Sunday, November 23, 2014

I hope you're well, Mr. King

I'm pretty sure that Stephen King has written at least two characters who were novelists with the idea to store up novels like nuts for winter, writing two a year but keeping one back to publish during spells of writers block. I mention this because for the last two years King has had a summer and a fall novel release whereas for the better part of the 2000s he's published maybe one novel a year. I do know that he was publishing as Richard Bachman for a while so he could put out multiple novels each year. But now he's publishing under his own name and this makes me a bit wary.

Here are the possible reasons that I'm able to come up with:
1 - Stephen King is even more terrifyingly productive than the reading public has been giving him credit for and is going through a good spell, publishing whatever he writes.
2 - He's rotating through his trunk novels and updating them before technology changes enough to leave his plots in the dust.
3 - He has taken a look at his pile of nuts and realized that it'll outlast any dry spells he could reasonably anticipate and has decided to go for broke and publish them while he's still around to do the publicity tours.

Stephen King is not an old man, and the sudden glut of publications makes me worry a little because I feel like he's either sitting on a massive pile of unpublished novels or he's worried that he's going to die soon. So, Mr. King, I really hope that you're well and just way more prolific than any of us have given you credit for. Please be well.

Because you're writing kick-ass books and I'd love to see them keep coming.

Revival is another novel that I happened to surprise myself with. I was scanning titles on Amazon, saw a King book I hadn't read, and said "dammit, I hope I'm not too late!" I feel left out if I miss a publication by more than a month or two, so I was pleased to see that it was only a week after the release date. I drove out to the bookstore, grabbed a copy, got an awful cold, and found that I had time to sit down and read.

It's a damn good story. Really good.

The plot follows the patchy life of a guitarist turned drug addict turned producer as he meet up with an electricity-obsessed preacher. Both characters are interesting and have their various ups and downs as you follow them through five decades of their separate but occasionally convergent lives.

One of the things that I missed so much in Mr. Mercedes was the deep character development that's so typical of King's writing, and I certainly didn't miss that in Revival. It's not a very full world that these characters inhabit, because it's mostly our world and doesn't need that much filling-in, but their lives are intricate and lovely and unlovely.

The book opens with King thanking his teachers, notably HP Lovecraft and Mary Shelley, and there's a strong influence from the great horror-writers of yesteryear that can be palpably felt throughout the novel. It's clear that those spooky old books are gone from the charts but not from our hearts as King channels the writers who influenced him and gives modern readers a shocking story about veils that should not be peeked beyond.

     - Alli

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