Changing my perspective on Stephen King

mabatbai

Possibly a Darkfriend
#1
I was going to add this to laboi's thread, but it felt like hijacking, so I figured I'd start my own.

I always associated Stephen King with horror, of which I'm not a fan AT ALL!! Reading the first quarter of Koontz's 'Intensity' still haunts me, and I can't look at campervans in the same way... brrr! And yet I really enjoyed two of his movie adaptations, Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. From what I've read about the Dark Tower series on TBF, that sounds somewhat different again.

So, I'm confused. I have previously put a blanket ban on King because I assumed he was in the can't-sleep-at-night-after-reading-his-books / gives-me-the-heebie-jeebies category. Is he so talented as to cross genres and produce both writing that terrifies as well as stories that intrigue and mystify? Should I give him a shot?
 

TomTB

Super Moderator
Staff member
#2
I haven't read either, but his Darktower series is post-apocalyptic fantasy, and The Stand is just a post-apocalyptic sci-fi novel, so yeah, he does cross genres, and isn't just a horror author.

I'm not a fan of horror writing any more (I used to be when I was younger, it just doesn't scare me now - which is kind of the point of it as far as I'm concerned) but the books mentioned above are ones I want to get round to one day.
 

dunebuggy

Knows the real name of Lower Corte
#3
I've read the,what you would expect from Stephen King,horror novels but i'm really getting drawn in,in his dark tower world. Its so different but i still feel his sort of humour and pacing. On the fourth volume in the series,wizard and the glass and pretty awesome stuff
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#4
I was going to add this to laboi's thread, but it felt like hijacking, so I figured I'd start my own.

I always associated Stephen King with horror, of which I'm not a fan AT ALL!! Reading the first quarter of Koontz's 'Intensity' still haunts me, and I can't look at campervans in the same way... brrr! And yet I really enjoyed two of his movie adaptations, Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. From what I've read about the Dark Tower series on TBF, that sounds somewhat different again.

So, I'm confused. I have previously put a blanket ban on King because I assumed he was in the can't-sleep-at-night-after-reading-his-books / gives-me-the-heebie-jeebies category. Is he so talented as to cross genres and produce both writing that terrifies as well as stories that intrigue and mystify? Should I give him a shot?
King transcends genres if you ask me. At least he does nowadays. One of the most haunting books I've ever read is Hearts in Atlantis. A beautiful drama with sci-fi/fantasy elements. The Stand is a masterpiece (it's scary, but not a horror. It's scary because a cataclysm like the book portrays can actually happen), and The Dark Tower is, in my humble opinion, one of the best fantasy series out there (in my personal top 10). Then there are the Shawshank Redemption and the Green Mile, both of which are very well written and engaging. Under the Dome is also one of my favorites.

I personally also like his horror stories, but I think his non-horror work is better.
 

Hand of Fear

Journeyed there and back again
#5
I agree that he just doesn't write horror and he doesn't cross genres, I have The Green Mile and Revival on my bookshelf to read and I don't think either of then fall into horror.
 

Amaryllis

Journeyed there and back again
#6
King isn't really confined to a genre, although an overwhelming amount of it gets classified as 'Horror' even when it isn't (same thing happens to Clive Barker, although Barker is usually gorier and more perverse). There's a lot of suspense, dramas and character studies (+ supernatural stuff), coming of age tales, adventure, fantasy. I have never read Intensity, so I don't know what your threshold is for calling something 'horror.' Most of his straight up horror novels aren't even just horror.

I have read and own almost every King book, he is the most represented author on my bookshelf, and my favorite author overall (although I think some other authors do certain things better), so I can't say I'm not a little biased, but I'd definitely endorse giving him a shot. What kind of story are you looking for? There are several people here that could give recommendations if you're looking to go past Shawshank Redemption/Green Mile/Stand By Me (aka 'The Body').
 

Sir Arthur

Journeyed there and back again
#7
I'm not a fan of horror writing any more (I used to be when I was younger, it just doesn't scare me now - which is kind of the point of it as far as I'm concerned) but the books mentioned above are ones I want to get round to one day.
Same here. I read a lot of horror in my teens, but books just don't scare me in the way I'd like a good horror story to. At best I find them kind of creepy. I read Intensity in my early 20's, and don't remember much about it, except it was a creepy one. The R.V., the spider eating, creepy. I remember liking his Dragon Tears, but I was pretty young when I read it, so who knows.

The only horror I've read in in recent years is some Gothic horror. I love it, but it's not scary. Carmilla was one my favorites, really good novella. You'll find elements of horror in that story they still use in films today.
 

moonspawn

Journeyed there and back again
#8
The only horror I've read in in recent years is some Gothic horror. I love it, but it's not scary. Carmilla was one my favorites, really good novella. You'll find elements of horror in that story they still use in films today.
I just read Carmilla and it was okay, nah it was pretty good but it's just like a little footnote in the history of horror literature compared to Dracula.
 

MrMarbles

Fought a battle in the name of the old gods
#9
I went through a similar process with King, years ago. But he is a masterful author, who can write well in more than one genre. One of the all time greats.
 

Sir Arthur

Journeyed there and back again
#10
I just read Carmilla and it was okay, nah it was pretty good but it's just like a little footnote in the history of horror literature compared to Dracula.
Yeah, it's a footnote, but a pretty important one. When you consider the time period it was written in, it's quite the story.


Sent from my flip phone
 

alicia

Warded demons with Arlen
#11
I was going to add this to laboi's thread, but it felt like hijacking, so I figured I'd start my own.

I always associated Stephen King with horror, of which I'm not a fan AT ALL!! Reading the first quarter of Koontz's 'Intensity' still haunts me, and I can't look at campervans in the same way... brrr! And yet I really enjoyed two of his movie adaptations, Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile. From what I've read about the Dark Tower series on TBF, that sounds somewhat different again.

So, I'm confused. I have previously put a blanket ban on King because I assumed he was in the can't-sleep-at-night-after-reading-his-books / gives-me-the-heebie-jeebies category. Is he so talented as to cross genres and produce both writing that terrifies as well as stories that intrigue and mystify? Should I give him a shot?
King has several facets. His Horror books are really horrific. In my opinion his Fantasy is also horrific, for totally different reasons. It's just bad! However, he excels at a certain homey voice in books like Stand By Me, The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption. You see it again in Joyland and 11/23/1963. These are usually written first person and I think are his best stuff, although I also love many of the Horror novels.
 

alicia

Warded demons with Arlen
#13
I only read one King book recently and it was "Mr Mercedes". I didn't like it very much; the story and characters aren't very interesting and I also thought the writing wasn't very good (a bit childish/not mature). But as I read it in Dutch it could have been the translation. I didn't read the follow up nd I'm not planning to

Viewing the reviews on goodreads this isn't his best work
I actually DNF'd Mr. Mercedes, but more because of the subject matter. My taste in Horror runs more towards the supernatural and killers are too disturbing.