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One of my favorite podcasts right now is Just King Things, a podcast hosted by Cameron Kunzelman and Michael Lutz. In it, they go through every Stephen King book in chronological release order and discuss the book, themes, and how it fits in with the rest of King’s work.

Proudly, I can say that I listened to all of the 25 episodes that were out at the time within a couple of weeks. That may not seem like a lot to many podcast listeners, but that’s fast for me. If you have an interest in horror and media analysis, which I’ve found does have a big overlap, I’d recommend it. I think that Michael and Cameron have good points of view as both scholars and long-time fans of King.

I have no stake in talking about Stephen King. As a kid, I avoided horror because it scared me so much. I preferred lighter fare, generally speaking. Now, I have more interest in horror as a genre and a stronger stomach, though I do still have a low-ish tolerance for gore. King hasn’t been on my radar because of my childhood aversion to horror, and so I went into this podcast thinking I wouldn’t be that interested. Boy, was I wrong.

I think I find King’s books interesting in theory, but in practice, I’m not all that invested in trying to read any of his stories. The podcasts’ criticisms of King’s writing seem fair and straightforward—his lack of nuance and understanding of race and disability being recurring blindspots that they mention. Still, the hosts’ discussion on the lingering impact of King on popular culture convinces me, as they are similarly convinced, that there is merit to analyzing his work and not just dismissing it on the grounds of it being genre “schlock.”

The episode they posted this month was on Skeleton Crew. In it, they mentioned that they have at least four and a half years to go before they’ll be caught up on all of King’s work. They both said this with only half-joking dread, but I for one am excited to see this show continue to evolve and for them to gain more and more insight into the inner workings, patterns, and themes of Stephen King’s books.


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