Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Stephen King Scorecard - Rating His Later Works

Three years ago, this blog did a post titled, "Stephen King in a Slump?" This was a rating of King's more recent work, finding some of it weak or worse. At that time, we reluctantly asked the question: Could Stephen King still write a really good horror or paranormal novel to match some of the great ones from his earlier career? Or was his best stuff behind him?

But then ...

Then Mr. King, in short order, uncorked two massive reads that can stand with the best of all his work: Under the Dome and 11/22/63. As a fan of King's writing and his amazing creative production over four decades, we offer kudos to him for finding his groove once again in such spectacular fashion.

Herewith, our updated scorecard for King's major works since 1998. (Note list does not include the Dark Tower series)

Pure Classics, no argument: Under the Dome, 11/22/63. These two are King writing at his red-line, hammer-down best. See this blog's past posts for full reviews of these novels.

Pretty Good Stuff: Bag of Bones, Everything's Eventual (collection), Mile 81 (Kindle book). Most of this material is mainstream supernatural horror, where King still shines. Entertaining, fun reads.

Just Okay: Just After Sunset, Full Dark, No Stars (both collections). No real knock-out stories here, but some interesting, offbeat angles.

Pretty Awful: Dreamcatcher, From a Buick 8, Cell, Duma Key. Please Mr. King, no more dumbness like killer cell phones, possession by evil aliens, or pirate ghost ships. Let's just pretend none of that ever happened.

All of which only shows that a writer who produces as much new material as Stephen King is bound to have some uneven work along the way. But given the contribution this author has made in his career over the decades, especially to the Horror fiction genre, we can readily forgive him that.

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