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The Random - Discussion Threads > Notable Stephen King Prefaces and Afterwords

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message 1: by Costas (new)

Costas Ioannou (greek_tornado) | 77 comments This topic is about the various prefaces and afterwords found in Stephen King's books, what you liked, what you didn't like etc.

Recently I read the preface of Night Shift, which was about King's opinion of the horror genre, and I thought it was very deep, especially considering that he wrote it early on his career.
Another one I really like is "On Being Nineteen (and a Few Other Things)", found on some of the books of the Dark Tower series. It helped me understand a lot of things about his writing.

What I didn't like, was the afterword of the last Dark Tower book. It seemed patronizing and slightly offensive to his readers.

I'd like to hear your opinions on this.

PS.: Sorry if this has been posted before/is in the wrong section.


message 2: by Squire (new)

Squire (srboone) | 11 comments What I remember about the afterward to Book 7 was that King encouraged readers to end their DT journey with Susannah's escape to an alternate world where Eddie and Jake are alive if the ywant a happy ending to the tale--knowing full well that everybody is going to read his CODA to the tale.

I'll have to go back and reread it Costas, because I don't remember it being condescending at all. But I'd love to read your thoughts on the matter.

For me, King's most memorable Afterword came at the end of Cycle of the Werewolf:

“Any dedicated moon-watcher will know that, regardless of the year, I have taken a good many liberties with the lunar cycle-usually to take advantage of days (Valentine's, July 4th, etc.) which "mark" certain months in our minds. To those readers who feel that I didn't know any better, I assert that I did ... but the temptation was simply too great to resist.”


message 3: by Angie, Constant Reader (new)

Angie | 2543 comments Mod
I don't remember the end of the Dark Tower being condescending either. I think King just gave you the decision if you wanted to end it there (sometimes I wish I had). I love his Afterwords and Forwards. Especially when he writes short stories and then discusses them.


message 4: by Costas (new)

Costas Ioannou (greek_tornado) | 77 comments Thanks you for your input. I feel I should explain my opinion of the afterword of the Dark Tower. The parts that bothered me were the following:

"And don’t write me any angry letters about it, either, because I won’t answer them. There’s nothing left to say on the subject."

(view spoiler)

I don't know whether there was some specific event that forced him to write that, but it seems disrespectful to his readers, especially to write at the end of his greatest saga, when most readers are looking for some kind of closure. It's like saying "Ok, you got your story, now leave me alone". Or at least that's how it felt to me.


message 5: by Squire (new)

Squire (srboone) | 11 comments Hmmm. I see your point, Costas. But I didn't take that as condescending when I read it. Since I'm not one of those obessessed people who would stalk King and camp out on his doorstep for the rest of my life, it came off as humorous to me. There probably has been an incident or two where he's had to have people arrested for stalking or invading his privacy in some way.

The angry letters also came off as humorous to me, as well. Again, I never considered writing one, so it didn't bother me.


message 6: by Aditya (new)

Aditya As far as I remember DIFFERENT SEASONS the novella collection also had an interesting afterword where King described how & when he wrote those novellas.It was an interesting peak in the mind of a master story teller.


message 7: by Tony (last edited Sep 26, 2013 04:36AM) (new)

Tony Talbot I have the collection of The Bachman Books, and he talks about why he was Bachman at the start. It's a delight. He says at one point that Bachman died of "cancer of the pseudonym." :-)

I like the little afterwords and forewords in "Everything's Eventual."

Costas, I can understand Mr King's desire to be left alone...he has a life outside of books, and let's leave him to it. He wanted to be famous (and is) and his wife and family didn't.

As a writer, I'm very conscious of doing the same thing. I want to be known to the public, but don't particularly want them knocking on my door at three in the morning, and I'm VERY sure my wife doesn't either - I intentionally leave her out of any pictures I post online, and I'm vague about where I live.

My life as a writer is separate from the rest of my life. It's like having a secret identity without having to fight crime. :-)


message 8: by Bondama (new)

Bondama (kerensa) | 868 comments Tony - I do take exception to one of your statements: you said, "He wanted to be famous...." Which is so far from the truth of why King writes. He was born to write. He states that in "Windows and Doors," where he prints a story he wrote for he and his brother Don's newsletter, that they sold for 5 cents, door to door. I can't find the book at the moment, but I think he was 8 or 9. He has never written "for the money, or for the fame --" He just HAD to write (As witnessed by his 2-3 "retirements" from writing.) and the continuing books. He just can't NOT write.--regardless of who reads it!


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