Archives for: December 2010
Ron Howard obsesses over Dark Tower dreams
It looks like it's finally going to happen!!!! -- Roland and the Dark Tower are coming to a big (and small screen) near you. Director Ron Howard is scheming and dreaming while I write this, and has been for well over a year now, all in the hopes of doing King's magnum opus justice. It's a daunting (not to mention terrifying) task considering the source material spans seven books and nearly 4000 pages (and that doesn't include the concordances, graphic novels, short stories, novellas, and poetry dedicated to Roland's world). In these seven books King creates a sprawling, genre-defying edifice that's a heady mash-up of science fiction, fantasy, western, and horror, unfolding upon a post-apocalyptic landscape in a world that has long since "moved on".
The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.
It was enough to discourage Lost creator J.J. Abrams, who walked away from the project some time ago justifiably intimidated. Not so Ron Howard and writing / producing partners Brian Grazer and Akiva Goldsman. They are on board full passion steam ahead, with King himself enthusiastically along for the ride. The roll out plan seems to be that Howard will direct the first film and then the first season of a tie-in television series, both of which Goldsman will write. Two more films would follow. Read full article here.
Ahhhhhh!!! I can't believe it ... part of me is so excited, but part of me is absolutely petrified they're gonna screw it up. It's not just the world building they've gotta get right - that would be tough enough to pull off credibly (and please avoid overdosing on CGI slickness!), it's the casting that will make or break this project. Who will play Roland? While many will argue he is now way too old, I still long to see Clint Eastwood step into the Gunslinger's scuffed boots. Even in his twilight years, I have full confidence that Dirty Harry can pull off mature, wise, mean Roland, merciless and calculating Roland, courageous and flawed, cool and temperamental. Who better to play a literary icon than a film legend?
Other names being thrown about include Viggo Mortensen, Daniel Craig, and heaven forbid, Kurt Russell. Then there's the casting of Susannah and Eddie Dean to consider ... not to mention uber-villain Flagg, the man in black himself!
If you want to keep up with all the news coming out fast and furious about these projects, refer to Lilja's Library Dark Tower page here -- the best, most comprehensive Stephen King website around.
Find the complete Dark Tower series in the RPL catalogue:
The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I
The Drawing of the Three: The Dark Tower II
The Waste Lands: The Dark Tower III
Wizard and Glass: The Dark Tower IV
Wolves of the Calla: The Dark Tower V
Song of Susannah: The Dark Tower VI
The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower VII
Judge a book by its cover (December 2010)
Even though we're told we never should, I love judging books by their covers, and here's one that caught my immediate attention! When I first saw that antique "English" carriage, all I could think of was Rosemary's Baby. When I read what it was about -- changelings and the dark underworld called "Gentry" I was reminded of the film Labyrinth. Either way, I definitely want to read this!!
The Replacement (2010)
by Brenna Yovanoff
Mackie Doyle is not one of us. Though he lives in the small town of Gentry, he comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is fighting to survive in the human world.
Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass or spend time with his crush, Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place, in our world, or theirs
RPL wishes you a very scary Christmas!
A Special Place: The Heart of a Dark Matter (2010)
by Peter Straub
Young Keith Hayward idolizes his charming, charismatic Uncle Till. When Keith's mother asks Till to talk to Keith after the boy is found dismembering a dead cat, Till recognizes a kindred spirit and begins to instruct Keith on smart, secret ways to pursue his evil endeavors. As the years pass, Keith grows older and bolder in his sadistic pleasures, and when Till comes back into town, Keith finds the perfect way to impress him. Vivid but never overly graphic or grotesque, Straub's words paint horrific pictures of two depraved men. The violence is minimal, but understood in the most subtle of ways. This beautifully horrifying, delightfully disturbing tale of a family tree of evil will stay with the reader long after the last page is done (Publisher's Weekly Starred Review)
by Mira Grant
Large, sprawling, detailed world building delivered with a punch to the solar plexis. If zombies are your thing, then don't miss this above-average romp that distinguished itself from the pack this year.
The good news: we survived. The bad news: so did they.
The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beat the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED.
Full Dark No Stars (2010) by Stephen King
The master of the macabre is back with this chilling collection of four spine-tingling novellas that downplay the supernatural and focus on the jagged edges of real world fears. Ordinary people forced to make extraordinary choices and the horrible consequences that follow ... curl up tight under a warm blanket with a mug of hot chocolate ... you are in for a holiday treat you won't soon forget!!!
by Jack Ketchum
Ketchum is not for the faint of heart. His books are white-knucklers that go straight for the jugular. But if you like your horror horrific, then you simply must give Ketchum a try. Joyride (2010) was previously published as Road Kill (1995)
Hoping to escape from her abusive ex-husband, a woman and her lover successfully carry out their plot to murder him, only to find themselves at the mercy of an obsessive, twisted stranger who witnessed the crime.
The Killing Kind (2010)
by Bryan Smith
In the tradition of a 1980's slasher flick, Bryan Smith offers up a truly grisly tale that will keep you reading long after midnight. Fans of Richard Laymon and Jack Ketchum will not want to miss this thrilling ride of terror and carnage!
A group of college friends are ready for a week of partying at their rented beach house. They didn’t count on a pair of homicidal maniacs crashing the party.
by Douglas Clegg
...a southern gothic tale of family secrets and games of innocence turned to darkness.
Neverland has a secret history, unknown to the children....The rundown shack in the woods is the key to an age-old mystery, a place forbidden to all. But Sumter and his cousins gather in its dusty shadows to escape the tensions at their grandmother's house. Neverland becomes the place where children begin to worship a creature of shadows, which Sumter calls "Lucy."
....It begins with small sacrifices, little games, strange imaginings. While Sumter's games spiral out of control, twisting from the mysterious to the macabre, a nightmarish presence rises among the straggly trees beyond the bluffs overlooking the sea.
Update: Dark Towers
Supposedly, former actor turned mega director Ron Howard is in talks to adapt Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Supposedly there will feature films as well as a TV series.
Hmmm...I think I might hear shouts of joy coming from a couple of staff members.
How 'bout some thinking, feeling zombies?
Dust (2010) New!
by Joan Frances Turner
A zombie book told from the p.o.v of the zombies? Okay, I'll bite...
Reviews on this one have been mixed, but some people are raving. It's gory, gooshy, zombie fun and a whole new take on the genre.
Nine years ago, Jessie was in a car crash and died. Nine years ago, Jessie was human.
Now, she’s not.
After she was buried, Jessie awoke and tore through the earth to arise, reborn, as a zombie. Jessie’s gang is the Fly-by-Nights.... She’s in love with Joe, a maggot-infested corpse. They fight, hunt, dance together as one—something humans can never understand. There are dark places humans have learned to avoid, lest they run into the zombie gangs.
But now, Jessie and the Fly-by-Nights have seen new creatures in the woods—things not human and not zombie. A strange new illness has flamed up out of nowhere, causing the undeads to become more alive and the living to exist on the brink of death (Book Description)
In the dark with Stephen King
Full Dark, No Stars
by Stephen King
... in the dark with Stephen King ... there ain't no place I'd rather be!!
If you really want to give the gift of the heebie-jeebies this holiday season, then you really want to make sure your loved one has a copy of Stephen King's four new novellas waiting for them under the Christmas tree.
The title really sets up the collection well -- make no mistake, these are dark tales, in places gruesome and hard to read. All of these stories feature ordinary characters forced to make awful choices. What choices! And this is why I love King -- he'll find the horror -- the real, true, white-knuckling, knee-buckling horror -- in the most ordinary of places amongst the most ordinary of people. His scariest stories are often the ones you know could really happen.
In the Afterword, King writes:
I want to provoke an emotional, even visceral, reaction in my readers. Making them think as they read is not my deal...if the tale is good enough and the characters vivid enough, thinking will supplant emotion [only] when the tale has been told and the book set aside.
If that is his goal, he succeeds brilliantly here because when in the fierce, unrelenting grip of these stories you are not thinking, but feeling -- terror and repulsion mostly. It's a visceral experience all right. In places I was sucked into an almost fugue state where I forgot to breathe, because I was in the story, as if it were happening to me rather than as a third-party voyeur safely removed from the action. These stories will haunt me, as will the choices contained therein.
1922: Beware the Conniving Man!!! This story has lots of gooshy parts and if you have a rat phobia, it may just land you in a straight jacket. What is it with King and abandoned wells? ::shiver:: So how far would you go to get your way? To maintain your life as you know it? When is someone worth more to you dead than alive? What I love most about this story is that it shows getting what you want often comes with too heavy a price tag -- it's the Monkey's Paw conundrum.
Big Driver: This was my least favourite of the four, if only because of the subject matter -- rape and vigilantism. It's a simple story, with a fairly predictable ending. Where the story's strength lies is in King's exploration of rape victim psychology. How Tess feels and reacts to what happens to her is how I imagine a lot of women think and feel in that situation. I hope I never have to find out. This one is a real nail-biter though, total edge of your seat stuff.
Fair Extension: The shortest of the four, but wicked and horrible. It's the classic Deal with the Devil scenario, but unlike you've ever seen it. What if all the things you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy, suddenly befell them at your behest? I think the most shocking part of this story for me isn't that Dave Streeter makes the deal, but that he becomes so gleefully accepting of the fallout. Not once is there a twinge of guilt. What does Streeter do? Pull up a front row seat and watch it all unfold up close and personal.
A Good Marriage: While Lisey's Story will remain King's final, beautiful, haunting word on marriage, this novella shares some worthy insights too, both soft and jagged. You can know someone, but you can never really know them. Is it possible to keep a secret from the one person who knows you and loves you best? You bet. This is my favourite of the four novellas, and I think the perfect choice to end the book. It's archetypal horror - Pandora's Box and Bluebeard are mentioned in its pages and with good reason. Is it better to know, or not to know? When presented with a secret, do we snoop or let sleeping dogs lie? When we snoop, and what we find is so horrific, what is our moral duty? Legal responsibility? To our children? To our society? I don't know what I would do in Darcy Anderson's position. Even when she went poking into that box, my heart was pounding. I was truly terrified by what she was going to find, and since I was feeling and not thinking, I was totally shocked by what she did find. In the moments leading up to the revelation, I was in no position to guess. I had to keep remembering to breathe!!!
-Trudi "The Cryptkeeper"