Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Recently Finished: Stephen King, Cell

Stephen King had a big impact on my when I was growing up. I really loved his buddy horror epics like 'Salem's Lot and The Stand. And I think some of his short stories from Nightshift and, to a lesser extent, Skeleton Crew, will be classics of American horror.

Like many folks, I quit reading S.K. several years back, but I've always had a fondness for him. Early on in Cell, it seems like the old King might be back, but by about 1/3 of the way through, that seems less plausible. In the end, I didn't like it much...but I did finish it, which is more than I can say for most horror novels, which I just throw away or leave laying around where someone will take them.

Incidentally, Stephen King has nothing to prove to me. He wrote about a half-dozen super-enjoyable books. That's a damn sight more books than most people will write. I don't know why people think that, if you've written one good book you've somehow failed if you can't keep doing it. One good book is an impressive thing. If King never writes another book I like, I'll still think he kicks ass.


Blogger Saint Blake the Dark said...

I was also a big S.K. fan, but moved on to other authors and genres after about a five year period of hero-worship. True, the man has written some great work (It probably has to be my favorite), but his later work has left something to be desired. I also agree that you can't hit it out of the park all the time and that 1 out of 2 or 1 out of 8 isn't bad when it comes to writing.

In part I think that King may have some trouble because the horror genre can be very predictable. It takes a bit of genius to break out of the same old narrative frames and formulas. In "Danse Macabre," King admitted that the modern horror story is usually just a spinoff of one of the three greats: Frankenstein, Dracula,and Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Hyde.

Do you have any recommendations of good horror to read? Hope the semester is going well.

12:25 PM  

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