Stephen King, the king of horror, is back in popular culture, with the remake of IT and now Pet Cemetery 2 set to hit the big screen again, April 24th 2019, 30 years and 3 days after the initial release.
If you’re a fan of his writing you’ve probably been along for the ride since you could pick up a book and read. If you know nothing about Stephen King’s novels other than that many of them have been turned into movies, miniseries and TV shows. You should know that King has been hailed as one of the most visually explicit writers of all time. He takes the time to describe everything within a room, so that you may fully immerse yourself within the environment that he has created. For many of his readers they will say that the movies very closely resemble what they pictured in their minds as they read the books. This also has a lot to do with the fact that King in the past has worked very closely with the writers on the screenplays and TV adaptations. When King wrote first wrote Carrie he initially threw it away, telling his wife Tabitha that he didn’t feel like he know enough about being a teenage girl to appropriately write the novel or to do the titular character any justice. Thankfully Tabitha saved his book from the trash, and encouraged him to continue working on it, to send it out and let the publishers decide the books fate. Carrie became King’s first ever published novel. With many of his movies being remade and even other books being brought to the big screen, I thought we should take a moment and get to know some of his lesser known books out of the 87 that he’s written as himself or his pseudonym Richard Bachman.
The Long Walk 1979 : While this was not his first novel published it was the first novel that he ever wrote as he started working on it while he was still in college. Follow the journey of a boy in a world where boys can compete to set their families up for a life without a need in the world. The only catch is to win this prize, you must travel down the east coast from the Maine/Canada border until you’re the last one standing, all whilst maintaining a speed of 4 mph. The story is told from the perspective of Raymond Davis Garraty, a 16 year old boy, who gives us glimpses into the history of the walk and past contestants and winners. Do you have what it takes to compete?
Rose Madder 1995 Rose Daniels needs to get away from her mentally and physically abusive policeman husband before he kills her. In doing so she finds herself in a Midwestern town with the little money that she was able to stash away over the 9 years she was with her husband. As she gets off of the bus, she meets a kind stranger who recognizes the battered woman syndrome, that she has and he directs her to a women’s shelter. Rose settles into her new surroundings and even meets someone at the same thrift store where she finds an intriguing painting that seems to depict another world. She soon finds out that the painting IS another world, and she travels back and forth, to escape the hardships that she faces as her previous life comes back to haunt her. Why lies beyond the oil paint and cavas?
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon 1999 Trisha and he family set out on a hiking trip, her brother and mother have been and continue to bicker about her divorce from their father. Annoyed by this Trisha hangs back and ends up getting separated from her family. She tries to find them but ends up slipping down an embankment, getting further lost in the forest. She has a few things in her bag to survive a bottle of water, twinkies, a boiled egg, a tuna sandwich, a bottle of Surge (remember it’s the 90’s), a poncho, a Game Boy and a Walkman. To keep track of the search for her and to hear about her favorite baseball player, Tom Gordon, she listens to her Walkman. She soon finds herself rationing her food and fighting with forest spirits or hallucinations brought on by starvation and sickness. Trisha starts seeing Tom Gordon encouraging her to keep fighting, and to keep going. Does Trisha ever find her way out of the forest? Are the spirits chasing her real or in her mind?
Lisey’s Story 2006 After her novelist husband dies, Lisey is tasked with cleaning out her husband’s office, in doing so she is faced with her husband’s past. His family has a history of mental illness that presents in mania or murder. Which is what drives her husband to write, his fans are hooked on every word he writes, one fan even more so. One fan takes their obsession with her husband to an extreme to the point of terrorizing her. There’s only so much that can be taken before someone breaks, can Lisey survive?
Each one of these stories have been looked at for either movies or TV adaptations, but they’ve yet to take off, but with the advent of independent streaming services like Netflix and Hulu we may see more of Stephen King’s novel making it to the screen. Over the years many of the titles that King has written have been made for TV and film, King plans to continue to write until he can’t anymore. He has recently written a book with his son Owen King, Sleeping Beauties 2017, while I’ve yet to read this novel it does seem to be a good read as it reached #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. With a second generation of writer’s coming from the King household, we can only hope that his son is as prolific and imaginative as his father.
What is your favorite Stephen King novel?
Written by Nishelle, “N.R.D.” for uncannynerd.com