Al Fin Affictionado

A Combination of Original Fiction and Reviews of Fiction Interesting to Al Fin and Contributors All Works Copyright as of publish date, AlFin2100 blog syndicate

Location: North America

Primary interest is seeing that the best of humanity survives long enough to reach the next level.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

What in the World is Wrong with Stephen King?

Stephen King is one of the best selling authors currently writing popular fiction. Far be it from me, Al Fin, to suggest that Stephen King should change his formula. He certainly makes more money by following his own instincts than he would if he wrote books that I could appreciate more.

That having been said, is there anyone in the world who would want to be stuck with Stephen King on a desert island, or in an emergency? Probably no one in his right mind.

Take one of King's more recent books, Cell. When huge numbers of people are rendered near-zombies while talking on their cell phones, King's protagonists quickly decide they need to get out of Boston, and fast. They are smart enough to raid a neighborhood gun nut's gun cabinet and make off with a potent arsenal. They even pack a travel lunch. But how do they go from Boston to Maine? They walk!

Okay, the roads are littered with abandoned vehicles. It would have been hard work to drive a regular automobile to Maine. Petrol stations lacked power for pumping fuel. That is another problem. But problems in a novel are fertile fields for creative solutions. Do King's protagonists solve any of these problems? No, they walk.

Mind wiped zombies are okay, as a plot challenge. But even zombies need to take care of themselves, or they will die in large numbers. Does King explain how these moronic creatures survive? It is fortunate for the zombies that the "change" happened in warm weather. But humans can die of exposure even in the summertime, in New England, if they do not take precautions.

Then King has to go and create a weird telepathic group mind, led by a "raggedy-man" black Harvard professor wearing a red hoody. How weird is that? Of course, that's how King makes the big bucks--by being weird. That has always been his way. But I was hoping he would eventually grow out of most of that.

It reminds me of King's "The Stand." It began plausibly enough, with an escaped microbe that kills quickly, and by the millions. Just surviving something like that is enough of a plot device to carry a fairly long book, with a good author. Then this weird Las Vegas demonic character appears in dreams summoning the survivors. And it all goes downhill.

Yes, I realize that there are plenty of people who like Stephen King just the way he is, with all his kinks, quirks, and mental tics. But Stephen King is not really a thinking person's novelist. He frequently starts off allright, then descends into an irrational netherworld of unconscious fears that brings millions to bookstores and movie theatres.

So there you have it. I simply do not like the twists and turns of King's mind, as a writer. Perhaps some day I will try to peer beyond the desire to make money off people's fears, into the other reasons King does what he does with his pen.

What in the World is Wrong with Stephen King?


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