From: Steve Law purpleom@...
Date: Sun, 11 May 2003 23:02:52 +0100 (BST)
Subject: [mythsoc] Re: Re: Re: Serial killer conventions, Gaiman
"Steve may compare Gaiman's serial-killer convention
with _American Psycho_, but they're not the same thing
at all. Ellis glorifies in violence; Steven King
wallows in it; Gaiman is in this piece remarkably
restrained, considering his subject, and shows very
little actual violence."
<< I didn't make any direct parallels between "American
Psycho" and Gaiman's serial-killer convention, only
very general ones to do mainly with their mutual
subject matter/sub-genre. >>
Even the title of *American Psycho* scares me; I've no interest in Ellis's
book. However, Gaiman's convention takes place in the context of a much
larger creation, a multivariate graphic novel about the Endless. And he is
restrained, given the demands of the medium and the effects he wishes to
<< "American Psycho" was actually written to be a moral
protest *against* the market for extreme sadistic
material in popular fiction and the desensitisation it
represents - although it walked a very fine line.
Ellis was trying to say "You like this stuff? Well
consume this!", and make the reader choke on it. >>
Still not interested.
<< I found with Stephen King (early stuff, I don't read
him anymore) that I liked his heroes and became
engaged with his characters, and that makes a
difference. Characterisation is his big thing. And I
think there's also a difference between horrible death
at the hands of a psychopath and horrible death at the
pistons of a possesed laundry machine. Human monsters
are much more disturbing. >>
Some King horror really strikes a chord (*It,* *The Shining,* *Salem's
Lot,* *Carrie*), but to my mind, the best Stephen King is *The Green Mile.*
"Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" and "The Body," both were good
short stories which turned into very watchable films because of
characterization. I also liked *Needful Things.* The monster wasn't human,
but it's a classic study of temptation and its effects on humans. When
King goes over the top, that's when things fall apart, as in
*Tommyknockers.* That was sheer "fulfill the contract" stuff. I'm also
fond of Dean Koontz, who creates likeable characters.
[David's comment snipped
I read American Gods remember. 'Tweren't very gruesome, just dull. I had no
idea Gaiman was so highly thought of. I will seek out
some more of his books. Can you recommend one?
*Stardust,* *Neverwhere* and an anthology of short stories, which I can't
recall without leaving my desk. "Snow, Glass, Apples" is in that
anthology, and is a fine example of Gaiman at his best. ---djb
PS: If anyone wants to risk some early Stephen King
I'd particularly recommend "The Dead Zone", "The
Stand" and "Christine". Anything that came before "It"
will probably be a good holiday read (except "Pet
Sematary" or "Cujo").
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