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22nd-May-2014 09:20 pm

Dark Tower
I put this together quickly on Facebook, but since that's an 'orrible medium to store anything for later reference, I'll put it here as well:

A lot of people say Stephen King is weak on endings, but I never saw it as a consistent problem. So just for fun, here's a quick and incomplete survey to see if the complaint holds up.

Since a good ending should be memorable, I won't consult any material except for the wiki bibliography. I shall keep spoilers to a minimum.


Carrie: It's a short novel, and the ending fits it very well. Not so sure about the whole "Meanwhile, over here" thing, but it also fits in with the newspaper infrastructure.

The Shining: Y'know, the first time I read this, the climax really annoyed me. I was going "Not the [SPOILER], how bloody obvious", or words to that effect. On a reread it struck me as really fitting and powerful, so I'm going to stick with that.

Rage: the ending where Stephen removes it from circulation completely is a bit sad, but the novel itself ends perfectly well.

The Stand: I promised I wouldn't go look up stuff, so I _think_ the whole Hand of God thing is fairly momentary and understated. That seems to be the main complaint, which does ignore the fact the presence of the [SPOILER] is set up over the entire book (bumpity bump). I had a greater problem with the huge amount of pages between that and the actual end of the book, which may just be in the expanded edition (like Dark Tower 1, I prefer the lean mean original). The bit on the beach seems a bit dodgy too.

The Long Walk: is very good.

The Dead Zone: is brilliant!

Firestarter: I liked this ending a lot. Despite similarities with Carrie and Rage (young person much put upon), the ending goes in a completely different direction which fitted in with the more expansive political focus.

Cujo: Sadly, I mostly remember the movie ending, but I'm pretty sure it's similar and I don't remember having any problems with either.

The Running Man: rather different from the movie, and pretty neat. It would have a bit of a different effect these days.

Christine: the whole final battle seems fine, and I remember liking the epilogue. Was there some problem with Gaunt being a bit of an anticlimax? Hmmm.

Pet Sematary: not unexpected, but very good.

The Talisman: I remember it being good, mostly the melancholy bits.

The Mist: I'm cheating on criteria a bit, and my memories of the printed version are very hazy. It must be said that the movie ending is really ballsy, and I thought they sold it convincingly. Others disagree strongly.

It: the archetypal disappointment -- with It's final form and with an undercurrent of squickiness at the, um, group bonding. I didn't mind either particularly at the time, although I understand the arguments. Strangely, I think The Dark Tower series actually improves this ending, by putting it all (especially the Turtle, ain't he keen?) in a wider context.

Misery: Um. Good? I'm sure I should remember more of it.


Needful Things: perhaps it would have been better if the ending had done what King promised it would. On its own, it was all a bit unexciting.

Gerald's Game: The ending of this is really weird. It's like an anti-twist, which was sort of interesting, but not really effective. (I see they are starting to film it. That just seems uncomfortable for all concerned.)

Insomnia: Mostly I remember some aircraft wreckage decapitating some noted feminist!? Not sure that was right at the end though.

The Green Mile: The ending of the main story was pretty much in keeping with it all. I seem to remember a neat melancholy epilogue as well.

Bag of Bones: The ending (ie, the actual bag in question) is about the only thing I do remember clearly. Sort of made sense.

Hearts in Atlantis: Brilliant! I loved this greatly, especially how it all ended up (and have railed at the movie for betraying that ending on more than one occasion).

Black House: I was liking this, until they actually enter the Black House itself, at which point it all went downhill rapidly -- since that's the last third of the book or so, I'm not sure it entirely counts as 'the ending'.

From A Buick Eight: I remember being a bit annoyed at the final bit, which could have been a little less pat considering the subject matter. Still, pretty good.

The Dark Tower: the whole ending of this series was rather disappointing to me, and by that I mean the last few books. Gathering the ka-tet was wonderful; giving them appropriate drama and challenge once they were together was trickier. However I will still defend the actual last page of it all as most excellent.

The Colorado Kid: Oh God, all I can envisage is Haven -- and I hope that ends well. From memory I had the same complain as Buick Eight, only more so; I don't think Sai King trusts anarchy, even when it is his main theme.

Cell: The gets a special mention because Steve came out later and 'explained' the ending. That was not only unnecessary but may even weaken the book. Anyway, mostly fitting for what it was.

Under The Dome: the explanation of what is really going is just... silly. The very definition of arbitrariness. But I do really like the entire direction of events under the Dome (and especially now in comparison to the TV show) so I am favourably inclined to where it ends up.

11/22/63: I think this is an alright novel that ties up a lot of loose ends much better than I was expecting it too -- and then undermines it all at the very end with political theorising that is entirely beside the point. (And for the record, I don't think this improved It as much as the Dark Tower did.)

The Wind in the Keyhole: Did this even have an ending?

Doctor Sleep: when I get there... Is pretty good so far.


It all goes downhill a bit at the end(!), but Hearts in Atlantis really is the last book of his I loved fully and joyfully. However, there are more than enough excellent books with excellent endings to be getting on with. He is not much into radical endings that make you rethink everything, and sometimes the action is a bit arbitrary, but I also reckon he rounds out his events with a minimum of loose threads and deus ex. The Dead Zone strikes me as the cleverest ending (and a clever book in general), and there are a fair few melancholy epilogues I am inclined to like.

None of which will probably sway the common perception, but it's nice to at least justify my own opinions.

4th-Sep-2012 01:42 pm

Nick and Nat
City of Heroes is closing down. It was never really my game, but it did some things very well -- most notably character customisation and scaled missions. Here are my toons, in memoriam.

cut for picciesCollapse )

9th-Jan-2012 11:22 am - Writer's Block: Love Me Tender

Clive Barker

What is your favorite Elvis Presley song?

View 672 Answers

Would it be cheating to say Tupelo, which is about Elvis Presley?

31st-Oct-2011 01:11 pm - Bad Dreams

Kyla launched her book of poetry, The Land of Bad Dreams a few weeks ago, and now we have a page up with videos from the launch: The Performances.

Here's the introduction:

11th-Oct-2011 02:04 pm

Grosse Pointe Blank
We saw Neil Marshall's Doomsday last night, which is more or less completely mad. With barely a whiff of credibility it throws a cyberpunk heroine into battles against apocalyptic road gangs and medieval knights, with a bit of Aliens and Twenty Eight Days Later thrown in for kicks. And it works, though it takes a while for the build-up of absurdity to reach critical mass (the precise moment is marked with the song Good Thing, for those taking notes).

I'm not sure it works really well, given the flatness of some of the dialogue and plotting in general, but it rides it through on audacity and good production values.

Speaking of which, I also saw Sucker Punch recently, which actually has very similar goals (cyberchicks vs knights, in broad terms); even more audacious, even less sane, somewhat more tedious. I wouldn't call it good, but it had enough in common with, say, Terry Gilliam to be interesting.

30th-Sep-2011 08:29 am

Clive Barker
Here are some photos from the (spectacular) launch of Kyla's book this week:

The Land of Bad Dreams

If you're on Facebook, hopefully you've seen Leigh Blackmore's set as well, which is great.

In the meantime, everyone have fun at Conflux. Kyla is heading down their now, and there will be books.

27th-Sep-2011 10:52 pm

Nick and Nat
Have just returned from Kyla's book launch / burlesque sword-fighting magic thing. It was awesome. Photos and video to come.

27th-Sep-2011 09:08 am

I have only just noticed now that there is a comic coming out called Justice League Dark, featuring the wacky(?) adventures of John Constantine; Shade, the Changing Man; Madame Xanadu; Deadman; Zatanna; Mindwarp and Enchantress. Tha hell?

23rd-Sep-2011 11:16 pm

Grosse Pointe Blank
Last week we watched Your Highness, so in reparation for our sins it was The Big Sleep this time round. I really don't think I followed it all, but it was certainly awesomely cool on the way.

20th-Sep-2011 10:17 pm

We've just come back from jack_ryder 's new experimental-improv-theatre-thing, Tweatre wherein live tweets (in one case, actual spam) get turned into performance. It's on most of this week for those in Sydney.

Likewise, for those so blessed, come along to kylaw 's book launch next week, for The Land of Bad Dreams. And by 'book launch', I mean performances by people like Venus Vamp and The Surgical Sideshow, at the World Bar in Kings Cross, so get in quick.

14th-Sep-2011 12:22 am

Saw Griff the Invisible this evening -- more Aussie weirdness, this case in the cause of superheroics. Probably best not to delve too deeply (and the trailer on the main site seems to give most of it away), but it was fun, and charming.

8th-Sep-2011 06:57 pm

Nick and Nat
I'm going mad. Well, I saw the latest episodes of The Guild and Death Valley, and thought they were pretty funny, which is probably the same thing.

6th-Sep-2011 11:02 pm

Grosse Pointe Blank
We've just seen The Square, in the fine tradition of weird Aussie crime flicks. Having said that, it all turns out a bit muddled, so lacks the power of some of its compatriots -- but there's some fine stuff on the way. The fact it was shot down in the Woronora Valley near us was also neat.

22nd-Aug-2011 07:18 pm

We've watched the first half of the new Underbelly, after making the (there-is-a-precedent-but-not-for-a-while) step of connecting up our TV receiver. Not quite convinced yet, although it certainly has some style. Putting Mental as Anything in a 1920 saloon seemed to work.

I also spotted K walking down a 1920s street, so that was all good.

14th-Aug-2011 11:51 pm

Clive Barker
More strangeness: last week I saw (500) Days of Summer. I saw 'I' because K took debunked on the flimsy prefix that one of her friends has Othello on (no doubt I should have gone, but am still sickly).

Anyway, the movie is very odd, being not really a romance, and not really a comedy -- it's quite possible I don't really understand these concepts in conjunction anyway. It's certainly interesting, with lots of cool things and quite a few geeky things as well (bonding over the Knight Rider theme, for a start). But the narrative focus was a bit off-putting, and in the end it was more interesting than actually affecting.

11th-Aug-2011 12:42 pm

Grosse Pointe Blank
Last night we saw Summer Wars, upon recommendation. It's a strange anime of family solidarity and cyber-warfare. From a traditional daimyo homestead, Kenji and Natsuki must defend OZ (ie, the internet if Second Life ever took off) and the world from an AI super-villain called Love Machine.

This mesh of cultures was didn't always come off, but there was a lot of genuine emotion in the contrast, and the battle. As K said, it at least provides as good a justification for cute bunnies battling demons as any; and the human characters ground it all beautifully.

9th-Aug-2011 10:31 pm

We saw Limitless, which is well made and pretty cool -- though full of frustrating bits where we were berating the main character for being stupid. Given the nature of the movie, that's a bit sad.

Also, this is somewhat unrelated to the movie itself, but I'd just like to note that watching alternate endings (yes, apparently plural) to a movie directly after watching the thing itself dilutes the very point of movie-watching. So, well, I didn't.

5th-Aug-2011 07:59 pm - Not finishing things

Clive Barker
I had high hopes for Portal 2 co-op, but we didn't quite make it. We got to test 7 (of 8) in the last category, but then got stuck, and back to the shop it goes. Given the sudden insane timing needed I'm not sure we would have got it in any reasonable time anyway (or there was some other solution I was overlooking).

I'm sure there are many, many other things I'm not finishing, but that will do for now.

5th-Aug-2011 10:26 am

We went off to see Dungeon Crawl last night, in one of their rare Sydney shows. Our stoic heroes (the interior decorating orc, the magical-component addicted wizard, the thief who regrets everything and the plumber who regrets nothing) quest to save the villagers of Spiderman Keep. Along the way dire wombats are traumatised, yuan-ti's interiors are redecorated, a boulder is slain by recitation of Twilight and the thief regrets stealing the GM's dice and rolling a 1. She also regrets stealing the villagers from the dragon, and returns them post-haste.

Funny stuff, and certainly an accurate representation of the game. They have more regular Melbourne shows, for those so inclined.