Book Review: The Colorado Kid, by StephenKing

Casual fans of Stephen King might have missed this book. It came out in 2005 as a little paperback published by Hard Case Crime – a small publisher of pulp mystery novels. I didn’t know it existed until recently.

This is a tiny little story. The entire tale unfolds as a single conversation taking place between three people. When it finally gets there, the main plot is about an unidentified body – The Colorado Kid – found on a tiny island off the coast of Maine. That’s it. There is nothing else to it.

King seems to have designed this book to piss people off. Right from the start, the characters make it clear that this is not a story with a beginning, middle, and end. Rather, it’s about stories themselves, and the nature of mystery. There is no ending, no resolution, no story, no nothing. Still, I enjoyed every page. As a scientist-type dabbling in mystery myself, I totally get what King is doing here. He’s written a novel-length essay on how it may be mystery itself, and not its resolution, that keeps us going. And he’s done so with charming characters and a story that keeps you reading even though you are assured it will not go anywhere.

Perhaps he’s also responding a bit to criticisms of his other novels; as we saw with The Dark Tower series, endings aren’t really his thing.

Being pissed off isn’t always a bad thing, and I think this is proof of that. I recommend reading this infuriating book at your earliest convenience.


So It Goes

Aw shit, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. died.

Celebrity deaths don’t affect me often, but there is something different about authors. My heart skipped a few beats when I heard this. I think many people have a very real and very intimate connection with authors. Stephen King once wrote that writing is like telepathy, and in a way that’s true. An author transmits their thoughts onto paper, then that paper reaches readers who are distant in space and time, who mentally recieve the author’s thoughts through the filter of their own thoughts. It’s necessarily one-way telepathy – author to reader – but it’s still very personal, especially if the author is putting themselves in their work, as Vonnegut did (both literally and figuratively).

I read a few of his books in high school, and they most certainly influenced my thoughts from that point forward. I remember doing my big “ISP” (independent study project) in English class on him. Instead of a boring essay, I wrote a short story in his style. I’ll post it below. It’s not all that well-written (but hey, I was a teenager when I wrote it), and obviously nothing compared to Vonnegut himself, but I still think it captured a bit of his style. And although it makes no sense, I think it has a certain internal logic running through it. Think of it as a tribute.