After a long absence and a series of Doctor Who it’s time to bring back my past recurring blog posts, starting by picking up where we left off with the entire bibliography of Stephen King. Thankfully we don’t have to do The Stand and talk about a global pandemic sweeping the globe but instead we can talk about The Dead Zone, which raises the simple but brilliant question of “If you had the power to change the future, would you?”
Ask a “Constant Reader” of King’s work what their favourite novel is and the answer is probably The Stand. It’s his attempt at a Lord of the Rings type epic set in modernish America (depending on the edition it’s either 1980 or 1990) and I have to say I think he succeeded. With the uncut edition running at over 1,000 pages, The Stand is a daunting read but hey, I had a four month summer and I had to do something right? And now we can discuss the book in the marathon.
Do I even need to introduce this one? You all know The Shining. King’s first “superstar” novel, published in 1977 after the success of Salem’s Lot and Brian de Palma’s Carrie adaptation made King a household name, is without question his defining work. It’s an iconic tale of horror and tragedy and its legacy still stands to this day. So what better way to honour Halloween and the release of Doctor Sleep to cinemas then to explore one of the most revered modern horror novels?
Vampires have always been one of the most endearing pop culture creations and to be honest, I dig them. Even before Bram Stoker’s Transylvanian count, vampires have existed in popular culture and folklore for hundreds if not thousands of years. So it only seems natural that any writer wanting to explore horror will eventually write a vampire novel. Stephen King’s contribution to the vampire mythos is his second published novel and at nearly 600 pages long is a much larger, denser and richly packed text than his first. A classic tale of good and evil, ‘Salem’s Lot is the perfect October Halloween book as King explores the self destruction of small town America through the lenses of a vampire invasion.
It’s October, and for once I’m actually going to do horror related stuff across the month and not just on the 31st. Every Wednesday up till the 30th we’ll be looking at the first four Stephen King novels written under his own name. I’m not doing his collection of short stories Graveyard Shift (published in 1978) because I’m lazy and haven’t read it (plus I’m prioritising getting through The Dead Zone right now) and whilst I will discuss the Bachman books in due course let’s be honest, the first four Stephen King books written AS Stephen King are so iconic that it’ll be a shame not to go through October without discussing them. So without further ado, and considering I’ve delayed this long enough, let’s get things started with his first published novel.
Ah, Stephen King. The name conjures up killer clowns, haunted hotels and possessed cars. For over forty years his name has been synonymous with scares, thrills and genius. King is perhaps the most famous author living today and even if you’ve never read a single book of his you surely know of his reputation, or seen a film based on one of his many stories in his gigantic bibliography.