Columnist Revisits Stephen King's Work in Chronological Order, One Horror at a Time

Guardian columnist and Stephen King devotee James Smythe is revisiting King's work chronologically, writing his observations as he goes. Since these are books that many people read for the first time as young adults (or even children), it's fascinating to go back and see them again through fresh eyes. Smythe's already sailed through The Stand and is on to the pseudonymous novella The Long Walk.

Many pseudoscientests have tried to link the writings of H.P. Lovecraft to "ancient astronaut" theories, in which mankind's intelligence is the result of prehistoric contact with aliens of some kind. This video by Jason Colavito points out the flaws in that research. As Lovecraft himself admitted, "Let me confess that this is all a synthetic concoction of my own." Of course, there's always a chance that the priests of Shub-Niggurath forced him to say that.

Speaking of pseudoscience, researchers have determined that "Airplane" was the funniest film ever made; it generated more laughs per minute than any other comedy tested by the movie subscription service LoveFilm. Of course, their research was limited to a list of ten films voted on by their clients, so a few notable contenders have surely been excluded. (We promise to stop calling them "Shirley.")

If you're a New Yorker, you might have noticed something a little different happening at your corner pay phone. A designer named John Locke (no, not that John Locke) has been installing teeny tiny lending libraries in phone booths, stocked with everything from picture books to paperback copies of The Shining. But first things first: What the hell is a pay phone? Let's find an old person and ask them.

  • I loved The Stand (possibly my favourite of all time) but am in the middle of revisiting IT at the moment and truly enjoying the leaps between past and present for the amazing charactors that Mr King has created. But then I also have The Dome and love that Epic novel too. I love all the connections to Derry in The Dome and also 1969. Just an amazing novelist and storyteller.

  • I did the same thing two years back. Read them all in order and loved it! SK is the man!

  • Jan McGinley

    My favourite is the Dark Tower Series. I absolutely loved them. Wish they would hurry up and sort out who's making the film. Have read all SK's books - not disappointed with any of them although I thought The Cell had a disappointing ending.

    • I so agree. The Dark Tower series IS Stephen King. All the other stories tie in to this world he created. I'm very much looking forward to the movies, but at the same time, really worried. So many of his books were not translated into film very well, The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption being 2 exceptions.

    • DT Junkie

      I completely agree. The Dark Tower series is the best thing he has ever written. I own every single book, novella, and short story. Even though I have read all of his works, I can not count the times I have read the DT series. They will always be my favorites. I hope they can sort out the issues and find the studio that will be willing to take on his Magnum Opus.

    • I collect all of Stephen Kings works and have read several 2 or 3 times. Would love to meet him and discuss his ideas and work. Would be great for the student to meet the master.Also I do not find any of them to be scary or horrific. His are words that prey on the psychological fears that most of us have in one way or another.

  • LongIslandLou

    I have read everything he wrote with the exception of Under the Dome (have it) and one or two others.
    SK rules!!

  • Patrick

    I met Stephen King once totally unplanned. My parents and sister and I were visiting family in Maine. My cousin and I were sent to do some shopping near a book store, where I bought my first copy of Pet Sematary before we went into the grocery shopping, I was perusing the book while on line at the checkout, when my cousin says “Isn’t that the author?” I look up to realize that we were standing on line right behind Stephen King.. I still have that book, signed, and wrapped in plastic to protect it.. I bought my second copy right after.

  • Stephen King is my number one author, Ive been reading his work since 1981, when i was 17, Ive read nearly all his work, its brilliant, the shining and the stand outstanding and his short stories and novellas are excellent. Shawshank the movie was great but the story was amazing, he captures the spirit and popular culture of America like no one else, i think, i shall continue to read his work as long as he publishes

  • Sharon Harrington

    I loved The Stand but his absolute best was Eyes of the Dragon. It had just fringes of the weird stuff he is famous for, but it was just so intricate and the anthesis of his horror novels.

  • Anyone who can make you feel absolute sorrow for a dog that is terrorizing a community (Cujo) has got to be, hands down, the best writer of his generation. Stephen King will always be my favorite author

  • Danielle

    I have read everything he has written, many of them twice or more. I have all his books in hardback on my library shelf. I am currently reading 11-22-63, loving all the references to the eerie town of Derry, IT and such. Reading his books are like coming home everytime. I remember once a College English Teacher told me what tired of me writing thesis and papers on Steven King and I said "Why?" to which she said it was "junk novels with no value"..My response was classic and stopped her in her tracks...I said, "and how many novels have you published?"...keep writing King. I am a faithful reader.

  • Steve

    I'm doing the same thing right now, only in between novels, I'm also reading the short stories in order of their original publication date (rather than when they were collected in book form). It's fascinating to watch his writing style evolve over the decades in such a short span of time.

  • I have read every book that Mr. King has written. I love the way almost every story he has written is connected to one another. I say I have A favorite because I have liked/loved everything. But ole Travelin' Jack, keeps comin' back.

  • Wanda McKenna

    Stephen King is the BEST!!! Have all of his books. And I feel very privileged and honored to share the same birthday with the one and only Stephen King!!

  • Ernie Seewer

    IT, DOLORES CLAYBOUR, and, 11/22/63 are my favorites.
    I think IT is an American masterpiece. Very poetic, powerful
    writing. Best movie from his books? Would have to be THE

  • Josile Reigle

    Like most of the other people leaving comments I too am a advid fan of Stephen King. I recieved a Kindle for Christmas last year and although I love the device I will never buy a Stephen King novel for it. There is nothing better than a stormy night, fire in the fire place, cat curled up at my feet and a big Stephen King novel in my lap. Some books are meant to be read in book form. I'm your number one fan! LOL