As one of the best-selling authors of all time, Stephen King has undoubtedly heard and seen the whole gamut of critical opinions about his work, from the most enthusiastic praise to the lowest dirty digs. And it can be assumed that the level of fame and success that he has accumulated makes it much easier to deny negative comments, and sales charts and his bank account serve as simple proof of his gigantic fan base. But this does not mean that the author is completely invulnerable to reproachful remarks, and at least one point of view of skeptics has been stored in his memory banks for a long time.
Fellow bestseller Alafer Burke, whose novel “Find Me” was published in January, tweeted an anecdote about how he heard someone disparaging her at ThrillerFest XVII, not realizing that she was nearby (and was wearing a mask). Stephen King’s response on Twitter referred to a somewhat similar experience he had, only his critic was a little more sincere in his analysis. According to him:
At the beginning of my career, I noticed a woman reading CARRIE on an airplane. I made the mistake of asking her if she liked it. She thought it over and gave her two-word critique: “It sucks to read.”
Now, to be honest, King wasn’t sure if Carrie’s reader recognized him as the author of the book or not. And one might suspect not, given that we live in an era when social networks have destroyed any semblance of manners and grace, and behavior on airplanes has become even more extreme. But that was apparently long before Facebook and Twitter appeared, since Stephen King’s career at that time lasted almost 50 years, and Carrie was published in 1974.
Perhaps it also depends on whether the woman looked at the author’s photo on the cover of the book or at the back cover, if it was a paperback book. I like to think that right after she called it “crappy reading,” her eyes slid over the picture and she gradually became more and more distressed, realizing what she had just done. Or, conversely, that the woman was actually a bestselling author herself, whom Stephen King did not recognize. Mary Shelley, I suppose? (OK, she died 50 years before the Wright brothers made flying mainstream, but still.)
Of course, I would like to know if this aviation critic has read King’s works yet, and what she thinks about them. Did she like Brian De Palma’s 1976 film adaptation more than the book? Did she think Cujo was too carefree? (If so, King has a solution.) Or that a pet cemetery could use more children destroyed by Mack trucks? What else was going on in this woman’s head?
It is clear that her words did not greatly affect the author, since Stephen King is one of the most prolific writers of any genre, and even getting hit by a van could not permanently undermine his swagger of narration. These days, he is no doubt witnessing much more offensive comments on Twitter, where he is as vocal about political issues as he is about praising the works of other writers, and sharing horror TV shows that he is obsessed with.
With the latest Firestarter adaptation currently streaming to anyone with a Peacock subscription, King fans can also expect plenty of other upcoming movies and TV versions of his work, from Gary Doberman’s bizarre vampires in “The Fate of Salem” to “Boogeyman,” “Sleeping Beauties” and others. . And if Netflix wanted to bring him to work on the spin-off ideas of “Very Strange Cases” that he had, that would be great too.