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King of Horror December 7, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in bookmooch, Books, fiction, Other, Paperbackswap, writing.

This fall I find myself re-reading some of Stephen King’s books, many of which I first read when they were first issued in paperback. I’m doing this partly because I like the genre, partly because I see Mr. King as a really good writer, from whom I have a lot to learn, and partly because I have one of those unique minds that can forget all but a few basic plot elements from a novel I read only a couple of years back. This special skill allows me to enjoy a book just as much upon second, third, or fourth readings. It can save money during those times when you are mainly reading for entertainment or escape.

I’ve long since lost or loaned or sold the novels that I am re-reading, of course, assuming I ever owned them, so I turn to Bookmooch or Paperbackswap for a fresh copy. I usually opt for hardbound books, when I can get them, knowing that I am likely to keep them, and that since I live now in a house with dry and ample basement space, and am likely to be here some time, there is a place to store them. Plus, I just like them.

This week I am reading The Dead Zone, which I was surprised to discover I had never before read. I saw the movie, of course. Anything with Christopher Walken in it is a must-see. But all of my memories are from the movie–I’m almost certain. Most shocking of all, though, was this picture of the author on the inside of the jacket.


Would they have sold more copies if his picture was on the front cover? Or would they have scared off potential readers? You decide.


1. strugglingwriter - December 7, 2007

Yeah, I think it was a good call to not put that picture on the front. :)

I just got an email yesterday from Amazon about a new King book coming out in a few months. There was some good information there and even some video. Here is the link:

2. writinggb - December 7, 2007

YIKES! That IS scary! I’ve actually never read any King. Is he really that good? What makes him so?

3. Pretty Good on Paper « A Bunch of Wordz - December 8, 2007

[…] Good on Paper Found a great blog called Pretty Good on Paper.  There’s a plethora of random yet interesting information here including how to keep your […]

4. anxiousmofo - December 21, 2007

My wife has the same ability to forget that you do. She has actually purchased a book, brought it home, started reading it, and not realized until she was several pages in that she had a) purchased the book, b) read it a few years back, and c) didn’t like it.

You may not know it, but there is a conspiracy theory that StephenKing killed John Lennon. Nixon and Reagan were in on it, too. I haven’t yet been able to read past the second paragraph, in which it is stated that evidence for the conspiracy can be found in government codes in headlines of magazines and newspapers of the time.

5. Stiletto - December 26, 2007

The Dead Zone – my favorite Stephen King novel. Oh my god, I can’t begin to tell you how much I love that book.

BTW, have you ever killed (holy shit – weird) I meant read Stephen King’s book on writing? He was like, doing coke hard core – which explains Tommyknockers or whatever it’s called. One long ass disappointing piece of nonsensical gibberish.

6. Stiletto - December 26, 2007

Hey, btw – Merry Christmas.

7. caveblogem - December 28, 2007


What was it about Dead Zone that makes you like it so much? I liked it, and unlike some others I never found myself wishing he would stop rambling. It was a much tighter work than many of his novels. But I didn’t find the plot as compelling as some of those others either.

As to Tommyknockers, it was long, and it contained some of those frustratingly digressive passages. But I liked its depictions of alcoholic blackouts. And I especially liked the theme he was dealing with in that one. I spend too much time with engineers, I guess, and the book echoed one of my favorite Terry Pratchett sentiments (which I don’t have time to look up and will probably misquote a little, but it is in Thief of Time, I’m pretty sure): “If somebody put up a sign that said ‘End of Universe Switch: Don’t Pull’ the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.”

Not his best work, but dark and disturbing, which is often enough, for me.

Finally, a belated Merry Christmas to you, too, sg. And a happy new year.

8. caveblogem - December 28, 2007


Hmmmm. I got further than the second paragraph. While I wouldn’t put anything past Nixon, of course, there doesn’t appear to be much of a smoking gun on Reagan or King there. A pity, but “codes” don’t make much of a story. At least not to me. This guy seems to be suggesting that King killed Lennon just so he could taunt us all with that fact and so that he could use the experience later in crafting his novels.

Interesting stuff, though.

9. Stiletto - January 31, 2008

“What was it about Dead Zone that makes you like it so much? I liked it, and unlike some others I never found myself wishing he would stop rambling. It was a much tighter work than many of his novels. But I didn’t find the plot as compelling as some of those others either.”

You just said it – it had direction, it had a clear sense of purpose, and he wasn’t rambling all over the place.

Even he said “On Writing” that The Dead Zone and another book were the only two in which he ever outlined a plot. Don’t quote me on that, though, I’m going by memory and it’s been some time since I read his autobiography.

10. Stiletto - January 31, 2008

Now, in fairness to Mr. King, I have not read his entire collection of books. So it would be premature for me to assume that outlining plots might work best for him.

11. Stiletto - January 31, 2008

I think after Tommyknockers I was completely turned off to newer works and I do recall revisiting The Dead Zone more than once.

It’s just a damn good book, and compelling. I almost felt as if I were there with the character, by his side. Sounds silly, I know, but as an avid reader, you know what I am talking about.

It was a bittersweet story.

12. caveblogem - January 31, 2008


I just finished Christine. I think that I read it when it first came out, but I’m not sure. I know I saw the movie. Watching the movie, I remember, I was really turned off by the way that the car kept punching its own dents out and healing itself as the narrator wrecked it repeatedly with a truck. The scene I remember is exactly like that in the book, though. So I have no idea why I was put off by it.

In his best works it is usually the characters that I remember. Even the protagonist of Tommyknockers is pretty forgettable. He wasn’t terribly likable, or easy to identify with either.

13. Stiletto - January 31, 2008

Perhaps you’ve hit upon another good point. The main character in The Dead Zone was a very likable chap.

Was the book version of Christine anything like the movie?

14. caveblogem - January 31, 2008


As far as I can recall it was almost exactly like the movie, with some parts missing, though. I don’t recall any scenes in the movie with the brother of the guy who sold Christine filling in the back story, for example. But I saw the movie a long time ago, early 1980s, I think.

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