Thursday, November 29, 2007

lions and tigers and bears would get torn to shreds

Title: Skeleton Crew
Author: Stephen King
bookmark: an actual leather bookmark they gave me when I bought another book

I started reading this Halloween night, hoping to inject a little more horror into my day than my job already supplies. I didn't finish reading that first story until the following Sunday night. Don't look at me like that. There were other things that needed my attention, like the other two books I was reading, making food, and Family Guy. The cool thing was seeing a commercial the next night for a movie based upon that first story. Finally, I read the story a movie is based upon BEFORE I know about the movie! HA!! Take THAT, lazy Hollywood writers!! (ok, when I went to IMDB for that last link, I saw that I had also read this book, but that was before RITP was born, so you're on your own there)

The easy route would be to say that it's a collection of Stephen King short stories--people die or lose their minds in horrible and fascinatingly creative ways, usually at the hands/claws/tentacles/powerful psychic emanations of some bizarre otherworldly presence. But that would be oversimplifying and unfair. Some of them don't die at all!

I got the feeling that these were mainly some older works of the American Master of Horror, if only by how some of the characters acted and spoke. King is famous for riddling his stories with references to the pop culture of the story's era, especially the slang and rock music of the time. The strange thing about the collection (yes, it feels weird to say that as a singular when referring to Stephen King) is that it's not really the stuff he's famous for. Sure, there's horror (like the one made into a movie), and weird otherworldly critters brought here either by government experiments gone horribly wrong, dark magic, or some other unknown force, but there's also some flat-out sci-fi, some suspense, old-school creepy tales, noir crime, poetry, and even what seems to be a romance in the last entry, though not in the traditional sense. The stories are peopled, as ever, with a dazzling array of characters, and I was entertained by how the pieces I felt were much older had the standard cardboard female characters who really only serve as something for the male lead to either grope, comfort, or explain things to (thus illuminating the situation for the reader), but others featured females so dominating and strong that one of them is even a chilling villain. Looking back at copyrights, I found that I was wrong--the age of the story has no correlation whatsoever to the strength of the female characters, but it was still a fun game to play.

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posted by reyn at 7:17 AM


Blogger Elizabeth said...

"...but others featured females so dominating and strong that one of them is even a chilling villain."

Are you insinuating that the stronger a female character is, the more she becomes a chilling villain? Ouch!

Which stories are scarier, the ones where the characters die or live? As a wise character once said, "That is what to the pain means. It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery forever."

12/01/2007 12:15 PM  

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