View Poll Results: Stephen King:

51. You may not vote on this poll
  • Trash

    14 27.45%
  • Literature

    24 47.06%
  • Who cares?

    13 25.49%
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Thread: Stephen King: Trash, or Literature?

  1. #376
    My mind's in rags breathtest's Avatar
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    Please show some data to support your theory, I have worked for a few years in the publishing business and I can assure you it doesn't work this way.
    How else do publishers make money?
    'For sale: baby shoes, never worn'. Hemingway

  2. #377
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    Quote Originally Posted by breathtest View Post
    How else do publishers make money?

    Publishers want profits, readers have their tastes. Most publishers want to appeal to any and all demands.

  3. #378
    Bibliophile Drkshadow03's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mortalterror View Post
    Since 95% of writers lose money for their publishers, Stephen King, JK Rowling, Dan Brown, Stephany Meyers, James Patterson, and the like make the rest possible. They are like the rich upper class in America that pays the majority of taxes while the lower half have nothing and pay less than they get back in return. They keep the publishing houses afloat. The divas of literature serve a purpose, and provide opportunities to beginning authors. For every Stephen King worth $400 million, there are a hundred poets that made about $50 this year. Publishing companies would go out of business without their superstars and then nobody would get published.
    Really? I never heard 95%. Are you sure that number is correct? Having talked to some midlist authors, most of them told me they do earn a small profit for their publishers on most books, usually enough to recoup costs and pay for someone's salary.

    Here is a good article from a midlist author discussing her career.


    By the way, to those who think "entertainment" genre writers make more money than people writing serious literature. The midlist author in the article I linked to who claims to have been critically acclaimed and be writing serious lit made advances from $25,000 to $150,000 (and she complained about $25,000 being abysmally low), and remember this is someone who lost money in many cases for her publisher. Meanwhile, according to this survey conducted by SF writer Tobias Buckell, the average fantasy and SF writer with multiple books published gets a $12,500 advance for SF and $15,000 advance for fantasy. The average advance for your average SF and fantasy author is far less than the midlist author writing "serious" literature.
    "You understand well enough what slavery is, but freedom you have never experienced, so you do not know if it tastes sweet or bitter. If you ever did come to experience it, you would advise us to fight for it not with spears only, but with axes too." - Herodotus - my book blog!
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  4. #379
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    I agree with Alexander III that King is an artist and well written; although, I have no want to make a distinction other than the man can write and I like to read his writing. As I've stated I'm not always crazy about his subject matter, and I don't necessarily agree that a writer writes what he wants. Sometimes a writer has stories to tell and simply tells them, the stories are what they are. What I like to read and what I write are not the same.

    It is also my opinion that Mr. King, as well as any other author, can make as much money as they care to and it will not affect my opinion of their writing or of their talent.

    While it might be true that some formulaic authors who churn out the stories and make money, arguably without much literary substance does allow publishing houses to publish a wider variety of work. So, good one!
    I'd rather have questions that I can't answer than answers that I can't question.

  5. #380
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    Where would I start with recent Stephen King

    Well I'm 33 and I read Stephen in my teen years, eagerly trying to read alot of his stuff. I loved him then, but lost touch with him after a while. Partly because I realized he's been writing gibberish or he simply lost his touch.

    Books I've read from those good old days:

    The Stand
    The Shining
    The Dark Half
    Needful Things (I think this was the book that made me move on from him)
    The Tommyknockers (this one too)
    The Gunslinger
    Eyes of the Dragon
    Night Shift
    Skeleton Crew
    Nightmares & Dreamscapes
    Four Past Midnight
    Bag of Bones (this one sealed his fate)

    But he's still writing and it's been years since I picked up any of his books. What are some his best, latest material. I'm looking at getting "Under the Dome" but it looks like it's one of his writing just to be writing overly long novels.

    No man should die without first reading the world's greatest literature.

  6. #381
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    Nov 2009
    University or my little estate
    dont go back, just dont...

  7. #382
    Dum spiro spero ElBennet85's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    I recommend the Duma key.Very well written with loving characters, touching,frightening....

  8. #383
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    Quote Originally Posted by ElBennet85 View Post
    I recommend the Duma key.Very well written with loving characters, touching,frightening....
    I disagree. I thought it was overly long and really, his writing has become really pedestrian; that is, why does he or his publisher think writing the equivalent of "Jack and Jill went up the hill, after making some small talk. Jack wanted to scream at the scary thing he saw there, but first, he scratched his butt like a character in a Bullwinkle cartoon, who's just inhaled a ****load of crystal meth and can't make up his mind what to do next, and actually Jill did this first (only after she made a call to her long-lost daughter who lived in Venezuela with a dog named Spot - not making that up), but then suddenly..." And on and on and on like that FOR 700 PAGES!

    His early stuff, though, was terrific.

  9. #384
    observer solaris's Avatar
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    Nov 2010
    always been a King fan as, even if his books might not be the most enlightening or traumatic or deep, they were always a place to go for an easy read that never failed to entertain me. sometimes i need that, and he never fails to deliver, unlike the films.

    my suggestion is that you read his Dark Tower series, beginning with The Gunslinger, followed by (in order) The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands, Wizard and Glass, Wolves of the Calla, Song of Susannah and, finally, The Dark Tower. for me, these are the story that all his other stories have only been drafts of. here there are so many references, links, nods... The story follows the same set of people in various worlds running parallel to our own - and it's in these parallel worlds we see hints of his other tales, like the Cap'n Trips epidemic for example.

    my only problem now is reading any more of his writing; The Dark Tower series seems to be what all the rest has been about.

    if you did want to read individual King publications, not of this series, i'd recommend his 1996 Desperation and Black House (brilliantly co-written with Peter Straub).

  10. #385
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    I second Duma Key, Black House (pick up The Talisman first, also written with Straub and also brilliant) and his Dark Tower series.

    Though, I liked Bag of Bones, haha.

  11. #386
    Registered User laymonite's Avatar
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    Of all the King novels I've read (all except Thinner and The Running Man), I was enthralled with Bag of Bones, Hearts in Atlantis, Cujo, and Lisey's Story. I thought all of these showcased a solid writer with an amazing imagination and eye for detail. That being said, I haven't been impressed with the last couple: Duma Key and Under the Dome.

  12. #387
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    Wow, as always when discussing King, I'm reminded how overprotective and slightly obsessive his fans are. The only other person I've seen so protective is Bazarov about Dostoevski. That kind of loyalty is actually kinda sweet, I doubt I feel as strongly about any writer.

    The only thing I can add to this is my personal opinion, which probably won't be either unique or revelatory. King is a supreme storyteller, I always listen with bated breath whenever he has something to say, be that in writing or in interviews. He also seems like a real swell guy, hilarious and unpretentious, if I had to befriend any writer I'd rather go with King than Tolstoi or that nutcase Dostoevski (that's probably unfair, both Tolstoi and D seems nutty). But as a writer, I find him lacking in what makes me love Tolstoi, Faulkner or even Cormac McCarthy. I don't marvel at the world or its inhabitants when I read King, even though I itch to turn the pages. The movie, Stand By Me is excellent however, a real gem. I haven't read the original story The Body, so I don't know what to attribute to King. Shawshank Redemption is classic Hollywood, but pretty stale imo, same with The Green Mile.

    I think comparing King to Hemingway or Faulkner is laughable, there is no comparison in my mind. And if you feel that way, our parameters for great literature is so disparate that I doubt I could ever agree with you on anything literary.

  13. #388
    Registered User ralfyman's Avatar
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    I tried reading "The Mist" because it was part of the Dark Forces anthology but couldn't continue because I found the prose very bland. It also didn't help that days earlier I was reading short stories by Hemingway and Faulkner, and could not stop myself from comparing King with these writers. (I also read McCarthy's The Road more than a year ago and found it notable.) On top of that, I started reading a story from Isaac Bashevis Singer from the anthology just mentioned and enjoyed it!

    About Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy, I started reading the first in secondary school and Tolstoy in uni, and it helps that many of the other things that I learned, including modern philosophy, are strongly connected to their works. With that, I will very likely have less time to read King's works, although one day I might try Dolores Clairborne.

  14. #389
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abookinthebath View Post
    Hi All,

    Still finding my feet here, so please tell me if I am posting this in the wrong place and prod me in the right direction!

    I am about to start reading The Green Mile. Now, I am a bit of a speed reader and I feel that I am missing out on a lot of the detail and points that authors make. Hence me joining here!

    So, Is anyone interested in having a bit of a 'book club' style discussion as we read through the book? Thinking of starting towards the end of this week.

    I'm sure this book has been reviewed on here already, but would really like to hear peoples thoughts as they progress through the book.......
    Is Stephen King an appropriate author to discuss on a literature forum?

    The Wikipedia page on King, in the 'critical response' section, has no positive responses from any literary academic or acknowledged 'gatekeeper of literature'.

    But it has several negative responses.

    Richard Snyder, the former CEO of Simon & Schuster, described King's work as "non-literature", Harold Bloom really disliked him: 'The decision to give the National Book Foundation's annual award for "distinguished contribution" to Stephen King is extraordinary, another low in the shocking process of dumbing down our cultural life. I've described King in the past as a writer of penny dreadfuls, but perhaps even that is too kind. He shares nothing with Edgar Allan Poe. What he is is an immensely inadequate writer on a sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph, book-by-book basis.'

    Even genre critics are harsh about him - Joshi argues that King's supernatural novels are mostly bloated, illogical, maudlin and prone to deus ex machina endings.

    Joshi suggests that King's strengths are the accessible "everyman" quality of his prose, and insightful observations about the pains and joys of adolescence. That seems about right, and perhaps explains his popularity amongst a young audience who "know no better".

    I did read a few King novels as an adolescent but gave up on him - for reasons that Joshi and Bloom explicate quite well - Tommyknockers was the final straw - what an awful book on every level!

    Discussing King here would be like discussing cold fusion in a physics forum - maybe it would be safer to seek out a Stephen King fan forum?!

    But I am now quite tempted to read "The Modern Weird Tale" by S. T. Joshi.

  15. #390
    Pièce de Résistance Scheherazade's Avatar
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    On this Forum we discuss homosexual tendencies of animals, video games, Twilight and Harry Potter as well as Faulkner and Coelho. It is open to discussion of all books and authors (as long as they are legal) and I am appalled by the suggestion that it is inappropriate to discuss this book on here.

    Bath might be a young reader but has every right to read and discuss any book of their choice.

    This is one of the books listed in BBC's Big Read, actually, and I haven't read it yet. If you give me sometime to acquire it, I will join you, Bath!
    "It is not that I am mad; it is only that my head is different from yours.”

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