Saturday, October 14, 2017

The Avon Lady Who Was Not An Avon Lady: A Ramble Through "Sleeping Beauties"

In reviewing Sleeping Beauties, I'm going to do something a little different than what I normally do: I'm going to offer day-by-day journal entries about my reading for that particular day.
  
Not sure I'm going to like the format, but if I get to the end of the process and think it's a colostomy bag in blog-post format, I'll simply scrap it ... and nobody will ever know it existed...!  Waa-hah-hah!  Ahem.
  
I will try to not be very spoilery, but I can't swear as to how successful I'll be.  So I'll pledge to conclude the post with a determinedly non-spoilery wrapup section, where I'll give you an indication of how I feel about the novel without ruining anything for you.
  
So if you want to skip straight to that, scroll down until you see another image, and read what comes after.
  
  
  
  
September 26, 2017 
  
The book was delivered by Amazon today.  Much appreciated, fellas!  Sadly, I won't be taking it out of the box today; no point, thanks to an unexpected "opportunity" to work on a day off.  Ah, the perils of being full-time!  (I'm happy to have 'em, FYI; if I grouse, it's mostly good-natured.)  I'd initially taken three days off in a row in the hopes of being able to return to my heyday of plowing through a new King book -- even a weighty one like this -- as soon as it hit shelves.  But events conspired to prevent it, and so, see ya in a few days, book.
  
September 28, 2017 
  
I cracked the book open tonight, finally, and worked my way through ... uh, well, almost none of it, to be honest.
  
I did read the cast-of-characters section which appears right up front.  I was sort of ambivalent about doing so, but I figured if the Kings took the trouble to write it out and have somebody print it that way, I'm nobody to ignore it.
  
I also read the opening epigraphs, plus the one-page italicized narrative section that seemingly introduces us to the novel's main (?) character.  It didn't make much of an impression on me; didn't grab me.  But it didn't seem designed to; it seems more of a dreamy, elusive thing than a grab-'em-by-the-shirt thing.  I'll be curious to see how it reads once I'm familiar with the entire novel.
  
September 29, 2017 -- Part One, Chapter One
  
Why am I putting the "2017" on all of those headers?  If it somehow turns into 2018 and I'm still working on this book, I'm turning in my fuckin' license to blog.
  
Anyways, I made it through the first chapter tonight.  It was pretty good.  A few thoughts:
  
  • My utterly shite memory is likely to be on full display during this process, but maybe that's okay.  Seems honest, at least.
  • The novel opens with a scene between two female inmates, Ree and Jeanette, whose names I am shocked to remember.  
  • My initial feeling is that this chapter is heavily weighted toward Owen King's style and perspective.  This is fine by me; I'm a fan, so if it sounds 100% like his previous work, that won't fash me none.  [I hereby pledge to try NOT to be the guy whose primary goal in reading (and writing about) this novel is to "figure out" who wrote what.  Interviews have made clear that it was an intensely collaborative process, and that the end result is one in which practically -- if not literally -- every sentence was rewritten by both Owen and Stephen at some point.]
  • We soon shift perspectives and meet a middle-aged psychiatrist, whose name escapes me.  He's married to a sheriff and is employed by the state as a resident at the same prison where the chapter opened.  This doctor character is immediately sympathetic and likeable (he's lightly distraught over the buff pool guy working in his back yard, but in a way that implies no actual fear that the pool guy will invade his life in any way -- sort of a theoretical and/or on-principle distress), and there's a nice rapport with his son that kind of mirrors the sort of jocular relationship the Kings themselves have shown in joint interviews.
  • We shift to what appears to be a backwoods meth lab, where a strange young woman -- and we immediately doubt that she actually IS a woman -- kills several people.  This is Evie; "a stranger," as she is referred to in the cast of characters.  Speaking of that cast of characters, I recognized the names of several of her victims from having seen them in that list.  Somehow, that made their deaths here seem more shocking, which is an interesting side-effect.  It's almost as if seeing their names all together like that put them on equal footing, so that when one is dispatched so quickly, it subconsciously feels like a real person has vanished from the story.
  • When Evie shows up at the meth lab -- or the trailer next door to the meth lab, I think, if you want to get technical -- she greets the guy who answers the door with a "Hello, man."  You don't actually "see" this happen; you hear it from the perspective of another female character.  She also hears one of her trailer-mates ask Evie in a drug-addled manner if she is the Avon lady.  She assuredly is not, and the Kings, in the next section, after she has bloodily dispatched several people by hand, refer to her as "the Avon lady who was not an Avon lady."  I love that phrase, and am probably going to name this post after it.  
  • Part of what I love about the phrase is the use of "was not" as opposed to "wasn't."  That's a deliberate choice the Kings made, and it means something to them.  Therefore, it means something to me.  So ... what's it mean?  Well, my impulse is to say that it means that the story -- at least while we are (in a limited sense) in Evie's perspective -- is operating at a more formal level in some way.  It implies a lack of emotion; and since Evie showed virtually no emotion during her dispatching of the druggies, it mirrors her and keeps us in her point of view to some degree.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

A Guided Tour of the Kingdom: A Chronological Walk Through the Career of Stephen King, Part 4 (1974-1976)

When we left off, King was a short-story writer publishing horror tales in mid-level girlie magazines.
  
We begin this post on a different note.


 
  
Carrie
(novel)

published in hardback by Doubleday on April 5, 1974

The Truth Inside the Lie: notes on Carrie

 




A word of clarification about that publication date: until we get to the early '00s (which is roughly where I began keeping track of that sort of thing for myself with new King releases), we are stuck using the best information I can find.  So do I know with 100% positivity that Carrie was published on April 5 of that year?  I do not.  Let's speak of it no further, but know going forward that until we get to about Dreamcatcher or so, I'm relying on information I've gleaned from other sources.  I probably ought to have kept track of those sources so I could cite them here, but this, alas, did not happen.
  
Regardless of gooberish concerns like that, Carrie certainly did appear on bookshelves in the spring of 1974, just a few months before I myself rolled into the world.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

A Guided Tour of the Kingdom: A Chronological Walk Through the Career of Stephen King, Part 3 (1970-1974)

King graduated from college in June 1970; his first published novel, Carrie, would not hit shelves until April 1974. 
  
These were the crucial years; these were the years during which the dream of becoming a published author had to come into conflict with the reality of becoming a published author.  By all accounts, it was a struggle.  I find it hard to imagine that there is anyone for whom it wouldn't be.
  
Through sheer hard work and talent, King persevered.
  
Imagine for a moment what the world would be missing if he had not managed to do so.  No Shining, no Dark Tower, no Pet Sematary, no It, no 11/22/63, no Shawshank Redemption.  No Maximum Overdrive!  I don't know about you, but I don't want to contemplate a world without Maximum Overdrive.
 
But let's not ignore these lean-year(s) pre-Carrie works; by writing them, King kept himself in the game long enough to be able to write Carrie.  Without them, odds are good that Carrie never happens.  There are some excellent stories among that group, and they deserve their moment in the sun.
  
Fair warning, by the way: most of the images here are somewhat NSFW.
 
 
  
  
"Graveyard Shift"
(short story)
 
  • published in the October 1970 issue of Cavalier
  • collected in Night Shift, 1978
 
The Truth Inside the Lie review of "Graveyard Shift"
  

Friday, September 29, 2017

Just a few words about "Gerald's Game"

I won't be doing a full review of Gerald's Game, the new Netflix original movie directed and co-written by Mike Flanagan.  Not for now, at least; I have vague plans to read and blog about the novel before 2017 is over, and when that happens, that will be followed by a full review of this new movie.
  
It will be worth examining fully, no doubt about that.
  
  
  
  
Bottom line: it's pretty damn great.  This might not hold true for you if you don't like the novel, I guess; and I can imagine some people being a little bored by it for a while in the beginning.
  
None of those things apply to me, though.  
  
The movie's chief virtue is almost certainly the casting of Carla Gugino, who is Oscar-nomination good as Jessie.  She might have to settle for an Emmy nomination, since this will be classified as a television movie.  (For the record, the arbitrary distinction between what does and doesn't count as a "movie" is mostly an antiquated one at this point.  And I'll tell you what, if Netflix is going to be doing movie of this caliber, that "mostly" is going away quick.)
  
Bruce Greenwood is every bit as good playing Gerald, whose role here is beefed up (pardon the pun) in comparison to the novel; but in a way that completely honors the intent of the novel.
  
Director Mike Flanagan has said he's a massive fan of both King in general and Gerald's Game specifically, and unlike some of the hacks who have said things like that in their interviews about the King properties they were "adapting" this year, Flanagan can obviously be taken 100% at his word.  It's been a while since I read the novel, but my memory tells me that this is very faithful indeed.  How nice it is to see a King adaptation that runs toward its source material rather than away from it!
  
Flanagan has been making a name for himself in the horror genre for a few years now.  This is the first of his films that I've seen, but it won't be the last: I'm going to make an effort to catch up on Oculus and Hush and maybe even Ouija: Origin of Evil over the course of the next few weeks, because it seems (a) like I owe it to the guy and (b) that it'll be its own reward.  He's got a strong, confident style here; this novel had been deemed unadaptable for years, but it turns out that all it needed was for Mike Flanagan to come along.  "Unadaptable my ass," you can practically hear him saying.  "Get me Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood and a dog, and we'll see about that."
  
There's plenty more to be said, but for now, I think that'll suffice.  Get yourself to Netflix and check it out!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

A Guided Tour of the Kingdom: A Chronological Walk Through the Career of Stephen King, Part 2 (1967-1971)

We resume our Guided Tour of the Kingdom today by strolling through King's college years, which ran from 1966-1970.  These were crucial formative years for King, who by the end of this period would have written at least two novels and would have published over half a dozen short stories.


 
  
"The Glass Floor"
(short story)
  
  • published in the Fall 1967 issue of Startling Mystery Stories
  • reprinted in the Fall 1990 issue of Weird Tales
  • reprinted in Cemetery Dance #68, December 2012
  • uncollected
  
The Truth Inside The Lie review of "The Glass Floor"
  
  
 
scanned from The Stephen King Illustrated Companion



"The Glass Floor" was King's first professional fiction sale, and as such, it holds an important place in King's career.  Sadly, it's not a particularly good story.  It's about a guy who visits a decrepit mansion where his sister died.  It's never been printed in one of King's story collections, and I suspect it never will be, at least during King's life.
  
That said, how glad are you that Startling Mystery Stories took a chance on young master King?  If you're anything like you tour guide, you're pretty fuckin' glad.
  

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Brief Review of "Thin Scenery"

The King community was surprised recently to learn that a new "story" from Uncle Steve had been released (to literally no fanfare) over the summer.  Specifically, "Thin Scenery" had appeared in the summer issue of Emerson's College's Ploughshares, which, if Amazon's listing is to be believed, debuted in mid-July.
  
  
Guest-edited by King collaborator Stewart O'Nan!

  
The publication was brought to my attention by Peter Hansen, to whom The Truth Inside The Lie issues a hearty thanks and acknowledgment!
  
I got my copy in the mail this week and read the "story," and if you're wondering why I keep putting the word in quotation marks like that, it's because "Thin Scenery" isn't a short story at all; it's a play.  I suppose you'd technically refer to it as a one-act play.  It runs for 32 pages, and while it is not a short story in designation, it'll take you about as long to read as a moderate-sized short-story-length piece of prose.
  
So, in other words, this is a substantial piece of work.  When I first heard it was a play, I wasn't sure what to expect; the only other play King has published is the "one-minit" play "An Evening at God's," which is a decidedly insubstantial piece of work.  (Also, if you want to get technical, an unpublished one; King wrote that brief work as a giveaway to be auctioned off for charity.)
  
"Thin Scenery," though, absolutely has the heft of merit to it.  I'm not sure it will be included in his next story collection, but it will absolutely deserve to be.
  
And there you have it: that's my review.  I mean, sure, I could tell you what it's about, I guess.  But if you're like me, you don't really need to know what it's about.  It was written by Stephen King!  What more do you need to know than that?
 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Guided Tour of the Kingdom: A Chronological Walk Through the Career of Stephen King, Part 1 (1956-1966)

Today, I've got the beginning of a rather large project: a complete guide to the career of Stephen King.
  
A caveat is immediately necessary: with a career like King's, a guy like me uses the word "complete" at his own peril.  Can I completely list all of King's books?  Yeah; maybe even from memory, although I'd probably forget a few.  Can I list all the movies?  You bet, provided we agree on excluding Dollar Babies.  Short stories?  Absolutely, although whether some of them count or not is a matter for some debate.  (This is the point at which you might make a tentative sound of confusion in the front of your throat, and then relax and see where I'm going with all of this.)  Comic books?  I think so, yes.  Audiobooks?  Possible, but not a certainty.  Nonfiction?  Not a chance.  Interviews?  Give me a break.  Homages to King's work in the works of others?  You're out of your mind.
  
And so forth.
  
What I'm getting at is this: it is a daunting task merely to define what "the career of Stephen King" means, either as an idea or as a practical thing.  So rather than shoot for doing that in an objective sense, I'll specify that what I'm aiming to do is to define "the career of Stephen King" as I see it.  I think that lets me off the hook in terms of how complete "complete" is.
  
Since my personal interest in King's career are broad, I'm going to be as inclusive as I can be without jumping from the diving board of obsessiveness into the pool of insanity; I'll leave it to you to determine whether I managed to stay above water.  That'll be a judgment call for each of you.  The bottom line is, I'll be following my own interests and concerns here, which is why I'm calling this a guided tour.  Every guide may wish to point out different things, but on this tour, you're stuck with me.  Hopefully, I won't lead us off the path and accidentally get us all eaten by lions.
  
This first post -- published (quite intentionally) on the day of, and celebrating, King's seventieth birthday -- is  going to focus on the years leading up to King's first professional fiction sale.
  
By definition, most of this material is inaccessible to the average King reader (myself included), but I thought it would be worthwhile to touch on the stories from this era that are known to exist.  And, again, there may be a few ephemeral pieces that won't be included; for example, a story titled "Charlie" is known to (partially) exist, and seems to be a science fiction story King write around the age of twelve.  It's never been published, though, and the extant manuscript is not even complete.  So while you might see it referred to in a few places, I'm not counting it here, because it just doesn't seem to merit inclusion.  Again, that's my own judgment call; and since true comprehensivity is off the table, I think judgment calls like that are not only okay but damn near mandatory.
  
It is my goal to eventually -- and when I say "eventually," know that I mean at some point before I die, so not necessarily anytime soon (although continual progress is the goal) -- write analyses of every single thing I include on these tours.  Well, the stuff that's obtainable, at least.  When I do, I'll include links here.  So what you're going to see for a while is a lot of non-links.  We'll get there, though; oh yes we will.  The idea is for this series of posts to serve almost as a Table of Contents for my blog, and also as a touchstone for my own personal use.  I expect it to grow and change regularly, although the extent to which that will be apparent to people who aren't me is likely to be minimal.

Ideas and suggestions are more than welcome, so if you've got 'em, fire away.
  
Everything we'll be looking at in Part 1 is best classified as juvenilia.  And here's the thing about that: as such, it both does and doesn't merit literary analysis.  King himself would likely disagree with an assertion that it does, but the way I see it, King's is one of the most influential prose voices of his era; that being the case, almost literally everything he has ever written is of interest to those studying his work.  I gather from his work (Lisey's Story in particular) that he is, at best, uncomfortable with that idea; but that's just how it is, Uncle Steve.  I ain't sayin' your words are scripture or nothin' like that, but I am saying that it's of interest.

The flip side of the coin is that just because it is of interest does not inherently mean it has merit.  The scholar who gives juvenilia the same level of attention that they give mature works is making a serious mistake.  I'm not actually a scholar, mind you; I'm an amateur enthusiast, an annoying breed of would-be scholar.  I do have standards, though, and try to stick to them.

Know, then, that all of the stories mentioned here are interesting for the peeks they afford the reader at King in a somewhat embryonic state; but know also that comparing them to, say, "Graveyard Shift" or "The Mangler" really isn't a good idea.  It's unfair to both sides of the comparison.

And you won't get that here.

Alright, now that the big preamble is out of the way, let's get this tour bus rolling.  We'll be making frequent stops, so please keep your arms and legs inside the windows and silence your mobile devices at this time.  Our first stop takes us back in time some sixty years, to the far-flung era of:




 "Jhonathan and the Witchs"
(short story, written circa 1956)
  
published in First Words (edited by Paul Mandelbaum), 1993
  
 

p. 116
  


      The earliest known extant King story (so far as I am aware) is the charmingly misspelled "Jhonathan and the Witchs," which he wrote at age 9.  It's about a guy named Jhonathan, and some witchs witches he meets.  I bet you already guessed that.
       

      Tuesday, September 12, 2017

      It Wants to Divide Us: A Review of "It" (2017)

      I rarely -- if ever -- mention my job on my blogs.  It's just not a good idea to mix business and pleasure in that way, because if I were to be noticed talking about my job online, then all of a sudden I'd be obliged to conduct myself in a manner 100% befitting my professional requirements.  And, like, fuck that.  I'm at work, that's work time; I'm away from work, that's ME time.
        
      However, the odds of anybody noticing are rather minimal, and even if they did, I'm not likely to then also be recognized by a customer.  I got better odds of getting struck by lightning than I do of being recognized for my blogs.  What a silly thought!
        
      Anyways, I figure it makes sense to err on the side of caution, so I just don't bring it up.  This is not difficult to do; I have virtually no interest in talking about work when I'm not there.
        
      This week, though, I'm going to break my rule and divulge to you that I am a manager of a movie theatre.  Not the general manager, mind you; if my boss is Picard, I'm Riker, except with a lamer beard and even fatter.  So, yeah, I'm the Riker of a movie theatre.  
        
      I bring that up because I simply can't restrain myself from talking about how utterly cool it has been to be a massive Stephen King fan and to go to work all weekend and see people lining up by the hundreds to see a movie based on a Stephen King novel.  At my particular theatre, it did stronger business than most superhero movies; it did stronger business than Rogue One; it did stronger business than Pixar movies.  Shows were selling out hours in advance, and by the end of the night on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, AND Sunday (the latter unprecedented during September) people were still showing up by the dozens at the very end of the night, once there were literally no seats left to be sold for that movie on any of its several screens.
        
      I've seen that happen with Twilights and with Hunger Gameses and with Fifty Shades of Greys and with American Sniper and so forth, and until this weekend I never realized that in the back of my mind, the King fan in me was jealous of those other movies' successes.  Don't misunderstand; given that this is my profession, I'm always hopeful that EVERY movie will be that big a hit.  Few are, but trust me, I never mind when they are even if they are movies I personally would like to ignore.
        
      This weekend, though, I realized that It was scratching an itch I'd not even realized I had: an urge to see my Stephen King fandom validated in my own workplace.  No King film had been a hit during my management tenure since 1408, and that one was only a mild hit; people went to see it, but nobody cared about it, so far as I could tell.  With It, you could sense immediately -- show began on Thursday night and were busy from jump -- that this was a movie people were excited to see.  They weren't coming to the theatre out of a sense of obligation, or because it was the weekend and they had to go see something (those days appear to be over for 95% of the public, if not more).  They were acting like ... like ...
        
      Well, they were acting a bit like people in line for a roller coaster.  This was an experience, not a mere movie.  They came by the hundreds per hour, and they were of all colors, ages, sizes; they were evenly split in gender.  There were an untold number of kids not old enough to vault over the R rating, and some of them got older people to buy 'em tickets, and some of them -- most of them (possibly numbering in the thousands, and no, I'm not exaggerating that) -- failed.  They looked brokenhearted to be missing out on it; no, I'm not exaggerating that, either.
        
      I have seen a weekend's worth of audiences that was both larger and more excited; but not many.  This will rank as one of the most enthusiastic audiences I've personally ever been around in the movie business; they were laughing and excited on the way in, and they were laughing and excited on the way out.
        
      It was really, really cool.  It always is.  
        
      Add on top of that that they were there to see a movie based on one of my five favorite novels (one written by my absolute favorite author), and it translated to me having a much better weekend personally than I might otherwise have had.  A weekend's business like that can sometimes be sort of oppressive, like a grim march to a too-distant finish line.  Get me to Monday, get me to Monday, get me to Monday..., like that.  This can especially be true if a movie is a smash hit and you weren't expecting it to be.  Luckily, we were, so the effects we felt were minimal.  I would all but guarantee you that many of the nation's theatres got caught flat-footed by it, especially after the past few weeks have been so dreadful at the box office.
        
      But yeah, we saw it coming, and we were more or less prepared.  Even so, it was a show of It basically ever 45 minutes, so the lines were nonstop, from Thursday at 7pm to Sunday at 11pm, with respites while we closed and for maybe the first half-dozen shows of the day.  Otherwise?  Non-fuckin'-stop.
        
      Despite this, I was in a thoroughly cheerful mood.  I was wearing this:
        
        
        
        
      Nobody recognized it except one of my fellow managers, who just shook his head at me as if to indicate he was disappointed in what a nerd I was.  I am guilty as charged, and the fact that I was in a good mood while all around me swirled a sea of people who wanted tickets and/or popcorn without further delay indicates to me that it was a pretty good weekend to be the type of nerd I am.
        
      So yeah, that's where this review will be coming from.  From the guy who was happy to be swamped at work not merely because it was good for business, but because the hordes of customers were there to see something I really cared about.
       

      Monday, August 14, 2017

      A Review of "Studies in the Horror Film: Brian De Palma's Carrie"

      If I had the ability to do so, I'd spend about eighteen hours a day blogging about Stephen King.  Not every single day; I'd do that on about ten of the fourteen days of the week, and set aside the others for
      some of the other topics near and dear to my heart.  But yeah, for sure on ten of those days, I'd get out of bed, have a spot of breakfast, go exercise, read King books/stories (or view movies) for nine hours or so, have some food, go exercise some more, and then write a blog post of some sort for about nine hours.  Eat me some dinner, catch up on my shows, sleep for twelve hours, get up, and do it all over again.  Not sure how many hours the day'd need to be, but that's mere details.
        
      Yessir, that's the life for me.
        
      Unfortunately, I'm stuck with this one.  What that means, in terms of The Truth Inside The Lie, is that I'm perpetually backlogged with things I'd like to be writing about but can't find the time for.
        
      Among those: I've got a number of books about King's works (or about adaptations of that work) that I have not yet made time to read.  I hope to knock a bunch of those out before the end of the year, and it seems natural to review each of these as I go.
        
      In that regard, the first domino has fallen:
        
        

        
        
      Published in 2011 by Centipede Press, Joseph Aisenberg's Studies in the Horror Film: Brian De Palma's Carrie is a not-entirely-uncommon breed among books of film criticism: a book I enjoyed greatly despite frequently disagreeing with it.
        
      The book, I regret to inform you, is long out of print.  If you're a big fan of the movie, it might be worth your while to track one down.  Copies can be pricey, but Amazon has one in what seems to be good condition for $15.  It's certainly worth that if you're a fan of the movie; Aisenberg is very passionate on the subject, and devotes well over three hundred pages to analysis of its every nook and cranny.  His method is to match through the entire film, one scene at a time, talking about basically any aspect of it that seems worthwhile.  The emphasis is on the psychological content and on De Palma's masterful grasp of cinematic language, but Aisenberg also delves into behind-the-scenes issues of casting, filming, etc.  He's interested in it all, and it shows.
        

      Tuesday, August 8, 2017

      I Will Not Be Watching "Mr. Mercedes"...

      ...at least, for now.
       
      Here's why.
        
        
        
        
      It's available only via DirecTV, their DirecTV Now streaming service, or AT&T U-Verse.  Of those options, I don't have the former or the latter.  Like millions of Americans, I don't have cable service because it's not cost-effective.  It's not that I think it isn't worth what it costs; it is.  I just can't find the time to watch more than a few hours of television a week lately.  So for me, it makes more sense to pay for things in a manner targeted to what I know I will be watching.
        
      Currently, that consists of two shows: Game of Thrones and The Mist.  I pay $15 per month for HBO Now, and consider it money very well spent; when Game of Thrones ends, I will likely cancel that service until HBO puts something else on that I feel is essential.  I had it for The Leftovers earlier this year, and will have it again when Westworld starts back up.  It makes no sense to me to have it and not use it; that's money that could be put to use buying old Stephen King paperbacks, ya kennit?
        
      With The Mist, I simply bought a season pass for that via Amazon Prime.  Cost me about $20, I think, so $2 per episode.  Worth it?  Not even vaguely.  But hey, I'm a King completist, so it had to be done, and it is worth $2 an episode from that perspective.
        
      This brings us to Mr. Mercedes.  I really want to watch it; it looks good, and there's the aforementioned King-completist angle to consider.  But it isn't available through Amazon, or through iTunes, for that matter.
        
      The only option left to me was to subscribe to DirecTV Now and stream it through my Amazon Fire Stick (or on my PC).  DirecTV Now is happy to offer me that option...
        
      ...for $35 per month after my one-week free trial is over.
        
      given that the series is $10 episodes, that's a minimum of three months that I'd have to pay for in order to watch it weekly.  Lemme do that math, so, okay, times three, hmm, that's ... $105.  Or, in other words, nearly $12 per episode (not counting the first episode during my free trial).
        
      Even if it turns out to be great, it's not worth that to me.  I wouldn't pay that for Game of Thrones.  I wouldn't pay that for Mad Men or Breaking Bad, guys.
        
      And yes, I get it: there's more to DirecTV Now than just one series.  But since one series is all I'd be using it for, it's all I'm getting out of it.
        
      Not worth it, even to me.
        
      It's very likely, of course, that the only reason Mr. Mercedes the series got made is so DirecTV could drive people toward its Now streaming service.  This sort of thing is becoming more common with every passing month.  And I'm not opposed to that; if you make a thing that I'd like to see, I'm interested in giving you money for it.  For that reason, beginning next month, CBS All Access will begin getting money from me on a monthly basis so that I can watch Star Trek: Discovery.
        
      They are only charging about six bucks a month for it, though.  Big difference.
        
      As this war of streaming services continues, with content deployed as the weaponry, it will become absolutely essential for a guy like me to pick and choose his battles.  I'm an Amazon Prime customer, so that one is year-round for me.  I pick Netflix up when they've got an original I want to see; so when The Defenders launches in a few weeks, I'll be onboard their train again.  I subscribed to Hulu when 11/22/63 aired, and Castle Rock will pull me back.
        
      But, again, those services are inexpensive enough that even if I end up using them only for a single specific show, I won't feel I've overspent.
        
      Nobody will be able to get $35 per month out of me for a service like that.
        
      And so, reluctantly, I'm going to have to bow out of the Mr. Mercedes experience until it comes out on Blu-ray or DVD.  And I'm only assuming it will; there's no guarantee in that regard.
        
      Anyways, in case anyone was wondering, that's my stance on this new series.  I am excited by its existence, and I am willing to pay to see it.
        
      Not at that price, though.  DirecTV might well win the war; but they've lost me.
        
      Now, here are some promotional photos I borrowed from their website: