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kottke.org posts about Stephen King

The Murder of Stephen King

posted by Jason Kottke   Sep 15, 2016

Murder Of Stephen King

This is weird. Super-prolific author James Patterson, who has written hundreds of books and earns millions of dollars a year from royalties, has co-authored a book called The Murder of Stephen King. King is, of course, a merely prolific author who also publishes popular novels with massive appeal, including one about a writer being victimized by his biggest fan.

Stephen King is being hunted by a killer obsessed with his novels. How far will their reenactments go?

All of Stephen King’s greatest villains, rolled into one.

Stephen King is facing a nightmare. A stalker is reenacting the horrors from his novels. And he won’t stop until he kills the master of suspense himself — unless King puts him out of his Misery first.

Misery! Get it? Patterson is quoted on the front cover of the book:

I am a Stephen King fan, but Stephen did not participate in the making of this novel, nor is he affiliated with it in any way.

According to this AP story, King and Patterson do not know each other and King is not complimentary about his fellow writer’s skills.

While Patterson speaks warmly of King, King has not returned the compliments in the past. In a 2009 interview with USA Weekend, he said Patterson was “a terrible writer but he’s very successful.” Speaking to the AP, Patterson is dismissive of King’s remarks, calling them “hyperbole,” in the style of Donald Trump.

“I know I’m not a terrible writer,” Patterson says. “That’s a little over the top.”

Update: Upon reflection, Patterson has decided not to release the book.

In a statement released Thursday through Little, Brown and Company, Patterson said he didn’t want to cause King or his family “any discomfort.” The book was intended as a tribute to King, a King-like story of an obsessed fan out to get the writer. But Patterson, who co-authored the 150-page novel with Derek Nikitas, said he had learned that fans in real life had “disrupted” King’s home.

“My book is a positive portrayal of a fictional character, and, spoiler alert, the main character is not actually murdered,” he said. “Nevertheless, I do not want to cause Stephen King or his family any discomfort. Out of respect for them, I have decided not to publish ‘The Murder of Stephen King.’”

RIP, The Murder of Stephen King. (via @koaostrem)

We Work Remotely

After The Shining

posted by Tim Carmody   Sep 27, 2013

The documentary Room 237 doesn’t sound like it’s about any of the things I like about Stanley Kubrick’s films, especially The Shining. But Stephen King reminds us that he doesn’t like The Shining either, and for better reasons than novelists usually give when talking about movies based on their books:

Shelley Duvall as Wendy is really one of the most misogynistic characters ever put on film, she’s basically just there to scream and be stupid and that’s not the woman that I wrote about.

Wendy’s best moments in the film are when she’s not that thing, but yeah, she’s mostly that thing.

But at the same time King is bothered by one of the things that is actually super-distinctive and weirdly compelling about Kubrick, fucked up as that dude clearly was:

I’m not a cold guy. I think one of the things people relate to in my books is this warmth, there’s a reaching out and saying to the reader, “I want you to be a part of this.” With Kubrick’s The Shining I felt that it was very cold, very “We’re looking at these people, but they’re like ants in an anthill, aren’t they doing interesting things, these little insects.”

So wait, why is Stephen King talking about The Shining? Because he has a sequel to the book, just out today, called Doctor Sleep. It’s about Daniel Torrance, the little boy from the novel. It follows him through his childhood, and now he’s all grown up.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”

“Aided by a prescient cat”! Oh, whoever at Studio Ghibli becomes the anointed heir of Hayao Miyazaki, please give us a warm, weird, spooky film version of this. This book trailer isn’t doing it for me.

King’s BBC interview is better. Besides Kubrick’s movie, he talks about how The Shining was in retrospect a way for him to autobiographically work through his own drinking problems and resentment for literary fiction.

Stephen King: tax me, for fuck’s sake!

posted by Jason Kottke   May 02, 2012

Stephen King is rich, wants to pay more federal taxes, and is pretty pissed off about it.

Mitt Romney has said, in effect, “I’m rich and I don’t apologize for it.” Nobody wants you to, Mitt. What some of us want — those who aren’t blinded by a lot of bullshit persiflage thrown up to mask the idea that rich folks want to keep their damn money — is for you to acknowledge that you couldn’t have made it in America without America. That you were fortunate enough to be born in a country where upward mobility is possible (a subject upon which Barack Obama can speak with the authority of experience), but where the channels making such upward mobility possible are being increasingly clogged. That it’s not fair to ask the middle class to assume a disproportionate amount of the tax burden. Not fair? It’s un-fucking-American is what it is. I don’t want you to apologize for being rich; I want you to acknowledge that in America, we all should have to pay our fair share. That our civics classes never taught us that being American means that — sorry, kiddies-you’re on your own. That those who have received much must be obligated to pay — not to give, not to “cut a check and shut up,” in Governor Christie’s words, but to pay — in the same proportion. That’s called stepping up and not whining about it. That’s called patriotism, a word the Tea Partiers love to throw around as long as it doesn’t cost their beloved rich folks any money.

The Umbrella Man

posted by Jason Kottke   Nov 22, 2011

On the 48th anniversary of the assassination of JFK, Errol Morris talks to Tink Thompson about “The Umbrella Man”, a gentleman who was pictured in the Zapruder film standing with an open umbrella near where Kennedy was shot on a sunny day. The result is a nifty six-minute film.

For years, I’ve wanted to make a movie about the John F. Kennedy assassination. Not because I thought I could prove that it was a conspiracy, or that I could prove it was a lone gunman, but because I believe that by looking at the assassination, we can learn a lot about the nature of investigation and evidence. Why, after 48 years, are people still quarreling and quibbling about this case? What is it about this case that has led not to a solution, but to the endless proliferation of possible solutions?

The Updike piece from the New Yorker is available here (subscribers only, but the abstract is informative):

For example, “the umbrella man”: though the day was clear and blowy, he can be detected, in photographs, standing on the curb just about where the assassination would in a few seconds occur, holding a black umbrella above him; seconds later he is again photographed, walking away, gazing tranquilly at the scramble of horrified spectators. His umbrella is now furled. Who was he? Where is he now?

The film pairs nicely with Morris’ recent interview of Stephen King about the latter’s new novel based on the Kennedy assassination.