The SFFaudio Podcast #598 -Jesse, Scott Danielson, Paul Weimer, Marissa VU, Evan Lampe, Mr Jim Moon, and Alec Nevala-Lee talk about The Mist by Stephen King
Talked about on today’s show:
Dark Forces, 1980, Skeleton Crew, 1984 audio drama, Meatball Fulton, the 2007 movie adaptation, the terrible TV adaptation, a German audio drama?, who doesn’t like Stephen King?, America’s greatest popular novelist, people don’t like Stephen King’s endings, his narration tool, awesome endings, eucatastrophe, everything published until he turned 14, same, similar, Insomnia, changing style, the best time to read Stephen King is when it’s too young to be appropriate, Marissa’s eyes were opened, the scales were lifted from your eyes, mimetic fiction, a bridge novelist, a weird continuity, Mr Jim Moon’s bookshelves, the book cover of Carrie, New English Library, what the hell is the shining?, the psychic power, Salem’s Lot, Christmas and birthdays, a binge, a glut, a fear of big books, reading on Kindle, Terry Pratchett, highlighting observations, a heat map, your Dean Koontzs and James Herberts, very well put, tied up in audio, superior audiobooks, the most popular adaptation among fans, The Stand, Frank Muller, the different seasons, The Dark Tower, the Frank Muller narrated version of The Mist, the artist is mentioned, Hieronymus Bosch, Paul’s Stephen King’s experience, Firestarter in Omni Magazine, the Stephen King lake (there’s always something in that lake), Jesse is averse to popular, Cujo, The Running Man, Jesse is worried that his thesis is right, wise or wry observations of human behavior, King is telling us, a Hitchcock ending, a found document, The House On The Borderlands, the framing device, Lovecraft gets a shout-out, meta-mentioned, aliens, why Stranger Things was so popular, all those things that people are highlighting in Stephen King books, instinctually, amp up the drama, three sips of his beer, drinking beer all the whole day, out of alcoholism, cheating on his wife, he shoots his whole family, its transferred, making the main character less of an asshole, its okay that he cheats on his wife, hardscrabble, movie posters, The Dark Tower and The Thing, a more appealing protagonist, the sexual politics of this, moralistic about monogamy, the centerpiece of the drama, in his thoughts a little bit, the mom is missed more than the wife, replacement moms, replacement wife, the four bullets, we’re left to decide, seeing the book in relief, Darabont’s a hack, The Green Mile, Weird Tales, 1937, an error in the film, so faithful to the book in dialogue, the extra soldier, the neighbour is black, The Shawshank Redemption, a definitive ending, a noir ending makes it all the better, concretely solid as a story, A Quiet Place, the hear you instead of sniffing you, all these zombie stories, at least three actors from The Walking Dead, a distillation of so much, The Mist is a ground level version of The Night Wire by H.F. Arnold, the most popular story in Weird Tales ever, an internal monologue, reporting what it’s like to die, the foibles of all the people in the grocery store, “Food House”, a very choice decision, this is all happening out there, the emotional drama, why Stephen King translates so well to film, a skull-face, it amps up your eeuughs, the people dont trust each other, Mrs. Carmady, we see ourselves in her, a difference between the text and the movie, Christianity and folk stuff, psychic, frustrating, crazy fundamentalism, insidious in the book, recent events, people are that stupid here and now, unacknowledged psychics, The Dead Zone, nobodies who rise to political power, Under The Dome, fear of political zealots and cults, a great Covid story, we’re leaving, King read this stuff, *I AM INSPIRED BY THIS*, H.P. Lovecraft and Sonia Greene’s The Horror At Martin’s Beach, what’s identical is us viewing, it’s not about upper class and lower class, out-of-towners vs. locals, the boundary dispute starts off the story, what’s so cool, his psychology is all over the page, Philip K. Dick, very instinctually, my magic spell words, I drink too much, one for the road, drink more beer, some people know they have drinking problems, at the end of Skeleton Crew there’s a note on how it was written, taking this event from your own life, a very methodical way, great details, observant touches, the class tensions, John Updike, built on this interesting fusion, he isn’t an occult researcher, he’s just a dude, a painter, he paints his picture for us, wherever their faithful, the name of the car is the same kind of car, International Harvester Scout vs. Toyota Landcruiser, a very specific region and mental state, a pseudo-explanation for why all this stuff is happening, the secret military base, we need this scenario, lined up for toilet paper, who’s not wearing a mask, follow the rules, how all of this works, what was the right thing for me to do, going to the drugstore, what was the best thing anyone could have done in this scenario, drink beer, play pinochle, a metaphor for the Vietnam War, these experiences, the atmosphere of 1980s, ultimately they’re fighting the Soviets, he’s actually speaking to a particular set of events for people who are not responsible directly, a nostalgia hit, there’s much more to it than the politics, he writes about where he knows, a temperature map, bad political takes on twitter, he’s a boomer, the Vietnam War and John F. Kennedy, 11-22-63, they’ve held up so well, Danse Macabre, the Patty Hearst case, a global pandemic, a very specific moment, 1990, a late 70s story, he didn’t revise it enough, the Symbionese Liberation Army, copy and replace, written right after The Stand, Bird Box, an invasion from outside, usually after the events, the explanation for why the monsters are the way they are, Project Arrowhead, overheard at the library, what you hear is going on, no one is responsible, we’re all responsible, “nobody knew”, “no one could have foreseen this”, why the TV show is terrible, scattering the people, the monsters in the mist, an alternative ecosystem in which we are made irrelevant, The Men In The Walls by William Tenn, a cool idea, are the evils in the grocery store are manifested by the monsters in the mist (in the TV show adaptation), King has them completely separated, they’re not here to eat us, that’s how they are, Mrs. Carmody isn’t right, cosmic indifference causes beer drinking, its all for nothing, why King is better at this, he understands this on the cellular level, a reflection on his own psychological experience with it, the family dog didn’t want to be that way, down the same path, Dark Tower 6 or 7, move between these worlds, a retcon, a mistake, Dark Tower 3, these institutions, North Central Positronics, how institutions appear in King’s early fiction, the storm is what caused it, The Men Who Stare At Goats, if you look at their CV, [Prof. Courtney Brown] working on remote viewing, failing upward, now I teach kids, The Window by H.P. Lovecraft, in Fungi From Yuggoth,
The house was old, with tangled wings outthrown,
Of which no one could ever half keep track,
And in a small room somewhat near the back
Was an odd window sealed with ancient stone.
There, in a dream-plagued childhood, quite alone
I used to go, where night reigned vague and black;
Parting the cobwebs with a curious lack
Of fear, and with a wonder each time grown.
One later day I brought the masons there
To find what view my dim forbears had shunned,
But as they pierced the stone, a rush of air
Burst from the alien voids that yawned beyond.
They fled – but I peered through and found unrolled
All the wild worlds of which my dreams had told.
that piercing, this curious monkey thing, roll our tanks into Moscow behind their lines, if he could have waited a few minutes he this whole story made no sense, his school shooting book [Rage by Stephen King], he’s thinking about killing his family, the army comes in and fixes things, undermining the cynicism, that he didn’t kill himself, he shot his son after abandoning his wife, he went there, that Chinatown (1974) ending, compare this to The Shawshank Redemption‘s ending, the mist just goes away, I think those tentacles came out of that beer can, the trucks, the woman who left right away, locals who had made better decisions, the politics of it are quite interesting, the military guys are wearing masks, its a gas causing hallucinations, an extra, faceless government guys, the Iraq quagmire, the surge will work, the military was cleaning up, burning cocoons off the trees, they’re saving the people, pretty powerful, Scott was not pleased by the ending in the theater, “we went straight to the bookstore from the theatre”, Stephen King’s hopeful ending, something drastic, the psychic part, a dire situation, it might not be real, he thought he heard the word “Hartford”, there’s no narrator in the audio drama, we’re just being show the sound, like a microphone in the pocket of one of the characters, eliminating his own hope, saving them from the horror, pro-hope, I would rather sit here for a minute, I guess we gotta do it, they were safe for a minute, the whole point of this exercise is doomed, not consistent with King’s character as a writer, Pet Semetary, evil is defeated provisionally, they’re so faithful up to the tone of the book up to that point, the ending of Salem’s Lot is the beginning, he doesn’t want to go to that very bleak ending, collecting graffiti from the bathroom stalls of truck-stops, the maid will find it, his notebook saves this guy’s life, an optimistic happy ending, a real phenomenon, all these gun deaths, assault style rifles, avoid breaking down the gun deaths, most US gun deaths are suicides, if you have drugs in your house, we have these states where we change, things will look better in the morning, son, “I was as honest as I could be”, not wiser (they just have more experience), here have a hug, a confection, Castle Rock, exploiting or adapting, wasn’t that part cool, it has the shining music, a kid like in Stand By Me, E.T., straight from his unconscious, he’s not constructing it using a plot generator, a car really obsessed, a superhuman level of attention to detail, a kid crying in the sandlot, the boathouse, wonderfully modeled, a Parliament cigarette, Pepsi, Purina, what it was like to be a middle class American in 1980s, this is not how the world is now, Castle Rock does a better job of getting King (like Darabont does), characters, memorable characters, It, the most accurate depiction of 12 year olds, still accurate at 38, people do that and there isn’t always consequences, every transgression is punished, punished for an act of mercy, Mrs. Carmody would have been right, movies for adults, The Big Chill, suburban adultery, closely observed modernist fiction, lets go on vacation, these dark thoughts on the road, the best depictions of being a writer, why you need that axe, if I can just change stuff up I can finish the book, I’m outlining a new writing project and four months of peace and quiet are what I need, from the very first scene, this Jack Torrence is absolutely crazy, vs. a descent into madness, moral corruption, Kubrick’s film is great, ghosts are allowed to be in novels, the New York Times review of Dark Forces, cinematic writing, is there a story he’s produced that hasn’t been adapted at least once, Revival is going to be adapted, is it because his writing is so cinematic?, the King name, pacing and people, so much happens in the last hour, the audio drama skips the first two chapters, the 1984 text adventure computer game, missing the foundation, an excellent artifact, many many audio dramas available, the 1980s was dry as hell, Fred Greenhalgh and Radio Drama Revival, so innovative, don’t short shrift the audio drama, that 3-D effect, this is really scary, you’re in that grocery store with those people, ‘there’s something in the mist and it looks like this’, Maissa Bessada, its definitely scary, in a film, all those eggs inside that guy, some great effects, a little bit of Aliens (1986) in there, the spiders are on our side, an alien ecology, what is their vegetation, the vegetation doesn’t spill in, The War Of The Worlds, triffids, he’s about the psychology, psychic plants, From A Buick 8, the architecture of the car is all wrong, Thomas Jane, one of the monsters is a D&D one, if Stephen King had been born Stephina King, that’s a guy thing, facts about the cars, being that he’s a dude, old cars from the 50s, an AMC AMX, it looks so cool, it would be different if he was a woman, if he had a female brain, what would those obsessions be, obsession with duck breeds, “what’s with the doilies, ladies?”, video games have really changed people’s brains, game clothes, their obsessions are going to be different, he tends to be very contemporary, Cell, a cellphone used as a flashlight, now nobody has flashlights, the mist knocked out the signal, the radio, “the internet’s out, what can we do!?”, Jesse’s favourite scene, I’m going to get you a Spider-Man, a Spider-Man and an Incredible Hulk too!, sitting on the dock for a few hour with a comic book, totally absorbed, something for the dentist to work on later.
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4 thoughts to “The SFFaudio Podcast #598 – READALONG: The Mist by Stephen King”
Another very nice discussion. The Mist might be my favorite King story, but the thing I really wanted to bring up was Dark Forces, the Kirby McCauley anthology where it first appeared. I checked it out from the library solely on the strength of its “FEATURING A BRAND NEW STORY BY STEPHEN KING” cover blurb, but it was also my introduction to any number of really great horror authors, including but not limited to Karl Edward Wagner (“Where the Summer Ends”) and Richard & Richard Christian Matheson (“Where There’s a Will”).
I’m continually bummed that those kinds of anthologies will never be reissued, just because the rights situation would be an impossible tangle.
one day they will, hopefully, enter the public domain – we wont be alive – but one day – one day – one day
Good job and also silent hill and half life is based on the misft