What Stephen King books/stories do you really despise?

There’s plenty o’ SK fans out there, but let’s face it - not all of his stuff appeals to all of his fans.

So what works don’t you really care for?

Here’s mine:

[li]Gerald’s Game[/li][li]Desperation[/li][li]The Regulators[/li][li]Hearts in Atlantis[/li][li]The Tommyknockers[/li][li]Dreamcatcher[/li][/ul]

Gerald’s Game
The Dark Half

I kinda liked Tommyknockers.

Needful Things was just terrible. It was like a parody of a Stephen King novel.
And, although I loved The Gunslinger, I cannot get into the series.

The Tommyknockers.

That’s it. I like all his other novels/novellas because I can usually find some redeeming qualities somewhere. Not so with The Tommyknockers.

I really liked The Dark Half, and I’ve only read Gerald’s Game once, but it really creeped me out…

The reason I didn’t care for Gerald’s Game was that it was… well, kind of dull. I mean, it all takes place in one location, and there’s not a lot of action, rather atypical of his work.

Tommyknockers just seemed a little off-putting; I didn’t care a lot about the characters.

I half-liked Desperation, but when The Regulators came out, I felt robbed - same story, kind of, different perspective.

I agree with Morgainelf - didn’t care for The Dark Half very much, although the premise was cool.

Dolores Clairborne didn’t do much for me–but that was probably due as much to the incest sub-plot as anything else. Ick.

The Tommyknockers was so dissapointing I almost gave up SK over it.

Looks like we’re all coming up with the same titles.

Desperation & Regulators: both absolutely awful. The Regulators has to be one of the worst books I’ve ever read.

Tommyknockers: Not as bad as some suggest, but pretty bad nonetheless. (Hey, that rhymes! Sort of…)

Needful Things: Forgettable, and tedious. At least a parody would’ve been fun.

Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass: Booooooorrriiiing. I hate to see where the Dark Tower series is going from here.

Dreamcatcher: If he’s going to write more books like this, then maybe retiring’s a good idea.

I kind of liked Gerald’s Game. I agree that it was too long and drawn-out (it should’ve been a short story), but I thought it was one of his creepier stories.

Heh. I really enjoyed Dark Tower IV. The last scene in Roland’s time was one of the creepiest I’ve seen from him, and I thought he set it up well - but not so obviously that I saw it coming. But it’s just an individual taste thing…

I’ve been reading King consistently for almost 20 years, it’s hard
to say whether or not I’m the one with the problem,
but Dreamcatcher sucks large amounts of ass.

I didn’t care for the sequel to the Talisman either.

Not to hijack or anything, but is there any new horror writers today in King’s league?

I wouldn’t mind hearing about them.

Maybe I shouldn’t even be giving an opinion. I gave up on King so long ago, I haven’t read most of the books already mentioned here.

But going back to his early work, I’ve always been annoyed with the plot ideology underpinning The Stand. There’s no explanation of why the military acted the way they did unless you blindly except the paranoia of the late 60’s. The same mentality probably produced the Luddite mysticism that pervaded the plot. But worst of all was the way that God and/or Stephen King would constantly throw in these huge plot curves from out of nowhere with no explanation given. It appeared as if King couldn’t figure out a logical reason for his characters to act the way they needed to, so he’d just write that God wanted it that way. In my opinion, it was evidence of poor characterization and poor plotting.

Rose Madder was the worst book ever.
The Regulators

There were others I didn’t love, but the ones above really have no redeeming qualities.

Christine (well, maybe this one gets a D)
Gerald’s Game

I tend to agree with you, Little Nemo, about the lack of any kind of logic in The Stand. However, it did have quite a few good scenes before the last quarter of the book.

I liked Pet Semetary, but let’s face it, W.W. Jacobs handled the idea much better in “The Monkey’s Paw.”

Really bad:
Gerald’s Game

Not as bad as above but still pretty bad:

The Dark Half and It started off really well, but the endings were, well, cop-outs.

I did not think the ending of the Stand was a cheat at all. My favorite book.

Wizard and Glass (Dark Tower IV) was wonderful. I got emotional over this one.


Not rated:

Dark Tower series (never read)
Bag of Bones (ditto)
Hearts in Atlantis


(and I even bought those in hardback!! :frowning: Lose major points for that ludicrous pseudo-Chinese language)
Rose Madder
Storm of the Century


Dark Half (although I did snicker at “The george george stark george starked over the starky stark.”)
Tommyknockers (mouthpiece character’s anti-nuke sermonizing got seriously annoying)
Gerald’s Game


Girl who Loved Tom Gordon


Green Mile
Dolores Claiborne
Needful Things
Pet Sematary


'Salem’s Lot
Dead Zone
The Shining
The Stand (you can tell it was written in the early seventies; witness the repeated references to home-grown left-wing terrorist groups, which pretty much all vanished following the Patty Hearst debacle)
Eyes of the Dragon
The Talisman

Believe it or not, my least favorite is Misery. Maybe because I found it so so so scary. Just thinking about it gives me the heebie-jeebies!

With regard to Wizard and Glass: I didn’t care for it the first time I read it. I re-read it, and really liked it the second time around.

In defense:

Rose Madder had one of the most disturbing opening chapters I’ve read in any novel. Too bad the rest of the novel couldn’t keep up.

Here’s my list, ala Neidhart. RB=Richard Bachman, NF = Non Fiction, SSC = Short Story Collection

Haven’t read
Tom Gordon
Storm of the Century
Riding the Bullet
The Plant
Six Stories (SSC)
Cycle of the Werewolf
Wizard and Glass
Secret Windows (NF)
Hearts in Atlantis
Dolores Clairborne
Desperation/Regulators (RB)
The Dark Half

Bag of Bones
Gerald’s Game
Needful Things
Roadwork (RB)

Rose Madder
Black House (the book I’m using for this list)
Nightmares and Dreamscapes
Four past Midnight
The Gunslinger

Not bad
Cujo (I like it that the little boy died. Very nihilistic.)
Green Mile
Drawing of the Three
The Waste Lands
The Tommyknockers
Rage [RB]
The Running Man [RB]

(Right now I’m looking at the list in the book (I’m marking the books as I make the entry’s) and I notice that I have already marked off most everything that Mr. King wrote in the 1990’s. There is one book left…

Damn fine reads
Salem’s Lot
The Talisman
The Eyes of the Dragon
On Writing (NF)
The Long Walk (The best Bachman book, hands down.)
Nightshift (SSC)

King near his peak
The Shining
The Stand
The Dead Zone
Skeleton Crew(SSC)
Danse Macarbe (NF)
Different Seasons (SSC)

Among the best horror novels ever written
Pet Semetary

As Jenner pointed out, The Regulators and Desperation have cropped up a fair bit, and I’ve gotta “Me too.”

It just came across to me, as I read them, that Big Steve had this idea floating around… Couple characters attach themselves to it… Still not sure which way to treat the story, could go this way, could go that way… So, instead of picking the thread that he likes best, and following it, he hacked out both versions of the story, with less than his full attention on either one. And they both stunk. (And yeah, I bought 'em both in hardcover, too.)

I haven’t read a word he’s written, since then, actually. Well, I have gone back and re-read some of the older stuff since then, but I haven’t picked up anything published after those two.

Okay, this is really hard for me to put into words, but I’m going to try. It seems to me in a lot of Stephen King books he builds up a great story and then just runs out of momentum at the end and just throws together some crazy stuff to finish the book.

I noticed this for the first time in It, which is a story I happen to like very much. Wonderful characters, great story told in a really interesting flashback way and then at the end there’s a big spider and deadlights and a big turtle and biting on tongues and huh?

Insomina is another good example. Started off a great little story with an older character (rare in most popular fiction) who just can’t sleep and it just ballooned and got bizarre and there was a Red King and a hole in the ground and a quilt and huh?

I call this Stephen King going off into “la la land.” It’s like he builds up so much momentum, no normal plot could finish the story and he has to pull ludicrous stuff out of his ass to get the job done, but it’s not very good.

One of the things I really liked about early Stephen King novels was his realism, which seems like an odd thing to say about horror novels. But, if you think about it, if a vampire was going to turn a small town in Maine, it might happen just like Salem’s Lot! Or a haunted car! Or a girl who could start fires.

Stephen King also had a great ability to write well for even the most tertiary of characters, like Becka Paulson in The Tommyknockers. Even secondary characters are fully fleshed and realized in most early Stephen King novels, like Dick Halloran in The Shining.

He seems to have lost both his knack for a nifty realism in the middle of horror and for characterization, two of the things I enjoyed the most about his writing, and it’s a shame.

I do like the fact that he’s created a universe, for example Cujo is mentioned in another book and Derry pops up several times.

My list of favorite King novels reads like many of the lists above. I loved It , The Talisman, The Stand, The Shining, Salem’s Lot, The Dead Zone and Green Mile. I also liked Eyes of the Dragon (have the first edition), Christine, Carrie and Firestarter (I loved this one, I read it when I was in the 8th grade! Kids with super powers! Evil government agencies!).

Not so wild about Cujo, Misery, Delores Clairborne, Pet Sematary, Tommyknockers, Girl who Loved Tom Gordon

Didn’t like: Gerald’s game, Bag of Bones, Dark Half, Needful Things

Hated: Insomnia, Rosemadder, Desperation, The Regulators

Took back to the bookstore and got my money back: Dreamcatcher: poop jokes! A beautific retarded boy! Just dreadful. Black House: saintly blind man! Bleh.

It’s funny, you know my favorite parts of Stephen King books lately? His author notes, Stephen King seems like one hell of a guy.

I haven’t read much King, but I really despise Desperation and…The Stand. Sorry. Maybe I’ll have to reread it, though.