June 10, 2011

The Others - Stephen King

When I once told a friend of mine that Dean Koontz would be one of my favourite authors, she told me I should try out books by Stephen King too. This might sound like a sensible and understandable suggestion, but somehow it's not. I wouldn't go so far as to say that you can only like one of these authors and not the other, but in my case it is true. While I might prefer King's movie adaptations over those of Koontz' novels, I never quite got into reading books as religiously as I do in the case of the latter. So, I have read a few of King's novels, and admittedly that was a long time ago, in my teenage years, and while I liked the premises of these books (otherwise I wouldn't have picked them up) I never got into his writing style. Recently though I've been pondering whether I should get my hands on one of his books again. Maybe grab his latest novel to find out whether the narrative that seriously bugged me years ago is now as powerful and mind-bending as people say it is. It's worth a try I guess.

While most people associate Stephen King's work with the horror genre, he in fact implements everything from suspense to science fiction straight to fantasy in his books. Add that he's not only a novelist, but also screenwriter, columnist, producer, to name but a few. He even appeared in some of the movie adaptations of his books, such as The Stand or Pet Cemetary.
Apart from roughly 50 published novels, including a handfull under the pen name Richard Bachman, he also wrote several collections with short-stories and let's not forget his non-fiction works. Some of the books written under his pseudonym are also quite well known today like The Running Man and Thinner. I guess it's safe to say that the real breakthrough under his own name must have been Carrie in the mid 70ies.

While writing this feature and doing a little research on King's work, I realized that I hadn't even heard of his epic Dark Tower book series before. This is a series of interconnected stories about a lone gunslinger, Roland, in an alternate-reality universe setting. I only associated him with books like It, Salem's Lot or The Green Mile. but with so many books by him who could have heard about them all? Well, apart from hardcore King fans, of course.

And apropos writer, did you know that he often uses authors as characters, or includes mention of fictional books in his stories, novellas and novels, such as Paul Sheldon who is the main character in Misery, and Jack Torrance in The Shining.

Coming to an end now I wonder if any of you love books by Stephen King and whether you could give me any recommendations? I do have my eyes on Under The Dome, but I'm not sure whether I should give it a try or not.

1 comment:

  1. I read King a lot when I was younger and really liked him (never read Koontz, so I don't know whether your theory is right). My recommendation would be Misery because there is nothing supernatural about it. I loved it (and its movie adaptations is about the only one I liked) or "Needful things". That was such a complex plot with so many ramifications, absolutely awesome.