My Reservation about It

Discussion in 'IT' started by Neil W, Jan 21, 2014.

  1. no bounce no play
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    no bounce no play I am Borg

    Well... Get back to work finding the cure for the common cold :)

    Your opinion is as important as anyone's, we might try to change your mind though lol
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  2. Robert Gray
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    Robert Gray Well-Known Member

    The point is that you would not be called to account if you had supported your critique (which I still don't think you have done). All you have said, over and over again, is the book's ending was lame, a let down to me, and/or it wasn't scary to "me." Do you see where I'm going with this? If your only actual critique of the book keys on how "you" feel about it personally, then it behooves you make us understand why we should care.

    The family, friends, of and peers of everyone on the planet "might" disagree to greater or lesser extents. I'm not letting you off the hook. You have, once again, managed to state absolutely nothing with the sentence above. It is a rhetorical evasion, nothing more and nothing less.

    I measure it in context to either the strength of the arguments (of which yours have none) or by the context of the person giving them. If someone volunteers a critique or advice about my car (and they do not explain the reasons or support for it) I will naturally give more weight to the commentary if the person giving it is an mechanic or car designer. Consider the following example:

    "Yo, mack! You should always shift down to neutral early and let the car slow down as you ease on the breaks."

    *No reason is given for the unsolicited advice, so I ask why? You are going to put more weight on it if someone tells you the exact mechanical reason, and even more weight if they reveal they are a mechanic or a race card driver of international acclaim. However, if someone just says, "It just feels right to me," you are going to be dubious and even more distrustful when you find out they don't know anything about cars.

    You appear to have missed the entire point. I wasn't graceful (which your sarcasm correctly implies). I am merely someone who decided to take your critique apart, another nameless, faceless person on the internet. Why did I do it? Good question. Why did you offer your critique? Clearly you felt it mattered. What you appear to be missing or purposefully ignoring is that you began the thread with the same kind of ungraceful commentary. When I asked you for specifics you stated the following:

    This is tantamount to repeating "I" didn't find it scary. It wasn't horrifying enough for "me." It didn't live up to "my" standards as set by the actor Tim Curry. The last part was particularly interesting to me because you appear to admit that the written word isn't as real for you as watching a movie. It doesn't seem as visceral to you. That is, at least, how I'm interpreting what you said. If you mean something else altogether, you might want to clarify that. The medium of a story's delivery has never been a problem for me (or most readers) as the camera and projection screen in the mind's eye still remains far better than anything Hollywood can do. That is, at least, true for me. While I enjoyed Tim Curry's performance well-enough, he has absolutely nothing on the Pennywise I see when I read the book. All of that is kind of a tangent, however, as we are led back to the fact that you just didn't like the ending. For some weird reason you tell the rest of us that you don't like the ending and INVITE the critique I gave back to you by asking if we feel the same. Don't ask a question if you don't really want an answer. You also did not answer my question. You never told us how you thought Mr. King should have written the end.
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2014
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  3. mjs9153
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    mjs9153 Guest

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  4. FlakeNoir
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    FlakeNoir Beta/Moderator Moderator

    @Robert Gray... are you on holiday this week, or possibly snowed in? Have you finished all of your library books and can't access more?
    ;)

    :biggrin2:
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  5. Robert Gray
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    Robert Gray Well-Known Member


    Touche. I am, perhaps, using a sledgehammer to make a point when a shoe would have done just fine. Your point is well-taken. I apologize to the original poster for overkill. Critiques without context or support are just a pet peeve and I sometimes get caught up in the sound of my own voice.
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  6. FlakeNoir
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    FlakeNoir Beta/Moderator Moderator

    Actually I always enjoy reading your critique breakdowns because they're often very accurate and are always so well thought out, but yeah... I'd hate to be on the receiving end of one. (Because I'm a wuss...) :biggrin2:
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  7. Robert Gray
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    Robert Gray Well-Known Member

    Heh. I've never imagined you as a Wuss and you certainly didn't blink or "cry off" as the Gunslinger would say when you spotted me going over the top just now. I appreciate it. To me none of this is ever personal or emotional, but I forget (too often) that sometimes overkill does more harm than good. Sometimes I just need to leave it hanging on my hip.
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  8. FlakeNoir
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    FlakeNoir Beta/Moderator Moderator

    You can't see it, but I just sent you one of those fancy Roland/Mejis bows... (cowboy hat is imagined, sorry)
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  9. Neil W
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    Neil W Well-Known Member

    I am not sure how to respond to this, but I do need to, and I need to start by saying that Message Boards should be fun. That's not to say that there shouldn't be spirited debate, but if the experience overall isn't fun then I'm not that keen on taking part. I'm certainly not interested in any sort of flame war.

    My initial post was an expression of a personal opinion, delivered in an obviously tongue in cheek (and perhaps "ungraceful") way which, I hoped, would raise smiles among other posters and stimulate some discourse. What it emphatically was not was a critique, and I wasn't expecting to be called to account to justify it. You weren't attacking me personally, you said, but there was a degree of passive-aggression in the way you didn't attack me personally (and there is more of the same above), which is why I responded somewhat testily. I apologise for my testiness - I say again that this should be fun, and I must try to keep any further such element out of these comments.

    We are all entitled to our opinions. None of us has to justify those opinions to others. If someone asks me "Why do you feel like that?" I will happily explain - sometimes by way of a detailed critique, sometimes "It just makes me feel like that and I can't explain it." If I was entering into debate with someone over an opinion (or a critique) I don't think I would do so by requiring justification or belittling that person ("Who the heck are you that we should take any notice of your opinion?").

    You say I've missed your point. With respect, I think you have not only missed the point of my original post - its tongue in cheek nature - but also my comment that I enjoyed the novel. I will happily engage in spirited and good-natured debate which steers clear of sneering and disparagement.
  10. no bounce no play
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    no bounce no play I am Borg

    I'm a wuss too :( Sometimes I type out an opinion and then erase it instead of posting it because I don't want to be scolded for saying something that might be the littlest bit uncomplimentary towards SK :(
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  11. Neil W
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    Neil W Well-Known Member

    I missed reading this before I posted, so a truce, I think, which is a good thing.
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  12. Robert Gray
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    Robert Gray Well-Known Member

    Trust me, we weren't anywhere near being at war. That was just me being too thorough. :) I never flame anyone. I always address ideas and never people, unless of course the people I am talking to are referencing themselves or linking themselves to the idea. It wasn't personal nor intended to detract from your fun. Since you have since seen later posts we don't have to rehash that.

    True, you did deliver it in a tongue and cheek manner. If you recall my first response to you wasn't in depth either. I merely told you that I doubted you were alone, but that there couldn't be that many of you. You continued the conversation and your next post did not come off tongue in cheek. It was an appraisal (and the introduction of the word lame) and a critique. In fairness, I didn't really start to address your commentary until you further invited it.

    I should clarify that we get a lot of "hit-and-run" critics, i.e. people who pop up and make comments about what they don't like without any support. It is like that whack-a-mole game with them just deciding to jump on to the site and lay into Mr. King's work. I do believe that people have the right to their opinions. I also believe it cuts both ways. If you voice your opinion in a public place, other people have the right to voice their opinion of you and your work. Clearly you aren't cut from the same cloth as our weird whack-a-mole Trolls, but you can probably see why I engaged you in the discussion? Critics often seem to have the thinnest skin to critiques. It shouldn't be that way, but all too often that is a simple truth.

    No, I didn't miss that part (as I already pointed out). I assure you there was no sneering or disparagement on my part. Disagreeing with your position is not the same as an attack on you. It is an attack on the points you make. I certainly don't take it personal when people engage in spirited disagreement with me. You have taken the time to try and clear the air and that makes you alright in my book. I'm also more than willing to talk to you about the specifics of it. I am interested (and wasn't being sarcastic) when I asked you how you would have written that ending differently. I was dead serious when I asked for clarification on whether it was the cosmic scale of things or the specific manifestation which just didn't do it for you. You appear to indicate that you watched the Television series prior to reading the book. Would you say this created a bias in your mind toward certain things? We both enjoyed the novel. We can agree to disagree about the ending. That shouldn't preclude us from getting down to the meat and potatoes of why it left you cold and seemed perfect to me. Like many people here, I write and have a vested interest in hearing about what didn't work and why. Nine times out of ten with horror, it isn't a failure on the part of the writer. It is simply your personal psychological blueprint which couldn't activate the camera of your mind's eye for this type of thing. There is no shame in that. Aliens rarely do it for me. :) Still, I think that you and I should be able to get specific on it, even if it takes talking about it and giving it some real thought.
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  13. Robert Gray
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    Robert Gray Well-Known Member

    You shouldn't worry about that. I don't think any Constant Reader (myself included) is waiting in the dark to leap like a mad dog on anyone disliking Mr. King's work. When people put forward such critiques with clear reasons they usually just get engaged on the points or people just accept the argument or agree to disagree. You might end up getting hit with lots of questions or being asked for clarification, but you shouldn't take it as being scolded. It is just the nature of a forum. It is also a given that as this is a Stephen King Fansite, there are probably a whole lot more people who are positive on his work than negative.
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  14. Neil W
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    Neil W Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the post above, Robert. To clarify, I'm not a "ring the doorbell and run away"-type troll, criticising to no purpose. Having been a voracious reader since I was a kid 50-odd years ago, there is only one author where I have nearly his entire works in hardback (and when we downsize our house now that the kids are gone, those hardbacks are going with us), and that is Mr K. I love pretty nearly all his work (not so keen on the baseball stuff, but I'm a) a Brit and b) not sporty). That's not to say that I think everything is perfect, hence starting this thread.

    I'm not sure how I can explain my (mild) dissatisfaction at the final manifestation of It. I think the whole
    cosmic
    business simply didn't work for me. There are times when King goes into non-physical areas - Paul's delirium in Misery, some aspects of The Talisman and, of course, the Dark Tower books, Rose Madder, Lisey's Story, Insomnia, The Dark Half, to name but a few - and his depiction of happenings which have no recognisable physical manifestation is so effective that I have no problem: there is no disbelief for me to suspend. In It, it simply didn't work for me - I understood the concept but was unable to lock into it emotionally, as a result of which I had problems in a) finding that concept menacing (it was a little too airy-fairy for me) and b) finding
    the spider
    more frightening than simply a monster. And, as a monster, it paled into insignificance next to Pennywise. It was a disappointment to me, especially as I had enjoyed the journey of getting to that point, but it I can't provide any empirical justification for that disappointment, I just felt deflated at arriving there.

    I don't know how old you are, but if you remember The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour, that refers to coach/bus tours which set out with an unspecified destination: passengers booked on the basis that the surprise at the end would be worthwhile and, if it wasn't, at least getting there would be fun. It was a bit like that for me - a fun journey arriving at a ho-hum destination. I did love the final bit after the showdown, though, as well as the actions in that showdown by each member of the gang. Lots of stuff to love in that book just
    giant cosmic Incy-Wincy
    was a bit LAME! :D
  15. mustangclaire
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    mustangclaire There's petrol runnin' through my veins.

    Succinctly put Mr W!
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  16. Robert Gray
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    Robert Gray Well-Known Member

    This is a perfectly fair comment. I suspected it was more the cosmic depth that was the problem. I have had discussions not unlike this one where that same subject comes up. When someone says it simply didn't work for them, I never have a problem with it. I rarely engage and ask for more. This is almost never a failing on the author's part, however, since it is a just a matter of subject matter. Either your psychological blueprint can relate to it emotionally or it cannot. Understanding a concept intellectually, i.e. an understanding of what it is supposed to mean is not the same as understanding a concept emotionally. Emotional understanding is often vested in personal experience or a mindset. I had a long debate with one person about Under the Dome because the other person didn't find it satisfying that there wasn't more about the cause of the dome, no resolution with...
    the aliens, and many complaints of that nature. I tried to explain that the story was never about the aliens (force that put the dome down), but rather about the people caught in it. The dome was simply a force of nature. The story was about how the people reacted. I realize this is a tangent, but I do have a point which relates here. That person could understand the intellectual idea I was putting forward, but had no emotional experience with it in real life or in other books. That person saw a problem caused by aliens and thus the story had to be about removal of said problem. When that part of the story was unimportant, it left a situation where it seemed "lame" to them. I can't argue with the feeling, but I can point out what is actually going on and relate that for most people it works quite well.

    This comes back to that mindset I was talking about. When I ask people, like yourself, who talk about menace and fear, they often refer to It as as horror fiction. When I talk to people who don't have the issue you do with the end and ask them what kind of fiction it is, they have a much harder time defining it. They know it is probably horror fiction because King is the author, but they generally don't feel that way. I don't either. Is Something Wicked This Way Comes horror fiction? Clearly King's book is scarier than Bradbury's in this case, but I don't think that is relevant. The story really isn't about the monster, regardless of the name of the book. :) There is an odd dichotomy wherein the book is really about the Losers and what it is like to be on the verge, not yet an adult but not really still a child. It is also a faerie tale (notice the spelling I used) with all the classic elements of that blended in. If it feels kind of airy-fairy to you, there is a good reason. Most of the book is a very accurate view of a situation through the eyes of children.

    Oddly enough, most people I talk to about the book who have seen the television series first have a complaint not unlike yours about the final monstrous form. I think this is, in part, a result of the tyranny of visual media over the mind. The monster at the end of that film looked lame. It wasn't that scary. As a result, the camera of the mind's eye for "film first" types seems forever tainted. People who read the book first always say how terrifying that final form was to them. This is because the camera of their mind's eye was in perfect focus and gave them exactly what was necessary to make it scary. This might not be your issue, but I suspect we can't completely rule out this bias either. In the end, there is no difference between the Pennywise shape and the thing at the end except, perhaps, that all pretense is laid aside. Of course things seem more tense when you are being stalked than when the door is thrown wide to reveal what is beyond or the beast finally breaks from the tall grass and there is no doubt only fight or flight.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2014
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  17. Wasp27
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    Wasp27 Well-Known Member

    Wow, intense thread here... Lol. Nothing wrong with that!:) While I agree that the films adaptation of the spider was cheesy (I'm chalking it up to the special effects limitations of the time) for me It's scariest form was when one of the losers (been a while since I've read it so forget who) was wailing by an abandoned house and saw it as a hobo who propositioned for a blowjob and then morphed into penny wise/it...something about his tongue lashing all about just erred the hell out of me- can't get it out of my head when I think about it...therefore Mr. King is doing his job right!!!
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  18. Robert Gray
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    Robert Gray Well-Known Member

    That is certainly one of the more terrifying scenes. The Hobo or the Leper if you like was a nasty one.
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  19. Neesy
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    Neesy #1 fan (Annie Wilkes cousin) 1st cousin Mom's side

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    Beep Beep @Neil W ;)
  20. Neil W
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    Neil W Well-Known Member

    I am an English person and I do not understand this one little bit. Is it something to do with the Road Runner, and who is that lady?
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