and Buick-world could well be part of Roland's world, but they felt a bit different to me.

ILovePonyo Tue 02-Jul-13 18:32:58

Whispersofwickedness are you me? I liked needful things and started reading under the dome when dd was a baby, I just couldn't get into it and kept thinking of the Simpsons film confusedhmm

Marking my place to come back and look at some of those links later.
I loved Stephen king when I was a teenager, I haven't read more recent books of his and this thread is inspiring me to get reading!

Definitely agree about the themes of nostalgia, and of incest.
I don't know if this is a theme but the story I remember is the young sociopath from IT who used to trap animals in fridges to kill them, can't remember his name sorry. But why I'm trying to say (confused) is he often had small characters with cruel natures, it just struck me how 'real life' that was (not examining it very well)

SarahAndFuck Tue 02-Jul-13 18:40:00

ILovePonyo - you are talking about Patrick Hockstetter. I hate him so much, it's a toss up between him and Greg Stillson as biggest villain for me.

That puppy in the fridge gave me nightmares when we got our own dog, kept dreaming he was trapped like the one in the book. And the dog Greg Stillson kicks to death can make me cry even now.

SK often does a harm to the dogs in his book. I have a friend who loves SK and dogs as much as I do and will often get an email from her when a new book comes out that says "oh-oh dog!" if there's one in the book.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 02-Jul-13 18:45:45

Sarah Yep. See this. See this very well. Booyah. The moon. (still spelled the same way wink ) The many worlds scenario. There's an Oy (sort of). There are Regulators (sort of). Some of the stuff with Junior and Big Jim is very reminiscent of RF (but that might be reaching). The idea of the Dome itself, and the searching for the focal point which is keeping it going - that's VERY DT. PErhaps the most DT bits for me though, are the references to Lost (which is itself ALL DT ALL the time) and the ending. Which ....well, I don't want to spoil DT for those who haven't read it. But, it's potentially the same ending. All Steely Dan. It's absolutely brilliant.

SarahAndFuck Tue 02-Jul-13 18:49:13

So you're saying it's like all the DT books but condensed into one little Dome? I can see where you're coming from with that. smile

ILovePonyo Tue 02-Jul-13 18:49:33

See even that name doesn't ring a bell Sarahandfuck, I need to read it again. My memory is rubbish. Who is Greg who kicks a dog to death/what book is he in?
I do remember being quite young when I readit and being obsessed with the word sociopath, I'd not come across it before and it was a terrifying concept.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 02-Jul-13 18:58:21

Sarah I'm saying it's clearly in the same many worlds scenario as DT. It's in 'that universe' and as with so many of the other books there are seepages, things slipping through. Because it's all connected. The breakers are breaking, the Tower is still standing, and the wheel is turning round and round. The Lost references are particularly meta but since SK was on the record as being flattered by the DT homages in Lost, they are clearly significant.

There's a lot of 1s and 9s and 19s too.

No Modred though. For which, you know, hooray.

Mordred's a hongry.

I hate the ending of Under The Dome, HATE it. Love the rest of it though, but the ending is stupid. Avoids spoilers but... did I mention that I hate it?

Gregg is in The Dead Zone - and so iirc is the Patrick who ends up in Roland's world - NOT the same Patrick as evil dog killing Patrick.

SolidGoldBrass Tue 02-Jul-13 20:30:35

Another big SK fan here, though I also get exasperated with him sometimes. Needful Things really is a crock. And Cell's not all that.

I like Bag Of Bones and Lisey's Story of the later ones. And Duma Key.

But I got very, very irritated by John Marinville in The Regulators/Desperation. That character was one long SK whine about why no one takes him seeeeeriously enough as a Proper Writer. The monsters couldn't kill him quick enough...

ILovePonyo Tue 02-Jul-13 21:05:06

Thanks Remus. I've not read the dead zone.

Is Duma key good then? Am planning a bit of an SK revival grin

DK not one of my faves by any stretch of the imagination - but some good stuff about the recovery process after an accident.

SarahMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 02-Jul-13 21:14:50

Right, you've sold me - ordering book 3 in DT now! I did enjoy book two, but it didn't have the same sense of internal coherence that the big stand-aloners have - felt more attenuated. But i can see that in order to achieve true internal coherence with the SK-iverse I need to continue! Did love The Talisman which i know is DT-y ...

SarahAndFuck Tue 02-Jul-13 21:22:30

Patrick who ended up in Roland's world was in Insomnia, he was a little boy in that book and appeared towards the end, briefly. He's not dog killing Patrick, he was in IT.

Greg Stillson was in The Dead Zone.

Russians I kind of liked Mordred, typical teenager really, nothing but ungrateful until they decide to turn into giant spider and kill you. grin

I know all the books (and so all the worlds) are linked. I was a little bit unsettled when the world of The Stand seemed to be in a different world to 'us' when it got a mention in Wizard and Glass (I think WAG anyway, could be wrong).

But to me the world that Buick 8, Lisey and Under the Dome come into contact with is a different (but still linked one) to the one that Roland came from and from some of the other books. A different level of the Tower so to speak.

Whereas IT and 11.22.63 seem to be on the same level as each other.

I would like to know which level SK would say each book was on.

RussiansOnTheSpree Tue 02-Jul-13 21:32:06

They are different zones, not different levels, I think. Remember, Pere Callaghan can step between them. I think 11.22.63 might give us a clue how these zones proliferate.

He keeps telling the constant reader they need to see it. I think that's very significant.

I can't wait to see UtD on Telly.

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