Stephen King: Pulp or Literature?

Skeleon

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I think it's pulp but I love pulp.
There's nothing wrong with not writing grandiloquent novels.
And, yes, I had to look that word up.
 

Hoki

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Jun 15, 2009
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I'm staring down the cover of Dreamcatcher while writing this. We're talking pure and utter pulp with this novel. I mean, come on. "Shit-weasels"? Really? No.

However, Eyes of the Dragon is a wonderful work of fantasy and honestly leans more toward literature.

Overall, I'd say his writing's trash, but that hasn't stopped me from continuing to read every new book that hits stores. /shame
 

oliveira8

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Altorin said:
to me at least, literature stands the test of time.. and the 30-something years king has been writing isn't enough time... the best "literature" is a hundred years old.. I think that due to the massive volume of his work that there will be some literary gems, and he definitely has some good books that I thoroughly enjoyed (The Green Mile for instance, was a great serial, and I really liked Dreamcatcher and the Mist, novels at least, the movies, unlike Green Mile, were piss).. They may stand up as literature when the time comes.. but as of right now, I can't really call King Literature... Literature doesn't really have anything to do with how good a book is.. or the pedigree of the author (most works of literature of this and the last century were written by drug addled fiends).. it has to do with the staying power of the work.. classics like Frankenstein, Dracula, Adventure Island, and even older works like Dantes Inferno, Paradise Lost and Shaharazade are literature..

In time, maybe King will prove to have the staying power of those authors.. I have a feeling he will, mainly because he's written so much.
I don't think it needs to be old to be called literature.

George R.R. Martin work is already considered Master Pieces in Fantasy and A Song of Ice and Fire just over 10 year old.

A book to stand to the test of time earns the right to be called a Classic Literature. A book that its great today is called literature.

Also theres been plenty of authors and works that been rescued by other people.

Lovecreaft and Robert E. Howard are two examples, of two big authors that only achieved greatness 20-30 years after their works were published.

King and an extensive library of crap, good and greatness. The great stuff will survive and the rest will be forgotten. Also he left a big mark on cinema, Tv and literature that he will not be forgotten.

He will stand to the test of time.
 

xxDarlenexx

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Dec 24, 2008
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The only thing that I've been able to read of his all the way through is The Shining. For some reason that book REALLY grabbed me.

You'll always find people that are against your taste. If he entertains you and his writing speaks to you then go ahead and read it. No one's going to call the "literature" police on you.


There's a saying that goes, "Classics are books that everyone praises but nobody ever reads" [sic] So read what you like.
 

TwistedEllipses

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Nov 18, 2008
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It's already been said, but I'll say it again. It's both.

He can really churn them out, but occasionally he comes with something great. That hasn't happened for a while to be honest though...
 

pigeon_of_doom

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Feb 9, 2008
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I'd say pulp, although I also brand writers like Lovecraft in that category. The guys a pop-cultural monolith, but I don't think his novels have the depth or lasting relevance that will see them become classics. Or the impenetrable artistic sensibilities that still have people studying the penguin classics range. While I quite enjoy some of his stuff, despite his many flaws, I don't think of his work as anything more than pulp.

I don't know what the influence he's had some other posters have referred to is meant to be. Although perhaps it's just so widespread now that I just never attribute it to him. But an influence on horror fiction is hardly on par with Virginia Woolf's influence is it?
 

cartzo

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Horticulture said:
cartzo said:
quote: popular things are popular for a reason, because their good.
http://www.westportlibrary.org/teenblog/images/twilight_book_cover.jpg
or because the target market is teenage girls.

(p.s. i have never been so pissed off with a reply)
 

Elivercury

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Hahaha, i hate to say it, but owned.

But on topic, i can't say i've read enough of kings works to make a fully informed opinion, having only read 3 of the gunslinger series (that was the name of the dark tower onwards books right?) and seen some of his films on TV.

But i agree he's made a very worthy commitment to literature even if not all his books are fantastic. I mean, i'm sure shakespear didn't have a 100% success rate either. But the ones that were good have stood the test of time, and probably even a couple that weren't so good.
 

high_castle

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He's both. He went through a period where he could write almost anything and sell it. But his early work especially was very good. Carrie, 'Salem's Lot, The Shining, Green Mile, and The Stand are well remembered today. They had a deeper meaning and a strong message to them. Because literature comes in the guise of horror does not make it less valuable.

Another one who gets this treatment is Philip K. Dick. He wrote what some consider to be trashy SF novels, but he wrote a lot of them. And while some are rather cheesy or out-there, a great many actually reflect on the themes of humanity, reality, and identity. I took a course on Dick's books as literature, wherein the professor argued he should stand with Hemingway and Steinbeck on one of the top American authors. Not that this view is shared by many, and mentions of his name bring up looks of confusion from the average layperson.
 

joystickjunki3

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Nov 2, 2008
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I consider him and his works a combination of the two.

On top of that, he does not, and possibly can't, limit his verbosity because he refuses to use adverbs as much as he can.
 

Guitarmasterx7

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Mar 16, 2009
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cartzo said:
quote: popular things are popular for a reason, because their good.
First of all, there's a "sometimes" at the beginning of that quote.
Second, off the top of my head
Fred, Twilight, Nigahiga, Jonas Brothers, the whole emo subculture, Recent Sonic games, Rap, Paris Hilton, Shia Lebuff, Lindsay Lohan, I could continue all day.

On topic, Stephen King is much too wordy for me. Books in general I find myself getting bored with because too much text is wasted on descriptions, and honestly I just don't give a shit. I care about who's there, what's happening, and the setting only to the point of "Night club" or "New York city street." Matt Reilly's "Temple" is the ideal amount of description to me. It's got about 20% Description, 30% dialogue, 50% action. The average book is probably about 50% description, 30% dialogue, 20% action. A Stephen King book has about 90% description and useless backstory, 7% dialogue, 3% action. 1000+ pages for what could have easily been accomplished just as well in under 300.
 

oliveira8

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pigeon_of_doom said:
I'd say pulp, although I also brand writers like Lovecraft in that category. The guys a pop-cultural monolith, but I don't think his novels have the depth or lasting relevance that will see them become classics. Or the impenetrable artistic sensibilities that still have people studying the penguin classics range. While I quite enjoy some of his stuff, despite his many flaws, I don't think of his work as anything more than pulp.

I don't know what the influence he's had some other posters have referred to is meant to be. Although perhaps it's just so widespread now that I just never attribute it to him. But an influence on horror fiction is hardly on par with Virginia Woolf's influence is it?
You talking about Lovecraft right?

Well Lovecraft was pulp fiction, his works were edited in pulp fiction magazines and for almost half a century he was a pulp fiction writer.

Till someone started to compile his work and stuff it became literature.

But he is the Master of Horror.(Some will say Edgar Allen Poe but I prefer Lovecreaft) Lovecraft work is based on the primal instinc of humankind. Fear.

He also created the genre Cosmic Terror and the Cthulhu Mythos. He explored alot the "fear of the unknowed" and he is still the best in that genre.

His work of binding science fiction, fantasy and supernatural influenced alot of people(writers/film makers/etc) like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, John Carpenter, Peter Jackson, Guillerme del Toro, Clive Barker, Robert Bloch and many others.

His work still has a huge impact today.

The ironic part is that Lovecraft hated pretty much everything he wrote.
 

pigeon_of_doom

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Feb 9, 2008
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oliveira8 said:
You talking about Lovecraft right?
Sorry to invalidate pretty much your entire post, but I was talking about King. I appreciate Lovecraft's influence. Thanks for the explanation anyway.
 

RRilef

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Jan 5, 2009
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If its good why condemn it? Right now I'm reading The Dark Tower and I have to say, it is one of the best series I've read. It's my first experience to King, but according to his commercial success I have to say at least some of his books should be considered literature. Not to mention the amount of authors he has had an effect on.

And if you can condemn King for being too verbose how can anyone even consider Charles Dickens a good writer. Maybe, just maybe he had good storylines, but from what I read they are too piled under a bunch of words and bullshit that you can't understand a damn thing thats happening without looking up from the page every second or so to comprehend the massive amount of words you took in.
 

quiet_samurai

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If your friends don't like him then they don't have to read his works, fuck em. I like Steven King because his wording and phrases are different, he's a very down to earth writer and transfers the way some people actually talk onto pages which makes the reading experience more real. Not everyone is a Steinbeck or in the horror genre a Lovecraft. He has his own style and obviously people like it. I really like the way he sets up his horror, and the way characters react to it seems very realistic to me. It's just the fact that he's one of the most popular and successfull writers of all time is why people don't like him. Look at Twilight, the first book has been out since 2004-05 and only in the past year it has been hated. All because of it's extreme popularity.