'Salem's Lot 'Salem's Lot discussion


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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I really do not not see how anyone can rate this 5 stars took me all my time to rate it one. I have seem more horror in Disney. Mr King you are meant to be a huge scary writer well how you have become this successful is beyond me. Some of your movies are actually rather good but you books just seem to be all about prattling about meaningless crap....


message 2: by Feliks (last edited Nov 21, 2013 08:13PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Feliks These are stern terms.


Jacquelyn This was his third novel... just by the way. He got famous on this one.
And actually that "meaningless crap" generally includes symbolism or imagery that can be very interesting to include to your understanding of the novel. Or sometimes it's mindless prattle that's just pretty funny.


message 4: by Feliks (last edited Nov 22, 2013 11:18AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Feliks Let's array some pros/cons.

Pros

First, anyone should readily admit that Stephen King even at his worst is always a competent and facile writer. That's clear from any direct examination of his sentences. He is proficient at all the techniques a novelist requires: characters, psychology; dialog; pacing; plotting; setting; atmosphere; continuity; causality; vocabulary. He might possibly have succeeded in any genre he chose to write in, not just horror. At his best he has a fluency and confident mastery of the skills needed to write any type of novel-length prose he might wish to.

The content he chooses to write about and the style he writes with may sometimes flag and falter; but he rarely embarrasses himself with any show of blatant incompetency. He has never written a book which didn't turn a handsome profit.

He's also highly prolific as authors go; he wasn't a one-shot wonder nor a flash-in-the-pan.

He has penned a voluminous plethora of stories and novels, screenplays, novellas, epic story-cycles. He wasn't limited to just one format.

His stories contain diverse settings, and a wide variety of premises to explore. You could almost say that none of his stories are quite the same as any other, (at least on the surface).

He revolutionized horror writing; single-handedly revised the entire genre. Before he emerged, horror writing was languishing in ignominy, it was a backwater; it wasn't a big-seller. Horror was depressing, stagnant, esoteric, and moribund. A narrow, special-interest audience kept it going. He turned all that around; he made it big business; and he opened the floodgates for the careers of many other writers who followed in his wake.

His works are of the sort which inspire ardent fandom; people read his works over-and-over; many of them are genuinely scary to a wide audience; his books are often gripping page-turners. He can write swiftly, lazily, cheaply...(and frequently does so). However he has also shown that he can write richly, densely, verbosely, with resonating themes, carefully-handled imagery, and tremendous atmosphere.


Cons

Unfortunately King clearly writes in very predictable patterns and tropes. He recycles the same motifs over and over; even if his stories are nominally different. He is limited in terms of the characters he can conceive--over-emphasizes juveniles. All too often he goes for bathroom-humor; gore; shock-factor; all manner of crass/off-color viscera aimed at the adolescent horror reader. He descends too often into the childish, the vulgar, and the insignificant.

No matter where he starts out with a story, he always seems to 'wind up in the same place'. His sheer number of books, often dilute the impact he wants to achieve, all his books have a way of sounding the same. His works are not depthful or serious; he's not a true author...more like, a canny manipulator who thrives in the genre-market. Its doubtful whether he could ever write a real, true, honest, authentic novel without resorting to the sideshow-tricks which horror-writing affords him.

What he did originally to get his start was this: he took advantage of his knowledge of classic horror literature to fuel-inject his career and quickly outpace his peers, making a name for himself swiftly by shamelessly pilfering long-forgotten horror tales and re-coining many of them as his own. He sometimes filches them outright, much like Quentin Tarantino steals from movie history. This still forms part of his career strategy.

His basic stylistic innovation as a writer--the one thing he did which was 'new'--was this: he extracted classic, traditional horror stories out of their usually laughable settings (castles, cemeteries, mansions, coaches) and he took away all their cliche props (candelabra, long training gowns on women, tiaras, grand pianos) and instead, placed the core of the narrative into our modern-day world. He simply re-implements the story amongst all our contemporary daily jumble of television commercials, snack foods, rock songs, kids' toys, Japanese cars, backyards, driveways, living-rooms, and garages. And he names names: Toyota, Cap'n Crunch, Uniroyal, Brady Bunch. That's his technique; that's why he succeeded in the first place! It wasn't rocket science, it was simply shrewd, cunning perspicacity about how to write more effectively, how to 'reach' his audience. Otherwise, he is certainly no 'genius' or 'guru'.

But no matter what you want to call him, he achieved his goals.


message 5: by Michael (last edited Nov 22, 2013 09:00AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michael Brown Feliks wrote: He revolutionized horror writing; single-handedly revised the entire genre. Before he emerged, horror writing was languishing in ignominy


Before I start, let me say I like King. He's not immune to clunkers, but who the hell is? But I'd dispute the absolutism of the above for 2 reasons.

1) For some people it still does languish in ignominy. Some people actively treat it as deviant, and as recently as 1992 (gimme some wiggle here, it feels recent enough to me!) one of my University lecturers asked me "Why do they write horror in the first place?" The general air of reflex distaste is based heavily on ignorance of course, but then if it is now it was before also.

2) It wasn't languishing anywhere really. I'm unfortunately old enough to remember horror being quite high-profile for most of my life, and I'm not a young chicken. (North of Bieber, South of Methusuelah...before you ask Or just check my Profile page, where the secret is out!) For me horror has always been around, it was my first literary interest, and I don't believe King revolutionised it. He honed it, made it culture-friendly by being energetic (aka, young) enough to slam in a few contextually contemporary tropes. You can seem new if you are prolific enough to reference themes and ideas that are de temps on a consistent enough basis - as you point out in a different way yourself in your Cons. It's fair to say that horror till then may have had a fogeyist feel, but it was certainly not languishing, not if my memory and my Dad's bookcase is any guide. He loved Horror too - it's in the blood, mwah, ha, ha.

Again though, let me say: I like King. And I love Salem's Lot, even if its early fear has worn off and I now just think of it as a damn fine novel. And I just spent two paragraphs overanalysing what I'll read anyway, regardless of all the other stuff. In my defence, I had a few minutes to kill.


message 6: by Feliks (last edited Nov 22, 2013 10:35AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Feliks Michael wrote: "1) For some people it still does languish in ignominy...."

That's true but only insofar as horror is still a genre and modern genre writing is always shyt on a certain basic level. Its got natural limitations no matter what its practitioners strive to accomplish.

Michael wrote: "2) It wasn't languishing anywhere really...."

But the revenue and the volume of titles and projects which the horror industry began to generate after King appeared, suggest otherwise, imho.

If you want to state that there was 'better' horror writing before King, that's fine. I might even agree. But this is an aesthetic tangent, which can't really be settled one way or the other. What King did to the financial side of the horror genre is hard to deny.

What were the big names in 1960s, 1970s horror? 'The Amityville Horror', 'The Omen', 'The Exorcist', 'Rosemary's Baby', and 'Stepford Wives', I reckon. A paltry handful of titles.


message 7: by K.L. (last edited Nov 22, 2013 09:12AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

K.L. Turner The story doesn't matter as much as the characters within them and how they react and change to outside stimuli. King is so overwhelmingly popular because he resonates with his readership. Kings characters are people we know, and sometimes they seem like a caricature of a real person, but it is only to emphasize their uniqueness. We all know people like Carrie White from Carrie. We all know people like the eavesdropping old lady from 'Salem's Lot. We all know people like Jack Torrence (from the book, not the movie). We know kids that get picked on, nosy people, and alcoholics on a mean binge. These are real people we run into every day. This is Stephen King's biggest strength.
Don't make the mistake of labeling him as strictly a horror writer. Mr. Mercedes is a crime/mystery novel coming out soon. Doloris Claiborne was more of a thriller. The Body from Different Seasons was pure literature. Sure, they all might have some little paranormal or sci-fi twist, but they are written in ways most people can identify with. I've no doubt that in 150 years, King will be listed right up there beside Twain and Dickens.


message 8: by Feliks (last edited Nov 22, 2013 10:36AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Feliks K.L. wrote: "I've no doubt that in 150 years from now, King will be listed right up there beside Twain and Dickens. ..."

Have to disagree. Its 150 years right now after Melville, Twain, and Dickens and right now we don't allow that any author since, has ever met their level. So why would another 150 years make a difference? Plus, the advent of modernity precludes this kind of thing from happening, culture achievements wind down in progressive cycles. Its why there are no more renaissance men after a certain era; and its why genre authors have a harder and harder time pretending that they are writing anything 'new'. They're not and they know it.

Good point about the chewiness and familiarity of his characters, they are better than what the genre offered before he came on the scene: mad scientists and archaeologists 'n' stuff. This dovetails well with what I said earlier about his graphic/concrete style and how he gains a huge advantage from mixing contemporary settings with classic motifs.

K.L. wrote: "Don't make the mistake of labeling him as strictly a horror writer. ..."

Its not a mistake, if on a rare few occasions he strays outside his genre and into some other genre, its still not incorrect to label him either a horror writer or a genre writer.


K.L. Turner Feliks wrote: "K.L. wrote: "I've no doubt that in 150 years from now, King will be listed right up there beside Twain and Dickens. ..."

Have to disagree. Its 150 years right now after Melville, Twain, and Dicken..."

There are plenty of classic authors haunting bookshelves that went under appreciated in their own time. Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft. These guys didn't get serious notoriety until after they were dead and buried. Many people already state that King is probably the most famous writer in our own time.
He's been boxed into the horror category by his own doing, that is for sure, but that does not make him just a horror writer. People are missing out on his work simply because when they see his name they think, "oh, more horror crap." and it's simply not the case. He does have himself to blame for that though.
Any more, plots are reworked over and over again. Originality is on the downswing. When it comes down to it there are only so many things you can do. How many times has the heroes journey been done? It's the twist the authors throw in that makes it unique. It's almost always a throwback to some other story.


message 10: by Feliks (last edited Nov 22, 2013 11:21AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Feliks K.L. wrote: "There are plenty of classic authors haunting bookshelves that went under appreciated in their own time. ..."

And there were just as many horror authors who were famous in their era (just as famous as King is today in ours) who 150 years later are disregarded by the public and by critics alike. How many horror readers today have heard of Clarke Ashton Smith? Ambrose Bierce? Lord Dunsany? Compared to Dickens, Twain and Melville these men are forgotten by history.

K.L. wrote: "Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft. These guys didn't get serious notoriety until after they were dead and buried. ..."

William Hope Hodgson, MR James, Arthur Machen, RW Chambers..the pioneers of horror, are today almost wholly unknowns.

K.L. wrote: "Many people already state that King is probably the most famous writer in our own time...."

Many people today state that Howard Stern is probably the most famous radio personality of our time. Does that mean that in 150 years he will be regarded as a pioneer of audio technology the way Thomas Alva Edison or Guglielmo Marconi are?

K.L. wrote: "He's been boxed into the horror category by his own doing, that is for sure, but that does not make him just a horror writer. ..."

It certainly does. Just like in football, every team 'is' their record; no more and no less.

I've already praised his writing ability very generously, but you still seem to find it too confining. Nevertheless, Stephen King is in the twilight of his career, and he has predominantly written horror. Despite speculation on what he might be able to write, he simply hasn't written in extensively enough in any other genre to make his 'horror author' label invalid should anyone wish to apply it.

K.L. wrote: "People are missing out on his work simply because when they see his name they think, "oh, more horror crap." and it's simply not the case. He does have himself to blame for that though...."

Who is missing out on his work? He's sold millions. He writes great crap; but if people want to stay away its not because they have an incorrect view of what he does or how well he does it. His reputation and fame precedes him, and is in some ways bigger than his talent warrants. People are still entitled to want to avoid crap no matter how well-done it may be.

K.L. wrote: "Any more, plots are reworked over and over again. Originality is on the downswing. When it comes down to it there are only so many things you can do. How many times has the heroes journey been done? It's the twist the authors throw in that makes it unique. It's almost always a throwback to some other story. ..."

Not so. This is genre-writing you're talking about. Its not the same situation in literary fiction (or other forms of lit) no matter how many "heroes' journey" movies are filling theaters these days. Easy to be deceived about the limitations of storytelling, when that's all Hollywood ever gives us lately. We're definitely getting short-changed nowadays; the last great era of storytelling was surely the 1970s. We can but thank Lucas, Spielberg, and Cimino for helping kill it for us.


message 11: by Feliks (last edited Nov 23, 2013 11:25AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Feliks Good exchange of views presented from all angles. The OP (Sarah) should return and try to re-establish her insinuations. You can't give a writer as good as King, 'short-shrift' to the point of claiming he's less scary than a Disney movie. Come on now.

On the other hand, the phenomenon of the true hack-who-made-it-big (JK Rowling) hasn't been touched on yet. Hasn't she amassed more money and book sales than Stephen King in a 1/5th of the time? Isn't she really the most famous author today? Or perhaps Stephanie Meyer, another incompetent. Neither of these women can come anywhere near King's technical ability. Yet they rather toppled him off his perch. They reach markets he never has. How? Even King himself admits to being bewildered at Rowling's rise.


message 12: by K.L. (new) - rated it 5 stars

K.L. Turner Feliks wrote: "Good exchange of views presented from all angles. The OP (Sarah) should return and try to re-establish her insinuations. You can't give a writer like King short-shrift to the point of claiming he's..."

Something the two have in common (King and Rowling) is that they have learned to market themselves as icons.


message 13: by Lora (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lora I can only add my own experience. I read a lot of King many years ago, but got really tired of him. Of the grotesque, as so well described above, especially.
I enjoyed Harry Potter because it had no gross sticky violence. Well, I liked the story and the characters and the over all story line. I stopped reading Rowling because I was kind of 'done' with Harry Potter, not because she chased me away the way King did.
Neither author makes my favorites list, anyway. I do have great sentimental feelings for a couple of King's books- "It" and "Salem's Lot", and similar sentimental attachment to Harry Potter. King's two books meant something to me because they had a personal effect on me at a set time in my life, whereas Harry Potter was the one and only time I got caught up in a global hype, and just enjoyed it while it lasted.
As a woman, too, I felt something more akin to Rowling and her story and the story of her characters, while King kinda left me feeling cold. Maybe slimy too, lol.


message 14: by Feliks (last edited Nov 22, 2013 01:50PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Feliks K.L. wrote: "Something the two have in common (King and Rowling) is that they have learned to market themselves as icons. ..."

They sure have. Yep. Very savvy about their careers. King hindered himself somewhat with a drug recovery-problem early on though..I don't know much about it. Some friends of mine say that he wrote better when he was addicted. And then there was a car accident? Maybe all that put him off his pace. He seems to be recovering now though..and also, Rowling's probably retreating unless she keeps Potter going.

Would you say that King targets himself to adolescent males and twenty-something men, and that this left the door open for Meyer and Rowling to grab hold of the child readers and the girl adolescents/women readers, respectively?


message 15: by Feliks (last edited Nov 22, 2013 01:52PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Feliks p.s. I'm sorry to outright call Rowling and Meyers hacks, apologize if that offends anyone. It doesn't help this discussion..but that pair does make me see red..


message 16: by Feliks (last edited Nov 22, 2013 01:57PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Feliks Lora wrote: "I can only add my own experience. I read a lot of King many years ago, but got really tired of him. Of the grotesque, as so well described above, especially.
I enjoyed Harry Potter because it had ..."


Thank you, very interesting input! I think that's what makes Rowling and Meyer so deadly effective at controlling their audience segments. Emotion. Its like when James Cameron sneakily re-made 'Titanic'; a cornball story craftily re-engineered to specifically tap into that female audience. Women want to emote; they want a good tear-jerker and there hadn't been one in a long time. Females of all ages hit those turnstiles hard..came out and saw that flick 10, 12 times in a row.


message 17: by K.L. (last edited Nov 22, 2013 03:45PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

K.L. Turner Feliks wrote: "Would you say that King targets himself to adolescent males and twenty-something men, and that this left the door open for Meyer and Rowling to grab hold of the child readers and the girl adolescents/women readers, respectively?"

I don't think King really thought to target himself to a specific age bracket, at least not until the publicists started doing their thing. I think as his writing has matured over time so has his readership. Many King fans tend to lose interest in him over time and then, when they are older, come back to read him again.
Meyer and Rowling do specifically target kids and young girls. I don't think Meyer had that in mind in the beginning as it seems I remember reading somewhere that the Twilight series was originally going to be erotic fiction and it just turned into what it is organically as the writing progressed. Personally, and this is no offense to fans of the Twilight series, but I wouldn't pay a thimble of spit for one of those books. What I hate even more is going into a bookstore and finding nothing but Twilight knockoffs all over the place. I'm sure some of them are probably better written than Twilight itself, which is disheartening to me because that means these writers could be doing so much more with themselves.

King history for you Feliks.
Drank like a fish after his fame got going. He was a very bad alcoholic during most of the 80's until his wife put her foot down. He did write some of his best stuff at that time. He was hit by a van in the late 90's and almost died, and is lucky to be able to walk without assistance. He almost totally retired from writing after the accident, but fought through it and made a comeback. In his book

On Writing, he goes into some depth with that whole experience. It's actually a very good look into the writing mind of Stephen King and for a memoir, very entertaining. there is also a great BBC documentary on youtube...https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xh6nH...


message 18: by Jon (new) - rated it 3 stars

Jon Never been a big Stephen King fan. His writing style has always seemed, at best, merely competent and his immense popularity as baffling as that of Adam Sandler's. That being said, "Salem's Lot" had some moments to it that were effectively scary and was one of his better efforts.


message 19: by Michael (last edited Nov 23, 2013 03:51AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michael Brown Feliks wrote: "What King did to the financial side of the horror genre is hard to deny."

That's true. But for me, and hopefully for you, and for everyone else as well, that's irrelevant to whether he or anyone is worth reading. Otherwise we may as well be perusing the Bloomberg Channel ticker-tape. As I write the London Stock Exchange position is unchanged, which is ironic. Anyhoo...

You were also correct about King's knock-on effect, but a lot of that was the artistically-impoverished objet trouve horror with their love of gerunds in their titles, too many of which liked bugs and beasties a little too much. I read some of them by the way - the glorious summer of '82. I don't recall too much pain if I'm honest. King's use of manglers, rafts, chattery teeth and evil word-processors show even he is not immune to novelty. This may just be playfulness, or it could be outrageous bloody cheek.

As to the "better writing before King", I wasn't really claiming that, even though it's inevitably true, as it's true that there are better writers than him now, though we could sit here till 10 minutes after the Heat Death of the Universe and still not absolutely agree what that really means. He's good enough at it though. You use the phrase "great crap" and I'm torn there because it sort of hits the nail, but with a jelly hammer.


Scott I hate to see Rowling and Meyer lumped together simply because they are both immensely popular. I have read portions of both their work and there's no comparison. Rowling is a good writer who needs an editor. The reason I couldn't finish The Order of the Phoenix was not because the prose was bad, but because there was so much filler. I got about halfway through and wish I could have finished it. However, I cannot read even a paragraph of Meyer's without laughing.


Frederick he's not a true author..
I liked Feliks's pros and cons. But I guess he? raises the question, What is a 'true' author? How is an author measured? Is it not by $? Is an athlete, or entertainer not ultimately measured in $?
There are probably 100's of 'true authors' that have not been published for one reason or another King is entertaining,he's an entertainer, the writing equivalent of a cheeseburger (his words not mine) is that not what he set out to be? Taking King, Koontz et.al and measuring them against Faulkner? does not seem a fair measurement. King is a true success.


Jonathon I think part of the issue with King is that he is exceptionally wordy at times. He tends to go in depth describing the scene and the people to the point that it feels like you are standing there watching an old friend.

For some people that is a bit of a turn off as they want just enough information to carry the story.

Also, for me, King is a bit more cerebral in his story telling. He doesn't need to say things like "And he slashed her throat with the axe and the blood poured out like Niagra Falls in the spring!" to get your attention and some people prefer that type of horror.

I do enjoy King's books once I get into them, which sometimes is difficult for me in the first 100 pages. However I am not someone who can read Salem's Lot and then move right onto Duma Key. Way too much mental bending for my taste so I only read about 2 of his books a year. The only one I did not enjoy at all was From a Buick 8. I just could not get into that one.


Feliks Michael wrote: "Feliks wrote: "What King did to the financial side of the horror genre is hard to deny."

That's true. But for me, and hopefully for you, and for everyone else as well, that's irrelevant to whether..."


It was just one 'pro' that had to be mentioned for the sake of fairness and thoroughness. Wasn't suggesting that mere sales is the criteria for judging talent.

Your other points: not quite sure what you're getting at..


message 24: by Lora (new) - rated it 2 stars

Lora BTW, I don't mind the word 'hacks'. It looks like this discussion is a good one where people don't break down at the use of one word or another.
I appreciate that, this is a great discussion for me to follow.
Emotion? Where does it fit in? I think there's two ways, at the very least: authors who manipulate, and authors who acknowledge that it's a prt of the reader's life and part of their reading experience. The funny part is, many times I find an author manipulative, and someone else won't. Or I like an author who 'includes' mu life experience by including aspects of a woman's life, as an example. For instance, I was just reading Anna Karenina and the birthing/nursing details made the story feel more real to me. More fleshed out, because it reflected more of my experience.
Anyway, Rowling and King both have interesting life stories in their own right, which for me makes the reading of their writing more full as well. Well, it did when I read them. I can see their rise to fame and both recognize the business end of it, and respect them for having made it.


message 25: by Michael (last edited Nov 23, 2013 01:55PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Michael Brown Feliks wrote:"Your other points: not quite sure what you're getting at.."

That'll be my Lemsip and Strepsils. Woozy.

Summing up. You mentioned that King's work generated a lot of follow-on, and I just meant that a large quota of it was Godawful. (But I still read some of it, as I said.)

And: the "better writing before King" thing. Yes there were, but we have no way of agreeing, and why should we? Even amongst the folk I know, the views on King (especially the latter work) are wildly disparate. And even personally, there's a steep cline between Salem's Lot and Insomnia.


message 26: by Feliks (last edited Nov 23, 2013 02:03PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Feliks Well...okay..but the way I see it, the modern incarnation of this genre is naturally going to be mostly dross. Its inevitable that a lot of it might suck rope. So to have even 25% of it found to be high quality, is a pretty big win for horror fans, and it might not have occurred were it not for King's example to other aspiring authors.


Nicholas When I first read this back in 1975 I was convinced that there was nothing new to be said or written about vampires. (Little did I know how the subject would be done to death- or is that undeath?- a couple of decades later)

This book changed my mind, as did the mini series with David Soul, both of which genuinely scared me. Not all of King's books have worked for me, but when they do, they do. This is in my personal top ten list of his novels.


Feliks But you were right in your first assumption. King didn't have anything particularly new to say. He often doesn't. Most genre authors don't. What makes King stand out is that he is such an attentive craftsman he can elevate his product over the output of his peers. They can't conceal their lack of refinement in what they do, whereas he can. That kind of astuteness is what made him #1.

Good ole David Soul, though. Hard-working actor.


Nicholas Feliks wrote: "But you were right in your first assumption. King didn't have anything particularly new to say. He often doesn't. Most genre authors don't. What makes King stand out is that he is such an attentive..."

Yes, to be precise, SK did not really say anything new about vampires in SL, but his story disturbed me more than I would have thought such an overworked theme would have been capable of.


message 30: by Feliks (last edited Nov 24, 2013 09:12PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Feliks I quite agree. It was a fine tale --written with obvious gusto and relish--and revitalized vampire themes for a new generation. Really, what he set out to do was remarkable. Audacious.


Nicholas Feliks wrote: "I quite agree. It was a fine tale --written with obvious gusto and relish--and revitalized vampire themes for a new generation. Really, what he set out to do was remarkable. Audacious."

'revitalized vampire themes for a new generation'

Damn, I wish I had said that :) Sums it up exactly.


Teresa Nicholas wrote: "What makes King stand out is that he is such an attentive craftsman he can elevate his product over the output of his peers."

I became a vampire fan at 13 with Bram Stoker's Dracula, I have winded through most of the different vampire 'styles' without getting really attached (serialising sometimes just kills it for me, ie Rice), and now the vampire hype just makes me run away from any vampire themed book - yet, I've only found Salem's Lot very recently.

I was pleasantly surprised at the vampire take, but mostly at the care the author had with building up the town and its people to life. I know that is exactly what most people hate, and then go on saying how bad he is, but, really - my young literature students usually complain about great authors due to their description and slow pace and care with character development.

I'm not saying King is great at *that*, but he sure rises high and above most 'genre' authors. And that gives the story its punch, too.

Disclosure: I have only read Salem's Lot and short stories by King, and I really liked them.


Jaksen I would disagree with some of the comments here. I've read most of King's horror novels, and his short stories. (Never read his 'gunslinger novels.') I think he's a genius. Read 'Duma Key,' my favorite. I love that novel. Read the short story, 'Sun Dog.' I re-read that every summer. Read his novella, 'The Body,' one of the best young adult works ever written, and which the movie, 'Stand By Me' was based on. These are masterworks, but like a lot of excellent writers, there are going to be great works and some which pale by comparison.

Read 'The Stand,' the unedited version, that is, if you've got several days to spare. And back to 'Salem's Lot.' I read a lot of that during a thunderstorm when I was alone in a summer house. The power went out and I read on a front, screened porch by flashlight for a while, then tried to sleep. There was no power the next day so I finished it up while making cocoa on my gas stove. I was in my early 20's and that experience has never left me.


message 34: by Alex (new) - added it

Alex The original stories that Disney copies from are indeed scary but Salem's Lot was scary as well. The book and idea itself was scary. Some monster takes over an entire town without the townspeople noticing... That's kind of scary. This movie was MEANINGLESS CRAP. The movie was Awful compared to the book! And yes there was some slow parts in the book but that is called details and imagery and symbolism so you can picture the story in your own head... So the real question is did you actually read all of Salem's Lot?


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