Stephen King slams Twilight again, doesn’t like Hunger Games or 50 Shades

Stephen King

Stephen King sat down with the Guardian to promote his 56th novel, Doctor Sleep, which comes out today. The book is a follow up to The Shining and catches up with young Danny Torrence in his adulthood. Poor Danny is wrestling with the realization of becoming an alcoholic drifter like his father. Danny’s supposed to be a hospice doctor too, which is interesting. I’m looking forward to reading the book before anyone on Facebook tells me not to read it. People like to bag on King’s contemporary books a lot. Not cool, people.

As usual, King is full of opinions in this interview. He’s already once said that Stephenie Meyer “can’t write worth a darn.” King is not letting go of his distaste for Twilight, which is fine because even Stephenie Meyer can’t stand Twilight anymore. More targets, including The Hunger Games, tempt him into a ranting state:

His AA background fueled this book: “The only thing is to write the truth. To write what you know about any particular situation. And I never say to anybody, ‘This is all from my experience in AA,’ because you don’t say that.” It was King’s 36-year-old son, Owen, who, after reading the first draft of Doctor Sleep, told him there was something missing. “He said that the scene he remembered best from The Shining was the one where Jack Torrance and his friend are out drunk one night and they hit a bicycle and think they’ve killed a kid. And they say, ‘That’s the end; we’re not going to drink any more.’ And Owen said, ‘There’s no scene that’s comparable to that in Doctor Sleep. You ought to see Dan at his worst.’ And, as usual, Owen was right. And I think every alcoholic has a story comparable to that. Something where you actually hit rock bottom.”

King’s own rock bottom: “I don’t have anything as dramatic. Of course, in a novel, you’re looking for something that’s really harsh. Harshly lit. For me, when I look back, the thing that I remember is being at one of my son’s Little League games with a can of beer in a paper bag, and the coach coming over to me and saying, ‘If that’s an alcoholic beverage, you’re going to have to leave.’ That was where I said to myself, ‘That’s something I’ll never be able to tell anybody else. I’ll keep that one to myself.’ I drew on that memory.”

He still hates Twilight: “I agree with Abra’s teacher friend [in Doctor Sleep] who calls Twilight and books like it tweenager pr0n. They’re really not about vampires and werewolves. They’re about how the love of a girl can turn a bad boy good.

“I read Twilight and didn’t feel any urge to go on with her. I read The Hunger Games and didn’t feel an urge to go on. It’s not unlike The Running Man, which is about a game where people are actually killed and people are watching: a satire on reality TV. I read Fifty Shades Of Grey and felt no urge to go on. They call it mommy porn, but it’s not really mommy pr0n. It is highly charged, sexually driven fiction for women who are, say, between 18 and 25. But a golden age of horror? I wouldn’t say it is. I can’t think of any books right now that would be comparable to The Exorcist.”

He has painful memories of intervention: “There’s a thing in AA, something they read in a lot of meetings, The Promises. Most of those promises have come true in my life: we’ll come to know a new freedom and new happiness, that’s true. But it also says in there: we will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. And I have no wish to shut the door on the past. I have been pretty upfront about my past. But do I regret? I do. I do. I regret the necessity.”

His near-death experience in 1999: King was walking down a road near his house when he was hit by a truck and thrown 14ft in the air. There were no white lights, but it did get him thinking seriously about death. “Our body knows things, and our brain knows things that don’t have anything to do with conscious thought. And I think that it’s possible, when you die, that there is a final exit programme that goes into effect. And that’s what people are seeing when they see their relatives or a white light or whatever it is. In that sense, there may really be a heaven if you believe there’s a heaven, and a hell if you believe there is one. But there’s some kind of transitional moment. That idea that your whole life flashes before your eyes.” He smiles. “Of course, they say about co-dependents – people who grow up around alcoholics – that somebody else’s life does.”

[From The Guardian]

I find it completely hilarious that Stephen King picked up a copy of 50 Shades and read the whole thing. You know, I always laugh when I see people reading that book on airplanes and in cafes. I’d love for someone to Instagram a picture of King doing the same thing. It would be the highlight of my year to see it happen.

After reading King’s On Writing a few years ago, I learned his most important tip to be a writer. One must read. To paraphrase — if one doesn’t have time to read, one definitely doesn’t have time to write. That’s always stuck with me, but there is no way in hell anyone could ever get me to read 50 Shades. King will read anything though, and then he’ll tell you his opinion on it.

I don’t quite understand what he’s saying about not like The Hunger Games. He’s saying it’s like one of his books (The Running Man), right? What a strange reason not to like it.

Stephen King

Stephen King

Stephen King

Photos courtesy of Fame/Flynet and WENN

 

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150 Responses to “Stephen King slams Twilight again, doesn’t like Hunger Games or 50 Shades”

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  1. T.fanty says:

    He’s Stephen King. He gets to say whatever the hell he wants. And, he’s also kind of right. The Hunger Games is a little derivative. But I suppose, isn’t everything?

    • Sixer says:

      I concur. He can say whatever he wants. He’s earned it.

      I think the Hunger Games is a LOT derivative – partly as satire as he describes, but also as cheaper copies of better recent YA fiction (the Truman Show aspect was done a few years before and better by Peadar O’Guilin, for example).

      He’s right about there being little in the way of classy genre adult horror fiction around. It’s popular in YA though, and there is some good stuff. For middle grade readers too.

      • claire says:

        I’ve been on a fantasy/sci-fi/horror-suspense kick for about a year now. This was after I went on a mystery and chick lit kick for a while. I get in ruts where I will stick to just a couple of genres for awhile. Anyway, I have to agree. YA is where a lot of the pretty fantastic writing and originality is happening right now. There’s some seriously kick-ass series coming out by YA writers, as well. It’s almost exclusively what I read sometimes, for months.

    • Eve says:

      Agreed. King can say whatever the f*ck he wants, and he IS right. I found The Hunger Games derivative — it did remind me of The Running Man.

      However, The Running Man itself is not all the original (it has elements of Rollerball — a 70′s movie starring James Caan). That kinda makes him a hypocrite…but he’s still right.

    • MJ says:

      I still liked The Hunger Games series but I do agree that it is not fresh or original or anything groundbreaking.

      It borrows a lot from “Running Man” and “Battle Royale” – the Japanese book (and subsequent movie) about high school kids killing each other to be the last person standing.

      • Cyndi says:

        “The Hunger Games” is basically the long version of a short story “The Lottery”. I can’t remember the authors name at the moment, I’d have to go find my Little Brown English Lit book from college. (o:
        Basically the same premise, just in a longer version.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        (playing devil’s advocate) But if HG “borrows a lot” from both Running Man AND Battle Royale…can’t it be said that Battle Royale borrowed heavily from Running Man?

        Ultimately, I think the idea of the origin of the concept is all for nothing.
        The idea of governments killing people for entertainment isn’t a new concept now and it wasn’t back in the 1980s either. The idea wasnt just a story back in many ancient societies, they actually did it, so it makes sense that there are MANY stories that take this concept and put a different spin on it.

      • mayamae says:

        The Lottery was written by Shirley Jackson. I haven’t read it since freshmen year, but it’s quite different from The Hunger Games. I think the winner of the lottery is actually stoned to death.

      • Lady D says:

        The Lottery was written by Shirley Jackson. My first horror story, and I’ve been hooked on horror since. I can’t watch it on TV but I love to read it.
        Edit: mayamae response wasn’t up when I started posting.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      ITA with you ladies.

      Plus, it wasn’t like he was unnecessarily cruel about it, just honest. And I also think he’s right.

      @MJ-Hunger Games is like the G-rated version of Battle Royale.

    • Lucinda says:

      The guy is brilliant…and arrogant. But whatever. I was aware that he is a voracious reader and will read anything and everything.

      As for Hunger Games, it did remind me of Running Man but I felt the characters were more empathetic and developed. I also loved how the author didn’t make easy choices or fall back on cliche. She does a great job of showing Katniss in all her PTSD glory. Not many books do that. So the concept may be derivative, but the execution was not. In my opinion.

      • Tiffany :) says:

        I agree. One of my favorite things about HG wasnt just the plot, but how the characters were handled. I love that Katniss isn’t just focused on silly boy stuff. It is survival, family, etc. The series isn’t about the games so much as revolution (led by a woman).

      • mayamae says:

        I love everything about The Hunger Games, and Katniss is an amazing antithesis to Bella the helpless doormat (Books that I’ve never read). Not only does Katniss keep her family and herself alive, she even saves the guy. I know of a woman who only let her daughter read the Twilight books if she read The Hunger Games first.

    • Axis2ClusterB says:

      I love grouchy Uncle Stevie.

  2. BlueGirl says:

    Re: The Hunger Games….It’s also strange considering that King gave The Hunger Games a very good review back in 2008 for EW magazine. A quote from his review is included on the back of the book! (LOL!).

  3. fancyamazon says:

    Go Stephen! I love King, and always will. I have not read the Hunger Games, but my husband did. He said that he didn’t see the societal construct in the book as being one that would be tenable and so he didn’t feel compelled to read the other books. Stephen King is probably coming at it from a similar viewpoint, and not so much because the idea is similar to one of his own works.

  4. Insomniac says:

    Eh. I liked “The Hunger Games,” but it’s no big deal to me if he didn’t. And damn — I didn’t realize his new book was out today. My ” to read” pile is getting out of control.

  5. Dref22 says:

    Well, I wonder what he thinks about the hilariously bad TV show Under The Dome.

  6. BlueGirl says:

    An argument could also be made that King’s “The Long Walk” is derivative of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”. It doesn’t matter….I love both stories. All artists are cannibals! (LOL!).

    • Esmom says:

      Yeah, I had a college professor once say that “there are no new ideas.” So true.

      • MJ says:

        Pretty much. I highly doubt there is anything out there in any entertainment medium that is fresh, new or original right now.

      • Florc says:

        Your professor stole that quote…

        It’s like South Park vs Simpsons. There’s an episode of South Park I think titled “Simpsons did it”. No matter what ideas they come up with it’s noted the Simpsons did it first. Doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon. It’s just not the first attempt.

      • Esmom says:

        @Florc, lol. I think she actually said something along the lines of “it’s been said that there are no new ideas.” She said it in response to a piece I turned in that was nearly identical to something a student of hers had written years prior. She apologetically asked if I happened to know that person…and I was like “even if I did I would have had to be pretty dumb to steal his/her idea for the same class.” And that was her response, as I had proved the point.

      • littlestar says:

        Very very true. Everything has to come from something. Especially fashion, and how designers get upset at other designers or labels “copying” their designs.

    • Tiffany :) says:

      I agree. Especially when it comes to gov’ts killing people for entertainment, that is actually a part of human history. It happened for a very long time in many different societies around the world. It wasn’t a new concept when King wrote about it in the 80s, or when Battle Royale was written in the 90s, or when HG was written in the 00′s. etc. There are a lot of stories about such things, and some of them are true.

  7. Willa says:

    Why does someone as successful as King feel the need to keep zeroing in and bashing these franchise works. I don’t like any of them either but they are free to write the “CRAP” they want. Honetly, is he just upset that the public likes this stuff and is making it successful?

  8. Nola says:

    “tweenager porn”- really?
    Bella wants to have sex with her boyfriend. Nothing kinky or crazy (ignoring the fact that he’s a vamp) just average run of the mill sex.

    On a side note the ageist/ sexist comments 50 shades readers get is disheartening.
    Why can’t girls/women/mothers/grandmothers express desire for sex without getting labels?

    The reaction to Twilight (and 50 shades) say a lot more about our culture than the hunger games.

    • Red32 says:

      Most people don’t like them because they glamorize abusive relationships. As he said “good girls can change bad boys” if only they sacrifice x, y and z.

    • Latisse says:

      You are being sarcastic?

      He calls it teenager porn, not because of the sex, as there isn’t any until the last book and he only read the first but because of the constant overwrought declarations of love from Edward to Bella. Ex: “You are my life now” even though we’ve only been dating for a month and that’s a really creepy high pressure statement to lay on a girl after a month.

      Secondly, I don’t think that he said anything wrong necessarily about 50 Shades’ audience, it is very clearly marketed towards that demographic and if you look at the people recapping it, reviewing it on the internet and goodreads, they tend to fall within that demographic. Also he is saying that it is marketed towards those people and not that that is the best fiction that demo deserves. I think it is universally accepted that 50 Shades’ is maybe the most awfully, poorly written book ever to be published. And I say that as a 24 year old girl.

      Also not really seeing how labeling 50 shades pr0n is necessarily bad. I mean actual pr0n is called just that. What’s the problem? I suppose he could call it erotica, but honestly, I’ve read erotica and it is miles better than fifty shades. That would be like calling internet pr0n art house cinema. (PS I would much rather watch internet pr0n than art house crap)

    • Tig says:

      Thank you for saying this- ageism is certainly thriving in this thread and in King’s comments as well. I will adjust slightly to say King’s ageism is limited to women. “Good” vs “bad” books is a source of limitless discussion- that’s understandable. But what gets injected into discussions of FSOG and Twilight over and over is the stereotype of the lonely sex-starved “older” female. And the wording is usually much more insulting than that. Say what you want re the books, but park the outdated platitudes re the readers at the door.

    • Bridget says:

      I think the point that he’s making is that these books, that are incredibly popular among adult women, have a juvenile view of relationships. Which I haooen to agree. It’s not sexist or ageist to suggest that adult women deserve better books than that crap.

  9. j.eyre says:

    Reading is critical in writing. And it is equally important to ask “why didn’t I like that” as it is to ask “why did I like that.”

    Okay, so “mommy porn” reference number 2 – how is it different than regular porn b/c no one is a mom in 50 Shades? I have a feeling I am going to agree with Mr King on this once I sort out what Mommy Porn is.

    • Sixer says:

      “Reading is critical in writing.”

      So true. I didn’t like the parts of 50 Shades that I read for technical reasons. If writing isn’t of sufficient quality, it’s difficult to become absorbed.

      I’ve no beef with the subject matter – or for people to write things I may or may not find immoral or unethical, or to define things in a way I don’t. Although Mummy Porn isn’t something that sounds to my taste – whatever it actually is!

    • rianic says:

      “Mommy p0rn” because a lot of times moms become so wrapped up in the lives and care of their children, their sex lives go to the wayside. So they want to remember their youth and fun times pre kids.

      Sort of like the romance novels of the 80s, only more graphic.

      In those, the good guy becomes the bad guy, girl is reached by the guy she originally felt was bad. In junior high, we used to sneak them to school and read them out loud at recess!

      • j.eyre says:

        As I mentioned on the EL James post to Erinn – I realize this is not your definition so I am just asking you specifically because you were gracious enough to answer.

        But why is this different from regular porn or erotica? Their is nothing maternal in 50 shades so I do not understand how it gets labeled “mommy porn.”

      • littlestar says:

        j. eyre – I think it’s sometimes called “mommy pr0n” for the fact that it’s not TRUE bdsm, as the book was somewhat marketed to be. It’s a softer, tamer, gentler “mommy” version of what many women think tying up and whipping their partner should be. If Christian actually tied Anastasia up and whipped her breasts with a whip as hard as he could while she was gagged with a ball in her mouth (or did any of the extreme things that actually happen in bdsm pr0n), would 50 Shades have been so successful? I personally don’t think so. So they call it “mommy pr0n” because it takes it far enough, but not TOO far.

        Was there really anything in 50 SHades that shocked the hell out of you? Not for me. If anything, it was the emotionally abusive relationship between Anastasia and Christian that shocked me.

      • j.eyre says:

        ah, littelstar – the Velvet Glove idea. Okay, I see.

        My kink is exhibitionism (which will surprise no one) so I rarely read BDSM pr0n. So it was a bit eye-opening for me, but also a bit boring because it did not turn me on. The only scene that registered with me was when she described the riding crop – that scene I liked.

        I get the picture now, restraint makes it more appealing to a set of people who want to peek through the curtain but not enter the room. Thank you.

    • Lucrezia says:

      The dictionary defines Mummy Porn as erotic lit for females. But I tend to assume something more specific than that: mild porn for older women who are (comparatively) somewhat unexperienced/innocent.

      I picture someone who married their high-school sweetheart, had kids early and stayed home full-time. Someone very traditional, who basically hasn’t done much except be a mother.

      Not casting shade on anyone who fits that description. Just that they’d be more likely to be naïve enough to find 50 Shades titillating. (I AM casting Shade on anyone who liked 50 Shades :P )

      • Lucrezia says:

        Addition to clarify how it’s different from regular porn: Mummy Porn is milder and requires a certain naivety or mind-set to enjoy. It’s the modern version of ye old bodice rippers. Powerful man, physically and/or emotionally dominating the passive, weak female.

        A subset of porn certainly, but a rather specific one, thus it got its own specific name.

    • Sixer says:

      I suppose, if I think about it, there’s something to do with a media history of women being titillated by books/words (the riskier imprints of Mills & Boon and similar) and men by films/images (pr0n films and w4nk mags).

      So, as taboos about female sexuality decrease, erotic media – which is usually written – for women becomes more explicit and has less of a happy-ever-after romantic story to hinge it on and Mommy Pr0n appears?

    • ernie says:

      I agree. You have to get a taste of everything good and bad to be able to appreciate the excellent.

      Also, you can’t shade it unless you read it. And it’s like that with any creative profession. King is reading it because it’s keeping up to date with his “contemporaries”, it’s part of his job.

    • j.eyre says:

      Well, okay, I am starting to get a better idea here, so mommy pr0n is safer in that it doesn’t get as explicit. I need to re-evaluate my pr0n because I thought 50 shades did get explicit. Not many of my bodice-rippers used spreaders.

      And someone said Twilight is mommy pr0n? I only read the first book but there is no sex in it? So moms are so far removed from an enjoyable sex life we have forgotten what sex is? You know, I was just pissed at the kids for ruining my boobs…

      Thank you all for filling me in. This does help me understand… and now maybe I want to go back to not wanting to understand.

    • mia girl says:

      @jeyre – now I am responding to you in another post as well!

      What rankles me a bit, and what I think you might also be getting to, is that term “mommy porn” somehow feels pejorative.

      I agree with the thoughtful comments here about how this might have evolved out of bodice ripping / or more classic romantic books that are now pushed to be more sexual.

      Personally I believe these narratives strike a chord with many women today who spend their lives having to be in control of career, kids, relationships, house, bills… so the idea of being dominated, even if it is poorly written or not in line with true S&M, is a welcomed escape.

      I personally prefer other erotica – Anne Rice books have always been a favorite. But while Anne Rice or the Story of O are called erotica, 50 Shades is labeled mommy porn. Which implies that mommies are somehow too dumb to read well written porn? Again, this sounds pejorative. I know plenty of really smart women who love those 50 Shades books. Why can’t we just call it erotic fiction? It is just really poorly written erotic fiction.

      • j.eyre says:

        @mia girl – you have exactly articulated why I am struggling with this whole concept and you have done so beautifully. Thank you.

        They only thing that would have made your comment better would have been if you had worked James McAvoy into it somehow but other than that, it was perfect.

      • mia girl says:

        Funny enough, initially I did include a lustful Mac reference… but then edited out!

        And just to be clear, James McAvoy is always first choice in this mommy’s porn.

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        j.eyre, I picked up the discussion of ‘mommy-porn’ on the 50 Shades Wine post, basically offering my fulsome opinion that ‘mommy-porn’ is our patriarchal culture’s way of classifying women’s sexuality.

        James McAvoy, however, is a breathlessly sexual celebration of pure heedless joy, which is obviously the antitheses of the condescendingly repressive term ‘mommy-porn’.

    • Janet says:

      “Reading is critical in writing” — absolutely! One reason so many people buy so many badly-written books is they don’t read enough to know bad writing when they see it.

  10. Jayna says:

    He’s so right about The Exorcist. What an amazing book.

    He said it’s not Mommy Porn. Well, apparently it is, because of all those moms that have been gushing about it an nauseum on talk shows and such. I’ve never read it because I’ve read how bad the writing is.

    • Sloane Wyatt says:

      I tried and failed to read “Fifty Shades” because it is dreadfully written. I got through “Hunger Games” but it was like eating popcorn vs. dining on corn on the cob. Stephen King IS right about these books, so if you haven’t read them, you’re in luck because now you have the option of curling up to a scrumptiously satisfying novel.

  11. Mrs. Darcy says:

    To be fair to King, he big ups writers he does like who maybe don’t sell as much as EL James et al., and does a lot to try and aid up and comers with various contests and whatnot. He has a right to grump about poorly written dross like 50 Shades being popular, even if it is a bit obvious at this point.

    The older I get the more I like and respect him – are his books hit or miss? Yes, he admits this somewhat himself. But he is a great defender of the art form and by no means a snob. Personally I enjoyed the Hunger Games (well the third book was pretty crap), maybe he is just annoyed at how derivative it is.

    And blaming him for Under the Dome the t.v. show rotting is somewhat unfair(which despite popular misconceptions was written long before The Simpsons movie). It was meant to be on HBO and that fell apart, so instead we get a network show that blurs all of the creepy dark edges (the pure evil of Big Jim, the necrophiliac son Junior)into something a bit bland. I don’t know what he makes of it but maybe he has stayed involved to keep it as on track as possible.

  12. Wif says:

    “I read The Hunger Games…It’s not unlike The Running Man, which is about a game where people are actually killed and people are watching”

    Same could be said about ancient Rome and prisoners getting thrown to the lions for all to see. Themes get recycled, it’s what you do with those themes that make them speak to their audience.

  13. Val says:

    I don’t even read critic reviews on books anymore. I go to the library and if I like the cover I’ll read it. That’s how I discovered Gillian Flynn. Give me Gillian’s books all day, I could live off those.

  14. jessiebes says:

    However Mr. King loved the Harry Potter books. Enough said.

  15. junegorilla says:

    Have you tried to get through his son’s “Heart Shaped Box”. Ugh. Or Tabitha’s dull tome? Maybe he should start his critique fest around his own dinner table…

    • Florc says:

      He’s addressed his family’s writings before. They’re independent of him unless proof reads or opinions are asked for. Otherwise his corrections to any piece could make it sound more like his works,

      King is wonderful. Knew him on a personally as most locals did until I moved out of Maine. Man is a state treasure.

    • samipup says:

      I love Tabitha’s books, they are anything but dull. And a fun aspect of both Steve and Tabby is they include a character or two from each others books in their own. Stephen has the most incredible imagination, he even tells an A.A. story well “in the halls”. And he is definitely not stuck up or pompous. He and his wife have contributed so much in donations to hometown needs in the Bangor area. You might say, “I’m his #1 fan….eeeeeeyahhhh. Plus, he is a Red Sox fan. The icing on the cake. And if you want to see something very cool, Google Stephen and Tabitha’s Victorian home and the bats and spiderweb custom wrought iron gate.,

    • Axis2ClusterB says:

      I love Tabitha’s books, as well as Joe’s. Reading is such a ‘to each his own’ thing.

  16. mkyarwood says:

    Well, out of the three The Hunger Games has the most… lovable? characters, but they’re all reductive POS’s. The writing is just terrible. However, Steve, your books follow their own formula and I stopped reading after Needful Things.

  17. Madpoe says:

    The Hunger Games always reminded me of Kinji Fukasaku’s movie “Battle Royale” mostly.

  18. Pearl Clutcher says:

    Yea, this blowhard kinda catty of him though to now find the time to disparage others works while hawking his own. I still don’t understand the concept of “his earning the right” to an opinion on this matter it is one he is entitled to as am I to call him a dbag.

  19. Quinn Parker says:

    My husband gave me a rare first edition copy of ‘Carrie’ as a wedding gift…so suffice to say, I love King…but he’s had his clunkers.

    The Hunger Games is based strongly in Greek myth and the rise/fall of the Roman Empire…and to compare it to 50 Shades or Twilight isn’t fair…it is WAYYYYY better written.

    King’s daughter in law is a good writer…her name is Kelly Braffet. Check out her book ‘Josie and Jack’, if you’ve missed it…VERY fun book. And for those Tabitha detractors, if you haven’t read her book ‘Survivor’, I really enjoyed that one- if you care to try her again. :)

  20. mimi says:

    Not surprised about his dislike for Twilight and FSOG but I am surprised he took a swipe at Hunger Games now…unless he’s had a change of heart. It happens. I just don’t like when professionals in the same field trash someone’s work so publicly, whether it’s an actor, singer, writer, athlete…it seems so rude and uncalled for.

    I don’t like the term “mommy porn” either. LOL

  21. jc126 says:

    he’s an incredibly intelligent man.

  22. Dawn says:

    Well I can say that he did not say one word that I disagree with. As for death, something leaves the body at the end. I was with my father and swear I saw a flash of light leave as the doctor pronounced him dead.

  23. Lisa says:

    I’m reading It right now… Guy was on some serious cocaine. It’s a good book, don’t get me wrong, but maaaan does he like to go on. Anyway, as tangential as he is, he’s right about this.

    • Janet says:

      I thought that book was waaaaaayyy too long. He should have sliced it in half and had the kids kill off the monster in the cave once and for all. Instead he had to bring them back 20 years later as adults with a ton of unnecessary baggage (this one’s nagging mother and that one’s abusive husband) that took away from the story line. If he’d kept it simple and ended it with the kids exiting the cave after killing the monster and each going his separate way, it would have been a much more effective book.

      That has been the problem with many of his later books: he piles on so much extra baggage that the general plot gets lost and the book sinks under its own deadweight.

      • Lisa says:

        Cave? Spoiler?! ;) I’m actually almost finished it.

        I thought he really went off the rails with The Talisman. It was like he and Straub didn’t even have an editor, or had one who couldn’t say no, so every idea they had went into the book. I like when he develops side characters like Eddie’s wife-mom. IA with the later books, though. His short stories from Full Dark are good, and so is the Kennedy one. Even 11/63 could have ended sooner than it did.

  24. Aud says:

    I only had to read part [couldn't finish it] of the sample download of 50 Shades via iBookstore, to realise that I couldn’t go on, never mind an entire book worth!
    King has kudos for getting through just one E L James nightmare.
    Still, King should cool it with respect to dissing other writers. He has lost his edge.
    His last two novels, make that three with the Dome, don’t have the same edge as his earlier stuff.

  25. bijlee says:

    …meh I kind of agree about hunger games. I don’t think it’s a particularly well written book. It’s an exciting story, but not a well written one imo.

  26. MissWilso says:

    He’s right about all three of those books, total shit.

  27. Ginger says:

    I’m in complete agreement with him about 50 shades and Twilight. BUT I adored the Hunger Games series very much! I have also read Kings book ” On Writing” and as a photojournalist, a degree holder and student of life…I feel that reading is not only key to writing but curiosity and learning for ones entire life.

    • Skyler10 says:

      Me too, I thought Hunger Games was a great read. 50 Shades was god-awful, I was glad someone loaned the book to me because if I would have shelled out the money for it I’d have kicked myself, lol.

    • buzz says:

      Hunger Games definitely stands head and shoulders above the others. But in that case the author was a writer for television, I believe. So Collins was a professional writer.

      I don’t think Meyer or James purport to be writers. They wrote for themselves and their blog friends. I don’t think we should exclude that kind of “crashing the gates” writing. But I do think today’s popular books are so woefully below the standard of the way books were written 40 and 50 years ago. And we are all the worse for it. People had a classical education and they wrote beautifully.

  28. buzz says:

    Someone on this blog turned me on to On Writing. Since then I have read it many times over. Thanks!

  29. Apsutter says:

    Love King and I used to love his weekly column in Entertainment Weekly. He’s a real pop culture junkie who loves great television and will read anything that he can get his hands on. I agree with his assessment of the state of horror literature. I havent read anything legitimately scary in a long time. I look forward to reading his two new books soon.

    Oh and I’ve always loved his quote comparing Harry Potter to Twilight. It’s so spot on.

  30. Overmind says:

    One thing made me puzzled about The Hunger Games is how the Capital maintains superiority without any kind of heavy firepower whatsoever. Of course, it’s a YA novel for girls. You really don’t wanna read about big guys wielding big guns in big armors in YA novels. Sad.

  31. IceQueen says:

    He’s right about a lot of things. Love his books.

  32. Janet says:

    His novels have gotten so bad I haven’t been able to finish the last 4 or 5 he wrote. But his collections of short stories and novellas are quite good. The problem with King now when he writes long novels is he doesn’t seem to know when or where to stop.

  33. Str8Shooter says:

    This coming from the Executive Producer of Under the Dome?? Which means he oversaw his own (marginal) book being cannibalized and thought it was good?

  34. Renee says:

    As an avid reader I skimmed them at the book store and they are either badly written or not very original. Hunger games reminded me of Running Man as well as another movie I can’t remember the name of. I did watch Hunger Games on the cheap and it wasn’t too bad.

  35. Jenn says:

    Yeah, I wonder why he’d riff on a book that was a take off on one of his. Hmm.
    Hunger Games is also a lot like Battle Royale, which I’m sure others have mentioned.

    I dearly love King’s works. Read them for years. One of his best creations I’ve found seems to be Joe Hill who is as good a writer as his dad. Might be better one day.

  36. lisa2 says:

    I don’t care what any of these people say. The Twilight Zone did it better than anyone.

    But I do love Steven King’s books.

  37. Asdfg says:

    I would love for Stephen King to produce or direct another movie! I love his books and movies! I recently watched his “Silver Bullet”.

  38. Amy says:

    Well he is the King, he can say whatever he wants at this point. I’m with him on Twilight and 50 Shades (couldn’t get past the first few chapters of the first book). I did like Hunger Games though.

    The only books I’ve read by King are On Writing (which is fantastic, any aspiring writer needs to read it), Pet Semetary (which scared the pants off me and I have no desire to see the movie!), and slowly making my way through the Dark Tower series (so far I’ve read the first two books). If there are any other King books that I should read, let me know since I always hear his newer books are not as good as his older stuff.

  39. Quincy says:

    Stephen King is the Dolly Parton of the literary world. He can do, say, write and wear whatever the heck he wants at this point because he is an honest, sincere and strangely likeable guy. Critique away, Uncle Stevie!

  40. kay says:

    Hunger Games and Twilight are young adult books, they were not meant to be brilliant works of fiction. And while Twilight was horribly written, it was Stephanie Meyers first book so I give her a pass.

    Since when is it a crime to read trashy novels or see trashy movies, you know like The Shining.

  41. JustSayin says:

    I love Stephen King, and I totally agree with him about Twilight. Worst books I’ve ever had to force myself to read (promised a friend I’d give them a shot). Never read 50 Shades, but I read an excerpt and it read like it was written by a jr high kid. Wasn’t it originally a Twilight fan-fiction? Probably why it also sucked.

  42. missy says:

    Well he’s 100% right. It’s not like he’s dissing Don Delillo or Cormac McCarthy. He’s dissing crappy writers.

  43. Rux says:

    I’ve read and own still in paperback (closet book hoarder) a lot of his books so I am a fan. After reading his books through many years, I learned that the best way to “read them” is to pretend it is a new writer every time and not compare previous works.

  44. Cletus says:

    SK is one of my favorite authors. I read anything that man writes. I would read a cat food can if he wrote it, and I don’t even have a cat. That being said, there are several of his books that I didn’t care for AT ALL, like Hearts in Atlantis (the second part- ugh) and Lisey’s Story, and a few more. I love his short stories, and I love that he still writes them. I love that he is to the pint in his life where he can take risks and do other stuff and not really be too worried about if people will like it or not- I believe he has earned the right to do that and it has nothing to do with the money he has made, but the way in which he made that money. He has crafted worlds and characters that people love and love to hate, the kind of shit that sticks with a person for a VERY long time. That is what an author SHOULD do, and King does it very well. Yes, he is wordy. If you pick up a SK book you better know that you are in it for the long haul. He’s sort of like Tarrantino, you know… with a whole lot of dialogue and backstory and stuff that isn’t really important to the story if you are only wanting ‘splosions and boobs. Not everyone is into getting into the heads of the characters and find that shit annoying. Personally, I don’t. Reading a book or watching a movie satisfies the voyeur in me- I WANT to know wtf is going on, and why they did that and what did that means and everything. My point is that SK is a gifted writer and if he told me the book I wrote sucked, I would believe him. (and he IS right about 50 Shades and Twilight. That shit is awful. I read the Twi books. I TRIED to get thru 50 Shades because I don’t think I get to critique something unless I have read it. Those books SUCK, y’all. They are BADLY WRITTEN. 50 Shades is the WORST sht I have ever clapped my eyeballs onto- it makes those Harlequin romance novels look like classics in comparison. I can not understand why people like them, unless it is because they have never read any other book before. If all the sex is the draw, that’s fine… but don’t say it’s a great read, please. Just be like “I have no idea what this book is about but there’s this guy who F*&%s this girl LIKE IT’S HIS JOB!” THAT I could see. But “This is great!”?? NO. It’s not great. It’s a buncha crap that should never have been published.

  45. AprilStar says:

    I absolutely am a longtime Stephen King and completed reading my very first SK novel at the tender age of 9. It was IT and I was terrified and hooked! He’s had some that he’s hit out of the park and he’s a few stinkers (with 56 novels, well of course, that’s a given) but I’d have to say that it’s been more hits than misses. I have to actually agree with his criticisms too. I really wanted to like the Hunger Games trilogy but something about the writing and the characterizations just fell flat for me. I really wanted to like Katniss but for the most part I just couldn’t connect with her character and I found the writing just so stilted and abrupt that it was hard to get into. Not to mention that I’d already read Battle Royale before but knowing anything about Hunger Games and I automatically started making connections and I found Battle Royale to be written way better with better characterizations and a more fleshed out world (and the movie is actually better than the Hunger Games movie, it is grittier with a hard R-rating although I did like Hunger Games movie everything was toned down for the PG-13 crowd). I’ve tried reading 50 Shades I don’t know how many times and I cannot get past the first chapter where Ana is doing the office interview. I don’t know what her attitude issue is with the dude when he’s doing nothing but behaving professionally and a person with common sense wouldn’t behave as such so it turns me off AND I can’t see anyone who owns a multi-million dollar company even giving such an irritating person (Ana) like her even a second of his time when she is behaving so badly. I mean, come on…and she’s supposed to be doing an interview for her friend who’s sick and she can’t even act like a civilized adult for a couple of hours? I don’t get it and somehow these people are going to be whipping each other and tying each other up and it’s supposed to be hot? It’s written terribly on the first five pages! My best friend has been pestering me to keep reading and that mess has been sitting on my Kindle for over a year in the same location. I suffered through Twilight for our friendship but I am not going to suffer through a freaking Twilight fanfic on steroids that some mad publishing house decided to produce!

  46. Nedra says:

    He sounds like he’s just becoming a grumpy old man