The Science of Stephen King: Book Review

The Science of Stephen King: The Truth Behind Pennywise, Jack Torrance, Carrie, Cujo, and More Iconic Characters from the Master of Horror by Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence

Brought to you by the authors of The Science of Monsters and The Science of Women In Horror, we’re about to dive into The Science of Stephen King. 

From Carrie to The Institute, they work chronologically through Stephen King’s (and Richard Bachman’s) writing career, taking into account King’s personal life experiences at the times he was writing. 

As Meg says in the introduction, “Every ‘constant reader’ remembers the first time they delved into the delicious horror of Stephen King”, and this rings true for me. I was in middle school and it was Carrie, followed soon thereafter by Misery. I would carry the books with me to read when there would be free time in class or at lunch. Middle school seems to be the prime time for young, assigned-female-at-birth horror fans to meet Carrie and rightfully so. Leave it to a book written by women about Stephen King to teach me more about menstruation than health classes ever did. 

Contributions come from interviews with a crisis therapist, a Native American artist, a substance abuse counselor, an art therapist, a survivalist, a beer brewing enthusiast, co-author of Gwendy’s Button Box Richard Chizmar….and more. It’s pretty cool when you can interview professionals in their respective fields who also happen to be fans of King’s work. 

The writing style is where you can fall down a rabbit hole of research but you say, “I have a reason for this, I swear, so stick with me.” But if you’re also interested in research loops of history and how it relates to the topic at hand then it’s very fun. Even if you’re not, it doesn’t feel exhaustive as you’re reading it. Other topics covered include, but not limited to, mental illness, history lessons, technology, past and present medical science, and true crime.

There’s also a timely honesty to the book, not ignoring our current situations with coronavirus pandemic and climate crisis and how painfully similar it all is to King’s novels The Stand and Under The Dome

The Science of Stephen King hits shelves on October 6th.

Here’s a link where you can order this as well as other works by Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence.

The Science of Stephen King on Amazon

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