Convergences: The Punctuation-Mark Exploits of Jack Pendarvis and Stephen King

I love Stephen King, and I love Jack Pendarvis, and the odds of finding anything in common between the two should be zilch. They're both huge fans of crime literature and crime movies -- they're notorious and encyclopedic in their appetite for undersung directors and authors in the genre -- but other than that their sensibilities seem pretty far apart. One does his own special brand of horror and works best when going long, the other writes short and funny. That said, they both do wonderful things with punctuation-mark abuse.

King's Mr. Mercedes features a creep whose messages are stuffed with character-revealing unnecessary !'s & "s:

And Pendarvis is the reigning champ of same:

King wants to creep you out, Pendarvis wants to you register the humor, but both do a pretty sweet job of assigning a kind of moral weight to the uses and abuses of punctuation, and to a certain clueless disjointed quality that comes with it. 

Convergences: Scooby and the Narcos, Archie and the Undead

Scooby and Archie are both taken to some pretty dark places -- the first is a totally imaginary scenario (in a novel that also gives you Homes Simpson in a noir called D.O.H.), the second an actual thing you can pick up. Thomas Pynchon's Bleeding Edge provides an imaginary Scooby Doo set-up that actually sounds just a smidgen less dark than what the Archie folks are going to do to Archie in a five-issue run.

Scooby Goes Latin! (1990), from Pynchon's Bleeding Edge:
"Hi, mom." She wants to enfold him forever. Instead lets him recap the plot for her. Shaggy, somehow allowed to drive the van, has become confused and made some navigational errors, landing the adventurous quintet eventually in Medellín, Colombia, home at the time to a notorious cocaine cartel, where they stumble onto a scheme by a rogue DEA agent to gain control of the cartel by pretending to be the ghost -- what else -- of an assassinated drug kingpin. With the help of a pack of local street urchins, however, Scooby and his pals foil the plan.

The cartoon comes back on, the villain is brought to justice. "And I would've gotten away with it, too," he complains, "if it hadn't been for those Medellín kids!"

From this NPR story on Afterlife with Archie:
Reggie Mantle runs over Jughead's fluffy pup Hot Dog. (Of course Reggie started it!) Jughead takes Hot Dog to Sabrina the teen witch, who using the Necronomicon and channeling Pet Sematary, brings him back to life. (And messes it up, 'cause that's what she does!) Hot Dog bites Jughead, who ends up consuming victims at the Halloween Dance. (He is always hungry!)

Nabokovilia: Stephen King's "Fair Extension" (from Full Dark, No Stars)

This bit is actually likely not Nabokovilia, but there given that King has nodded at Nabokov before, there is a slim chance that it  might be. Here it is, from "Fair Extension" (in the collection Full Dark, No Stars):

"No, no, no! This isn't some half-assed morality tale. I'm a business-man, not a character out of 'The Devil and Daniel Webster.' All I'm saying is that your happiness is in your hands and those of your nearest and dearest. And if you think I'm going to show up two decades or so down the line to collect your soul in my moldy old pocketbook, you'd better think again. The souls of humans have become poor and transparent things." (269)

More choice bits from Full Dark plus the rest of the Stephen King Nabokovilia below the fold.

Stephen King on outlet malls (see too this bit on outlet malls from Put This On):
...and half a dozen other oversized retail operations of the sort that are called "outlets" (as if they were sewer drains rather than shopping locations). (283)

And on storytelling:
Bad writing is more than a matter of shit syntax and faulty observation; bad writing usually arises from a stubborn refusal to tell stories about what people actually do -- to face the fact, let us say, that murderers sometimes help old ladies cross the street. (366)
More Nabokovilia:

The Plant, Part 1
With your concurrence, I'm returning 15 book-length manuscripts which arrived unsolicited (see Returns, next page), 7 'outlines and sample chapters' and 4 unidentifiable blobs that look a bit like typescripts. One of them is a book of something called 'gay event poetry' called Suck My Big Black Cock, and another, called L'il Lolita, is about a man in love with a first grader. I think. It's written in pencil and it's hard to tell for sure.
P.P.S. L'il Lolita is actually a pretty good title, don't you think? We could commission it. I'm thinking maybe Mort Yeager, he's got a touch for that sort of thing. RememberTeenage Lingerie Show? The girl in L'il Lolita could be eleven, I think -- wasn't the original Lolita twelve?
From Black House (written with Peter Straub)
They began with Chester Himes and Charles Willeford, changed gear with a batch of contemporary novels, floated through S.J. Perelman and James Thurber, and ventured emboldened into fictional mansions erected by Ford Madox Ford and Vladimir Nabokov. (Marcel Proust lies somewhere ahead, they understand, but Proust can wait; at present they are to embark upon Bleak House.)

From The Regulators
Good agent that he was, he had managed to maintain a neutral, if slightly glazed, smile on the ride from the airport, but the smile began to slip when they entered the suburb of Wentworth (which a sign proclaimed to be OHIO'S "GOOD CHEER COMMUNITY!), and it gave way entirely when his client, who had once been spoken of int he same breath with John Steinbeck, Sinclair Lewis, and (after Delight) Vladimir Nabokov, pulled into the driveway of the small and perfectly anonymous suburban house on the corner of Poplar and Bear.