Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky twelve-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of devoted readers of The Shining and satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.
Back in 1983, the Alarm released “The Stand, a song based on The Stand by Stephen King. This is the video from MTV (y’know…when the “M” actually stood for “music”…)
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I have a new post up over on the Kirkus Review site looking at Stephen King’s The Dark Tower-The Gunslinger: The Journey Begins, Graphic Novel from Marvel Comics. The script is by Peter David, a name comic book readers are well accustomed to seeing (The Incredible Hulk, Young Justice). He also wrote one of my favorite Star Trek: The Next Generation novels: Imzadi. The series is illustrated by Sean Phillips (WildC.A.T.S.) and Richard Isanove (Wolverine: Origin), and plotted by Robin Furth (Stephen King’s personal research assistant for The Dark Tower: A Complete Concordance).
Here’s an excerpt:
The story opens with Roland Deschain, the Gunslinger, tracking the man in black across a desert wasteland. He comes across a man who offers news of the man in black along with food, water and shelter for the night. All he asks in return is for The Gunslinger to tell him a tale. Through flashbacks, we see the day Roland’s ka-tet were slaughtered by the Good Man, John Farson. As Farson’s followers are stacking up the dead for a pyre, Roland escapes along with another Gunslinger, Aileen. She is mortally wounded and asks that he bury her in her family crypt back home – in Gilead.
Check out the full article over on the Kirkus Reviews blog.
In my last column, Laird Barron commented, albeit briefly, on the marginalization of the short story. The subject seemed to interest readers, so this time around my guest, Paul Tremblay, and I will discuss the current state of the short story and perhaps a bit of history as to how we got to this point.
Stephen King ventures into the world of comics with the launch of a new series called American Vampire, a new series co-authored with Scott Snyder and illustrated by Rafael Albuquerque. King will co-write the first five issues of the series, which is described thusly:
When notorious outlaw Skinner Sweet is attacked by an old enemy (who happens to be a member of the undead), the first American vampire is born… a vampire powered by the sun, stronger, fiercer, and meaner than anything that came before.
Plus… Pearl Jones is a struggling young actress in 1920′s Los Angeles.
But when her big break brings her face-to-face with an ancient evil, her Hollywood dream quickly turns into a brutal, shocking nightmare.
This is the beginning of an epic new series, spanning decades and generations, and it all begins here.
The website includes a 40 second video (shown here) and other extras like a preview of the first issue.
[via Robot 6]
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: With his life, and mind, in shambles after an industrial accident, Edgar Freemantle retreats to an island in Florida, where both the island, and Edgar, are deeper and darker than he had imagined.
PROS: As with any King novel, it’s full of strong dialog, sharp characters, and a slowly-building mystery which makes it hard to put down.
CONS: A few King-isms creep in (the tendency for characters to laugh uncontrollably, to tears, in odd places, as one example).
BOTTOM LINE:Sharp, poignant, scary, mysterious, funny, with a terrific ending, this is one Stephen King novel among a few others that I would hand to someone and say “Here, you might like this author…”
BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A transparent dome materializes around the town of Chester’s Mill allowing one of the local politicians to make a power-grab.
PROS: Completely engrossing and often page-turning; excellent characterizations; reads fast; deals with relevant issues.
CONS: I’m hard-pressed to name a single gripe with this novel.
BOTTOM LINE: I cannot image a better reading experience.
There’s a point in Stephen King’s new 1,080-page novel Under the Dome where one of the many characters — contemplating the life plans she had before she was trapped in the small town that has been inexplicably covered by a huge, transparent dome — expresses the desire to be a writer. She deems it as risky, because what if you “wrote a thousand-pager, and it sucked?” If King had been echoing his internal fears while writing this, he can rest easy by my reckoning. Under the Dome is easily one of the best reading experiences I’ve had this year.
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- The Teeming Brain interviews Stephen Jones (The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror).
- Thanks to this helpful post at The Black Library, I’ve added the following authors to the list of sf/f authors who blog:
- Free Sample: Marooned notes that PS Publishing has posted the first 17 (PDF) pages of Gilbert and Edgar on Mars, a forthcoming novella written by British science fiction author Eric Brown.
- URL Update: Grasping for the Wind.
- @Suvudu: The Trouble with Zombies.
- SCI FI Wire lists 6 most awesome Stephen King horror films (plus 3 that sucked).
- Talking with Tim interviews Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Diving into the Wreck).
- Editor Ellen Datlow has posted the start of the Honorable Mentions for Best Horror of the Year volume one. The bigger list is here.
- Visions of Paradise: Hugo Award observations: “I think two factors led to Gaiman’s surprisingly easy win: his novel is considerably more accessible to the typical reader, and his personality makes him a more popular person than Stephenson.”
- Scott Marlowe offers an eBook Format Primer.
- In honor of the The Wizard of Oz anniversary, a reminder of the always cool artwork being showcased at Avalanche Blog: “Follow the Yellow Brick Road Work“.
- Interviews & Profiles:
- Iain M. Banks is interviewed by Time, The Independent, and the Scotsman.
- Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf interviews Cherie Priest, author of Boneshaker.
- The latest episode of Cult Pop features a video interview with Marcus Sakey.
- Harry Connolly is featured on John Scalzi’s latest Big Idea post.
- Joseph Mallozzi’s blog readers throw questions at actor Brian J. Smith (Stargate Universe).
- Wanna interview John Scalzi? John Scalzi is fielding questions about his involvement in Stargate Universe.
- Authors reviewing authors:
- Norilana Books will be publishing 7 Tanith Lee titles, including two reprint trilogies (The Birthgrave Trilogy and The Wars of Vis sequence) an one original sequel.
- Here’s a nice Flickr gallery of vintage sf paperbacks.
- Adaptation of the Day: Stephen King’s “The Colorado Kid”. [via Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine]
- ABC’s FlashForward is making references to Lost. [via SciFi Scanner]
- AMC’s The Prisoner remake gets a start date: Sunday Nov. 15.
- 50 years later, Twilight Zone bridges time: “Rod Serling’s veiled commentary remains as soul-baring today as it did a half-century ago…”
- @SCI FI Wire: 7 years after Firefly: Where are they now?
- Speaking of Stephen King, Jigsaw’s Lair lists Part 1 of Best Stephen King Adaptations
- Neatorama reprints 10 Sci-Fi Books That Even Non-Geeks Would Love from Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader Plunges Into the Universe.
- @BestScienceFictionStories: 6 Science Fiction Stories Containing Altered Human Bodies
- There are several genre titles in Topless Robot’s list of The 5 Best and 5 Worst Book & Record Story Sets.
- Can You guess which classic science fiction novel made Bookstove’s list of 10 Dirty Books You Should Read?
[SF Signal extends Best Wishes to Joe Haldeman, who took an unexpected trip to the hospital. Get well, Joe!]
- Interviews and Profiles:
- David Anthony Durham offers his Thoughts on Winning the John W Campbell Award.
- David B. Coe says With Worldbuilding, Every Detail Counts.
- Matt Jones On Cities, Future And Science Fiction. [via Big Dumb Object]
- Artist Robin Chyo’s tribute to games like God of War and Dante’s Inferno is really cool.
- EVENT: The first ever SFX Weekender — the “ultimate sci fi and fantasy event” being held in the UK on February 5th and 6th, 2010 — will feature guests, book readings, interviews & panels, workshops, the SFX Awards and screenings of forthcoming films and TV series, plus more.
- What If Star Wars Was Made By Environmentalists? [via Boing Boing]