This is unbelievable, but I think I'm finally over my Stephen King obsession. OMG. It's been years now. Oh, I still love some of his books, but my almost-complete collection of his novels? I looked through them, and decided to send the ones I loved the least off into the postal regions of Paperback Book Swap.

I've broken out of the one-writer thing I had going, and branched out enough now to where I'm comfortable reading other writers. That sounds really strange, I know, and I'm probably not saying it clearly. Whatever it was I needed out of his books, I've finally gotten it, and I don't need it any more. Other writers are stepping in-not as obsessions: I guess I needed more voices to listen to and see how they puzzle out plotting and story and character.

I love Rob Thurman's stuff. I love Alexander McCall's Ladies' Detective series. I've loved The Dresden Files for a long time now. I love that I'm back to having some faith in my old first love of SF/F again, and with some mystery series. I'm starting to like Kelley Armstrong's "Dime Store Magic" (and I usually don't like witch/vampire/werewolf stuff).

I'm not sure what changed, but there it is. Whatever cocoon there was, it's coming off. Yay!

The first six episodes were pretty good, and I enjoyed them. There was a suitable amount of creepiness (but not too much suspense and certainly no gore outside of the operating rooms). What I liked best about Kingdom Hospital was the focus on the characters. What sometimes frustrates me about movies/series/books that are based on a format where the story has scattered protagonists is how they don't communicate and *get together*!

That doesn't happen in Kingdom Hospital.\ The characters in this short series actually start *working together* and *sharing information* in a timely manner! It's a simple thing that for some reason, doesn't seem to happen often enough, or satisfyingly enough. I didn't mind the tangents that the series went into with story-lines and characters because, please, tell me how other series have, as King says, endless middles and often, no ending at all?

Okay...the final six episodes. I liked the introduction of the seismologist who was also clued in to the happenings. It's interesting how, even though he's clued in, like another character (the black man at the church) he's a neutral party, willing to give Stegman vital information without qualification.

Heartless is one of those straightforward be-careful-what-you-wish-for stories based on those icky old EC horror comics King draws so much of his inspiration from. It's really the B story in this episode (chapter?) and it does serve to show Antubis' nature. He makes bargains. He keeps his deals; but you have to be careful, especially if, unlike Peter the artist, you don't have what he needs to forward his ends. He's ruthless.

Butterfingers, the one about the New England Robin's first base man who fumbles an easy ball and causes his team to lose the World Series in 1987 establishes that Mary has powers that haven't been plumbed yet. There's no telling how many times she has or hasn't helped someone out by taking them back to a point in time that holds a single instant that changes their live, but those previous times don't matter; here's a clue about the ending. Meanwhile, Hook, Stegman, and Mrs. Druse are all plotting to break into Records to find what they need by sending in their proxies. It's amusing, but felt like it took too long to get that plot moving.

On the Third Day: I'm not quite sure how the miracles with the death of the priest fit in, exactly, except to show that in this reality, miracles, and anti-miracles, can happen at or near Kingdom Hospital at any time. Either way, the inner natures of the characters aren't changed, but perhaps their faith is confirmed. If there is such gruesome evil in Kingdom Hospital, then its opposite exists across the street where the old Mill used to be (KH is built on the site of the original torture hospital when the MIll was in operation).

The final three hours: the viewer gets a put-together story of what happened to Mary and how she got those scars above her eyes (which make her look like an ancient Japanese theater figure, probably not a coincidence) and how exactly the events of the fateful Mill fire happened. There's some resemblance to Insomnia here, where the goal the entire time was to save one child. Paul played less of a part than I expected, and there wasn't a lot of explanation for why Paul and the human form of Antubis/Anubis are the same except to illustrate again that where there's Dark, there is also Light, but the Light needs a hell of a lot more defense. The conclusion was too short-all the central characters gather together, share their parts of the story, and then go back in time in a ghostly form. The reason Peter the artist was forcibly drawn to the hospital becomes clear, but the surprise that *should* have been foreshadowed somehow, was that Chris and (the other character) who know everything going on in the Hospital are able to make things real. The ending was too abrupt and too *easy* in my opinion. There was Stegman, but he's an ineffectual bad guy. Paul and Dr. Gottfried are wiped out easily by Antubis/Anubis, which makes me wonder why the heck he didn't do it a long time before.

There are some loose ends. In the second episode, Mrs. Druse is shown to have a lesion on her own brain after having an MRI. But it's not dealt with later, that I can recall.

Overall, even with some loose threads hanging, I like the show, and my daughter, who joined me while I watched episodes Butterfingers and Heartless, got caught up in it, too, and has asked if I'll watch it from the beginning with her. That shouldn't be a problem! So yes, KH has its problems, which are King's long-standing problems with plotting, but overall, a good work. Production values were constant, the CGI team did a decent job, especially with Antubis. I've no idea if folks know how difficult it is to animate an animal with a lot of hair, but believe me, it's HARD, and they did a great job especially on a TV budget. It was fun, a neat haunted house story, and that's all I need: a good few hours of entertainment.

Per Twilight? I think the kid who played Paul, the evil ghost in KH, would have made a *fantastic* Edward in the movies. He looks good in ghoulish make-up.

I'm about half-way through the series now (watched three episodes yesterday, and am watching through to the sixth episode).

Wow, I'm impressed. The style of the show gels together, and although the story is slowly unfolding, the very beginning of the series gave me just enough background of the site the hospital rests on that it's okay if I wait a while more to find out exactly what the earthquakes are about, or where that evil ghost boy Paul comes from. I do wonder where Mary, the little girl ghost with the bell who is looking for her doll, got those two wounds above her eyes.

And the cool thing is, I didn't realize that HRG (Noah) from Heroes is a central character in this. Well, sort of central. He's spending most of his time helpless in his hospital bed.

All the descriptions that I've read of KH don't do it justice. I mean, c'mon, if you read that there was an invisible talking toothy anteater ghost-god? wandering around the halls of a hospital, wouldn't you wonder what the heck was going on? I really like the characters, and Peter Davidson, who plays a incompetent doctor, does a terrific job with the role. Of course, I love Stephen King's novels, even when they're flawed, and I'm enjoying the references to Castle Rock, Nozz-a-la and other things that the production staff sprinkled through the series.

I really like it, but I can see how there are folks who couldn't get into it for the weirdness. I only cringe a little when the doctors and nurses break out into spontaneous song in the ER when they get someone's heart beating again. Oh, and the surgery scenes with the blood? FF right through them. Hmm. Maybe if I can take this show, I can handle Supernatural; but that's actually a harder edged horror type of show. Maybe I'll tackle that next.
 Duma Key rocks. Big time. It's first person (told the entire way through) and like Dolores Claiborne, King's other first person novel, is really really good. It's about a lot of things; recovering from injuries of the mind as well as body; reaching out; and mingled in with that, how a family in the past recovered (or didn't) from traumatic incidents of a supernatural nature (or are they?).  It's not vague like Haunting of Hill House, where you're never sure if the main character is crazy, if the house is crazy, or what - but it owes a fair amount of its atmosphere to Shirley Jackson's famous haunted house tale.

The walking wounded abound in this story - about the only person who isn't, is Edgar (Allan Poe's) daughter. Edgar shares his last name with Abigail Freemantle, of The Stand, and it's apparent that in a slight, narrow way, this novel is connected with The Dark Tower series, although not directly. King has said in interviews that this book is his version of Divorce. In a way it is. Divorce from your old life, your wife, your former way of being, and into another stage where you might change, but perhaps not altogether willingly.

Yeah, I highly recommend this one. Even if you're not a King fan. He avoids a fair number of his worst tropes (the Wise Black Man/Woman) for the most part, and the pay off at the end is worth it. And if you're the least bit creative with art, writing, photography, I think you can understand what he gets at when Edgar, the main character, talks about what it feels like to be in the midst of a creative rush.
I'm always the last to figure things out, but I stumbled upon a pretty cool Stephen King site called  It's a good thing I did, because Esquire Mag is printing a new short of his in the July issue. Cool.



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