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Stephen King

Discussion in 'Entertainment, Culture, and Sports' started by lemmywinks, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    The genre has loads of issues -- namely that it never tends to take itself seriously, and that because the books are plot-driven and premised upon action the characters tend to bounce around between ghosts/zombies/aliens/whatever screaming at each encounter and doing little else.

    The books which have a dark theme or setting don't really rely on plot and hence are not 'horror' or 'sci-fi'. They include more traditional and often more mature elements of style and structure which have deeper roots than the cheap shocks of horror stories (cf. Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde); that is, such stories may have elements of the 'horror' genre (soulless constructs, evil alter-egos), but those elements are not intended just to shock the characters or reader. Horror stories, however, are often so necessarily sensational that they leave no room for nuances of other feelings or ideas and are inherently shallow -- as soon as the shocks mature into other ideas the book ceases to be 'horror' and becomes something else.


    this is pretty wrong and you betray a lack of knowledge about the critical discourse on the genre. the fact that the british gothic is considered a "serious" enough genre to be pursued academically kind of argues against your premise.

    ps: you should read burke's essay on the sublime and the beautiful
     
  2. javyn

    javyn Senior member

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    The Stand fucking sucked IMO.

    I like his short stories and Bachmann stuff, but find his novels to be way too wordy and boring.

    Sure, he's better than John Saul and Dean Koontz....

    but can't hold a candle to Cliver Barker.
     
  3. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    The Stand fucking sucked IMO. I like his short stories and Bachmann stuff, but find his novels to be way too wordy and boring. Sure, he's better than John Saul and Dean Koontz.... but can't hold a candle to Cliver Barker.
    clive barker is pretty legit too, although his terrible movie creations and weird S&M side projects turn me off to him as a person. on the other hand I heard him as a guest on loveline once and he was pretty smart, so...
     
  4. javyn

    javyn Senior member

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    Okay, aside from the first two Hellraisers, I gotta give you that, his movies SUCK heh.

    But his novels are incredible. I'll take Great and Secret Show over anything King has written on any day.
     
  5. origenesprit

    origenesprit Senior member

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    I liked Misery a lot. Pretty brutal, much better than the film, too.
     
  6. why

    why Senior member

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    this is pretty wrong and you betray a lack of knowledge about the critical discourse on the genre. the fact that the british gothic is considered a "serious" enough genre to be pursued academically kind of argues against your premise.

    Please. Literary criticism in general is probably one of the most silly and unsubstantiated areas of any university, and the 'horror' and 'sci-fi' genres are pretty much the nadir of that pit's bottom. English undergraduate studies in general are little more than graded book clubs. Most people can pull theses out of their asses, which is important because they often get confused between their head and hind.

    Uhh...it agrees with what I just said.
     
  7. Teger

    Teger Senior member

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    Please. Literary criticism in general is probably one of the most silly and unsubstantiated areas of any university, and the 'horror' and 'sci-fi' genres are pretty much the nadir of that pit's bottom. English undergraduate studies in general are little more than graded book clubs. Most people can pull theses out of their asses, which is important because they often get confused between their head and hind.



    Uhh...it agrees with what I just said.


    and uhhh.. no it doesn't. burke probably wasn't critiquing a genre that didn't exist yet, sorry [​IMG]

    anyway shouldn't you be out fantasizing about a male coworker? you already douche up enough threads on here, how about not trying to make people feel shitty about reading stephen king?
     
  8. why

    why Senior member

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    and uhhh.. no it doesn't. burke probably wasn't critiquing a genre that didn't exist yet, sorry

    No, he was critiquing the concepts behind that fabricated genre (which, like all literary taxonomies, are arbitrary and artificial). Besides, horror existed in literature long before the turn of the 18th century whether or not someone decided to gather enough potboilers to form a contemporary genre.
     
  9. Fuuma

    Fuuma Senior member

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    No, he was critiquing the concepts behind that fabricated genre (which, like all literary taxonomies, are arbitrary and artificial). Besides, horror existed in literature long before the turn of the 18th century whether or not someone decided to gather enough potboilers to form a contemporary genre.
    My only point of contention with your characterization is that, while great "genre" transcends that easy categorization to become literature, I still feel it retains a link to it's genre origins and would not have it stand entirely out of it if I had to judge where it should be placed according to traditional literary taxonomy. To make it clear to anyone else reading, an easy way to distinguish genre from literature is that genre gives the reader what he wants, using the common archetypes of it's sub-category as a conduct to an expected end.
     
  10. Jumbie

    Jumbie Senior member

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    I haven't read very many King books but I rather enjoyed Needful Things.
     
  11. why

    why Senior member

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    My only point of contention with your characterization is that, while great "genre" transcends that easy categorization to become literature, I still feel it retains a link to it's genre origins and would not have it stand entirely out of it if I had to judge where it should be placed according to traditional literary taxonomy.

    To make it clear to anyone else reading, an easy way to distinguish genre from literature is that genre gives the reader what he wants, using the common archetypes of it's sub-category as a conduct to an expected end.


    I think you're conflating 'genre fiction' and literary genres. The former is a bit of a misnomer and generally refers to what you're calling 'genre'. I'm using the term 'genre' in the taxonomical sense i.e. to refer to the varies methods of classifying literature based on their attributes. In essence, we're using different terms to discuss the same thing.

    I understand what you're saying and agree. 'Horror', at least as I would likely define it, is at the bottom of a gradated scale. Some books have evil and twisted characters and motifs, yet don't continually play a droning note of dread. These better books seem to be able to lift themselves out of that scale entirely and their only connections to airport novellas are details of little overall importance.

    For example, in Dracula, in Jonathan Harker's letters the climbing crescendo of dread, incomplete glances of Dracula's peculiarities, and changing tone in his letters are Stoker's best writing. By the last letter, the reader is still unaware of what Dracula is, but is trapped with Harker in the count's castle and can only piece together a picture of Dracula through the fragments of epistles. It's a mixed feeling of fear begotten of strangeness and intrigue common to most horror stories, but the intrigue and fear never overshadow one another and alter intensities between letters. And really what supports these scenes are Stoker's writing -- Harker himself can never fully see or understand what is happening, and the reader can see even less through the letters. The incomplete images are, paradoxially, vivid and Harker's changing moods can be felt through the changes in the tone of his letters. These are the elements of literature albeit surrounded by old castles and coffins.

    ...then the reader is rescued by a diary entry and Van Helsing holds a press conference and saves the world. The end.

    I'm going to re-read the first part of Dracula now.
     
  12. FLMountainMan

    FLMountainMan Senior member

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    I think you're conflating 'genre fiction' and literary genres. The former is a bit of a misnomer and generally refers to what you're calling 'genre'. I'm using the term 'genre' in the taxonomical sense i.e. to refer to the varies methods of classifying literature based on their attributes. In essence, we're using different terms to discuss the same thing.

    I understand what you're saying and agree. 'Horror', at least as I would likely define it, is at the bottom of a gradated scale. Some books have evil and twisted characters and motifs, yet don't continually play a droning note of dread. These better books seem to be able to lift themselves out of that scale entirely and their only connections to airport novellas are details of little overall importance.

    For example, in Dracula, in Jonathan Harker's letters the climbing crescendo of dread, incomplete glances of Dracula's peculiarities, and changing tone in his letters are Stoker's best writing. By the last letter, the reader is still unaware of what Dracula is, but is trapped with Harker in the count's castle and can only piece together a picture of Dracula through the fragments of epistles. It's a mixed feeling of fear begotten of strangeness and intrigue common to most horror stories, but the intrigue and fear never overshadow one another and alter intensities between letters. And really what supports these scenes are Stoker's writing -- Harker himself can never fully see or understand what is happening, and the reader can see even less through the letters. The incomplete images are, paradoxially, vivid and Harker's changing moods can be felt through the changes in the tone of his letters. These are the elements of literature albeit surrounded by old castles and coffins.

    ...then the reader is rescued by a diary entry and Van Helsing holds a press conference and saves the world. The end.

    I'm going to re-read the first part of Dracula now.


    Are you actually AGREEING with another poster?! Bravo!
     
  13. Fuuma

    Fuuma Senior member

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    I think you're conflating 'genre fiction' and literary genres. The former is a bit of a misnomer and generally refers to what you're calling 'genre'. I'm using the term 'genre' in the taxonomical sense i.e. to refer to the varies methods of classifying literature based on their attributes. In essence, we're using different terms to discuss the same thing.

    I understand what you're saying and agree. 'Horror', at least as I would likely define it, is at the bottom of a gradated scale. Some books have evil and twisted characters and motifs, yet don't continually play a droning note of dread. These better books seem to be able to lift themselves out of that scale entirely and their only connections to airport novellas are details of little overall importance.

    For example, in Dracula, in Jonathan Harker's letters the climbing crescendo of dread, incomplete glances of Dracula's peculiarities, and changing tone in his letters are Stoker's best writing. By the last letter, the reader is still unaware of what Dracula is, but is trapped with Harker in the count's castle and can only piece together a picture of Dracula through the fragments of epistles. It's a mixed feeling of fear begotten of strangeness and intrigue common to most horror stories, but the intrigue and fear never overshadow one another and alter intensities between letters. And really what supports these scenes are Stoker's writing -- Harker himself can never fully see or understand what is happening, and the reader can see even less through the letters. The incomplete images are, paradoxially, vivid and Harker's changing moods can be felt through the changes in the tone of his letters. These are the elements of literature albeit surrounded by old castles and coffins.

    ...then the reader is rescued by a diary entry and Van Helsing holds a press conference and saves the world. The end.

    I'm going to re-read the first part of Dracula now.


    The first part of Dracula is great, the second is a barely disguised xenophobic rant mixed with some boring quasi-superfriends crap.

    I was using genre as in "genre fiction" and merely saying that I'd still classify the exemplary works that transcends the constraints of genre as "genre fiction". So yeah, we're in agreement.
     
  14. tagutcow

    tagutcow Senior member

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    I was using genre as in "genre fiction" and merely saying that I'd still classify the exemplary works that transcends the constraints of genre as "genre fiction". So yeah, we're in agreement.

    Then you have stuff like "2001: A Space Oddyssey" that observes almost none of the genre conventions of science fiction, but often gets lumped in that cartegory anyway because people automatically assume "spaceships = science fiction."

    As far as King goes, I've heard nothing but good things about On Writing. Roger Ebert called it the most useful book about writing since Elements of Style. Alas, I've read none of his books... well, not in my adult life anyway. When I was a kid, I tried reading "Thinner" but was just bored to tears.
     
  15. HgaleK

    HgaleK Senior member

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    When I was a kid, I tried reading "Thinner" but was just bored to tears.
    Thinner sucked. I loved reading King from about 4th-9th grade. I don't know if being an adult makes one too mature for this sort of thing, or if growing up kills one's imagination, but I had a pretty cool setup to try and get myself in to it. I'd only read them at night, put sheets up around my bunk bed so that they worked like curtains, had only a few rope lights to read by, and then turned on the fan so that there were shadows moving, papers rustling, etc. outside of my range of vision. I'd recommend Salem's Lot first, then The Shining, and then Pet Semetary. I don't remember the rest of the good ones. Duma Key wasn't bad if you're looking for a casual read, though it gets a little slow. Also, who was claiming that King had any literary merit? One reads them for the same reason one might pick up a GQ. They're entertaining.
     
  16. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim Senior member

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    For what it's worth: Poe Matheson Barker Lovecraft Laymon Bierce ... ... ... ... ... ... ... King... I like him more for his non-horror works. His Horror is juvenile and IMO, overrated. He is about the last person I'd look to when searching for a good horror novel. But that's just me.
     
  17. HgaleK

    HgaleK Senior member

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    For what it's worth: Lovecraft ... ... King... I like him more for his non-horror works. His Horror is juvenile and IMO, overrated. He is about the last person I'd look to when searching for a good horror novel. But that's just me.
    Seriously? I dig Lovecraft- I've read plenty, and own Necronomicon- but can one really consider him particularly talented? I'll give him that his work is more original than King, but his characters lack depth, his narratives lack any sort of finesse, and much of it is fairly campy. Also, what qualifies a good horror novel?
     
  18. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim Senior member

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    Seriously? I dig Lovecraft- but can one really consider him talented?
    I think a lot of people consider him to be talented. Steven King himself once said that Howard was the greatest writer of horror in the 20th century. I won't go that far. Occasionally I find that I enjoy a horror novel that ends with the hero coming face to face with whatever it is he's been searching for, going completely insane, and dying horribly. I dig that about Lovecraft. For my money, I still prefer Poe (in general) - but I do enjoy Lovecraft's theology.
     
  19. milosz

    milosz Senior member

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    Steven King himself once said that Howard was the greatest writer of horror in the 20th century. I won't go that far. For my money, I prefer Poe

    emphasis mine

    Lovecraft's baroque qualities redeem some otherwise boring horror stories.
     
  20. Tokyo Slim

    Tokyo Slim Senior member

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    emphasis mine
    I'm not quite sure what you are getting at with the emphasis. The 20th century is the same century Steven King wrote most of his stuff in. Are you mad because Lovecraft hasn't come out with something post 9/11? [​IMG] And why did you highlight Poe? Poe's horror is anything but boring.
     

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