According to his online bibliography, this human word processing machine published 14 books in the years 1980 to 1989. That’s a lot of words, and he’s never, ever slowed down, save for a couple of years when he had an unfortunate encounter with a wayward mini-van. His output since the 80s: 12 books in the 90s, 12 books in the Oughts and 6 so far in the 2KTeens.
I find this remarkable, especially since many of these books are 500+ pages long. A sobering fact for anyone who’s struggled to write a 176 character tweet. (It took me two hours to compose my congratulatory tweet to Iggy Azalea when she won the MOJO magazine Young Artist of the Year award last year
I’m personally partial to his 70s output. He made his name in that decade with some top-quality work. Books like Night Shift, Carrie, Salem’s Lot, The Dead Zone, The Shining, and his post-apocalyptic masterpiece The Stand bossed the Best-Seller lists of the time like Randall Flagg battering Lloyd Henreid’s mind. But we are here to talk about the 80s. To me, the decade started off pretty weak–Firestarter was more of a damp squib in my eyes. Cujo’s claustrophobic canine horror show was a gripping return to form and Christine and Pet Sematary are prime King. I mean, the latter has a dead baby as one of the main characters, for God’s sake. When you can move over a million books with a subject like that, you are pretty much untouchable. He then decided to do a collaboration with Peter Straub–the result, a would-be epic entitled The Talisman, turned out to be a bore. Sometimes, one head is better than two.
King came back strong with the seemingly 7,000 page long It. I actually never read, um, it, but I did see the mini-series, and any book that leads to a man named Tim Curry playing a clown called Pennywise on national TV deserves one of them there Nobel thingies.
By then, I was losing interest fast, but I remember giving Misery a shot and enjoying it. “Hobbling”–what’s not to like?
I’m not sure about the rest and by rest, I mean the 30 or so books that followed. I’m sure some of them are pretty decent reads, I just don’t have enough time left to figure out which ones they are.