Vintage Stephen King/Peter Straub interview from Fangoria magazine (1986)


So here I am, just past the half way point in my reading of the King/Straub fantasy epic, The Talisman.  I’m going to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t totally looking forward to reading this book.  I love King, but the book is kinda long and I kept flashing back to my reading of The Stand.  And after the first 80 pages I just kept thinking, “I’ve made a horrible mistake.”  But the book quickly started getting better and I’m much more comfortable now.  I’m very much enjoying the book at the halfway point.  It’s also getting me excited to read the sequel, Black House, as well as that Shadowland book I bought on a whim several months ago.

While trolling through my old Fangoria magazines, I found an article from The Bloody Best of Fangoria Vol 5.  The Bloody Best was a compilation of previously published articles that Fangoria released at the end of each year.  Essentially, it’s a reprint magazine.  This particular volume was from 1986.  The interview I’m sharing is with both King and Straub around the time of the release of the book.  Like I said, the article was reprinted in 1986 for the compilation, but the article itself is from sometime in 1984.

You can click each of the images to see them BIGGER on Flickr.

Fangoria interview 01 Fangoria Interview 02

Fangoria interview 03 Fangoria interview 04

For those that don’t want to read the article, there are a few interesting tidbits.

* King and Straub can no longer remember who wrote what. And the parts you think are King probably aren’t because they each tried to put tricks in the story and use each other’s style to fool their readers.
* Universal bought the movie rights to the book in 1984 and Spielberg was attached to direct. Even going as far as having a script commissioned. Obviously, nothing came of that.
* At this point in time, George Romero was set to direct a film adaptation of The Stand right after he finished filming Day of the Dead. King had written the script and whittled it down to a 2.5 hour movie and says in the article that “everything is in there”. But I’m not sure how that’s even possible.
* After The Talisman, Straub is mostly done with supernatural horror. He wants to focus on more crime and mystery. Which is what he does. His next three books are his famed Blue Rose Trilogy (Koko, Mystery, The Throat).

I mentioned Straub’s next few books after The Talisman above.  Conversely, the next published book for Stephen King after The Talisman was Thinner, but that was originally under the Richard Bachman alias.  The next KING book was the short story collection, Skeleton Crew.  Which is one of my very favorite King books.  But Thinner is rather good as well.

It seems like this article just ends.  I guess the interview is concluded in the next issue.  A bit disappointing as I wanted them to discuss any ideas for the sequel we wouldn’t see for like 20 years.

Another thing I thought before reading up on The Talisman was that King and Straub hated each other.  That they started off as friends but the writing of the book drove a wedge into that friendship.  That’s why it took so long to get a sequel.  However, that’s clearly not the case at all.  These guys were friends for years before The Talisman and they’ve been friends ever since.  Interesting the ideas you overhear other people say that have no basis in reality.

So yes, I’m enjoying the book and I’d recommend it to anyone that is curious and already a fan of either author.  However, since this is just the halfway point, there is still plenty of time for this book to go completely “off the rails”.


3 Responses to “Vintage Stephen King/Peter Straub interview from Fangoria magazine (1986)”

  1. Maybe King and Straub really did hate each other, but just wouldn’t own up to it because they had a book to promote. Similar to how rap groups would always have a song talking about how they’re not breaking up right before a 10 year hiatus. Or they’re just, you know, real authors working.

    Sounds as if Straub didn’t want to write horror anymore, and King keeps up a prodigious output himself.

    You should have a Cavalcade of Awesome short essay contest: “Straub Vs. King: the Thrilla in Manilla (Envelopes): What Really Happened.”

  2. Don’t look TOO fondly ahead to Black House, honestly. It’s so different as to be unrecognizable. You could almost change all the names and simply have it be its own depressing, weirdly paced book. Except for the fact that it’s really a Gunslinger tie-in at the end.

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