I don't know when I read my first Stephen King, but I know it was The Shining, and it has to be sometime in the beginning of the 80's..
Since then, I've read more Stephen King, and.. well.. I thought I'd write my view about Stephen King..
Carrie A real great little novel, but also, very much thanks to the movie, one of the most misunderstood. For some reason, it's been condisered a horror novel very much thanks to the supernatural elements of it. That it came out about the same time as The Exorcist, and similar themed works, of course didn't help. That way, the Christian themes, and Carrie's revolt against her mother and "normal" society, very much came into focus. It's one of the few, and among the best, horror novels King has written, but of course... the real horror, of course, is the intolerance people has towards everything that doesn't fit in. We're kinda used to it now, in movies etc, but, by that time, it was among the first to bring the subject of High School not being paradise etc.
Salem's Lot The only true, classic horror novel King has written. As in.. the only one that's likely to make you afraid of dark. I really love it, because it's so well-written. Extremely suggestive.
The Shining A very good read, even if it's not as effective as his earlier novels. The main problem being that, I feel, the supernatural theme becomes too strong, and takes away from the real drama and horror of the family in itself, and his responisibilities as a father etc.
The Stand (Original Version)
Night Shift A mixed bunch of short stories. Some really good, but most of them.. well.. standard.
The Dead Zone Feels like it's more important, themes, than it's written. Something he had to write, rather than having the idea for it.
Dance Macabre Really interesting essay about how horror works
Why We Crave Horror Movies (Article in Playboy) On a similiar note as Dance Macabre
Different Seasons A work of love, and it's noticeable
The Dark Tower Vol. 1 - The Gunslinger /
The Dark Tower Vol. 1 - The Gunslinger Audio-book I guess one can tell it's written on spare time etc, because it's kinda simple. The audio version is fun, because he reads it himself.. and, well.. interesting to hear when he gets tired, and how fresh he sounds, when they've cut.
Between Rock and a Soft Place (Article in Playboy) About rock'n'roll
Cycle of the Werewolf
The Word Processor - Fiction in Playboy. Turned up in a slightly reworked version in a short story collection.
Thinner (Richard Bachman). Kind of a parody of "Stephen King", which is kinda interesting (see notes below)
The Talisman (w. Peter Straub). Really great, even if the ending is a touch disappointing. I think it was a vitamin-injection for King.
The Mist - A radio play of Stephen King's story, done in "3D" sound, sold on cassettes and CDs
The Bachman Books - Four early novels by Stephen King
Skeleton Crew - a lot better short story collection
Creepshow - DVD and Comic Book
Silver Bullet - Screenplay including the full Cycle of the Werewolf. If they only had filmed the screenplay as is, because it's really terrifying, which can't be said of the movie.
The Fifth Quarter - Written as John Swithen in 1972. "The Twilight Zone Magazine" had a "everything Stepen King" special, including this short story.
It- Obviously his Magnum Opus, and the death of "Stephen King" (See notes below)
The Eyes of the Dragon - The Dark Tower Lite, and really interesting.
Misery A wake up call from Stephen King.. His first "biographical" work.
The Dark Tower Vol. 2: The Drawing of the Three A touch more worked out than Vol. 1, and when it started to get shape.
The Tommyknockers Far from good, but a lot of fun. Written basically to get out of his contract, I guess.
Nightmares in the Sky (w. f-stop Fitzgerald) A photo book, with a long essay by Stephen King
Nightmares in the Sky (Penthouse) The whole essay on it's own, published in Penthouse
The Night Flier - Short story included in "Prime Evil" (Edited by Douglas E. Winter). One of his better short stories.
The Reploids / Sneakers / Dedication - 3 short stories included in "Dark Visions" (Edited by Douglas E. Winter). Mixed bunch of stories.
Why I'm on Batman's Side (I'm not sure about the title, since I've got it in Swedish. The only thing I've got in Swedish actually) A foreword in a Batman comic, and an interesting read.
The Dark Half His second biographical work, and one of his funniest novels with tons of inside jokes.
The Stand - The Complete & Uncut Edition Truly a masterpiece. The epic scope really takes it to another level. Even if the shorter version is good, the longer version. Wow!
Four Past Midnight A try to repeat Different Seasons, but far from as interesting.
The Cat from Hell (Tales from the Darkside: The Movie) Fun, is the best you could say about it.. But.. do have it on DVD.
The Dark Tower 3: The Waste Lands Brings The Dark Tower Saga to a completely new level. I guess this is my favorite book of all. It's written so well, and with such scope, that it's up there with Lord of the Rings for a fantasy-tale.
Golden Years (Original TV-series) I've got the whole series taped, as well as this 4 hrs version of it, on VHS. Interesting idea, that weren't allowed to get past the starting point.
Gerald's Game Interesting Concept.
Dolores Claiborne By far, the best of his novels. Impressive that every single word is written as first person, and what a tale she's got to tell..
Sleepwalkers (Original Movie) Got to be one of the most gross movies ever, and generally ok, even if the ending sucks.
Nightmares & Dreamscapes - What a great Short Story Collection, and sharp contrast to "Night Shift". If one wants to how King has evolved as a writer, one should compare the short story collections (Night Shift = still learning, Skeleton Crew = Trying to find an identity, Nightmares & Dreamscapes = perfect). I especially like the final essay; "Head Down", which is every much as arrestig as one of his fantasy stories. Actually, one of the best pieces I've ever read by anyone.
Insomnia - Not the greatest novel, but essential since it?s a key to a lot of his other works. It connects to a lot of his other works, mostly The Dark Tower, as well as being a flip side to It. The most interesting thing is that it's "Richard Bachman's" version of It, in a sense.
Rockin' with the Remainders (Article in Playboy). Three of the authors on "The Remainders" Tour writing about the experiences of the Tour.
Rose Madder - Except that it totally goes bonkers in the end, I really loved this novel. Maybe because it's a subject close to my heart, and.. The villain, Norman(?), got to be the scariest monster King has ever created. Maybe scarier because, sadly, it's a very real monster. Obviously the 3rd part in his "Women"-trilogy (Gerald?s Game, Dolores Claiborne and Rose Madder).
Lucky Quarter - Short story in USA Weekend.
The Regulators (Richard Bachman) Obviously his original screenplay to "The Shotgunners", written for Sam Peckinpah, who was intended to direct it when he died, re-written as a novel. And a flip side to Desperation.
Desperation - Flip side to The Regulators. The irony of this, is that this is turned into a movie, rather than The Regulators (Which would make a lot better movie, in the first place).
The Green Mile 1 - 6. Frustrating experience to read, since you read the 100 pages of each book fairly quickly, and then having to wait a month until you could go on. I tend to read a book, and have it in mind until I've finished it. As in.. when I feel I need a rest etc, I might think that I'll go and continue reading some. A kind of excuse, to get a rest, basically. Only problem was that you had it in mind, and even if you had finished one part, you didn?t have the sense that you had finished it. That way, I often thought I'd go and read some, before I remembered there wasn't anything to continue reading. Yet. As for the "experiment". It's a good story, but a touch too long. Book 1, 2 and 6 is really great, while the other books has way too much filling, which doesn't move the story forward. It was as if he was desperate to deliver what he'd said he do.
Bag of Bones - Disappointing. Too predictable, and, the most annoying part, everyone in the book has the same voice, as in King not having been able to take himself out of the equation, by letting all people talk with his own voice. Stephen King in Richard Bachman Country.
The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon - Richard Bachman in Stephen King Country..
The Little Sisters of Eluria - An extension to The Dark Tower, written for a project called "Legends", where authors has written a short story based in their Fantasy world.
Storm of the Century (Original Screenplay) Haven't read the whole screenplay, but is close to the Mini-series. / DVD - Now I've seen it on DVD, without the commercial breaks, but.. it's very much made in segments, fitted to the slots between the commercial breaks, which means the story doesn?t flow as good as it should. It doesn't take off. Still, it's a haunting tale.
Hearts in Atlantis - Interesting, but a touch obscure. Especially since it's his most American story/ies. For some reason, it gets me thinking about the Antonioni movie: "Zabriskie Point", and in a sense, it could be seen as a sequel, 30 years later, to the movie.
Stephen King's "F 13" - CD-Rom with various Stephen King related stuff. Desktop images, small games etc, including "Everything's Eventual".
On Writing - Interesting self-biography, that fills in a lot of "gaps", but.. far from definitive. Great compliment to "The Stephen King Story"
Blood and Smoke - CD-only book, which I haven't listen to yet. I love the cover tho..
LT's Theory of Pets - CD. A live recording of Stephen King reading the story.
Dreamcatcher - Kinda predictable. The most scary thing about it, is the craving I got for bacon sandwiches..
Black House - (w. Peter Straub) The sequel to The Talisman, which conects that story more to The Dark Tower
Everything's Eventual - Short Story collection. Haven't read it yet, except that I, of course, have 8 of the 14 stories already, in other forms.
Stephen King Related:
Douglas E. Winter: The Art of Darkness. Analyzing King's writing, mostly concentrating on his short stories.
Stephen King's World of Horror - Video-biography.
Tim Underwood & Chuck Miller (Editors): Bare Bones - Conversations on Terror with Stephen King - Various collected interviews with King.
George Beahm: The Stephen King Companion - A look at everything Stephen King, and a must, because of the totally wonderful short story/parody "Id"
Stephen J. Spignesi: The Complete Stephen King Encyclopedia - Big, to say the least
George Beahm: The Stephen King Story - Excellent biography.
(Only Movies based on his works, more or less. The original Movie/TV-projects is listed in the list of his works. * indicates works where King has actually been directly involved)
Carrie (DVD) - ok movie.
Salem's Lot (Taped) - I've seen both the TV-series and the International Movie version. I think it could benefit from a good edit, mixing stuff from the movie and the TV-series, since the movie lacks the "build ups", while the TV-series, of course, plays it too safe.
The Shining - (DVD - US version). Haven't seen the US version (142 mins), only the international version (120 mins). The "introduction" is lacking in the International version, which may make a huge difference, since now, you're not having the back story, starting out at the hotel, basically. The main problem being that Kubrick goes, from an movie theory viewpoint, for audience reactions, rather than gut feeling.
The Dead Zone (DVD) - One of the better movies, and in a sense, actually more effective than the novel.
Christine (Only seen it at the movies) - The movie was bought before King had finished writing the novel, and screenplay written before the novel had found it's final shape. Interestingly, I've got one of those transparent stickers you put on the windshield to avoid the sun, with the movie logo on it, as well.
Stephen King's Night Shift Collection (VHS) - 2 short (30 mins each) movies: "The Boogeyman" and "The Woman in the Room". "Woman in the Room" being interesting, except being real good, because it's directed by Frank "The Shawshank Redemption/The Green Mile" Daramont, long before he were able to make his feature films.
Firestarter (Movie Theater)
Cat?s Eye * (Taped)
Silver Bullet * (Taped)
Maximum Overdrive * (Movie) Might not be that great, but.. tons of fun. Got it on DVD.
Stand by Me (Taped)
Creepshow 2 (Taped)
The Running Man (VHS). Kind of fun, because it says, on poster and movie, based on a Richard Bachman novel. Not a word about Stephen King.
Pet Sematary * (Taped)
The Lawnmower Man - Director's Cut (VHS)
The Dark Half (Taped)
The Tommyknockers (VHS) - In a sense better than the novel, thanks to it being more frank about the theme.
Needful Things (VHS) - Amanda Plummer is my favorite actress..
X-Files 5.1: Chinga (VHS)
The Stand * (VHS)
The Shawshank Redemption (DVD) - By far, the best of the movies based on somehting King.
Dolores Claiborne (VHS) - Really lousy.
The Langoliers (VHS)
Stephen King's "The Shining" * (VHS, as well as taped in USA) - In the long run, I like this version better than the movie, even if it's kinda let down by having every single comma of the book in it, as well as being created with commercials in thought.
Quicksilver Highway (VHS)
Night Flier (Seen on TV) - Fairly good.
Apt Pupil (Seen on TV) - I kinda wish that the first movie based on the story, had been finished, since those who?s seen what was filmed before they ran out of money, said it was real good (and better than the movie that came to be).
The Green Mile (DVD)
"Reading King (brief biography)"
Stephen King has always strived towards being an author, but it took a long time (he was 26 yrs old) before he actually was able to get a novel published, and being able to quit his daytime work. Obviously he wrote a lot, especially short stories (he was published the first time when he was 12, so it took 14 yrs of writing, before he got a novel published). Obviously he were able to get a lot of practice, and being able to learn to develop stories in that time. That way, when he was able to start writing novels full time, he already was very skilled, and his first, published, novel; Carrie, doesn?t look at all like a first novel, being as perfect as anything could be.
As it happened, his first couple of novels became labeled, thanks to the supernatural elements, horror, even if I'd say that's slightly wrong. His books has always had a strong personal drama. People in stressful situations. It's Carrie White who's bullied at school, it's the father with a drinking problem being isolated in a hotel with his family, trying to write a novel that he hope will be his big break etc. At the same time, he's always been kind of closer to Science Fiction, than actual horror. That way, while he got an image of the major horror writer, when he became "Stephen King" (The household name), he was starting to publish earlier novels, as well as new novels not being "Stephen King", using the name Richard Bachman. The "true" Stephen King. I'm not sure what happened, if it was King himself being insecure, afraid of losing it, or his Publisher, but Stephen King became more or less a factory. Turning out book after book which lived up to his image. They're not entirely bad. He's not written a book that's not a good read, but some of the stories weren't exactly fulfilling. One just reads them and puts them away. They've got no point. I guess it happened about when The Shining were a big hit as a movie. The big break, basically, even if it wasn't until Firestarter you started noticing it. The true Stephen King (Richard Bachman, one could say) surfaced mostly in limited form only. Eyes of the Dragon (Which was released in a limited form only, at first), Different Seasons, The Dark Tower etc. Stories you feel he wrote for himself, rather than a big audience. It wasn't until he was discovered to be Richard Bachman with Thinner (Which, of course, makes a lot of fun of "Stephen King". With the Bachman books being accepted, it was discovered that Stephen King didn't had to be "Stephen King" - The horror writer. Discovering that the readers loved the stories, not the horror in itself. That changed everything, literally (sic!). The first thing he did was to say goodbye to "Stephen King" through a final; the novel of all novels, It. The limited edition The Eyes of the Dragon came out in a mass market version, and the first new novel after It, was the 6th Richard Bachman-novel: Misery (Published now, in his own name), which of course is about the pressure an author feels from his fans, and not being able to create what he'd most of all would've liked to write. He published The Tommyknockers in a basically raw form, written in, I think.. 2 weeks and full off cocaine, basically just to finish off the contract he had, and being able to get a new deal, as well as dealing with his drug addiction, which allowed him more freedom. He wrote The Dark Half, which of course is very self-biographical, in the sense that it dels with 2 authors fighting for control.. "Stephen King" and "Richard Bachman".. and trying to find some kind of common ground. To find Stephen King. He made sure to get the major injustice of his time as a writer corrected, by releasing the full version of The Stand, which I guess was kinda symbolic because it was basically the last true Stephen King novel, before becoming "Stephen King". He killed "Stephen King's" major setting: Castle Rock, which I guess was a lot of fun, and finally to burn it to the ground. He started mixing Richard Bachman and "Stephen King". Often by doing flip-sides. Gerald?s Game/Dolores Claiborne (and kinda mixing the two styles in Rose Madder) and Desperation/The Regulators, as well as starting to experiment with the media, trying to find new forms of telling stories. The 6-part The Green Mile, Two e-books, a CD-ROM, an Audio-only book etc.
Then, as it happened. Even if he'd started writing On Writing, part biography/part conveying what he's learned about writing, he finished that after the major accident which nearly killed him. About the same time, he'd done Heart in Atlantis, which is very much a look at a generation he's part of. Not a biography, but in an indirect way personal. You get the sense that he's, having coming out of a major drug habit, experimenting with storytelling, he'd have a real good look of his life, he was kinda fed up, and that accident became the thing that tipped him over. He's said that he has commited himself for work for 2 more years, after that, he'll decide if he's gonna retire. I doubt he'll retire, entirely. I think he's mostly gonna enjoy what life he's got left, with no kids to take care off etc, and no commitments. I doubt he'll spend a lot of time on writing, but not stop doing it, and being way more careful about what he spends time writing on.