I’ve written in praise of Stephen King on several occasions. I think he’s a heck of a great writer, and doesn’t get the respect from the literati that he deserves. I’ve been enjoying his Gunslinger series for years (though I’ve only read books one through four), and it’s finally done. Novelist and BoingBoing dude Cory Doctorow writes about Mr. King:
If you ask me, these are King’s best books. The basic premise — a cadre of mystic, gunslinging knights traversing the worlds and all time to reach the mcguffin that holds the universe together — is the perfect, relentless drummer, pounding out the tempo of the story, dragging them through hardship beyond hardship. The science fiction elements are cool; the fantasy elements are heroic; the horror elements are creepy as hell. The plot doesn’t slacken, and the characters are deeply and thoroughly drawn.
I agree–I’ve read lots of King’s books, and the Gunslinger series offers the best of his writing and imagination. King was inspired by The Lord of the Rings, and intentionally set out to write a similar sweeping epic. He has, in my opinion, succeeeded brilliantly. Admittedly, he’s got 60 years of freshness on Tolkein, but the Gunslinger books are way more readable.