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I was impressed with the opening chapters of Firestarter, not so much with The Stand.  Skimmed Cycle of the Werewolf and enjoyed the movie version Silver Bullet.  I'm not a gore hound and was also put off by King's overt hatred of Christianity.  I mean, Lovecraft was an atheist but he didn't feel the need to shove it up the reader's nose.  Subtlety is not King's strong spot, either in his writing style or his opinions.  😉

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9 minutes ago, seneschal said:

I was impressed with the opening chapters of Firestarter, not so much with The Stand.  Skimmed Cycle of the Werewolf and enjoyed the movie version Silver Bullet.  I'm not a gore hound and was also put off by King's overt hatred of Christianity.  I mean, Lovecraft was an atheist but he didn't feel the need to shove it up the reader's nose.  Subtlety is not King's strong spot, either in his writing style or his opinions.  😉

So he hates Christianity? That sucks...

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His villains tend to be Christians, always fanatics.  Because of course no reasonable person would believe the gospel.  Strangely no similar shade cast on other faiths that I can tell.  No bad guy Hindus, Buddhists, Moslems, Bahai or Sikhs.  That would be bigotry. 

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Seneschal.. not that I disagree on what you said (I got little opinion or info on the topic) but I can see how a militant atheist might be particularly anti christian while living in America. 

It's not because one would like to target christian in particular from a theoretical point of view, it's just that if you are a sensitive atheist, christian are the one that are going to bother you the most while living in America. All the others would be, after all, minorities... And christians are quite inclined to proselytise...

Edited by Lloyd Dupont

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I didn't intend to get this far into the weeds.  All I ask is that if you're an atheist who feels the need to confront the Evils of Religion (because Reason alone apparently isn't sufficient to sweep away Higher Superstition as we were promised more than three centuries ago) at least be consistent.  Don't clobber Pentecostals and Catholics but give Shinto believers and followers of tribal religions a pass because of political correctness.  If there is no Higher Power, no supernatural, then its all nonsense.

Also, if you're writing horror and spiritual forces don't exist, you've limited your possibilities.  Are your only monsters depraved humans?  And who's to say they're depraved?  Without a Higher Power there is no morality, only survival of the fittest (or luckiest).  Go ahead and eat that kindergartener.  You know you want to!  B-movie space aliens don't count either.  They're just D&D critters with cooler gear.  😀

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12 hours ago, ajtheronin said:

Salem's Lot. Only book that have ever given me nightmares and forever defined vampires to me. Even now I can't play Vampire: the Masquerade. Can't sympathize with such horrors.

Yeah, Masquerade Vampires are a horrible pack of edgelords, I completely understand why you don't like them, but at least they don't sparkle.  (Yes, I am deliberately misinterpreting your comment).

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King doesn't hate christianity. He just hates religious fundamentalism and believes organized religion can be dangerous. Also, he isn't an atheist. He's stated several times that he believes in God as a source of hope and strength.

The man writes horror. Subversion of things we deem "pure" and "good" - showing things that are supposed to guide us towards the light instead throwing us into deeper darkness - is a huge part of his writing. Using monstrous christians in his stories doesn't mean he hates christianity, only that he believes christianity can also be corrupted - which is a great theme for a horror story and one that he seems to be very interested in. Questioning faith and christianity isn't automatically an execration of those things. Also, most of his stories are set either in Maine or the american heartland. An evil hindu or buddhist would make very little sense in that setting and seem extremely forced, but a fundamentalist christian or a corrupt priest would be right at home - and be much scarier too, due to familiarity. An evil christian is a much more powerful image in horror than an evil buddhist or whatever, precisely because christianity is supposed to be a beacon of light, good and kindness in the western world.

Edited by Augusto Antunes
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1 hour ago, Augusto Antunes said:

King doesn't hate christianity. He just hates religious fundamentalism and believes organized religion can be dangerous. Also, he isn't an atheist. He's stated several times that he believes in God as a source of hope and strength.

Yes, and because of all that, he doesn't truly count as a Lovecraftian author (only a Lovecraft-influenced one).

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8 minutes ago, Travern said:

Yes, and because of all that, he doesn't truly count as a Lovecraftian author (only a Lovecraft-influenced one).

So you're saying an author can only be "lovecraftian" if they denounce god? What's the difference between "lovecraftian" and "Lovecraft inspired"? That's what Lovecratian means...

Also did Stephen King ever claim he aspired to be a Lovecraftian author? I never attributed that to him, he's just a master of horror in general.

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26 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

Also did Stephen King ever claim he aspired to be a Lovecraftian author? I never attributed that to him, he's just a master of horror in general.

I don't have a quote on me, but I remember him saying something along the lines of being heavily inspired by Lovecraft as a young author - as most horror writers were - but that he grew out of it as he developed as a writer and doesn't think much of it nowadays. So no, I don't think he considers himself or ever aspired to be a "lovecraftian author". There are a few elements and stories in his work that can be deemed lovecraftian, but that can be said of nearly every single horror author out there. I don't think King intentionally ever tried to give his stories a Lovecraft feel, whatever that is.

Edited by Augusto Antunes
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Cosmic horror, which HPL is the most recognized example of, is fundamentally atheistic (and anti-anthropocentric).  Stephen King, by his own admission, is a (deistic) believer and humanist.  He's a first-rate horror writer, but he moved past HPL's influence very early in his career. 

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6 minutes ago, Travern said:

Cosmic horror, which HPL is the most recognized example of, is fundamentally atheistic (and anti-anthropocentric).  Stephen King, by his own admission, is a (deistic) believer and humanist.  He's a first-rate horror writer, but he moved past HPL's influence very early in his career. 

That makes sense. I'm simply saying that I am a believer in God, but I have written cosmic horror short stories, does that mean that my tales (which feature true and mad science, no mention of god, and atheistic themes) is not cosmic horror on account of my personal beliefs?

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20 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

I'm simply saying that I am a believer in God, but I have written cosmic horror short stories, does that mean that my tales (which feature true and mad science, no mention of god, and atheistic themes) is not cosmic horror on account of my personal beliefs?

The old adage "trust the tale, not the teller" applies here.

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Anyone can write anything he wants. Just need a pen and some paper (or a keyboard). And some talent, maybe? But talent doesn't have any religious belief (or unbelief).

Then, once the words are written, anyone can put any little tag his wants on it: "cosmic horror", "bitlit crap", "lounge gore"... They're just little tags. Nothing more.

Whatever you believe, write, that's all.

And remember: if in confinement you're short of bog rolls, then - and only then - little tags are useful.

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8 minutes ago, Travern said:

The old adage "trust the tale, not the teller" applies here.

Quite cryptic my friend:) That applies to all Lovecraft's work actually, cause if one was to say that a person has to be an atheist to write lovecraftian that would mean one would also need a dose of xenophobia and racism... And as @Loïc states... we shall all write what we are inspired to write....

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22 hours ago, Dethstrok9 said:

So he hates Christianity? That sucks...

Lots of perfectly nice people do.  You know, when they're not constructing their own fictitious moralities.  Don't let it ruffle you.

1 hour ago, Dethstrok9 said:

That applies to all Lovecraft's work actually, cause if one was to say that a person has to be an atheist to write lovecraftian that would mean one would also need a dose of xenophobia and racism... And as @Loïc states... we shall all write what we are inspired to write....

Although a person of a particular faith might disagree, writing is an intellectual process that can be entirely hypothetical noodling, though focused through the lens of your personal perspective out of necessity.  Can one write about xenophobia and racism without being xenophobic or racist?  I dunno -- can a man write believable female dialogue?  The issue of writing about The Other is an age-old topic of debate in the circles of literary criticism.  It's certainly been tried, with outcomes of varying degrees of success.  Questions:

  • Do your characters and events pass the sniff-test of realism for behavior and dialogue? 
  • Can they and do they act in contrast to your personal values without necessary moral consequence?
  • Do you have an agenda in writing the story that contradicts its ostensible framework? (i.e., is it really Cosmic Horror if YHWH's waiting in the wings with a fire extinguisher?)

!i!

 

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5 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

Lots of perfectly nice people do.  You know, when they're not constructing their own fictitious moralities.  Don't let it ruffle you.

I meant because I was thinking about reading his work, and I still will. I did not intend my comment to be a generalization, but rather to be specifically about Mr. King. 

Edit: There is also the point to be made that the keyphrase is "hates Christianity". That would be a generalization which I wouldn't want to put up with. You can hate individuals, but while I might dislike L. Ron Hubbard, I'm not going to then put a blanket ban on all who tell me they believe in Scientology. I certainly dislike some atheists I have known, but I don't hate atheism. There is a difference between discrimination, brainwashing, or unfounded hatred; and a dislike of specific people who you know to be against you or what you hold true. Then there is the truth of not judging even individuals because you don't know what their life is like or how they arrived at the conclusions they did. My personal philosophy on the matter would be to live and let live, and my comment was founded in frustration toward prejudice. Yet according to the other comments and King's own statements, he does not have a blind hatred of all Christians, which makes this all pretty much moot points. Just wanted to get it out:) 

 

5 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

Do you have an agenda in writing the story that contradicts its ostensible framework? (i.e., is it really Cosmic Horror if YHWH's waiting in the wings with a fire extinguisher?)

Haha, most people don't even know what that is:) But no, when I write I try not to have a political or religious agenda to get across, at least in most of my work.

 

5 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

Although a person of a particular faith might disagree, writing is an intellectual process that can be entirely hypothetical noodling, though focused through the lens of your personal perspective out of necessity.  Can one write about xenophobia and racism without being xenophobic or racist?  I dunno -- can a man write believable female dialogue?  The issue of writing about The Other is an age-old topic of debate in the circles of literary criticism.  It's certainly been tried, with outcomes of varying degrees of success.  Questions:

  • Do your characters and events pass the sniff-test of realism for behavior and dialogue? 
  • Can they and do they act in contrast to your personal values without necessary moral consequence?
  • Do you have an agenda in writing the story that contradicts its ostensible framework? (i.e., is it really Cosmic Horror if YHWH's waiting in the wings with a fire extinguisher?)

And yes, quite sound guidelines, thank you! I may use it as a test of my own works to see if they stand.

Edited by Dethstrok9
Clarification, and a short rant in the name of breaking down acceptance of hatred.

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3 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

I meant because I was thinking about reading his work, and I still will. I did not intend my comment to be a generalization, but rather to be specifically about Mr. King.

I'm far more intimidated by his cocaine-fueled brickwork.  But, yeah, I understand how wading hip-deep in someone else's agenda can spoil the enjoyment.  By contrast, I recently finished watching a VERY good television show (FX's Legion) wherein the final season several characters were espousing personal views that I found highly objectionable, and it was nagging at my enjoyment of the show...until I realised that they were voices in a chorus of other characters that made the whole show work, and didn't represent an overarching agenda meant to alienate anyone watching it, much less me personally.  Frankly, it was believable writing, and I could appreciate it without identifying with it.

9 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

But no, when I write I try not to have a political or religious agenda to get across, at least in most of my work.

I loved me some C.S. Lewis when I was a young reader.  And I recall my surprise when I discovered the Christian allegory in most of his writing.  I mean, it was right there in front of my face, but subtle enough to not get in the way.  Never succeeded in converting me, either.  Just darned good storytelling.

A good story is a good story.  It doesn't have to affirm one's personal beliefs and desires to have a positive impact.

!i!

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11 minutes ago, Ian Absentia said:

I'm far more intimidated by his cocaine-fueled brickwork.

Is this evident in all his work? I mean, I love Black Sabbath and Tool, but in general don't really love drug fueled art...

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Whatever his beliefs, King apparently has prophetic powers:


Thing is, what scares him encourages me and vice-versa.  Would he be willing to discuss worldviews over No. 5 Combo meals?  Dunno.  He might telekinetically skewer me with sporks (since plastic drinking straws are banned).  And we'd have to be in the drive-through lane.  Yikes!  Carrie's mom got off easy!


 

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2 hours ago, Ian Absentia said:

Lots of perfectly nice people do.  You know, when they're not constructing their own fictitious moralities.  Don't let it ruffle you.

[cont]

This whole post sounds like a lot of unnecessary hostility towards religion and faith and juvenile jabbing at other forum members, but maybe I'm misunderstanding you.

In your own example you seem to think that, for example, men can't write female dialogue. By the same token, how can an atheist write believably about theism?

1 hour ago, Dethstrok9 said:

Yet according to the other comments and King's own statements, he does not have a blind hatred of all Christians

If I remember right the end of The Stand is handled by divine intervention with the help by a prophet of God, but I'm not 100% sure. I never got the sense King hated Christianity or any religion really, just like I don't think he believes every parent in Maine is an abusive alcoholic.

4 hours ago, Travern said:

Yes, and because of all that, he doesn't truly count as a Lovecraftian author (only a Lovecraft-influenced one).

Cosmic horror, which HPL is the most recognized example of, is fundamentally atheistic (and anti-anthropocentric).  Stephen King, by his own admission, is a (deistic) believer and humanist.  He's a first-rate horror writer, but he moved past HPL's influence very early in his career. 

This is completely wrong. August Derleth was a major contributor to the Lovecraft mythos as we know it, and he was a devout Catholic. Many writers of mythos-related works had varying religious beliefs, and Lovecraft still encouraged them to write. He was an atheist himself but never expressed hatred of theists and religion. Nothing about Call of Cthulhu or playing in the Lovecraft mythos necessitates the explicit falsification of any real-world religious beliefs. Unless you try to be an absolutely rigid Lovecraft "purist" and ignore everything else anyone ever wrote for his setting, nothing about it means that being theistic means you can't write cosmic horror, or that writing cosmic horror requires that you invalidate any religious beliefs. To me, even claiming that just sounds "edgy" and pretentious, and it just isn't true unless, again, you ignore absolutely everything not written by Lovecraft, and then you're left with a mythos that doesn't even exist, isn't defined, and is just a collection of separate horror stories.

Edited by TheEnclave

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7 minutes ago, TheEnclave said:

This whole post sounds like a lot of unnecessary hostility towards religion and faith and juvenile jabbing at other forum members.

I thought that at first to, but I don't think it was intended to be hostile. He went on to say constructive stuff afterward, and we were able to set aside our differences.

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3 minutes ago, Dethstrok9 said:

I thought that at first to, but I don't think it was intended to be hostile. He went on to say constructive stuff afterward, and we were able to set aside our differences.

Even still, I don't at all agree with the claim that theists can't write Lovecraftian stories and can only be knockoffs, more or less, because it's totally false. Derleth is the best example. Don't feel like you can't write or engage in cosmic horror without being an atheist. That's complete nonsense.

Edited by TheEnclave
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8 minutes ago, TheEnclave said:

This whole post sounds like a lot of unnecessary hostility towards religion and faith [...snip...] but maybe I'm misunderstanding you.

Not hostile at all, but that's often the impression caused by attempting to convey irony via the Internet.  Mea culpa.  But you take away what you bring to the conversation.

11 minutes ago, TheEnclave said:

...and juvenile jabbing at other forum members, but maybe I'm misunderstanding you.

Right on the money, though only one in particular, and I take exception to characterising it as juvenile!

13 minutes ago, TheEnclave said:

In your own example you seem to think that, for example, men can't write female dialogue. By the same token, how can an atheist write believably about theism?

I personally don't think so, but that's exactly point I was making.  The debate is frequent and widespread regarding "authentic" voice.  As I actually did write above, I dunno -- can a man write believable female dialogue Depends on the writer's talent.  Depends on the writer's agenda and bias (if any).  Depends on the reader.

!i!

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38 minutes ago, TheEnclave said:

Even still, I don't at all agree with the claim that theists can't write Lovecraftian stories and can only be knockoffs, more or less, because it's totally false. Derleth is the best example. Don't feel like you can't write or engage in cosmic horror without being an atheist. That's complete nonsense.


I agree with the point you're trying to make, but to be entirely fair, Derleth's not that good of an example. His contributions to the mythos have always been a bit controversial precisely for not being "lovecraftian" enough and drawing too much from christian concepts.

Edited by Augusto Antunes
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