Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Getting Back Into King

We had the first reading of the scripts for The Blood Brothers Present on Monday night and rehearsals are now underway. I had a fun time hearing the other entries, particularly Qui's and Mac's entries, Quitter's, Inc. and In the Deathroom (respectively). I just sent in my cuts and amendments for my entry, Nona, to Patrick, which seem to meet with his approval.

In the meantime, starting this project has inspired me to reread King's epic, The Stand, which I have read twice before (but the last time was when I was in junior high or so, if I recall). I have to say, it still holds up. At first, I was a bit apprehensive at his (what I first found to be) excessive detail: the point of the first chapter is to introduce Stu Redman, the dying Charles Campion and how his crashing into Hap's gas station triggers the outbreak of the superflu. So did we really need a complete geneology of Stu's family history? (With this huge tome on my lap, I knew I would not remember where Stu's brother lives or what he did for a living five pages later.) However, that apprehension blew away by the second chapter.

And, for a book that's nearly 1,200 pages, it flies.

I'm not the fastest reader, but I just read 200 pages in one sitting like it was nothing. Even with roughly 20 or so major characters, the narrative is never cramped or confused. Each segment blends in seamlessly with the others (which was the exact opposite way I felt with-please forgive me, Isaac-Philip Pullman's The Amber Spyglass. Just when I'm wrapping up Nick Andros's dilemma with the rednecks who beat him up and robbed him in Arkansas, I'm wondering how ole' Larry Underwood is doing in New York and lo and behold, the next chapter gives me just that.

So, yeah. Damn fine read.

I think I've mentioned this before, but I'll mention it again. Stephen King was one of my first favorite authors (Isaac Asimov was another). His work was the first I would buy in hardcover as soon as it would come out: no checking out at the library, no waiting for paperback. Rereading The Stand (as well as flipping through some of the stories in Everything's Eventual and On Writing), I've been reminded why I love King's writing...

(despite some annoying literary ticks he has, such as his ultra-folksy walk-on characters and his tendency to be hyperbolic with the good and evil qualities of his heroes and villains)

...and how his work got me to love reading in general.

I'm looking forward to reading the rest of The Stand, and with this production, looking forward to seeing how people like our adaptations of his shorter work.

A total fanboy,

James "Trashcan Man" Comtois

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4 Comments:

Blogger John said...

I know that two hundred years from now, if anyone is still around, they'll be reading Stephen King. Delillo and Updike will join Thackeray and Eliot on that high, dusty shelf of "important" books, but King will still be in paperback.

Or cyber-neuro insta-transmission, whatever they have in those future days.

11:42 AM  
Blogger Jamespeak said...

Oh, most definitely, John. As Andrew O'Heir once wrote in his Salon.com article on King, "...no one I know has ever stayed up until 4 a.m., knuckles white and breath coming in shallow gulps, because they had to finish Gravity's Rainbow."

11:51 AM  
Blogger Aaron Riccio said...

Did you know that Robert Aguirre-Sacasa is working on a comic-book adaptation of "The Stand"? Probably to go right beside those graphic novel versions of "The Dark Tower." (Jae Lee... so cool.)

6:09 PM  
Blogger Jamespeak said...

I did not! Oh, hot dog! That would be "The Tits," as Abe Goldfarb would say...

3:48 PM  

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