I stopped reading Stephen King novels after The Tommyknockers and tossed out many of the paperbacks. I still like his writing, though, on re-reading, or when I encounter it in newspapers and magazines (he's become very respectable, and his Times overview of Raymond Carver a few years ago was something a grown-up, ex-genre novelist might have written). I also like some of the later movie adaptations, such as Dolores Claiborne, the novel for which is number 17 on Vulture's "Ranking All 64 Stephen King Novels." Here's where the books I still have on the shelf fell in the Vulture list:
IT (number 3)
The Shining (number 4)
Danse Macabre (number 10)
That's it for my collection -- not too shabby, Vulturewise.
Vulture gives a 63 out of 64 ranking for The Tommyknockers. I knew King had problems with alcohol, early on, but can't picture him as an '80s cokehead -- guess it happened. As Vulture puts it: "This tale of a Maine writer (you'll be seeing a lot of these) who accidentally comes across a piece of alien metal in her backyard and finds herself compelled to dig up the flying saucer that it's attached to was written at the height of King's addiction troubles. Writing with 'his heart running at a hundred and thirty beats a minute and cotton swabs stuck up my nose to stem the coke-induced bleeding' (as he would later describe it), King filled his book with addicts and thinly veiled metaphors for what he was going through. Full of anger at himself and the eighties, The Tommyknockers is a white-hot mess. Anyone who remembers the deadly levitating Coke machine would agree."