- Stephen King
name = Stephen King
caption = Stephen King, February 2006
Richard Bachman, John Swithen
birthdate = Birth date and age|1947|9|21
Portland, Maine, United States
occupation = Novelist, Short story writer, Screenwriter, Columnist, Actor, Producer, Director
Horror fiction, Fantasy, Science fiction, Drama
Burton Hatlencite news |first=Alicia |last=Anstead |title=UM scholar Hatlen, mentor to Stephen King, dies at 71 |url=http://bangornews.com/news/t/city.aspx?articleid=159261&zoneid=176 |work= Bangor Daily News|publisher=|date=2008-01-23 |accessdate=2008-03-04] , Robert Bloch, Clifford Simak, Ray Bradbury, William Golding, Shirley Jackson, Fritz Leiber, H. P. Lovecraft, Richard Matheson, John D. MacDonald, Don Robertson, Thomas Hardy, Theodore Dreiser, John Fowles, Edgar Allan Poe, J. R. R. Tolkien, Stanley G. Weinbaum, Robert Browning("Dark Tower" Series), Daphne du Maurier("Bag of Bones"), Alexandre Dumas, père("Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption") Rod Serling("The Langoliers")
website = http://www.stephenking.com
children = Naomi Rachel King
Stephen Edwin King (born
September 21, 1947) is an American author, screenwriter, musician, columnist, actor, film producerand director.Having sold over 350 million copies of his books, King is best known for his work in horror fiction, in which he demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the genre's history. He has also written science fiction, fantasy, short-fiction, non-fiction, screenplays, teleplaysand stageplays. Many of his stories have been adapted for other media, including movies, television series and comic books. King has written a number of books using the pen name Richard Bachmanand one short story where he was credited as John Swithen. In 2003 he received The National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
Stephen King was born in
Portland, Maineon September 21, 1947to Donald Edwin and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King. When King was two years old, his father deserted the family when going to get a pack of cigarettes, leaving his mother to raise King and his adoptedolder brother David by herself, sometimes under great financial strain. Nevertheless, King has described his childhood as an innocent time. [ [http://www.newyorktimesbestsellerlist.org/archives/52 More on Stephen King] ] The family moved to West De Pere, Wisconsin, Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Stratford, Connecticut. When King was eleven, they returned to Durham, Mainewhere Ruth King cared for her parents until their death. She then became a caterer in a local residential facility for the mentally challenged. cite web|url=http://www.stephenking.com/biography.php |title=Stephen King.com: Biography |accessdate=2008-03-04 |last=King |first=Tabitha |coauthors=Marsha DeFilippo ]
As a child, King apparently witnessed one of his friends being struck and killed by a train, though he has no memory of the event. His family told him that after leaving home to play with the boy, King returned, speechless and seemingly in shock. Only later did the family learn of the friend's death. Some commentators have suggested that this event may have psychologically inspired King's dark, disturbing creations, [ Beahm, George "The Stephen King Story: A Literary Profile" Andrews and McMeel. 1991. ISBN 0-8362-7989-1 : pp.101] but King himself has dismissed the idea.cite book | last =King | first =Stephen | authorlink = | title =On Writing | publisher =Scribner | year =2000 | location = | pages = | id = ISBN 0684853523]
King's primary inspiration for writing horror fiction was related in detail in his 1981 non-fiction "Danse Macabre" in a chapter titled "An Annoying Autobiographical Pause". King makes a comparison of his grandfather successfully dowsing for water using the bough of an apple branch with the sudden realization of what he wanted to do for a living. While browsing through an attic with his elder brother, King uncovered a paperback version of an
H.P. Lovecraftcollection of short stories that had belonged to his father. The cover art—an illustration of a monster hiding within the recesses of a hell-like cavern beneath a tombstone—was, he writes,
“the moment of my life when the dowsing rod suddenly went down hard . . . as far as I was concerned, I was on my way.”
Education and early creativity
King attended Durham Elementary School. He displayed an early interest in horror as an avid reader of EC's horror comics, including "Tales from the Crypt" (he later paid tribute to the comics in his screenplay for "
Creepshow"). He began writing for fun while still in school, contributing articles to "Dave's Rag", the newspaper that his brother published with a mimeograph machine, and later began selling stories to his friends which were based on movies he had seen (though when discovered by his teachers, he was forced to return the profits). The first of his stories to be independently published was "I Was a Teenage Grave Robber", serialized over three published and one unpublished issue of a fanzine, "Comics Review" in 1965. The story was republished in complete form as "In a Half-World of Terror" in another fanzine, "Stories of Suspense" edited by Marv Wolfman, the following year. [ Wood, Rocky et al 'Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished Abingdon, Maryland 2006 ISBN 1-58767-130-1]
From 1966 King studied English at the
University of Maine, where he graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of Artsin English. He wrote a weekly column for the student newspaper, the "Maine Campus", titled "King's Garbage Truck", took part in a writing workshop organized by Burton Hatlen, cite news |first=Alicia |last=Anstead |title=UM scholar Hatlen, mentor to Stephen King, dies at 71 |url=http://bangornews.com/news/t/city.aspx?articleid=159261&zoneid=176 |work= Bangor Daily News|publisher=|date=2008-01-23 |accessdate=2008-03-04] and took odd jobs to pay for his studies, including one at an industrial laundry. He sold his first professional short story, "The Glass Floor", to "Startling Mystery Stories" in 1967 while attending the University of Maine. The Fogler Library at UMaine now holds King's papers.
After leaving the university King gained a certificate to teach high school but, being unable to find a teaching post immediately, initially supplemented his laboring wage by selling short stories to men's magazines such as "Playboy". In 1971, King married Tabitha Spruce, a fellow student at the University of Maine, whom he had met at the Fogler Library. That fall King was hired as a teacher at
Hampden Academyin Hampden, Maine. He continued to contribute short stories to magazines and worked on ideas for novels. It was during this time that King developed a drinking problem, which stayed with him for more than a decade.
Success with "Carrie"
On Mother's Day, 1973, King's novel "Carrie" was accepted by publishing house Doubleday. King has written how he became so discouraged when trying to develop the idea of a girl with
psychicpowers into a novel that he threw an early draft in the trash, but his wife, Tabitha, rescued it and encouraged him to finish it. [cite book | last =King | first =Stephen | authorlink = | title =On Writing | publisher =Scribner | year =2000 | location = | pages =76–77 | id = ISBN 0684853523] He received a $2,500 advance (not large for a novel, even at that time) but the paperback rights eventually earned $400,000, with half going to the publisher. King and his family relocated to Southern Mainebecause of his mother's failing health. At this time he began writing a book titled "Second Coming", later titled "Jerusalem's Lot", before finally changing the title to " 'Salem's Lot" (published 1975). Soon after the release of "Carrie" in 1974, his mother died of lung cancer. His Aunt Emrine read the novel to her before she died. King has written of his severe drinking problem at this time, stating that he was drunk while delivering the eulogy at his mother's funeral.
After his mother's death, King and his family moved to
Boulder, Colorado, where King wrote "The Shining" (published 1977). The family returned to Western Mainein 1975, where King completed his fourth novel, " The Stand" (published 1978). In 1977 the family traveled briefly to England, returning to Mainethat fall where King began teaching creative writing at the University of Maine. King has kept his primary residence in Maine ever since.
In the late 1970s-early 1980s, King published a handful of short novels—"Rage" (1977), "
The Long Walk" (1979), " Road Work" (1981), " The Running Man" (1982) and "Thinner" (1984)—under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. The idea behind this was largely an experiment to measure for himself whether or not he could replicate his own success again, and allay at least part of the notion inside his own head that popularity might all be just an accident of fate. An alternate (or additional) explanation was because of publishing standards back then allowing only a single book a year.cite web
title=Stephen King FAQ: "Why did you write books as Richard Bachman?"
The Bachman novels contained hints to the author's actual identity that were picked up on by fans, leading to King's admission of authorship in 1985. King dedicated his 1989 book "
The Dark Half" about a pseudonym turning on a writer to "the deceased Richard Bachman", and in 1996, when the Stephen King novel " Desperation" was released, the companion novel " The Regulators" carried the Bachman byline.
In 2006, during a London UK press conference, King declared that he had discovered another Bachman novel, titled "Blaze". It was published on
June 12, 2007in the UK and US. In fact, the manuscript had been held at King's alma mater, the University of Maine in Orono for many years and had been covered by numerous King experts. King completely rewrote the 1973 manuscript for its publication.
Shortly after "
The Tommyknockers" publication in 1987, King's family and friends staged an intervention, dumping evidence of his addiction taken from the trash including beer cans, cigarette butts, grams of cocaine, Xanax, Valium, NyQuil, dextromethorphan(cough medicine), and marijuana, on the rug in front of him. As King related in his memoir, he then sought help and quit all forms of drugs and alcohol in the late 1980s, and has remained sober since.
Car accident and thoughts of retirement
In the summer of 1999, King had finished the memoir section of "" but had abandoned the book for nearly eighteen months, unsure of how or whether to proceed.
June 19, at about 4:30 p.m., he was walking on the shoulder of Route 5 in Center Lovell, Maine. Driver Bryan Smith, distracted by an unrestrained dog moving in the back of his minivan, [ [http://www.cnn.com/books/news/9906/21/stephen.king.03/ Stephen King cracking jokes following surgery - June 21, 1999 ] ] struck King, who landed in a depression in the ground about 14 feet from the pavement of Route 5.According to Oxford County Sheriff deputy Matt Baker, King was struck from behind and some witnesses said the driver was not speeding or reckless. [ [http://www.liljas-library.com/accident.html Liljas-library homepage] ] King's website, however, says King was walking facing traffic.
King was conscious enough to give the deputy phone numbers to contact his family but was in considerable pain. The author was first transported to Northern Cumberland Hospital in Bridgton and then flown by helicopter to Central Maine Hospital in Lewiston. His injuries—a collapsed right lung, multiple fractures of the right leg, scalp laceration and a broken hip—kept him in Central Maine Medical Center until
July 9, almost three weeks.
Earlier that year, King had finished most of "
From a Buick 8", a novel in which a character dies after getting struck by a car. Of the similarities, King says that he tries "not to make too much of it."
After five operations in ten days and
physical therapy, King resumed work on "On Writing" in July, though his hip was still shattered and he could only sit for about forty minutes before the pain became intolerable.
King's lawyer and two others purchased Smith's van for $1,500, reportedly to avoid it appearing on
eBay. The van was later crushed at a junkyard after King had severely beaten it with a baseball bat. King later mentioned during an interview with " Fresh Air"'s Terry Grossthat he wanted to completely destroy the vehicle himself with a sledgehammer. [ [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1124785 Novelist Stephen King : NPR ] ]
A fictionalized account of the accident was written into the last novel of the Dark Tower series. Parts of the conversation between Smith and King, as he awaited medical attention, were used in the book, as well as an accurate description of the injuries sustained.
Two years later, King suffered severe pneumonia as a direct result of his lung being punctured in the accident. During this time Tabitha King was inspired to redesign his studio. Stephen visited the space while his books and belongings were packed away. What he saw was an image of what his studio would look like if he died, providing a seed for his novel "
In 2002, King announced he would stop writing, apparently motivated in part by frustration with his injuries, which had made sitting uncomfortable and reduced his stamina. He has since resumed writing, but states on his website that:
"I'm writing but I'm writing at a much slower pace than previously and I think that if I come up with something really, really good, I would be perfectly willing to publish it because that still feels like the final act of the creative process, publishing it so people can read it and you can get feedback and people can talk about it with each other and with you, the writer, but the force of my invention has slowed down a lot over the years and that's as it should be." [ cite web|url=http://www.http://www.stephenking.com/pages/FAQ/Stephen_King/retired.php |title=Stephen King.com: The Official FAQ: Is it true that you have retired? |accessdate=2008-03-04 ]
King owns two houses, one in Bangor and one in Center,
Lovell, Maine, while he and his wife regularly spend winter in their waterfront mansionlocated off the Gulf of Mexicoin Sarasota, Florida. He and Tabitha have three children and three grandchildren. Tabitha Kinghas published nine of her own novels. Both King's sons are published authors: Owen Kingpublished his first collection of stories, "We're All in This Together: A Novella and Stories" in 2005; Joseph Hillstrom published an award-winning collection of short stories, " 20th Century Ghosts", in 2005 and his first novel, "Heart-Shaped Box" will be adapted by Irish director Neil Jordanfor a 2008 Warner Bros.release. King's daughter Naomi spent two years as a minister in the Unitarian Universalist Churchin Utica, New York, where she lived with her partner Rev Dr Thandeka. They now minister for the Unitarian Universalist Church of River of Grass in Plantation, South Florida. [ cite web|url=http://www.riverofgrass.org/minister.htm|title=River of Grass Ministry|accessdate=2008-07-16 ]
* In 2000, King published a serialized novel "
The Plant" over the Internet, bypassing print publication. At first it was thought that sales were unsuccessful and he abandoned the project, but King later revealed that he simply ran out of story. [ [http://slashdot.org/features/00/11/30/1238204.shtml Slashdot | Stephen King's Net Horror Story ] ]
* Since August 2003, King has provided his take on pop culture in a column appearing on the back page of "
Entertainment Weekly", usually every third week. The column is called "The Pop of King", a reference to "The King of Pop", Michael Jackson. [ [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,472359,00.html The Pop of King: The Tao of Steve] ]
* In October 2005, King signed a deal with
Marvel Comics, to publish a seven-issue, miniseries spin-offof ""The Dark Tower" series" called "". The series, which focuses on a young Roland Deschain, is plotted by Robin Furth, dialogued by Peter David, and illustrated by Eisner Award-winning artist Jae Lee. The first issue was published on February 7, 2007, and because of its connection with King, David, Lee, and Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesadaappeared at a midnight signing at a Times Square, New Yorkcomic book store to promote it. [ [http://peterdavid.malibulist.com/archives/005156.html Peter David discusses the signing on his blog.] ] [ [http://peterdavid.malibulist.com/archives/005169.html Another blog entry of the signing with photos and links to interviews.] ] The work had sold over 200,000 copies by March 2007. [ [http://entertainment.tv.yahoo.com/entnews/ap/20070310/117359580000.html Stephen King Ventures Into Comic Books] ]
February 14, 2007, Joblo.comannounced [ [http://joblo.com/abrams-on-dark-tower Abrams on Dark Tower? ] ] that plans were underway for "Lost" co-creator J. J. Abramsto do an adaptation of King's epic "Dark Tower" series.
* In June 2007, King's novel "Blaze", which was written in the early 1970s, under his long-time pseudonym
Richard Bachman, was published. A novel, " Duma Key" was published in January 2008; and King has written a musical play with John Mellencamptitled " Ghost Brothers of Darkland County".
April 20, 2007, King commented on the Virginia Tech massacrein " Entertainment Weekly". [ [http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20036014,00.html Stephen King on Virginia Tech | Violence in the Media | Essays | News + Notes | Entertainment Weekly ] ]
August 15, 2007, King was mistaken for a vandal in an Alice Springsbookstore. King was signing books authored by himself when a customer reported there was a vandal scribbling in volumes in the fiction section. [ [http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/08/16/2006725.htm ABC News, Stephen King mistaken for vandal in Alice] ]
* King has voiced his support of Democratic presidential candidate
Barack Obama. [ [http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/175900,stephen-king-backing-barack-obama.html Stephen King backing Barack Obama : US Entertainment ] ]
* A controversy emerged on
May 5, 2008, when a conservative blogger posted a clip of King at a Library of Congressreading event. King, talking to high-school students, had said: "If you can read, you can walk into a job later on. If you don't, then you've got the Army, Iraq, I don't know, something like that." [ [http://www.c-spanarchives.org/library/index.php?main_page=product_video_info&products_id=204835-1 Discussion on Writing with Stephen King: C-SPAN Video Library] ] The comment was described by the blog as "another in a long line of liberal media members bashing the military," and likened to John Kerry's similar remark from 2006. [ [http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2008/05/05/writer-stephen-king-if-you-cant-read-youll-end-army-or-iraq Writer Stephen King: If You Can't Read, You'll End Up in the Army or Iraq] ] King responded later that day, saying, "That a right-wing-blog would impugn my patriotism because I said children should learn to read, and could get better jobs by doing so, is beneath contempt...I live in a national guard town, and I support our troops, but I don’t support either the war or educational policies that limit the options of young men and women to any one career—military or otherwise." [cite web|url=http://www.stephenking.com/ |title=StephenKing.com |accessdate=2008-05-23 |date=2008-05-05 ] King again defended his comment in an interview with the " Bangor Daily News" on May 8, saying, "I’m not going to apologize for promoting that kids get better education in high school, so they have more options. Those that don’t agree with what I’m saying, I’m not going to change their minds." [cite news | first=Dale | last=McGarrigle | coauthors= | title=Stephen King defends remarks on Army, Iraq | date= 2008-05-08| publisher= | url =http://bangornews.com/news/t/news.aspx?articleid=164062&zoneid=500 | work =Bangor Daily News | pages = | accessdate = 2008-05-23 | language = ]
* King's latest short stories collection titled "
Just After Sunset" will be released on November 11, 2008. It will feature 13 short stories.
* King is currently working on a new novel entitled "
Under the Dome", a reworking of an unfinished novel he tried writing twice in the 1980s, to be published in 2009 or 2010. [ [http://www.liljas-library.com/section.php?id=54 Lilja's Library - The World of Stephen King [1996 - 2008 ] ]
* King recently released ""
N"", a novella that is to feature in the forthcoming "" Just After Sunset"", as a serialised animated series that, for a small payment, can be downloaded.
* There are rumours, but as yet unconfirmed, that King's future project will be the third "Talisman" book. This would follow ""
The Talisman (1984 novel)"" and "" Black House (novel)"", and would likely be co-written again with "" Peter Straub"".
Since becoming commercially successful, King and his wife have donated money to causes around their home state of Maine.
The Kings' early nineties donation to the
University of MaineSwim Team saved the program from elimination from the school's athletics department. Donations to local YMCAand YWCAprograms have allowed renovations and improvements that would otherwise have been impossible. Additionally, King annually sponsors a number of scholarships for high school and college students.
The Kings do not desire recognition for their funding of Bangor-area facilities: they named the Shawn T. Mansfield Stadium for a prominent local little league coach's son who had cerebral palsy, while the Beth Pancoe Aquatic Park memorializes an accomplished area swimmer who died of cancer.
Stephen King is a fan of the
Boston Red Soxand frequently attends home and away baseballgames. He helped coach his son Owen's Bangor West team to the Maine Little LeagueChampionship in 1989. He recounts this experience in the "New Yorker" essay " Head Down," which also appears in the collection " Nightmares and Dreamscapes". In 1999, King wrote " The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon," which featured former Red Sox pitcher Tom Gordonas the protagonist's imaginary companion. King recently co-wrote a book titled "" with Stewart O'Nan, recounting the authors' roller coaster reaction to the Red Sox's 2004 season, a season culminating in the Sox winning the 2004 American League Championship Seriesand World Series. In the 2005 film "Fever Pitch," about an obsessive Boston Red Sox fan, King tosses out the first pitch of the Sox's opening day game.He also participates in neighborhood softball games around his Maine estate. He has also devoted one of his recent collumns for Entertainment Weekly on the subject of commercialism in Major League Baseball. More recently, King has starred in an ESPN Sportscenter advertisement referencing both his allegiance to the Red Sox and his preferred writing genre (horror fiction).
Stephen and his wife Tabitha own The Zone Corporation, a central
Maineradio station group consisting of WDME, WZON, and WKIT. The last of the three stations features a caricature of King as a Frankenstein-esque character as part of the logo and the tagline "Stephen King's Rock 'n' Roll Station."
ociety and politics
In April 2008, King spoke out against HB 1423, a bill pending in the Massachusetts state legislature that would restrict or ban the sale of violent video games to anyone under the age of 18. Although King stated that he had no personal interest in video games as a hobby, he criticized the proposed law, which he sees as an attempt by politicians to scapegoat pop culture, and to act as surrogate parents to others' children, which he asserted is usually "disastrous" and "undemocratic". He also saw the law as inconsistent, as it would forbid a 17-year-old, legally able to see ', from buying or renting ', which is violent but less graphic. While conceding that he saw no artistic merit in some violent video games, King also opined that such games reflect the violence that already exists in society, which would not be lessened by such a law, which would be redundant in light of the ratings system that already exists for video games. King argued that such laws allow legislators to ignore the economic divide between the rich and poor, and the easy availability of guns, which he felt were the more legitimate causes of violence. [King, Stephen; "Videogame Lunacy"; "The Pop of KIng" "
Entertainment Weekly"; April 11, 2008.] King's website states that the novelist is a supporter of the Democratic Party.
In his nonfiction book "", King discusses his writing style at great length. King believes that, generally speaking, good stories cannot be called consciously and should not be plotted out beforehand; they are better served by focusing on a single "seed" of a story and letting the story grow itself. King often begins a story with no idea how it will end. He mentions in the "Dark Tower" series that halfway through its nearly 30-year writing period a terminally-ill woman asked how it would end, certain she would die before the series' completion. He told her he did not know. King believes strongly in this style, stating that his best writing comes from "freewriting." In "On Writing," King stated that he believed stories to exist fully formed, like fossils, and that his role as a writer was to excavate the fossil as well as he could. When asked for the source of his story ideas in interviews, however, he has several times, including the appearance on Amazon.com's "Fishbowl," answered, "I have the heart of a small boy……and I keep it in a jar on my desk." (This quote is most often attributed to Robert Bloch, author of "Psycho.)
He is known for his great eye for detail, for continuity and for inside references; many stories that may seem unrelated are often linked by secondary characters, fictional towns, or off-hand references to events in previous books. Many of the settings for King's books are in
Maine, though often fictional locations, especially the town of Castle Rock. (Castle Rock was the setting for "The Body"; when the novella was adapted for the screen by Rob Reiner, Reiner formed a production company, Castle Rock Entertainment, which has since gone on to produce other King adaptations including "Dolores Claiborne", "Hearts in Atlantis", " The Shawshank Redemption" and "The Green Mile".)
King's books are filled with references to American history and American culture, particularly the darker, more fearful side of these. These references are generally spun into the stories of characters, often explaining their fears. Recurrent references include crime, war (especially the
Vietnam War), violence, the supernatural and racism.
King is also known for his folksy, informal narration, often referring to his fans as "Constant Readers" or "friends and neighbors." This familiar style contrasts with the horrific content of many of his stories.
King has a very simple formula for learning to write well: "Read and write four to six hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can't expect to become a good writer." He sets out each day with a quota of 2000 words and will not stop writing until it is met. He also has a simple definition for talent in writing: "If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented." ["Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully—in Ten Minutes"]
Shortly after his accident, King wrote the first draft of the book "Dreamcatcher" with a notebook and a Waterman
fountain pen, which he called "the world's finest word processor." [cite book | last =King | first =Stephen | authorlink = | title =Dreamcatcher | publisher =Scribner | year =2001 | location = | pages = | id = ISBN 0743211383]
King's writing style throughout his novels alternates from future to past, character development (including character illumination, dynamics and revelation), and setting in each chapter—leaving a cliffhanger at the end. He then continues this process until the novel is finished.
When asked why he writes, King responds: "The answer to that is fairly simple–there was nothing else I was made to do. I was made to write stories and I love to write stories. That's why I do it. I really can't imagine doing anything else and I can't imagine not doing what I do." [cite web|url=http://www.stephenking.com/pages/FAQ/Stephen_King/whywriter.php | title = Stephen King's official site | accessdate = 2007-05-14]
King often uses authors as characters, or includes mention of
fictional booksin his stories, novellas and novels, such as Paul Sheldon who is the main character in " Misery" and Jack Torrance in " The Shining". See also List of fictional books in the works of Stephen Kingfor a complete list.
King has called
Richard Matheson"the author who influenced me most as a writer." Both authors casually integrate characters' thoughts into the third person narration, just one of several parallels between their writing styles. In a current edition of Matheson's " The Incredible Shrinking Man", King is quoted: "A horror story if there ever was one…a great adventure story—it is certainly one of that select handful that I have given to people, envying them the experience of the first reading."
King is a fan of
H. P. Lovecraftand refers to him several times in "Danse Macabre". Lovecraft's influence shows in King's invention of bizarre, ancient deities, subtle connections among all of his tales and the integration of fabricated newspaper clippings, trial transcripts and documents as narrative devices. King's invented trio of afflicted New England towns— Jerusalem's Lot, Castle Rock and Derry—are reminiscent of Lovecraft's Arkham, Dunwich and Innsmouth. King's short story "Crouch End" is an explicit homage to, and part of, Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythosstory cycle. " Gramma," a short story made into a film in the 1980s anthology horror show " The New Twilight Zone", mentions Lovecraft's notorious fictional creation " Necronomicon", also borrowing the names of a number of the fictional monsters mentioned therein. " I Know What You Need" from the 1976 collection " Night Shift", and " 'Salem's Lot" also mention the tome. Another tribute to Lovecraft is in King's short story " Jerusalem's Lot," which opens "Night Shift". King differs markedly from Lovecraft in his focus on extensive characterization and naturalistic dialogue, both notably absent in Lovecraft's writing. In " On Writing", King is critical of Lovecraft's dialogue-writing skills, using passages from " The Colour Out of Space" as particularly poor examples. There are also several examples of King referring to Lovecraftiancharacters in his work, such as Nyarlathotepand Yog-Sothoth. Edgar Allan Poeexerts a noticeable influence over King's writing as well. In "The Shining", the phrase "And the red death held sway over all" hearkens back to Poe's "And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all" from " The Masque of the Red Death." The novella " Dolan's Cadillac" has a theme almost identical to Poe's " The Cask of Amontillado," including a paraphrase of Fortunato's famous plea, "For the love of God, Montresor!" In "The Shining", King refers to Poe as "The Great American Hack".
King acknowledges the influence of
Bram Stoker, particularly on his novel "'Salem's Lot", which he envisioned as a retelling of " Dracula". [ [http://www.stephenking.com/pages/works/salems_lot/ StephenKing.com: 'Salems Lot ] ] Its related short story "Jerusalem's Lot", is reminiscent of Stoker's " The Lair of the White Worm".
King has also openly declared his admiration for another, less prolific author:
Shirley Jackson. "'Salem's Lot" opens with a quotation from Jackson's " The Haunting of Hill House". Tony, an imaginary playmate from "The Shining", bears a striking resemblance to another imaginary playmate with the same name from Jackson's "Hangsaman". A pivotal scene in " Storm of the Century" is based on Jackson's " The Lottery". A character in " Wolves of the Calla" references the Jackson book " We Have Always Lived in the Castle".
King is a big fan of
John D. MacDonaldand dedicated the novella "Sun Dog" to MacDonald, saying "I miss you, old friend." For his part, MacDonald wrote an admiring preface to "Night Shift", and even had his famous character, Travis McGee, reading "Cujo" in one of the last McGee novels.
In 1987 King's
Philtrum Presspublished Don Robertson's novel, "The Ideal, Genuine Man". In his forenote to the novel, King wrote, "Don Robertson was and is one of the three writers who influenced me as a young man who was trying to 'become' a novelist (the other two being Richard Matheson and John D. MacDonald)." [cite book | last = Robertson | first = Don | authorlink = Don Robertson (author) | coauthors = | title = The Ideal, Genuine Man | publisher = Philtrum Press | year = 1987 | location = Bangor, ME | pages = viiI | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = ]
Amazon.cominterview, King said the one book he wishes he'd written is William Golding's " Lord of the Flies".
King makes references in several of his books to characters and events in
J. R. R. Tolkien's " The Hobbit" and " The Lord of the Rings". Robert A. Heinlein's book " The Door into Summer" is repeatedly mentioned in King's " Wolves of the Calla".
King has written two novels with acclaimed horror novelist
Peter Straub: "The Talisman" and a sequel, "Black House". King has indicated that he and Straub will likely write the third and concluding book in this series, the tale of Jack Sawyer, but has set no time line for its completion.
King also wrote the nonfiction book, "" with novelist and fellow Red Sox fanatic
In 1996 King collaborated with
Michael Jacksonto create "Ghosts", a long and expensive musical video.
"Throttle", a novella written in collaboration with his son Joe Hill, will be included in the anthology "He Is
Gauntlet Press website, forth coming titles [http://www.gauntletpress.com/cgi-bin/gauntletpress/perlshop.cgi?ACTION=template&thispage=HeisLegend&ORDER_ID=251390396] ]
"", was a paperback tie-in for the King-penned miniseries "Rose Red". The book was published under anonymous authorship, and written by Ridley Pearson. This spin-off is a rare occasion of another author being granted permission to write commercial work using characters and story elements invented by King.
Speculation that King wrote the novel "
Bad Twin", a tie-in to the series "Lost", under the pseudonymGary Troup has been discredited. This theory was fueled by King being an avid and self-declared Lost fan, having mentioned it and praised it several times in his Entertainment Weekly articles.
King played guitar for the rock band
Rock Bottom Remainders, several of whose members are authors. Other members include Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Scott Turow, Amy Tan, James McBride, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount Jr., Matt Groening, Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Greg Iles. None of them claim to have any musical talent. King is a fan of the rock band AC/DC, who did the soundtrack for his 1986 film, " Maximum Overdrive". He is also a fan of The Ramones, who wrote the title song for "Pet Sematary" and appeared in the music video. They are referred to several times in various novels and stories. In addition he wrote the liner notes for their tribute album " We're a Happy Family." They, in return, name checked him on the song "It's Not My Place (In the 9 to 5 World)", which is on 1981's " Pleasant Dreams". [ [http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/ramones/itsnotmyplace.html RAMONES LYRICS - It's Not My Place ] ] In 1988, the band Blue Öyster Cultrecorded an updated version of their 1974 song "Astronomy". The single released for radio play featured a narrative intro spoken by King.cite web | title = The Complete Blue Oyster Cult Discography | url = http://www.blueoystercult.com/Studio/BOC_Discography.pdf | author = Bolle Gregmar | publisher = Blue Oyster Cult | accessdate = 2008-07-14|format=PDF]
Films and TV
Many of King's novels and short stories have been made into major motion pictures or TV movies and miniseries.cite web
url = http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000175/
title = Internet Movie Database: Stephen King
accessdate = 2007-04-10] Unlike some authors, King is untroubled by movies based on his works differing from the original work. He has contrasted his books and its film adaptations as "
apples and oranges; both delicious, but very different." The exception to this is "The Shining", which King criticized when it was released in 1980; and "The Lawnmower Man" (he sued to have his name removed from the credits). King seems to have gained greater appreciation for Kubrick's "The Shining" over the years. Kubrick had described the original novel in an interview as not "literary," having its merits exclusively in the plot. This understandably may have upset King. As a film, "The Lawnmower Man" bore no resemblance whatsoever to King's original short story. King's name was used solely as a faux- brand.
King's first film appearance was in George Romero's "Knightriders" as a buffoonish audience member. His first featured role was in "Creepshow", playing Jordy Verrill, a backwoods redneck who, after touching a fallen meteor in hopes of selling it, grows moss all over his body.He has since made cameos in several adaptations of his works. He appeared in "
Pet Sematary" as a minister at a funeral, in "Rose Red" as a pizza deliveryman, in "The Stand" as "Teddy Wieszack," in the "Shining" miniseries as band member Gage Creed and in " The Langoliers" as Tom Holby. He has also appeared in "The Golden Years", in Chappelle's Showand, along with fellow author Amy Tan, on "The Simpsons" as himself. In addition to acting, King tried his hand at directing with " Maximum Overdrive", in which he also made a cameo appearance as a man using an ATM that is on the fritz.
King produced and acted in a miniseries, "
Kingdom Hospital", which is based on the Danish miniseries " Riget" by Lars von Trier. He also co-wrote The " X-Files" season 5 episode " Chinga" with the creator of the series Chris Carter.
King is friends with
film director George Romero, to whom he partly dedicated his book "Cell", and wrote a tribute about the filmmaker in " Entertainment Weekly" for his pop culturecolumn, as well as an essay for the Elite DVDversion of " Night of the Living Dead".
King has also made an appearance as a contestant on Celebrity "
Jeopardy!" in 1995.
Critical responses to King's works have been mixed.
In his analysis of post-
World War IIhorror fiction, "The Modern Weird Tale" (2001), critic S. T. Joshi[Joshi, S.T, "The Modern Weird Tale : A Critique of Horror Fiction", McFarland & Company, 2001, ISBN 978-0786409860] devotes a chapter to King's work. Joshi argues that King's best-known works (his supernatural novels), are his worst, describing them as mostly bloated, illogical, maudlin and prone to " deus ex machina" endings. Despite these criticisms, Joshi argues that since " Gerald's Game" (1993), King has been tempering the worst of his writing faults, producing books that are leaner, more believable and generally better written. Joshi also stresses that, despite his flaws, King almost unfailingly writes insightfully about the pains and joys of adolescence, and has produced a few outstanding books and stories. Joshi cites two early non-supernatural novels -– "Rage" (1977) and "The Running Man" (1982) -– as King's best, suggesting both are riveting and well-constructed suspense thrillers, with believable characters.
In 1996, King won an
O. Henry Awardfor his short story " The Man in the Black Suit."
In 2003, King was honored by the
National Book Awardswith a lifetime achievement award, the Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, with his work being described thus:
Stephen King’s writing is securely rooted in the great American tradition that glorifies spirit-of-place and the abiding power of narrative. He crafts stylish, mind-bending page-turners that contain profound moral truths–some beautiful, some harrowing–about our inner lives. This Award commemorates Mr. King’s well-earned place of distinction in the wide world of readers and book lovers of all ages.
Some in the literary community expressed disapproval of the award: Richard Snyder, the former CEO of Simon & Schuster, described King's work as "non-
literature", and critic Harold Bloomdenounced the choice:
The decision to give the National Book Foundation's annual award for "distinguished contribution" to Stephen King is extraordinary, another low in the shocking process of dumbing down our cultural life. I've described King in the past as a writer of penny dreadfuls, but perhaps even that is too kind. He shares nothing with
Edgar Allan Poe. What he is is an immensely inadequate writer on a sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph, book-by-book basis. [ [http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2003/09/24/dumbing_down_american_readers/ Boston.com / News / Boston Globe / Editorial / Opinion / Op-ed / Dumbing down American readers ] ]
However, others came to King's defense, such as writer
Orson Scott Card, who responded:
Let me assure you that King's work most definitely is literature, because it was written to be published and is read with admiration. What Snyder really means is that it is not the literature preferred by the academic-literary elite." [ [http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2003-09-21.shtml Yummi Bears, Lions, Boomtown, Mayer, and King - Uncle Orson Reviews Everything ] ]
Roger Ebert's review of the 2004 movie " Secret Window", he states "A lot of people were outraged that [King] was honored at the National Book Awards, as if a popular writer could not be taken seriously. But after finding that his book " On Writing" had more useful and observant things to say about the craft than any book since Strunk and White's " The Elements of Style", I have gotten over my own snobbery." [ [http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040312/REVIEWS/403120306/1023 Chicago Sun-Times - Reviews "Secret Window" (xhtml) ] ]
Influence on popular culture
Since the publication of "Carrie", public awareness of King and his works has reached a high saturation rate, [Linda Badley, "Writing Horror and the Body: The Fiction of Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Anne Rice" (Contributions to the Study of Popular Culture) (Greenwood Press, 1996);
Michael R. Collings, "Scaring Us to Death: The Impact of Stephen King on Popular Culture" (Borgo Press; 2nd Rev edition, 1997, ISBN 0930261372).] becoming as popular as "The Twilight Zone" or the films of Alfred Hitchcock[Amy Keyishian, "Stephen King" (Pop Culture Legends) (Chelsea House Publications, 1995).] . As the best-selling novelist in the world, and the most financially successful horror writer in history, King is an American horror icon of the highest order. King's books and characters encompass primary fears in such an iconic manner that his stories have become synonymous with certain key genre ideas.
King has won 6 Bram Stoker awards, 6 Horror Guild awards, 5
Locus Awards, 3 World Fantasy Awards(including a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004), the 1996 O. Henry award, a Hugo Awardin 1982 for the non-fiction Danse Macabre. He was given a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 by the Horror Writers' Association and, controversially, a Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Lettersfrom the National Book Foundationin 2003 (see Critical Response, above). [ cite web|url=http://www.stephenking.com/pages/faq/awards.php |title=Stephen King.com: The Official FAQ: Awards |accessdate=2008-03-04 ] In 2007, King received an award for lifetime achievement from the Canadian Literary Guild, the only non-Canadian to be bestowed this award.
* Joseph Hillstrom King
Charles Scribner's Sons
Cemetery Dance Publications
Rock Bottom Remainders
* "The Many Facets of Stephen King",
Michael R. Collings, Starmont House, 1985, ISBN 0930261143
* "The Shorter Works of Stephen King", Michael R. Collings with
David A. Engebretson, Starmont House, 1985, ISBN 093026102X
* "Stephen King as Richard Bachman", Michael R. Collings, Starmont House, 1985, ISBN 0930261003
* "The Annotated Guide to Stephen King: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography of the Works of America’s Premier Horror Writer", Michael R. Collings, Starmont House, 1986, ISBN 0930261801
* "The Films of Stephen King", Michael R. Collings, Starmont House, 1986, ISBN 0930261100
* "The Stephen King Phenomenon", Michael R. Collings, Starmont House, 1987, ISBN 0930261127
* "Horror Plum'd: An International Stephen King Bibliography and Guide 1960-2000", Michael R. Collings, Overlook Connection Press, 2003, ISBN 1-892950-45-6
* "The Complete Guide to the Works of Stephen King",
Rocky Wood, David Rawsthorne and Norma Blackburn, Kanrock Partners, ISBN 0975059335
* "Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished",
Rocky Wood, Cemetery Dance, 2006, ISBN 1587671301
* "The Stephen King Collector's Guide",
Rocky Woodand Justin Brooks, Kanrock Partners, ISBN 978-0-9750593-5-7
* "Stephen King: A Primary Bibliography of the World's Most Popular Author", Justin Brooks, Cemetery Dance, 2008, ISBN 1587671530
* "Stephen King: The Non-Fiction",
Rocky Woodand Justin Brooks, Cemetery Dance, 2008, ISBN 1-58767-160-3
* "Stephen King Is Richard Bachman", Michael R. Collings, Overlook Connection Press, March 2008, ISBN 1-892950-74-X
Books about Stephen King"
* [http://www.stephenking.com/ Stephen King's Official Web Site]
* [http://www.stkfoundation.org/ Stephen & Tabitha King Foundation]
* [http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20080328/NEWS/803280336/1661 Video] of a March 2008 interview with King in Sarasota, Fla.
* [http://www.newyorktimesbestsellerlist.org/archives/52 More on Stephen King]
ALTERNATIVE NAMES=King, Stephen Edwin
SHORT DESCRIPTION=American author
DATE OF BIRTH=
21 September, 1947
PLACE OF BIRTH=Portland, Maine
DATE OF DEATH=
PLACE OF DEATH=
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Stephen King — (Februar 2007) Stephen Edwin King (* 21. September 1947 in Portland, Maine) ist ein US amerikanischer Schriftsteller. Er schrieb auch unter Pseudonymen, 1972 als John Swithen und zwischen 1977 und 1985 als Richard Bachman. Er ist vor allem… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Stephen King — en la Comic Con de Nueva York (2007). Nacimiento 21 de septiembre de 1947 (64 años) … Wikipedia Español
Stephen King — Stephen King ist einer der erfolgreichsten Autoren der Gegenwart. Allein über 40 seiner Vorlagen wurden verfilmt immer wieder trat er hierbei übrigens in kleinen Rollen auf. Der »King of Horror« schafft es meisterhaft, die Alltagsängste des… … Universal-Lexikon
Stephen King — Pour les articles homonymes, voir King. Stephen King Stephen King … Wikipédia en Français
Stephen King — Stephen Edwin King, escritor nacido el 21 de septiembre de 1947 en Portland, Maine, Estados Unidos. Autor literario de diversos géneros, entre los que destaca su labor dentro de las novelas de suspense y terror. Su obra es prolífica y algunas… … Enciclopedia Universal
Stephen King — Stephen Edwin King (født 21. september, 1947), amerikansk forfatter bedst kendt for sine gyserromaner … Danske encyklopædi
Stephen King — ➡ King (VII) * * * … Universalium
Stephen King's Desperation (film) — Stephen King s Desperation Intertitle Creator Stephen King … Wikipedia
Stephen King (disambiguation) — Stephen King (or Steven, Steve) may refer to:In media * Stephen King, an American author * Steve King (radio), an American radio personalityIn politics * Stephen King (conservationist), a New Zealand conservationist * Steve King, a U.S.… … Wikipedia
Stephen King (paedophile) — Stephen King (born 1949 or 1950) is a British man convicted of child sexual abuse. On March 18, 2004, King was sentenced to seven years in prison for the systematic abuse of three girls aged between 9 and 13 years old. King, who was 54 when he… … Wikipedia