Why I cannot contain my torrid love for Stephen King

…even though he writes largely uninteresting, self-important wankfests that Entertainment Weekly prints two or three times a month under the hideous banner “The Pop of King.”

I’m sorry. I need to take a minute for that pun to work its way out of my system. This coming from the girl who LIVES for puns. (“Bear left!” “Right, frog!”)

So here’s what brought Mr. King back to my heart this time–and for the very same reasons he wormed his way into my aorta all those years ago, when I spent my lunch hours at the Museum of Science and Technology with a cup of Maruchan Ramen brewing by my side and a copy of Misery in my hands: when King turns on his heart light, it’s a raging inferno. To wit:

And before Clay could begin helping Pixie Light with Power Suit Woman, Pixie Light had darted her pretty little face forward with snakelike speed, bared her undoubtedly strong young teeth, and battened on Power Suit Woman’s neck. There was an enormous jet of blood. The pixie-girl stuck her face in it, appeared to bathe in it, perhaps even drank from it (Clay was almost sure she did), then shook Power Suit Woman back and forth like a doll. The woman was taller and had to outweigh the girl by at least forty pounds, but the girl shook her hard enough to make the woman’s head flop back and forth and send more blood flying. At the same time the girl cocked her own blood-smeared face up to the bright blue October sky and howled in what sounded like triumph.

All of his literary tics (derivative of himself!) are there–the twee nomenclature, the parenthetical third-person limited, the “he’s not really going to–OH YES HE IS” gore–and it makes me GIDDY. So Entertainment Weekly doesn’t get all sue-y up in my grill, I’ll give credit where credit’s due: this is an excerpt from King’s new novel, Cell, the first two chapters of which are available at ew.com. The premise of the book is that–oh who cares, ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. SET IN BOSTON. OH MY GOD CAN YOU TASTE THE AWESOME???

All awesome and no life make Roger a living dead boy.

King has written some damn fine stuff over the years (Shawshank, The Stand, The Shining, 4/7 of the Dark Tower series)), some gripping pulp lit (that totally awesome novella about prehistoric creatures in the mist terrorizing a bunch of people trapped in a Kwik-E-Mart), and some real crap (Rose Red? More like Rose…um…so I watched the whole damn thing, but I’m here to tell you it was almost total crap, and the Winchester Mystery House is way cooler and creepier in person).

But drifting in the gray zone along the King continuum of almost total crap and damn fine stuff there are things like Creepshow, Pet Sematary, and now (if there is a God) Cell. These are things that are damn fine because they are almost total crap. Things that are awesome because the King was thinking only of serving and protecting his loyal dear readers, only wishing to make them happy, to slake their bloodlusts, and when faced with the artistic decision to either write about the complexity of the human experience or about a young girl bathing in a spray of blood after tearing a woman’s carotid artery with her teeth, chose the latter.

Mr. King: consider yourself (mostly) forgiven for obliquely condemning television viewers for the cancellation of Kingdom Hospital (and I quote: “With ”KH,” I realize now, we were asking viewers to give us a week or two, maybe three, and that was more time than most were willing to give. Am I putting TV viewers down, accusing them of being dumb? I am not. You come home tired, you want something that’s fun and familiar? That’s fine.”) and not, for example, blaming the fact that the show itself was slow, cliche, and it’s genuinely upsetting to see Andrew McCarthy looking like he’s two (literal) Bloody Marys away from moving to ‘Salem’s Lot.



One Response to “Why I cannot contain my torrid love for Stephen King”

  1. Lee Says:

    Blood-Gushing-Power-Suit Women rock.

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