Back Off! Back Off! ARQ’ing Firestarter

firestarter_novelOne of the excellent side benefits of doing the Stephen King podcast is it gives me a vested interest in re-reading his books.  For our next one we will be revisiting Firestarter. Haven’t read this one in a long time and in my memory it sits below his top stuff works. I think my memory became tainted by the Keith David / Drew Barrymore movie. A flawed effort but with some redeeming qualities.

As to the book, it exists in two parts. The first part is a chase movie with Andy McGee and his seven year old daughter fleeing from the minions of the shop. The second half is an escape story. Both halves are pieces of clockwork precision in execution and ratcheting up the tension. But what really sells the story are not the bombastic set pieces but the quiet moments between Charlie and her father as he tries to help Charlie sort out the moral implications of using her powers. There are also small but twisted moments between Charlie and her assasin to be – Charles Rainbird.

Thoroughly enjoyed my re-read and much more than I thought I would. Also one of my favorite King book covers.


Netflix keeps out pumping new content and one of them was a SF time travel movie – ARQ – that takes place for over 99% of  it, in the same house. It’s Groundhog Day on a three hour loop with plenty of nifty twists along the way. Robbie Amell – Arrow’s Stephen Baldwin’s younger brother and Rachel Hunter – last seen in another Netflix original – Marvel’s Jessica Jones – do great work together as a fractured couple caught in the middle in of a war between a giant corporation and a rebel group. It’s well done and well worth a watch.

Dark Tower movie addendum – a rough print of the upcoming Dark Tower movie trailer leaked for a while on the internet. I’ll defer making any comments on it and will wait for the full fledged trailer expected to drop this Christmas. The quality was terrible and many FX shots were not completed.  I will say that overall the trailer has got me excited with only one sequence causing me doubt.

EW – Dark Tower SDCC 2016 Ed. Articles

Hail King fans!

In case you live under a social media rock, there’s a Dark Tower movie on the way. It stars Idris Elba as Roland Deschain, Matthew McConaughey as the Man in Black, and – I suspect, soon to be a household name – Tom Taylor as Jake. Filming just wrapped in New York City mid-July and it is coming out next February! The 17th to be exact.

For the unfamiliar when they ask what kind of story The Dark Tower is, it’s easier to tell them what it’s not. King’s magnum opus has it all – horror, fantasy, SF, love story, epic questing, father / son relationships, action, adventure, gets very meta, and will drag your soul back and forth across the emotional spectrum. It truly is a magnificent piece of work.

Trust me, it IS a helluva of a ride.

Anthony Breznican, a staff writer over at Entertainment Weekly did a multi-part article on the upcoming Dark Tower movie, giving the project a much needed social awareness boost.

Check out the cover:


This is a great series of articles because it gives a fairly clear road map of how the movie adaptations will approach the source material. King himself gave us a big clue when he tweeted this pic:


The Horn of Eld! Which makes this adaptation a continuation of the books.

I’ll come back to explore the implications of this more in a special Stephen King podcast with Hans Lilja of the Lilja’s Library web site will be recording this week. Look for it to drop in the next week or so.

Below are the links to the articles.

Part III, V, & VI have the meaty material.

Part I: Idris Elba on breathing fire into Stephen King’s Gunslinger

Part II: Matthew McConaughey awaits the end of the world as The Man in Black

Part III: What the film changes (and keeps) from Stephen King’s books

Part IV: Exclusive first look images

Part V: How The Dark Tower movie links to Stephen King’s other books

Part VI: Eight books, one movie: What The Dark Tower draws from each novel in the saga

Part VII: How to find the hidden image in EW’s cover for The Dark Tower

Updated to add:

Charlie The Choo-Choo: SDCC Promo Book