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Stephen King slams ‘Twilight’ franchise as ‘tweenage porn’

By Emma Brockes, The Guardian
Saturday, September 21, 2013 4:34 EDT
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Bestselling horror novelist dismisses Stephenie Meyer series and 50 Shades phenomenon, but praises JK Rowling

Stephen King, the prolific and best-selling patriarch of the horror novel, has used a rare interview to express disdain for modern pretenders to his title, dismissing the Twilight franchise as “tweenager porn” and calling The Hunger Games dull and derivative.

More predictably, King, who is about to release his 56th novel, is less than impressed by Fifty Shades of Grey, although he does have praise for JK Rowling’s “fabulous” non-Harry Potter debut, The Casual Vacancy and compared her style to that of the late Tom Sharpe.

In an interview in the Guardian’s Weekend magazine, the 65-year-old author said he had read Twilight, among other modern titles, out of professional interest, and had been underwhelmed. “They’re really not about vampires and werewolves. They’re about how the love of a girl can turn a bad boy good.”

“I read Twilight and didn’t feel any urge to go on with her. I read The Hunger Games and didn’t feel an urge to go on. It’s not unlike The Running Man, which is about a game where people are actually killed and people are watching: a satire on reality TV.

“I read Fifty Shades Of Grey and felt no urge to go on. They call it mommy porn, but it’s not really mommy porn. It is highly charged, sexually driven fiction for women who are, say, between 18 and 25. But a golden age of horror? I wouldn’t say it is. I can’t think of any books right now that would be comparable to The Exorcist.”

King declared himself a fan of the “amazingly good” Donna Tartt, but criticised her workrate. “She’s dense, she’s allusive. She’s a gorgeous storyteller,” he said. “But three books in 30 years? That makes me want to go to that person and grab her by the shoulders and look into her face and say: ‘Do you realise how little time you have in the scheme of things?’ ”

King wrote The Running Man in a week’s holiday from his teaching job, while also minding his young children. Books, he says, came in a “gush” to him: “It was like somebody yelled ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theatre and everybody’s trying to crowd through the door at the same time – that was ideas and work.”

King’s new book, Doctor Sleep, revisits Danny Torrance, the boy from The Shining, now an alcoholic adult. King himself was a heavy drinker until under intense family pressure, he became sober in the late 1980s. King says he amended the novel on the guidance of his son, Owen, who advised him to include a scene where Torrance has hit rock bottom.

King recalls his moment of realisation: “For me, when I look back, the thing that I remember is being at one of my son’s Little League games with a can of beer in a paper bag, and the coach coming over to me and saying: ‘If that’s an alcoholic beverage, you’re going to have to leave.’ That was where I said to myself: ‘That’s something I’ll never be able to tell anybody else. I’ll keep that one to myself.’ I drew on that memory.”

 © Guardian News and Media 2013

 
 
 
 
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