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Goodbye, Tobe Hooper

(January 25, 1943 – August 26, 2017)

Iconic horror film director Tobe Hooper

Iconic horror film director Tobe Hooper passed away yesterday at the age of 74 from natural causes. He is best known for the classics Texas Chain Saw Massacre and Poltergeist and the television adaptation of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot. A highly respected director, Hooper also worked in television, directing episodes of Freddy’s Nightmares, Tales from the Crypt, and Masters of Horror, as well as the music video for Billy Idol’s “Dancing With Myself.”

The horror community took to Twitter to remember the genius that was Tobe Hooper…

Word counts

A Separate PeaceA writer writes, right? If you’re going to be a writer (or better yet, an author), you need to know what you’re getting yourself into. Want to write a novel? You need some idea of how many words you need to put on the page. As John Knowles wrote in A Separate Peace, “There was no harm in taking aim, even if the target was a dream.”

What follows is a list of fairly well-known books and word counts, from least to most. Some are classics, others are more recent productions. Make of it what you will.


George Orwell Animal Farm 29,060
John Steinbeck Of Mice and Men 29,572
Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 46,118
F Scott Fitzgerald The Great Gatsby 47,094
John Knowles A Separate Peace 56,787
William Golding Lord of the Flies 59,900
Nathaniel Hawthorne The Scarlet Letter 63,604
Aldous Huxley Brave New World 63,766
Alice Walker The Color Purple 66,556
John Green The Fault in Our Stars 67,203
John Green Looking for Alaska 69,023
Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 69,066
JK Rowling Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone 77,508
Ransom Riggs Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children 84,898
Rick Riordan The Lightning Thief 87,223
George Orwell Nineteen Eighty-Four 88,942
Harper Lee To Kill a Mockingbird 100,388
Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn 109,571
Henry David Thoreau Walden 114,634
Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities 135,420
Stephen King Pet Sematary 141,912
John Steinbeck The Grapes of Wrath 169,481
JK Rowling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows 198,227
JK Rowling Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix 257,154
Stephen King It 437,781

Random Awesomeness (part 208)

Random Awesomeness

Purchase Quiet Riot – Live At The US Festival 1983.

The Stephen King Companion by George Beahm (2015)

Stephen King Companion

The Stephen King Companion
by George Beahm
Thomas Dunne Books, 2015
590 pages

There are few modern authors whose names are immediately recognizable to such a broad audience as Stephen King. Widely considered the greatest horror writer of this generation, King’s novels are eagerly devoured by fans young and old, and the movies based on his books are always among the most anticipated. In The Stephen King Companion, George Beahm chronicles King’s life from his very early, pre-published years, all the way up to his most recent release, Revival. Before getting to King’s first published novel, Carrie, Beahm examines his family life, his early influences, his time as a student at the University of Maine, and his initial career as a teacher. While the meat of the volume is the review of King’s output as a writer, these early chapters give readers a fuller understanding of the horror master’s themes and influences.

Beahm leaves no stone unturned in this massive tome of Stephen King’s work. Every novel is cataloged, with plot synopses and critical reactions, along with the enduring legacy of the stories. While The Stephen King Companion’s focus is the literary output, Beahm does not ignore the screen adaptations of King’s writings. They are generally mentioned in passing, unless there is a juicy story attached to it (as in The Shining and King’s distaste for Stanley Kubrick’s interpretation); there are also about fifty pages are devoted to the “Screamplays” in part six of the book.

The Stephen King Companion was undoubtedly a labor of love for Beahm, and it stands as the definitive look at one of horror’s greatest writers. Fantastic illustrations by Michael Whelan and Glenn Chadbourne are included throughout, making it even more enjoyable. Stephen King and horror fiction fans will absolutely love The Stephen King Companion for it thorough treatment of “America’s best-love bogeyman.”

Learn more about Thomas Dunne Books.

Purchase The Stephen King Companion by George Beahm.

Revival: A Novel by Stephen King (2014)

Stephen King Revival book review

Revival: A Novel
by Stephen King
Scribner, 2014
405 pages

No horror author has enjoyed as much success as Stephen King in modern times. His classic novels—many of which have been adapted for Hollywood—are regarded as the benchmark for horror of the late twentieth century. It is good to see that King has not lost his touch with his latest release, Revival: A Novel.

The story starts off a bit slow, beginning in the protagonist Jamie Morton’s childhood and his first meeting with the minister Charles Jacobs. The story tells of the minister’s interest—intense interest—in electricity as a science, and a tragedy that shakes Jacobs’ faith, leading to his departure from the small town where the Morton family lives. King proceeds to follow Jamie’s story, his love for the guitar and various bands he played with, his descent into drug abuse, and his next meeting with Jacobs several years later at a state fair. After this encounter, the two separate again, only to meet again many years later. Jacobs is convinced that Jamie is a part of his destiny, and his obsession with electricity leads him to perform experiments that makes Jamie (and others who encounter Jacobs) very nervous.

By the time the reader reaches the climax, the pages can’t be turned fast enough. Jamie’s curiosity in Jacobs’ experiments feed the reader’s curiosity, and the ultimate experiment gives a nod to both Mary Shelley and H.P. Lovecraft. Although it starts slow and takes a while to build, the bizarre payoff is well worth it. Revival is a fine addition to Stephen King’s already impressive bibliography.

Learn more about Scribner.

Purchase Revival: A Novel by Stephen King.

Field of Fantasies: Baseball Stories of the Strange and Supernatural edited by Rick Wilber (2014)

Field of Fantasies Rick Wilber

Field of Fantasies: Baseball Stories of the Strange and Supernatural
edited by Rick Wilber
Night Shade Books, 2014
320 pages

Baseball is an important part of America’s imagination. Some of the most popular baseball tales weave fact with fiction, presenting historical figures in a fictitious settings, and vice versa. Field of Fantasies, an anthology edited by Rick Wilber, presents twenty-three supernatural baseball stories culled from the past seven decades and includes a handful that appear for the first time in print.

A number of literary heavyweights are included in this collection, from Jack Kerouac to W.P. Kinsella to Ray Bradbury. The modern-day master of horror himself, Stephen King, co-wrote a story with Stewart O’Nan called “A Face in the Crowd” that was previously only available digitally. Bradbury’s “Ahab At The Helm” marries Moby Dick with the classic poem “Casey At The Bat” in a brilliant mash-up. Casey also appears in Robert Coover’s “McDuff on the Mound,” a re-telling of Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s poem from the pitcher’s perspective.

Twilight Zone creator Rod Serling also wrote a story entitled “The Mighty Casey,” but it has nothing to do with the Mudville legend. The story originally aired on the program in 1960, and was re-written for Serling’s Stories From The Twilight Zone anthology prior to its inclusion here.

Most baseball fans are familiar with W.P. Kinsella as the inspiration for the Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams. The short story here, “How I Got My Nickname,” follows the exploits of a teenager who plays for the New York Giants during the pennant stretch of 1951, and his debates with teammates and opponents about whether The Great Gatsby is an allegory.

The editor, Rick Wilber, is a journalism professor at the University of South Florida, and his father Del Wilber played for the Cardinals, Phillies, and Red Sox in the 1940s and 1950s. This book is a great tribute to the game and provides some comfort to those who just can’t wait for the season to begin in April.

Learn more about Night Shade Books.

Purchase Field of Fantasies edited by Rick Wilber.

Hard at work, or hardly working?

Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.

Stephen King

Horror Fun Cards: 1976 Topps Carrie White

1976 Carrie White Stephen King

Purchase Stephen King’s Carrie!

Horror Fun Cards: 1984 Topps Isaac Chroner and Malachi Boardman

1984 Children of the Corn Stephen King Isaac Chroner

1984 Children of the Corn Stephen King Malachi Boardman

Purchase Stephen King’s Children of the Corn!

Horror Fun Cards: 1989 Topps Gage Creed

1989 Topps Pet Sematary Stephen King Gage Creed

Purchase Stephen King’s Pet Sematary!

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