USA Weekend: Exclusive: Stephen King on J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer:
King, whose Stephen King Goes to the Movies collection came out last week, doesn’t know how much of an influence he had on Meyer, but he does know that Rowling read his stuff when she was younger. "I think that has some kind of formative influence the same way reading Richard Matheson had an influence on me," King explains. "People always say to me, 'Well, what about H.P. Lovecraft?' And the thing was, you read Lovecraft when you were a kid but I never felt that he was speaking my language. It was chillier than my heart was, and when Matheson started to write about ordinary people and stuff, that was something that I wanted to do. I said, 'This is the way to do it. He’s showing the way.' I think that I serve that purpose for some writers, and that’s a good thing. Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people. ... The real difference is that Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good."
But then King recalls that when his mom was alive, she read all the Erle Stanley Gardner books, the Perry Mason mysteries, obsessively when he was growing up. "He was a terrible writer, too, but he was very successful," King says. "Somebody who’s a terrific writer who’s been very, very successful is Jodi Picoult. You’ve got Dean Koontz, who can write like hell. And then sometimes he’s just awful. It varies. James Patterson is a terrible writer but he’s very very successful. People are attracted by the stories, by the pace and in the case of Stephenie Meyer, it’s very clear that she’s writing to a whole generation of girls and opening up kind of a safe joining of love and sex in those books. It’s exciting and it’s thrilling and it's not particularly threatening because they’re not overtly sexual. A lot of the physical side of it is conveyed in things like the vampire will touch her forearm or run a hand over skin, and she just flushes all hot and cold. And for girls, that’s a shorthand for all the feelings that they’re not ready to deal with yet."
There is wank in the comments and on lion_lamb.
ETA: julianrain found this thread on Portkey and demiguise83 found this on Lion and Lamb Love.
TwiMoms react too:
I think he is just jealous because he's not getting as much coverage or is well liked as Stephenie. He really doesn't know real writing. I read one of his books and to me, IMO, he doesn't catch the readers attention like Stephenie does. I mean, it is his opinion but I don't agree with it. And books don't have to have blood, lots of violence and sex in it to be a great book. That's just how I feel.
I was pretty shocked that he just publicly put her down like that. But I think he is just jealous, I mean it cant be easy to be asked about another authors work instead of your own.
I was disappointed in reading that too. The old adage, "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say it at all" should apply. His dismissal of the book as a silly teen girl "not quite sex"storyline is a slap in the face to those of us who are grown women, and know the truths and common threads that run through all of us gals (young and old) when it comes to first love. Perhaps he has not had the joy of such an experience, and hence misses the point completely.
Stephen King's words were out of line, inappropriate, and offered nothing in the way of an educated critique. I guess attacking an author with numerous current bestsellers is his way of attempting to remain relevant. Was it just me, or did it seem like he also implied that J.K. Rowling was influenced by his writing? Sounds like someone is suffering from a severe case of inflated ego.
Ugh, and again with the teenage girls comment! Hasn't anyone figured out that SM's books appeal to men and women of all ages!!
Wow. Well, I used to be a pretty big Stephen King fan. I've read most of his books, but it got to the point where they were just too dark and too disturbing. The man is a good writer with a really twisted mind! I could read his books and come away creeped out, which maybe was the point. But after reading the Twilight books and even "The Host" I came away intrigued with the plot and in love with the characters. I would much rather enjoy the books I read than come away sickened by human depravity. And there was usually a really lame sort of "love" relationship in his books that was usually pretty cheesy and not at all appealing, at least to me.
And one HUGE point I have to make here- Every movie I've ever seen made from one of Stephen King's books has been thoroughly disappointing (Dreamcatcher anyone?)! Twilight was a much better movie than all of his movies put together, IMHO.
I have never appreciated Stephen King's writing style.. I have only read Delores Claiborne and Pet Cemetary and didn't like either one... he is one writer that I can say " the movie was better than the book!"
IDK why he would trash SM- it just doesn't make sense...maybe he really is jealous.
no matter what, it was in very poor taste for him to say that about her. just confirms he's an idiot
ETA 2: and we have wank on Twilight Lexicon
ETA 3: more enraged Twihards on Twilight Series Theories.
ETA 4: it hit Fark.com, RPG.net and Shocktillyoudrop.com.
Guardian: Twilight author Stephenie Meyer 'can't write worth a darn', says Stephen King:
Meyer's fans have rushed to her defence. "Steven [sic] King doesn't know what a real book was if it hit him in the face. He's just a bloody guy who is jealous of Edward's good looks," wrote poster Kiki Alice Cullen. "King is no Gabriel Garcia Marquez so I don't understand why he gets to say who is a good writer and who is not," agreed another, while a third, who wished she could "just hit this guy", suggested that "we twilighters should send him tons of hate mail ... just to show him how many twilight fans he just pissed off."
John Granger weighs in and insists that Twilight is really, really deep:
The Twilight Saga for quite a spell held four of the top five best seller slots at Amazon.com and the New York Times best seller lists. Mr. King attributes this success to “opening up kind of a safe joining of love and sex” for young teenage girls. Frankly, that sounds like patronizing dismissal to me; there aren’t that many teenage girl book buyers in the US to account for these sales numbers. Paranormal romance and safe sex, too, are pretty weak explanation for the meaning-resonance readers experience in these books.
As to “all kinds of deeper meaning” — which I’m guessing RevGeorge means as a friendly rebuff — I think it is fair to say the books are quite open in being about the relationship of man and God as lover and beloved. The author is doing this deliberately and artfully, even with more originality and daring than writers like Mr. King. She certainly lacks his command of the language — as with the Hogwarts Adventures, there is nothing majestic or magisterial in Ms. Meyer’s workmanlike prose and dialogue — but she has obviously done something in her genre melange as great as anything that Mr. King has done to win the audience she has.
Dismissing her as basically a flunkie cashing in on young girls’ desire to explore their incipient sexuality imaginatively and safely is probably not misogyny per se, but it certainly is lazy thinking and suggestive of a little jealousy. As is his casual asserting that Harry Potter is somehow derived from his work because Ms. Rowling suposedly read his books as a young person (something I have not read in any interviews with her). I’m afraid Mr. King’s comments rank up there with Harold Bloom’s and William Safire’s informed criticism of Harry Potter back in the day.
What literary substance is there in the Twilight books?
For starters, Ms. Meyer works with six classic texts as her story scaffolding (not to mention X-Men comic books), echos Ms. Rowling’s themes on choice and prejudice (along with every writer of our age qua postmoderns), and is deconstructing mechanical beliefs (myths) and simultaneously elevating tradition (myth and fairy tale). I personally am fascinated by the remarkable set of genres she combines believably and by her four book long exploration of love and reason a la Midsummer’s Night Dream, one of the six texts she uses as leaping off points. Her use, too, of Edward and Jacob as interchangeable Heathcliffs and Edgar Lintons to Bella’s Catherine in a re-exploration of Wuthering Heights is very well done and made me reconsider the Bronte classic from an entirely different angle.
Did I mention the artist coming of age themes she develops in Bella a la Hesse’s Demian and Joyce’s Portrait?
I’ll list the Saga’s faults at length if you want, as well, but there doesn’t seem to be any need for that here. Why pile on? The harder work is what folks are neglecting. Novels that sell million of copies and that readers love, believing they are “better, wiser, and happier” for spending time in those pages, disbelief suspended, are books that deserve our respect and attention rather than our casual rejection. Ms. Meyer’s critics, I’m afraid, suffer from “Governor Palin Syndrome;” the genre she uses as her base camp (Harlequin romance) is as unacceptable to them as “serious writing” as a fecund, happily married, conservative female politician is to the MSM. This is eerily reminiscent of the UK critics who could not endure Ms. Rowling’s work because of their disdain for her core scaffolding, the English School boy novel.
And, FYI, Ms. Meyer’s first name is spelled with three ‘e’s, no ‘a’s.
Anyone who thinks they can write as well as this woman should be writing full time. Those dismissing her by asserting publicly that they can write as well as she can are invited to demonstrate more than their ignorance both of what exactly the Twilight Saga is and of the significant and original artistry in these books.