Showing posts with label Stephen King. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stephen King. Show all posts

May 9, 2012

Win a collectors edition of King’s - Through the Key Hole valued at $200.

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Hachette is running a competition on their Facebook page:

Big Stephen King fan? Want the chance to win a limited edition hardcover copy of 'The Wind Through The Keyhole'? (RRP $200)? Comment below with your favourite Dark Tower character (and why). Best answer wins the limited edition. 3 lucky runners up will receive a copy of The Wind Through The Keyhole trade paperback (RRP $32.99). The winner will be chosen Friday morning at 9am.(Australian residents only) Good Luck!

So you have about a day and a half, go here to enter.


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May 7, 2012

Book Review–Wind Though the Key Hole by Stephen King

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I can remember buying the first book in the Dark Tower series by King when it first came out.  For some reason I never took to it.  Possibly it was a result of my reading taste and experience at the time or the fact that King uses a dialect that’s part regional American, part fantasy for his characters. 

Bix turned to Roland. “Ye come from Lud, I wot. I’d hear of Lud, and how things go there. For it was a marvelous city, so it was. Crumbling and growing strange when I knew it, but still marvelous.”

In any case I found that it took awhile to get into the rhythm of the book The Wind through the Key Hole .  But once I did, it was vintage King.  A story that draws you in slowly and then before you know it you are hanging on the outcome of every sentence.

The Wind through the Key Hole by King’s own admission sits somewhere near the middle of the Dark Tower series, around 4.5 according to the foreword in the book.  That being said it works very well as a stand alone or a teaser to get you interested in the rest of the series.

The Wind through the Key Hole is also interesting from a structural point of view. It’s marketing copy describes it as a “Russian Doll of a novel”, three narratives fitting neatly within the other. 

We meet Roland and his Ka-tet( gang or posse) on the road to somewhere – it’s downtime between major events.  The are forced to seek shelter from a storm and Roland begins telling them a tale of his younger days.  Enter the second story, the inner shell. In this inner narrative the “wet behind the ears” Roland is partnered with Jamie Red-Hand to investigate tales that tell of a Skin-Changer attacking folks in the town of Debaria, this tale is Western come mystery.  The only witness to the latest murders is a young boy, who Roland tells the story of Tim Stoutheart or The Wind through the Key Hole, to help give him courage. 

So The Wind through the Keyhole is the inner most story and the one with the most meat, a dark fairy tale of sorts. With a gruesome if a little predictable end.  Though that’s part of the terror, anticipating what might happen.

Finishing  The Wind through the Key Hole I am drawn into the world of the Dark Tower series, a curious and engaging mix of western, elements of Arthurian legend and post apocalyptia.  The Wind through the Key Hole is King doing what he does best, slowly insinuating his characters into your life and playing with your love for them.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and have been inspired to revisit the series from the beginning.  New readers might be a little put off by the lingo and the strange setting, but persevere, it’s worth it.

This book was a review copy provided by the publisher.


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May 3, 2012

Thursday Links–Stephen King, Neil Gaiman and Locus

Well, if you have noticed me being quite its because I got an emergency call in yesterday( relief teaching).  As to whether or not I will make it to Continuum 8, well that’s still up in the air and at this stage I am just hitting the “paying the bills” stage of work.

None the less here are some links for you to peruse:

First is the Outer Alliance podcast who interviewed Tansy Rayner Roberts: it covers fandom feminism and Tansy’s works.  It’s a monster at close to 2 hours…enjoy

you can download it here as an mp3.

Then there is interview by Neil Gaiman, of Stephen King. Its nice, it makes me want to sit on the porch and just “shoot the shit” with Mr King.

My first encounter with Stephen King, long before I met him in the flesh, was on East Croydon station in about 1975. I was fourteen. I picked up a book with an all-black cover. It was called Salem's Lot. It was King's second novel; I'd missed the first, a short book called Carrie, about a teenage girl with psychic powers. I stayed up late finishing Salem's Lot, loving the Dickensian portrait of a small American town destroyed by the arrival of a vampire. Not a nice vampire, a proper vampire. Dracula meets Peyton Place. After that I bought everything King wrote as it came out. Some books were great, and some weren't. It was okay. I trusted him. [read more]

And to follow up that, more King in a non specfic but ultimately cheer worthy article where Stephen King takes on the rich, including himself.

Stephen King: Tax Me, for F@%&’s Sake!

…My question was, “How come I’m not paying 50?” The governor of New Jersey did not respond to this radical idea, possibly being too busy at the all-you-can-eat cheese buffet at Applebee’s in Jersey City, but plenty of other people of the Christie persuasion did.

Cut a check and shut up, they said.

If you want to pay more, pay more, they said.

Tired of hearing about it, they said.

Tough shit for you guys, because I’m not tired of talking about it. I’ve known rich people, and why not, since I’m one of them? The majority would rather douse their dicks with lighter fluid, strike a match, and dance around singing “Disco Inferno” than pay one more cent in taxes to Uncle Sugar. It’s true that some rich folks put at least some of their tax savings into charitable contributions. My wife and I give away roughly $4 million a year to libraries, local fire departments that need updated lifesaving equipment (Jaws of Life tools are always a popular request), schools, and a scattering of organizations that underwrite the arts.Warren Buffett does the same; so does Bill Gates; so does Steven Spielberg; so do the Koch brothers; so did the late Steve Jobs. All fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough.

[read more]

and to round it out the 2012 Locus Awards Shortlist is out.

The Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the top five finalists in each category of the 2012 Locus Awards.

Science Fiction Novel

[read on]

Many thanks to @kimode and @fearofemeralds on twitter for some of these links.


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Dec 12, 2011

Book Review–11.22.23 by Stephen King

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Given a chance to go back in time to before president Kennedy was shot, would you go back and try and save him?

That’s the predicament faced by mild mannered school teacher Jake Epping in 11.22.63 , who discovers that the local diner contains a portal back into 1958 America.

Nostalgia

King has done a wonderful job here in invoking a sense of nostalgia in me for a simpler time.  Which is quite a feat given that he has me pining for a time before I was born.  Perhaps he is aided by the cultural baggage associated with the Kennedy era that Hollywood is fond of exploiting and exporting.

A consummate weaver

The strength of this book lies in King’s complex layering of character and plot.  On reflection, the consequences of meddling with time should be blatantly obvious to both the reader and the character but it’s King’s skill and experience that shores up what would probably have fallen apart in the hands of another.

Neither Jake nor the reader are given the time to reflect on what meddling with time might do. King applies pressure from the outset - Al the owner of the diner where the portal is located, is dying and the lease can’t be renewed. So from the outset there’s time pressure. 

The portal always links to 1958 and while returning through the portal to 1958 effectively erases all changes of previous visits, there’s a pressure to get things right first time as the time traveller still ages. 

Initially this isn’t a problem, Jake runs a few “test missions”, altering the lives of people he knows who have had unfortunate life events.  This is done to convince himself that it’s possible and to understand the forces he’s up against in a past that doesn’t want to be changed. 

But preventing the Kennedy assassination is a five year mission, if he stuffs up Jake can have a “do over’ but he’s a 5 years older, with another 5 years to fight against an obdurate past.

Intricate plot details aside it’s the characters that really made this novel for me.  So good was King’s portrayal of 60’s small Town Texas and the characters within, that I didn't care about Kennedy by about half way through the novel.

Herein lies another pressure - Jake falls in love with a woman and a town.  Jake and the reader are torn between wanting the life he is living in small town Texas protected and completing his mission to save Kennedy. 

A tireless romantic

This book rammed home to me how much of a romantic I am.  I didn’t like the ending, but it’s true to the story.  At a hefty 700+ pages this is a book to pace yourself on, to enjoy the alternate reality that King has created. 

Not a fan of the Kennedy era? It really doesn’t matter, the lives and characters King creates are enough to sustain interest.

This book was provided to me by the publisher at no cost.


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