Monday, January 28, 2013

A Review of Stephen King's "Guns"

One element of King's work that I've spent very little time discussing on this blog is his nonfiction writing.  He's written a massive amount of it over the years, although much of it has been in the form of relatively brief pieces, such as his Pop of King columns in Entertainment Weekly.

Once in a while, though, he'll crank out an essay that, in terms of its breadth and scope, is every bit as impressive as one of his short stories.  On Friday, January 25, King released just such an essay as a Kindle single.

You can read a bit about King's rationale for writing the essay, as well as his rationale for publishing it online, here.

Delving into a political topic like this one is sure to irritate some of King's more conservative fans, and writing about it here -- which will inevitably lead to me giving you my own opinion of the issue -- is likely to irritate some of my readers, too.  In my case, we're talking about irritating maybe a few dozen people.  In King's case, the potential ire he invokes is considerably larger, and you've got to admire Uncle Steve's willingness to risk pissing off that many potential buyers of his novels.

The essay itself, however, is quite a bit more middle-of-the-road than conservatives will probably assume it to be.  Enough so that it might even irritate a few liberals, who might want King to have a more radical approach than he is putting forth here.

We're getting ahead of ourselves, though.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Send Some Good Thoughts to Peter David, Won't You?

In the most recent issue of Comic Shop News, I ran across the following news item, which I'm going to reproduce in its entirety:

Fan-favorite writer Peter David suffered a stroke on December 30th; the first word of the stroke was shared by Peter David himself on his blog at, but subsequent reports have been shared with his many friends, colleagues, and fans by his wife Kathleen.  She reported on her blog at that "he has lost most of the use of his right arm, his right leg is incredibly weak, the vision in his right eye is blurry, and the right side of his face is drooping slightly.  But the brain is there with all its quips and quick retorts.  He has had the nurses laughing a lot.

Kathleen went on o explain that Peter has a stint in rehab ahead of him, although he is trying to maintain as much normalcy in his life as possible; she added that "he revised an X-Factor script for his editor at Marvel, which I think made him feel good / more normal than he has been feeling."

She explained that "Peter is doing better every day...  Peter says it is both gratifying and humbling about the number of people who are praying for them and keeping him in their thoughts and he appreciates and is thanful to each and every one of you."

Both Ward Batty and Cliff Biggers of CSN have counted Peter among our friends even before we ever launched CSN, and we join everyone else in hoping for as rapid and complete a recovery as possible -- and knowing Peter, he won't settle for anything less!

As many Stephen King fans will undoubtedly be aware, David is one of the key creative components behind the Dark Tower comic-book series for Marvel.  He has scripted all but a small handful of the issues that have been published since Marvel began the series in 2007.

Peter David at Shore Leave [image stolen from

We here at The Truth Inside The Lie headquarters -- which, granted, is only me and four cats -- wish Mr. David a speedy recovery.  We've been reading his work on The Dark Tower for going on six years now, and in my teenage years I read many a Star Trek novel that had flowed from his pen.

Get well soon, sir!

Monday, January 21, 2013

A Review of "Shadowland" by Peter Straub

In his first post-Ghost Story novel, Peter Straub turned almost wholly away from the horror genre, and instead published Shadowland, a fantasy novel that is deeply informed by fairy tale and myth.  It is a deeply frustrating novel, but not an uninteresting one.  Definitely not.

I read this novel once before, in high school, but when I reread it recently, I found that I remembered literally none of it.  Nothing.  That's happened before with books I've not read in years, and my assumption in each case has been that I simply didn't respond to the book the first time, not even in a particularly negative manner.

In rereading the book for this blog, I read through the novel once the old-fashioned way, and then gave it a second go-round via audiobook.  And here is where something curious happened: I enjoyed the novel while reading it, but detested it when listening to it.

How to explain this?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Guided Tour of Stephen King Television Episodes, Short Films, etc.

Last year, I published a lengthy post wherein I ranked all of the movies based -- some of them extremely loosely -- on Stephen King's fiction.  It was a heck of a lot of fun, and of all of my posts it seems to have been one of the better-received.

It was, however, missing a great many television projects, as well as a few short films.  I struggled with ideas as to how to incorporate those, but there was simply no way to do so within the confines of the worst-to-best structure I was using.  It could have conceivably included some of the stand-alones, like the episodes of Nightmares & Dreamscapes, but stepping much further beyond that made things a heck of a lot trickier than I was loaded for at that point in time.

The solution seemed simple enough: devote a second post to all the things I'd omitted, eliminating the worst-to-best format in favor of tackling the subject from a chronological standpoint.

Here's the problem with that: I never finished watching The Dead Zone.  I loved that show when it premiered, but for my money it began a steady downward spiral during the second season that continued -- worsening -- into the third.  The fourth was even worse, and by the time I finished watching the Christmas episode that capped that season, I was done with the show.  I knew I'd be buying it all, since my collection of King-related DVDs wouldn't be complete without it, so I figured I'd finish watching ... later ... eventually.

This seems like the perfect excuse to do so.  I don't want to just dive into the fifth and sixth seasons, though; I'd like to rewatch the entire series, with a critical eye, and write up some detailed episode guides.  That's going to take a while, though, and I don't want to delay this post right here for the amount of time it would take me to do that.

So, the plan is this: I'm going to launch into a series of posts, one which will likely take me quite some time to complete.  The first is this one: a chronological guide to episodic King television (miniseries and movies excluded), with a few short films (such as the small number of commercially-released Dollar Babies) thrown in for good measure.  This will consist mostly of quick impressions, where I have impressions to give; otherwise, I'll toss in whatever brief plot summaries I can steal from find on other sites.  That way, this post can serve as a relatively manageable look at the chronology of King-based episodes.

From there, I'm going to sit down and watch my way through that entire list, in order, and begin creating a series of more detailed reviews and analyses, with extensive plot summaries.  So, ultimately, there will be comprehensive episode guides for Golden Years, The Dead Zone, Kingdom Hospital, Nightmares &  Dreamscapes, and Haven, as well as a final catch-all guide for the miscellaneous projects (such as the Tales from the Darkside episodes).

Another project I'd like to tackle, and am considering tackling simultaneously with this one: creating episodes guides for the entirety of The X-Files.  That's one of my favorite shows, and since King co-wrote an episode, it would not be at all out of place on this blog.  Of course, if I do that, I might consider ALSO doing Millennium at the same time, which has nothing to do with King, but is certainly horror, and is inextricably linked with The X-Files.  They're a combo deal in my brain.

So, that's what's coming down the pike for The Truth Inside The Lie.  Like I said, it's going to take a while, but I thought it was worth teasing.

Enough teasing!  Let's get down to the action!

1982     "The Boogeyman"

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bryant Has Issues #25 (Now Featuring 100% Fewer Feline Fatalities!!!)

Last time I wrote this column, there was a bit of unpleasantness that occurred not long after its conclusion.  I'm going to roll on ahead with this new installment, and serve fair warning: if similar unpleasantness occurs after this one, then you folks can consider this my retirement from the writin'-'bout-comics bidness.

I feel confident that's not going to happen, though, on that mocking-the-gods note, let's proceed.

First up this week:

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger -- Sheemie's Tale #1 (of 2)

Yay!  A Dark Tower comic!  I love it when this column can actually be about Stephen King.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

This Guy Is Full of Green Light: A Review of "Golden Years" (the original episodes)

You may or may not be familiar with Golden Years, the four-hour movie written by Stephen King that is available on DVD.  I get the sense that it is not terribly widely-seen.  I might not be right about that, though; my senses have been known to fail me.

Either way, even if you are familiar with the movie, the odds are pretty good that you have no idea it is an abridged version of the original version: a seven-part series that aired on CBS in the summer of 1991.  The first episode was a two-hour broadcast, so all in all, eight hours of the series were aired.

The version available home video is shorter by about 135 minutes; in other words, the equivalent of three hours' worth of the broadcast episodes were cut out, including the original cliffhanger ending (which was replaced with an alternate ending intended to provide at least scant closure).

I had not intended to post this article yet.  However, I'm working -- slowly; too slowly -- on another post that covers all of the Stephen King-based episodes of television that have been produced (ranging from The Twilight Zone to The Dead Zone to Haven), and as a part of that I wanted to include some brief plot summaries of what happened in each episode of Golden Years.  Problem was, I couldn't remember, nor could I find episode summaries anywhere else.  Granted, I didn't look all that hard; but still.
This led to me rewatching the episodes so that I could type up brief plot summaries.  That led to plot summaries that were nowhere near as brief as I intended, and seem wholly too long for the post they were originally intended for.

What to do?

Naturally, the thing to do is to just post them on their own, in a separate post.  And here that post is.  I apologize in advance for not covering the differences between the home-video cut of the "movie" and these episodes; that'll happen at some later date, down the line.  But since that version is easily obtainable, any King fan ought to readily be able to watch that version.  Therefore, detailing the changes seems less crucial than detailing a bit about what happens in the original episodes themselves.

Here goes!

Episode 1 (airdate 07/16/1991)

You might be wondering: how, dear douche sir, are you so privileged as to have access to the original episodes, whereas the rest of us do not?