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Other stuff I read - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
Other stuff I read
Every now and then, I go on a "reading new stuff" kick. I mean, I'm always reading something, but I've been on a non-fiction craze for awhile in terms of new material, and just over the last couple of weeks, I've been mad to read fiction that I'm not re-reading and scouring for fanfiction type "clues." I mentioned the standard haunted house book and the Norse rune fantasy--which did, by the way, turn out to be quite good, and I'm looking forward to the next one. It's called The Fetch, and I'm happy to recommend it. But it obviously ends with a hook to a sequel, and I'm getting a bit tired of that.

I've also been reading Hannibal (horrible stylistically and even a bit irritating thematically, but I must have more Hannibal, because there's something wrong with my brain); Golden, an upcoming novel about a high school girl who can see auras (it does fine with what it's doing, but it's not doing much); and the third book of the Warriors: The New Prophecy series by Erin Hunter. I'd written the series off as something for younger kids than I order for, but we got a free galley, and I've gone back and ordered the whole run. It's a very neat series about clans of cats who roam in the wild.

ani_bester just did some Stephen King fan art, and it got me thinking about fandom... I'm in some very "fandomy" fandoms--Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings-- and I've touched on some others (BtVS and AtS, Star Trek, etc), but other groups I've been in have been markedly less so, even when they have enough of a following for me to be in a group. The first online fan group I was in was an Orson Scott Card group, and he has a site and role playing, but there's not much in the way of fan art. (Fic, I know, they have problems with.) And Stephen King... one of the most popular writers in the world, but I only got a page of images when I did a fanart search for him, and a mere 320 fics on FFN. This Warrior Cats series seems made for a fandom--I hit their webpage, and it has lots of fan-friendly stuff--but not much fandomy in comparison to HP or SW or ST (though I notice that the first FFN hit appears to be a Sue). There are almost as many Brokeback Mountain fics. But I note that there are signficantly fewer Indiana Jones fics than either of them, despite the fact that Indy is more or less universally recognizable as a character.

I don't know if I have a point here, honestly. It's not like I'm rushing to write Kingfic... for one thing, Stephen King writes in multiple viewpoints, so there's not as much space to fill. But it does strike me as curious. I noticed that the most "fandomy" SK area is Dark Tower, although that's among his less popular work. Probably just the existence of a whole world, though, imho, Castle Rock is a pretty darned good world as well... just not one that caught on in a fannish way.
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buffyannotater From: buffyannotater Date: March 4th, 2006 04:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Stephen King question

Lately I've been trying to make my way through all or most of Stephen King's work. I'm currently about halfway through The Dark Tower. Besides that, I've read Carrie, 'Salem's Lot, It, Hearts in Atlantis, Misery, The Talisman, Black House, The Green Mile, On Writing, Bag of Bones, Dreamcatcher and Insomnia. I also own, but have not yet read Different Seasons, Everything's Eventual, The Shining, The Stand, Cell and The Eyes of the Dragon. Since you're a fan, I was curious if you have any suggestions on which of his remaining books are the better ones, or even advice on what, if any, is skippable, or at least skippable until I read everything else!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 4th, 2006 05:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Stephen King question

Different Seasons is 75% amazing and one percent blah. The 75% are "The Body," "Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" (Stand By Me and Shawshank Redemption, respectively, as movies), and "Apt Pupil," which is the only King story that's genuinely scared the bejeezus out of me. The Shining is fantastic--way better than either of the movies made of it. Eyes is okay, but didn't really stand out for me. The Dead Zone is really quite an interesting character experiment--can he make you like and agree with an assassin? And The Stand is a must-read... it's not my favorite King book, but it laid down quite a lot of the mythos, including stuff that he uses later in Dark Tower. Needful Things is uneven, but pretty neat in places, but definitely read the other Castle Rock stories first or you won't care that much about it. If you can get your hands on Danse Macabre, that's a good one, but it's out of print.

Middling: The Dark Half is a halfway decent Frankenstein riff, and I'm fond of Rose Madder (though King himself doesn't like that one). Firestarter is competent and engaging enough, but not, like, killer.

Skip it: Honestly, I'd have put Dreamcatcher and Black House on the skip list, but too late. I wasn't crazy about the "eclipse books" (Gerald's Game and Dolores Claiborne). Once through Christine and Cujo was enough. And Cycle of the Werewolf is one of the rare books that I will wholeheartedly recommend the unfaithful movie version (Silver Bullet) over the original... both were written by King, with the latter being a much more cleaned-up draft.
buffyannotater From: buffyannotater Date: March 4th, 2006 06:08 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Stephen King question

Thanks...This was very helpful!

I actually did like Black House but agree on Dreamcatcher. I could have lived without the farting aliens. As well as a lot of stuff in that book!

For now, I'm just focusing on getting through The Dark Tower. I've currently on my fifth reading of the first four books (now I'm up to Wizard and Glass, to lead into reading the last three for the first time. But I will definitely take your advice once I've gotten through them.
ladyaeryn From: ladyaeryn Date: March 6th, 2006 04:33 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Stephen King question

I'll second that thanks - I'm starting to work through King's stuff as well, so this is a helpful list. (I've finished On Writing and The Stand - both of which I liked - and I'm about 150 pages into It. I picked up a ton of his books at a local book fair recently - the first Dark Tower, It, Green Mile, Dead Zone, Firestarter, and a few others I can't recall offhand - and it looks like I actually managed to avoid all the ones on your 'skip' list, heh.)
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 4th, 2006 05:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I know enough about the end that I'm not in a rush to get to it. Already, Clarice is in the "Who the hell are you again?" category.
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 4th, 2006 06:38 am (UTC) (Link)
DT is more straight fantasy than his usual fantasy-with-lotsa-monsters stuff. The second Shining has the things that the Kubrick lacked--the Torrances are likeable--but was made for TV and therefore is watered down. Sigh.

I like horror as well (obviously), and I would certainly expect a Hannibal book to be high on the shudder factor, but, as of halfway through, it's just not engaging me all that much. I picked it up because I'd read about his backstory on Wiki and thought I'd like to read it in context, but there's so little of the neat forensic psychology that made Lambs work that I feel like I'm reading one of those fake George Stark books in The Dark Half.
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fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: March 4th, 2006 06:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Huh, odd. I think of them as being pretty thematically similar--love is a very strong theme in King's work as well--but the heightened presence of the mundane is a good point of departure. Rowling does the opposite of King in some ways. He has a mundane world in which supernatural things occur, and it's by painstaking attention to the mundane that the supernatural becomes believable. She, on the other hand, has a supernatural world in which the mundane occasionally intrudes... often comically, and less believably than the magic!
ani_bester From: ani_bester Date: March 4th, 2006 07:09 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it's a matter of how much the writer leaves open to play with.

For some reason, and I guess it's not just me, Kings works have always felt very resolved, which tends to make me feel less receptive to fan stories. The Talisman, for instanc,e was to me a complete story. There aren't sections where I want to fill in "what happened to Jack here." I kinda feel like if it wasn't in the book than it wasn't important. Maybe a fanfci just expanding on the friendship of Jack and Richard would be nice, I can see that, but in terms of more story, it really seems to have all been told.
ani_bester From: ani_bester Date: March 4th, 2006 07:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Part II (yeah I cut PartI too short 0.o)

Another thing is a lot of the characters aren't interesting outside of the story. Which is not to say their bad characters, but they are normal people made ineresting by what's going on.

I mean . . do we really care what Stu was doing prior to the night a car rammed into the gas station? Not really. His story starts then and ends when he get back with Fran. Outside of that window, he's kinda Joe average, and while fandoms seem to write a number of "being normal" fanfics about certain characters, this is normal to the point that if someone really wanted to write it and make it good you may as well just write an original story about East Texas living. It doesn't really matter if it's Stu or not (now I tink maybe a one shot short fic about him hanging with his buddies before everyone dies might have potential but there's not the large window of opportunity that there is for say MWPP).

At least that's how I see it.

Where as Luke Skywalker. . Luke just has adventures. Lots of them.
Likewie, we kow MWPP did stuff, just not what, and that time were interesting when they were all alive and together. It's not just the situation that makes the characters special but kinda the characters in and of themselves, are everytihng aroudn them all the time is different and worth making a story out of.

i mean, Buffy doesn't need to be in Sunnyvale or have any special circumstances for her life to become odd, so a fanfic writers has more room to play.

I also think it's a matter of feeling like a writer can take the characters on. Or even more so, other fan readers feeling like fan writers can write the characters well.
Pretty much all DT people I've talked to think there should be some kinda law agains anyone but King writing Flagg. I've never seen it done well, they've never seen it done well, therefore there's not a ready readership for fanficiton about Flagg therefore, I suspect, and fan writer is more likely to go elsewhere.

I know I'm more motivated to draw art for bigger fandoms because well . . I do like the attention, and I think it's like that for writers too.

I draw for other things, I just don't feel the ened to put 'em up if I know there's no audience, so it might be a circular thing. No one wants to read King (or other) fanfiction so no one writes it but the ones who do aren't very good and so no one wants to read and so on =P

Dark Tower, as you mentioned is an exception in Kings works because well . . seriously, welcome to La la land. There's a lot of thigns people can write fics about. if I got bored I could write about those rat-people or some such. Though again, I think a lot of the Ka-tet are interesting in the sory context but not as available for fanish use as the world itself is, and since it's the Ka-Tet people are into (usually, I don't see a lot of screaming "Taheen" fangirls ^^) it's again limiting.

Spekaing of King. I just finished watching Shawshank Redemption and I'm still all choked up inside.

I should do more artwork for his stuff though. Even byond just fun, it's outside my usual art box.

. . Cruscified Drug atticts sounds fun =P
Actually funny enough the largest painting canvas painting I've done was for the Stand. it was a picutre of Larry sitting on the cars while the city burned. Very abstracted.
And it got a very good grade and was *not* consdered fanart. So wmwhahaha Actually my prof approved a to life scale painitng of the scene for PoA where harry saves Peter on the grounds that I was mimicking Renn. art with moderns stories.
But it enver got donw. I didn't have the time, or, to be honest, the technical skills to do that.

. . .and the person who was gonna pose as Peter for me stab us all in the back and caused drama while I needed to be painting *L*

parallactic From: parallactic Date: March 4th, 2006 11:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like to pretend that "Hannibal" never happened, both the book and the movie, because I like what Harris did with "Silence of the Lambs" to dismiss the whole series.

I don't care for Stephen King, despite liking the horror genre, but does he leave spaces open? I think what you'd need to have a fannish work is a continuing series, with the same world and group of characters. So it doesn't surprise me that "Dark Tower" would have more fanfic dedicated to it. I was under the impression that King mostly worked with one-shot novels, and not series.
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