Sunday, May 19, 2013

Kingly Fans: Are you a fan or a Fan?

I guess you could call me a Stephen King fan, but I think of myself as more of an Unconscious Fan, which basically means, I had read a lot of King before I realized exactly how much of him I had read. He and I have a great relationship, one I’ve read he’s perfectly fine with: He writes books, I read them, and recommend the ones I like to my friends. To paraphrase something Tabitha King once reportedly said: "You pay your money, you get a story, and that’s all you get of him, his family gets the rest." I have no problem with that.

Only I discovered I must be a bigger fan than I realized. Nothing reminds me of that more than when I have a casual conversation with another fan. Usually I’ve read more than that person, don’t mispronounce his first name with the “F” sound, and don’t believe the urban legend about him witnessing another little boy get hit by a train while playing on train tracks (my grandmother says the exact same thing happened with my father when he was a boy – I suspect it’s a generation thing mothers used to tell their children to keep them from paying around railroad tracks.).

So as I started thinking back as to how many of his works I’ve read, and how much I’ve read about Stephen King, I thought the least I could do was make a list of all his works I’ve managed to complete over the years.

And without further redundancy, here’s that list:
Carrie (1974)
'Salem's Lot (1975)
The Shining (1977)
Rage (1977)
Night Shift (1978)
The Stand (1978)
The Long Walk (1979)
The Dead Zone (1979)
Firestarter (1980)
Danse Macabre (1981)
Cujo (1981)
The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger (1982)
Creepshow (1982)
Different Seasons (1982)
Christine (1983)
Pet Sematary (1983)
Cycle of the Werewolf (1983))
The Talisman (1984)
Thinner (1984)
Skeleton Crew (1985)
It (1986)
The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three (1987)
Misery (1987)
The Tommyknockers (1987)
The Dark Half (1989)
Four Past Midnight (1990)
The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands (1991)
Needful Things (1991)
Dolores Claiborne (1992)
Nightmares & Dreamscapes (1993)
On Writing (2000)
From a Buick 8 (2002)
The Colorado Kid (2005)
Cell (2006)
Blockade Billy (2010)
Full Dark, No Stars (2010)

Like any bibliophile, I own way more books than I can possibly read. Here are the King books I own but haven’t read yet
The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition (1990)
Gerald's Game (1992)
Insomnia (1994)
Desperation (1996)
The Regulators (1996)
Dreamcatcher (2001)
Lisey's Story (2006)
Duma Key (2008)

Overall, there’s a lot of his work that isn’t on that list, and I know people who have read every single scrap that man has written. But I know people who’ve only read a quarter of that list, don’t know some of the others even exist, yet proclaim themselves pretty knowledgeable about King.

The lesson:
Real Stephen King fans are as loyal, knowledgable, and sometimes as fanatical as Star Trek and Star Wars fans, and unless you know those really obscure facts that 99.99% of the general population doesn't know, then you should consider yourself only a moderate fan. In the meantime, read and enjoy, but know there's always someone, somewhere out there who truly is a bigger fan than you.

Until Next Time...
Kingly Yours,