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Stephen King & James Herbert


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I have read many of both authors books & I have found some of Stephen Kings books great. IT, The Stand, Needful Things, Hearts in Atlantis have been veery good but some just seem to falter esp From a Buick 8. I just could not get into it. King can be very descriptive at times which can make dull reading.

 

James Herbert hs produced some good books too but his last three or four have been poor. I hope we will see improvement from both authors soon.

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I would not consider myself a "horror" fan, but Stephen King is among my favourite authors. I have mentioned on other threads how good the Dark Tower series is, and I have enjoyed all of his books that I have read (which is not all of them). I found a couple to be slightly less enjoyable - The Dark Half and Needful Things - but am currently on Bag of Bones which works on so many levels - mystery, romance, horror - utterly brilliant.

 

As I have said before, I don't consider SK to be a horror writer as such. It's a label he got saddled with in the 70s following Salem's Lot and Carrie. For the last 20 years, his writing has been consistently clever, touching always on a number of genres. It's interesting to note that he is one of the most written-about authors on BGO (not always because of me, I hasten to add!).

 

As for Herbert, I'm afraid I gave up after Lair many years ago. It felt as if he had found his formula and was determined to stick with it. Have I been missing out?

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I have read many of both authors books & I have found some of Stephen Kings books great. IT, The Stand, Needful Things, Hearts in Atlantis have been veery good but some just seem to falter esp From a Buick 8. I just could not get into it. King can be very descriptive at times which can make dull reading.

 

I listened to "From a Buick 8" on audiobook last year. It was bought to life a little bit by using different voices for each of the book's multiple narrators. Might be worth trying to get your library to order it.

 

I enjoy King (I've also read "It", "The Stand", "Rose Madder", some of his short fiction plus I'm midway through Volume 3 of "The Dark Tower") and I think he spins a good yarn, although his editor seems a bit spineless - those I've read wouldn't suffer from a bit of trimming here and there. Having said that, I'm on my 3rd 1,000+ pages novel of his, maybe the shorter ones are a bit tauter. I suppose the feeling is that a man who's sold the quantity of books he has must be doing something right.

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After reading IT I went mad & bought a lot of King but some are just not the same. The endings are so wierd at times even IT & Needful Things was a bit pants!

 

48 by Herbert is a chase Novel. Nobody True was excellent but took some getting into. Not a great fan of charatcers narrating the story.

CJ

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  • 2 weeks later...

I loved James Herbert when I was a teenager, stories like The Dark and The Fog used to keep me awake well into the early hours! For the same reason I used to read all of Shaun Hutsons books, lots of graphic horror and an easy read (although he deviated from that in his later books and turned into more of a thriller writer).

 

Stephen King feels more 'grown up' these days, compared to his earlier stories like Carrie. He takes his time to set the scene and give the reader a sense of atmosphere and character, something that I never felt I got from Herbert or Hutson. I wouldn't have cut a single word from The Dark Tower series, in fact I'd be happy if it went on for another 7 books!

 

Horses for courses obviously, but I prefer a storyteller like King to a easy read like Herbert.

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  • 2 months later...

Over the past 25 years I have read everything that SK has written, also the vast majority of JH, if not all. And I feel tha t these two are so different. I agree with My Friend Jack that SK is not a 'horror' story writer, his work is far too intelligent and involved for that. Thats not to say that everything he has written is that good, Pet Sematary (sic) was awful, but the odd turkey is more than made up for in the vast majority of his other stories. His magnum opus is without doubt the wonderful Dark Tower series. I find it so fascinating that with the amount of work he has produced that many of his tales are inter-connected, Low Men in Yellow Coats, Insomnia, Little Sisters of Eluria, the DT series, The Stand and etc. all have connecting themes. These include the two books he collaborated on with Peter Straub, the Talisman and Black House. All that and he has written the story and the screen plays for two of the best adaptations of short stories to reach the big screen, with 'The Body' ( Stand by Me) and 'Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption' ( the name of that film is obvious). As must be totally obvious, I am a big fan of SK.

 

As for JH he is readable but not in the same league as SK. His stories are far more simple and uncomplicated, he is a true master of the horror genre.

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  • 1 year later...

.............or did anyone else find that the voice in your head that went with 'Dolores Claiborne' was so irritating that I couldn't read the book. I have most of Stephen King's books on my shelf, but had to give this one away as it annoyed the hell out of me. Everytime i looked at it the voice kept coming back to haunt me..............

 

............hey, that sounds like a good theme for a book of my own.

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Welcome to BGO, Ian, I do like your 'signature'! It would be good if you could post a few words in the 'introductions' thread in Central Library to tell us a bit about yourself, and your taste in books...or is it all 'Horror'?

the voice in your head that went with 'Dolores Claiborne' was so irritating that I couldn't read the book
It must be pretty awful trying to read a book written in one voice when you hate the sound of that voice in your head! What a pity you couldn't finish it, it's worth doing.

 

Mind you, as Dolores Claiborne is the only SK I have read, that opinion may be at variance with that of SK fans. I understand that it is unlike most of his other books, and I wouldn't class it as 'Horror'

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  • 3 weeks later...

Regarding Herbert, I think he has peaked and is in decline. I've read a few of his recent books, being Others, '48 and got about five pages into Nobody True before deciding it wasn't worth the time. My favourite novel by him was Haunted and it's the novel I feel he is yet to surpass and no doubt never will. The unnecessary sequel, The Ghosts Of Sleath, was dire.

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Exactly what I thought after reading Rats, Lair and The Fog, some... oh, 25 to 30 years ago?

 

So you never got round to Domain then? Me neither. The Magic Cottage was alright - I have a happy memory of that. I tried Once... but it bored me. Fluke I barely remember. And, looking over a list of his novels, I don't remember reading more than a bit of some others (Moon, Creed, Portent).

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  • 2 weeks later...

I said in a previous post that James Herbert was a master of the horror genre. While I stand by my opinion of Stephen King, I think he is much, much more than a horror writer. I have had to revise my opinion of James Herbert. I have not read Herbert for a long time. Now I know why. I have just finished the dreadful Secret of Crickley Hall. Now that was bad. Rubbish,threadbare plot, unlikeable family. Full of cliche, formula and really repetitive language. I am not entirely sure if this is a new novel or an old one that I somehow missed when I did read quite a lot of Herberts books. I suppose my tastes may well have matured since then, or perhaps it is as has been said in earlier posts that Herbert has somewhat 'lost the plot'. I certainly will not be reading anymore of his books.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have just finished reading The Secret at Crickley Hall and I am afriad I would have to disagree.

I found a deeply interesting book, simply because the types of things that those children suffered could have been true events during the War. It made it more disturbing for me due to the fact that there really could be a house down in the South that actually harbours these secrets.

I thought that James Herbert did a very good book and would be one I would not regret reading again.

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I think I've mentioned in a previous post that I thought Stephen King has forgotten how to end a story, but I've not mentioned my opinion on James Herbert.

 

His early novels are brilliant e.g. his 'Rats' trilogy is fantastic. However, reading his later novels it is so obvious he wants them made into films - mentioning crows cawing and thunder and lightning in stereotypically tense and frightening moments. This detracts from clever ideas and takes his novels off the A-list and sends them careering down into the N- or O-lists; shame but that's the truth.

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I belive it's true that the books he has written recently could very easily be made into films...it's quiet upsetting to know...but it makes me laugh to think of someone trying to get The Dark through certification if it ever was made into a film!

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For me Herbert was always a master of the horror book. I loved The Rats and Domain, although the latter kind of gave me the odd nightmare afterwards (I was 16 when i read it). I also really liked "The Magic Cottage" which seemed to have a bit more structure and maturity in there compared to his earlier novels.. Still he will live on as one this country's best horror writers in my book. :)

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Hi Hazel,

Be careful with sticking in promotional links. I'm new on here and had my first post scrubbed because some moderator seemed to think i was promoting a book i read claiming i either wrote it or knew who did. Incidently do you know SK, it would be cool..(although i doubt he would need someone on here to promote his books!!)

 

;)

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Hi Hazel,

Be careful with sticking in promotional links. I'm new on here and had my first post scrubbed because some moderator seemed to think i was promoting a book i read claiming i either wrote it or knew who did.

Hi Cobboldblue, in case it slipped your attention, I am a mod on this site and I know the rules re promotion - but thanks for the heads up.
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I know ;)

I was making a slight joke since i have been labelled as some kind of sales person or author since posting a recommendation as one of my first posts (it got scrubbed as you know) I wish i was as talented as some in the writing department, it would be a good occupation to have if you could make a living from it. Alas all i did was look for a new forum to join. I think i made the mistake of not posting in the new members thread first but to be honest i didn't see it to start with and posted a recommendation as a start to get me going. I think me and David haven't got off to the best start, still it can only get better can't it and worse I'll get locked off the site. :rolleyes:

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