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Stephen King

Stephen King, February 2007
Born Stephen Edwin King
September 21, 1947 (1947-09-21) (age 62)
Portland, Maine, United States
Pen name Richard Bachman, John Swithen
Occupation Novelist, short story writer, screenwriter, columnist, actor, television producer, film director
Genres Horror, fantasy, science fiction, drama, gothic, genre fiction, dark fantasy
Spouse(s) Tabitha King
Children Naomi King
Joe King
Owen King
Official website

Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of contemporary horror, suspense, science fiction and fantasy fiction. More than 350 million copies[4] of King's novels and short story collections have been sold, and many of his stories have been adapted for film, television, and other media. King has written a number of books using the pen name Richard Bachman, and one short story, "The Fifth Quarter", as John Swithen.

In 2003 the National Book Foundation awarded King the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.


Early life

King was born in Portland, Maine, the son of Nellie Ruth (née Pillsbury) and Donald Edwin King.[5] When King was two years old, his father, who was a merchant seaman, left the family under the pretense of "going to buy a pack of cigarettes," leaving his mother to raise King and his adopted older brother David by herself, sometimes under great financial strain. The family moved to De Pere, Wisconsin; Fort Wayne, Indiana; and Stratford, Connecticut. When King was eleven years old, the family returned to Durham, Maine, where Ruth King cared for her parents until their deaths. She then became a caretaker in a local residential facility for the mentally challenged.[6]

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 some of King's darker works[7], but King himself has dismissed the idea.[8]

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 uncle 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. Lovecraft collection 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 far as I was concerned, I was on my way."

Education and early creativity

King attended Durham Elementary School and graduated from Lisbon Falls High School in Lisbon Falls, Maine. 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.[9] That story was published the following year in a revised form as "In a Half-World of Terror" in another fanzine, Stories of Suspense, edited by Marv Wolfman.[10]

From 1966, King studied English at the University of Maine, where he graduated in 1970 with a Bachelor of Science in English. He wrote a column for the student newspaper, The Maine Campus, titled "Steve King's Garbage Truck", took part in a writing workshop organized by Burton Hatlen,[1] 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.[6] The Fogler Library at UMaine now holds many of King's papers.

In 1970, Naomi Rachel, his first daughter was born.

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 Cavalier. Many of these early stories have been published in the collection Night Shift. In 1971, King married Tabitha Spruce, a fellow student at the University of Maine whom he had met at the University's Fogler Library after one of Professor Hatlen's workshops.[1] That fall, King was hired as a teacher at Hampden Academy in Hampden, Maine. He continued to contribute short stories to magazines and worked on ideas for novels.[6] It was during this time that King developed a drinking problem, which stayed with him for more than a decade.

In 1972, Joseph Hillstrom, his second child was born.

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 psychic powers into a novel that he threw an early draft in the trash because he thought it was childish, but his wife, Tabitha, rescued it and encouraged him to finish it.[11] 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 Maine because 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 uterine 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 delivering the eulogy at his mother's funeral.[8]

After his mother's death, King and his family had moved to Boulder, Colorado, where King wrote The Shining (published 1977). The family returned to western Maine in 1975, where King completed his fourth novel, The Stand (published 1978). In 1977, the family with the addition of Owen Phillips, his third and last child was born, traveled briefly to England, returning to Maine that fall where King began teaching creative writing at the University of Maine. King has kept his primary residence in Maine ever since.

The Dark Tower books

In the late 1970s, King began a series of interconnected stories about a lone gunslinger, Roland, who pursues the "Man in Black" in an alternate-reality universe that is a cross between J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle-earth and the American wild west as depicted by Clint Eastwood and Sergio Leone in their spaghetti westerns. They were first published in five installments by The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction under the editorship of Edward L. Ferman, beginning in 1977 and the last in 1981. It would be continued as a large 7-book epic called The Dark Tower which would be written and published infrequently over four decades, from the 1970s to the 2000s.

In 1982, the fantasy small-press Donald M. Grant (known for publishing the entire canon of Robert E. Howard) printed these stories for the first time together in hardcover form with color and black-and-white illustrations by then up-and-coming fantasy artist Michael Whelan, as The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger. Each chapter was named for the story previously published in magazine form. King dedicated the hardcover edition to his editor at F&SF, Ed Ferman, who "took a chance on these stories." The original print-run was only 10,000 copies, which was, by this time, a comparatively low run for a first printing of a King novel in hardcover. His 1980 novel, Firestarter, had an initial print-run in trade hardcover at 100,000 copies, and his 1983 novel, Christine, had a trade hardcover print-run of 250,000 copies, both by the much larger publisher Viking. The Gunslinger's initial release was not highly publicized, and only specialty science-fiction and related bookstores carried it on their shelves. The book was generally not available in the larger chain stores, except by special order. Rumors spread among avid fans that there was a King book out that few readers knew about, let alone had actually read. When the initial 10,000 copies sold out, Grant printed another 10,000 copies in 1984, but these runs were still far short of the growing demand among fans for this book. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger was the beginning of his magnum opus fantasy epic. Both the first and second printings of The Gunslinger garner premium prices on the collectible book market, notably among avid readers and collectors of Stephen King, horror literature, fantasy literature, and even American western literature. And it is also desirable among avid fans of the artwork of Michael Whelan.

In 1987, King released the second installment, The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three, in which Roland draws three people from 20th-century United States into his world through magical doors. Grant published The Drawing of the Three with illustrations by Phil Hale in a slightly larger run of 30,000 copies, which was still well below King's typical initial hardcover print-run of a new book. (It, published in 1986, had an initial print-run of 1,000,000 copies, King's largest to date.) King had believed that the Dark Tower books would only be of interest to a select group of his fans, and he had resisted releasing it on a larger scale. Finally, in the late 1980s, bowing to pressure from his publishers and fans who were hungry for the books (at this point fewer than 50,000 of his millions of readers would have been able to own any of the Dark Tower books), King agreed to release The Gunslinger and all subsequent Dark Tower books in trade paperback and mass market formats. The series reached seven books, with the final installment called The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower, in 2004.

In the early 2000s King revised the original book, The Gunslinger, because he felt the voice and imagery of the original stories of the late 1970s did not seem to fit the voice of the final installment of 2004. King felt the style of the work had markedly changed during the intervening 27 years. The revised version was published in 2003 by his former hardcover publisher Viking. Grant published its hardcover limited edition of the revised version of The Gunslinger along with a prequel story set in the Dark Tower world called "The Little Sisters of Eluria" (from King's short story collection Everything's Eventual) in 2009.

On November 10, 2009 King announced he was writing a new Dark Tower novel titled The Wind Through the Keyhole. King stated it will take place between the fourth and fifth installments. [12]


In October 2005, King signed a deal with Marvel Comics to publish a seven-issue, miniseries spin-off of The Dark Tower series called The Gunslinger Born. The series, which focuses on a young Roland Deschain, is plotted by Robin Furth, with dialogue by Peter David, and illustrated by Eisner Award-winning artist Jae Lee. The first issue was published on February 7, 2007, and King, David, Lee and Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada appeared at a midnight signing at a Times Square, New York comic book store to promote it.[13][14] The work had sold over 200,000 copies by March 2007.[15]

Although The Hollywood Reporter announced in February 2007 that plans were underway for Lost co-creator J. J. Abrams to do an adaptation of King's epic Dark Tower series,[3] Abrams stated in a November 2009 interview with MTV that he would not be adapting the series.[16]

Richard Bachman

In the late 1970s-early 1980s, King published a handful of short novels—Rage (1977), The Long Walk (1979), Roadwork (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 at the time allowing only a single book a year.[17]

Richard Bachman was exposed as being King's pseudonym after a persistent Washington D.C. bookstore clerk, Steve Brown, noticed similarities between the two's works and later located publisher's records at the Library of Congress naming King as the author of one of Bachman's novels.[18] This led to a press release heralding Bachman's "death" — supposedly from "cancer of the pseudonym".[19] 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 press conference in London, King declared that he had discovered another Bachman novel, titled Blaze. It was published on June 12, 2007. 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.

Confronting addiction

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.[8]

Car accident and thoughts of retirement

In the summer of 1999, King had finished the memoir section of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, but had abandoned the book for nearly eighteen months, unsure of how or whether to proceed.

On June 19, at about 4:30 p.m., he was reading a book and walking on the shoulder of Route 5, in Lovell, Maine. Driver Bryan Smith, distracted by an unrestrained dog moving in the back of his minivan,[20] struck King, who landed in a depression in the ground about 14 feet from the pavement of Route 5.[8] According to Oxford County Sheriff deputy Matt Baker, King was struck from behind and some witnesses said the driver was not speeding or reckless.[21]

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 Medical Center, in Lewiston. His injuries—a collapsed right lung, multiple fractures of his right leg, scalp laceration and a broken hip—kept him at CMMC until July 9. 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 worse. Soon it became nearly unbearable.[citation needed]

King's lawyer and two others purchased Smith's van for $1,500, reportedly to prevent it from 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 Gross that he wanted to completely destroy the vehicle himself with a sledgehammer.[22]

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. King 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 Lisey's Story.[citation needed]

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."[23]

Later works

In 2000, King published a serialized novel, The Plant, online, bypassing print publication. At first it was presumed by the public that King had abandoned the project because sales were unsuccessful, but he later stated that he had simply run out of stories.[24] The unfinished epistolary novel is still available from King's official site, now free.

In 2006, King published an apocalyptic novel Cell.

In 2008, King published both a novel, Duma Key, and a collection, Just After Sunset. The latter featured 13 short stories, including a novella, N., which was later released as a serialized animated series that could be seen for free, or, for a small fee, could be downloaded in a higher quality; it then was adopted into a limited comic book series.

In 2009, King published "Ur", a novella written exclusively for the launch of the second-generation Amazon Kindle and available only on, and "Throttle", a novella co-written with his son Joe Hill, which later was released as an audiobook Road Rage, which included Richard Matheson's short story Duel.

King's latest novel is Under the Dome, a reworking of an unfinished novel he tried writing twice in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was published on November 10, 2009. It is the largest novel he has written since 1986's It, coming in at 1074 pages. It debuted at #1 in The New York Times Bestseller List, and #3 in UK Book Charts.

On February 16, 2010, King announced on his website that his next book will be a collection of four previously unpublished novellas. The book will be called Full Dark, No Stars.

Work in comics

King has done some writing for comic books.[25] In 1985 King wrote a few pages of the benefit X-Men comic book Heroes for Hope Starring the X-Men. The book, whose profits were donated to assist with famine relief in Africa, was written by a number of different authors in the comic book field, such as Chris Claremont, Stan Lee, and Alan Moore, as well as authors not primarily associated with that industry, such as Harlan Ellison.[26] The following year, King wrote the introduction to Batman #400, an anniversary issue in which he expressed his preference for that character over Superman.[27]

In October 2009, DC Comics announced that King will help start a new monthly series with short story writer Scott Snyder and artist Rafael Albuquerque called American Vampire, scheduled for a March of 2010 debut.[28]

Family life

King's home in Bangor

King and his wife own and occupy three different houses, one in Bangor, one in Lovell, Maine, and they regularly winter in their waterfront mansion located off the Gulf of Mexico, in Sarasota, Florida. He and Tabitha have three children and three grandchildren.[6] Tabitha King has published nine of her own novels. Both King's sons are published authors: Owen King published 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 Jordan for a 2010 Warner Bros. release.[29] King's daughter Naomi spent two years as a minister in the Unitarian Universalist Church, in Utica, New York. Naomi now ministers for the Unitarian Universalist Church of River of Grass, in Plantation, Florida with her same-sex partner, Rev. Dr. Thandeka.[30]



Since becoming commercially successful, King and his wife have donated large amounts of money to causes around their home state of Maine and elsewhere, notably to literacy projects.

The Kings' early '90s donation to the University of Maine Swim Team saved the program from elimination from the school's athletics department. Donations to local YMCA and YWCA programs 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 has cerebral palsy, while the Beth Pancoe Aquatic Park memorializes an accomplished swimmer from the region who died of cancer.

On November 6, 2008, King appeared with friend and fellow author Richard Russo to raise money for the Western Massachusetts food bank. The event held by the Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley at Mount Holyoke College raised over $18,000 and helped to promote his new collection, Just After Sunset, and Russo's Bridge of Sighs.

Stephen and Tabitha King also donate thousands each year to politically progressive organizations, such as the Maine People's Alliance.


King is a fan of baseball, and of the Boston Red Sox in particular; he frequently attends the team's home and away games, and occasionally mentions the team in his novels and stories. He helped coach his son Owen's Bangor West team to the Maine Little League Championship in 1989. He recounts this experience in the New Yorker essay "Head Down," which also appears in the collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes. In 1999, King wrote The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, which featured former Red Sox pitcher Tom Gordon as the protagonist's imaginary companion. King recently co-wrote a book titled Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season 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 Series and 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 has also devoted one of his recent columns 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).

Radio stations

Stephen and his wife Tabitha own The Zone Corporation, a central Maine radio station group consisting of WZON, WZON-FM, and WKIT. The last of the three stations features a Frankenstein-esque character named "Doug E. Graves" as part of the logo and the tagline "Stephen King's Rock 'n' Roll Station."


Since August 2003, King has written a column on pop culture appearing in Entertainment Weekly, usually every third week. The column is called "The Pop of King", a play on the nickname "The King of Pop" commonly given to Michael Jackson.[31]

Political views

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 Hostel: Part II, from buying or renting Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, 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, and 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.[32]

A controversy emerged on May 5, 2008, when a conservative blogger posted a clip of King at a Library of Congress reading 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."[33] 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.[34] 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."[35] 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."[36]

King's website states that he is a supporter of the Democratic Party. During the 2008 presidential election, King voiced his support for Democratic candidate Barack Obama.[37]

On January 4, 2010, WZON-FM in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, owned by King and his wife, changed its format from sports to progressive talk, mirroring the Kings' views.

King was quoted as calling conservative commentator Glenn Beck "Satan's mentally challenged younger brother."[38]


Writing style

King's formula for learning to write well is: "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."[39]

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."[40]

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."[41] He is also often asked why he writes such terrifying stories and he answers with another question "Why do you assume I have a choice?"[42]

King often uses authors as characters, or includes mention of fictional books in 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 King for a complete list. On 21 September 2009 was announced he will be started as author for Fangoria.[43]


King has called Richard Matheson "the author who influenced me most as a writer."[8] 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 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 refers to H. P. Lovecraft several times in Danse Macabre. "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. 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 Lovecraftian characters in his work, such as Nyarlathotep and Yog-Sothoth.

King acknowledges the influence of Bram Stoker, particularly on his novel 'Salem's Lot, which he envisioned as a retelling of Dracula.[44] Its related short story "Jerusalem's Lot", is reminiscent of Stoker's The Lair of the White Worm.

King has also referenced author Shirley Jackson. 'Salem's Lot opens with a quotation from Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, and a character in Wolves of the Calla references the Jackson book We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

King is a fan of John D. MacDonald, and 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 and Pet Sematary in the last McGee novel, The Lonely Silver Rain.

In 1987 King's Philtrum Press published 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)."[45]

Robert A. Heinlein's book The Door into Summer is repeatedly mentioned in King's Wolves of the Calla.

In an interview with King, Published in the USA Weekend in March, 2009, the author stated, "People look on writers that they like as an irreplaceable resource. I do. Elmore Leonard, every day I wake up and – not to be morbid or anything, although morbid is my life to a degree – don't see his obituary in the paper, I think to myself, "Great! He's probably working somewhere. He's gonna produce another book, and I'll have another book to read." Because when he's gone, there's nobody else."[46]

King partly dedicated his book Cell to film director George Romero, and wrote an essay for the Elite DVD version of Night of the Living Dead.


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, Faithful with novelist and fellow Red Sox fanatic Stewart O'Nan.

In 1996 King collaborated with Michael Jackson to create Ghosts, a 40-minute musical video in which the singer portrays a recluse living in a mansion confronting an unwelcoming group of townsfolk initially calling for his exodus from their community.

"Throttle", a novella written in collaboration with his son Joe Hill, appears in the anthology He Is Legend: Celebrating Richard Matheson, (Gauntlet Press, 2009).[47]

The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red, 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 pseudonym Gary 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 has written a musical play with John Mellencamp titled Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.

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. King referred to the band several times in various novels and stories and The Ramones referenced King on the song "It's Not My Place (In the 9 to 5 World)", which is on 1981's Pleasant Dreams. In addition he wrote the liner notes for their tribute album We're a Happy Family. In 1988, the band Blue Öyster Cult recorded an updated version of their 1974 song "Astronomy". The single released for radio play featured a narrative intro spoken by King.[48]

On Sunday, October 25, 2009 the DC comics Vertigo blog news feed released that King will team up with short story writer Scott Snyder and artist Rafael Albuquerque in a new monthly comic book series from Vertigo in March 2010 called American Vampire.[49] King is to write the background history of the very first American vampire, Skinner Sweet, in the five issues of the first arc. Scott Snyder will write the story of Pearl. Both stories are to weave together to form the first story arc.

Films and TV

Many of King's novels and short stories have been made into major motion pictures or TV movies and miniseries.

King has stated that his favorite book-to-film adaptations are Stand by Me, The Shawshank Redemption, and The Mist.[50]

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, as a news reporter in The Storm of the Century, in The Stand as "Teddy Wieszack," in the Shining miniseries as a band member, in The Langoliers as Tom Holby and in Sleepwalkers as the cemetery caretaker. He has also appeared in The Golden Years, in Chappelle's Show and, 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 has also made an appearance as a contestant on Celebrity Jeopardy! in 1995, playing to benefit the Bangor Public Library.

King provided the voice of Abraham Lincoln in the audiobook version of Assassination Vacation.

In a 2009 episode of Family Guy, "Three Kings", three of King's novels' film adaptations, Stand By Me, Misery, and The Shawshank Redemption, were parodied.

A season 3 episode of Quantum Leap is a homage to King, at the end when Sam realizes that the character Stevie is a young Stephen King and that Sam supposedly gave Stephen the idea for "Cujo" just before Sam leaps at the end of the episode.


Critical response

Although critical reaction to King's work has been mostly positive, he has occasionally come under fire from academic writers.

Science fiction editors John Clute and Peter Nichols [51] offer a largely favorable appraisal of King, noting his "pungent prose, sharp ear for dialogue, disarmingly laid-back, frank style, along with his passionately fierce denunciation of human stupidity and cruelty (especially to children) [all of which rank] him among the more distinguished 'popular' writers."

In his analysis of post-World War II horror fiction, The Modern Weird Tale (2001), critic S. T. Joshi[52] 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 Award for his short story "The Man in the Black Suit."

In 2003, King was honored by the National Book Awards with 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 Bloom denounced 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.[53]

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."[54]

In Roger Ebert's review of the 2004 movie Secret Window, he stated, "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."[55]

In 2008, King's book On Writing was ranked 21st on Entertainment Weekly list of "The New Classics: The 100 Best Reads from 1983 to 2008".[56]

Influence on popular culture

Since the publication of Carrie, public awareness of King and his works has saturated at a high level,[57] and his works have become as popular as The Twilight Zone or the films of Alfred Hitchcock.[58] As one of the best-selling novelists 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 works have become synonymous with certain key genre ideas.


See also

King's fictional topography


  1. ^ a b c Anstead, Alicia (2008-01-23). "UM scholar Hatlen, mentor to Stephen King, dies at 71". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2008-03-04. 
  2. ^ The characters reference that book in Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, which features a main character who escapes a prison by tunneling, much as in that novella.
  3. ^ a b c Sampson, Mike. "Abrams on Dark Tower?", February 14, 2007
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d King, Tabitha; Marsha DeFilippo. "Stephen Biography". Retrieved 2008-03-04. 
  7. ^ Beahm, George The Stephen King Story: A Literary Profile Andrews and McMeel. 1991. ISBN 0-8362-7989-1 : pp.101
  8. ^ a b c d e King, Stephen (2000). On Writing. Scribner. ISBN 0684853523. 
  9. ^ Wood, Rocky et al. 'Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished Abingdon, Maryland 2006 ISBN 1-58767-130-1
  10. ^ Private Research by Rocky Wood confirmed by a copy of the original publication secured in 2008
  11. ^ King, Stephen (2000). On Writing. Scribner. pp. 76–77. ISBN 0684853523. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ Peter David discusses the signing on his blog.
  14. ^ Another blog entry of the signing with photos and links to interviews.
  15. ^ Stephen King Ventures Into Comic Books
  16. ^ "J.J. Abrams Not Adapting King's 'Dark Tower' Series". Cinematical. 2009-10-11. Retrieved 2010-02-26. 
  17. ^ King, Stephen. "Stephen King FAQ: "Why did you write books as Richard Bachman?"". Retrieved December 13, 2006. 
  18. ^ Brown, Steve. 'Richard Bachman Exposed'. Lilja's Library: The World of Stephen King. Retrieved December 27, 2008.
  19. ^ 'Blaze - Book Summary'. Simon & Schuster. Retrieved January 10, 2009.
  20. ^ Stephen King cracking jokes following surgery - June 21, 1999
  21. ^ Liljas-library homepage
  22. ^ Novelist Stephen King: NPR
  23. ^ "Stephen The Official FAQ: Is it true that you have retired?". Retrieved 2008-03-04. 
  24. ^ Slashdot | Stephen King's Net Horror Story
  25. ^ Stephen King at The Comic Book Database
  26. ^ Heroes for Hope at the Comic Book Database
  27. ^ Batman #400 at The Comic Book Database
  28. ^ Mullin, Pamela. "SCOTT SNYDER and STEPHEN KING to write a new horror comic book series, AMERICAN VAMPIRE", Vertigo Blog October 25, 2009
  29. ^ Internet Movie DataBase - Heart Shaped Box
  30. ^ "River of Grass Ministry". Retrieved 2009-04-05. 
  31. ^ The Pop of King: The Tao of Steve
  32. ^ King, Stephen; "Videogame Lunacy"; "The Pop of King" Entertainment Weekly; April 11, 2008.
  33. ^ Discussion on Writing with Stephen King: C-SPAN Video Library
  34. ^ Writer Stephen King: If You Can't Read, You'll End Up in the Army or Iraq
  35. ^ "". 2008-05-05. Retrieved 2008-05-23. 
  36. ^ McGarrigle, Dale (2008-05-08). "Stephen King defends remarks on Army, Iraq". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved 2008-05-23. 
  37. ^ Stephen King backing Barack Obama: US Entertainment
  38. ^,8599,1924348-3,00.html Roberts, Nicholas "Mad Man: Is Glenn Beck Bad for America?" Time magazine/The New York Times, September 17, 2009
  39. ^ Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully—in Ten Minutes
  40. ^ King, Stephen (2001). Dreamcatcher. Scribner. ISBN 0743211383. 
  41. ^ "Stephen King's official site". Retrieved 2007-05-14. 
  42. ^ King, Stephen (1976). Night Shift. xii: Doubleday. pp. 336. 
  43. ^ Stephen King writes for FANGORIA!
  44. ^ 'Salems Lot
  45. ^ Robertson, Don (1987). The Ideal, Genuine Man. Bangor, ME: Philtrum Press. viiI. 
  46. ^ "Exclusive: Stephen King on J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer"
  47. ^ Gauntlet Press website, forth coming titles
  48. ^ Bolle Gregmar. "Complete Blue Oyster Cult Discography" (PDF). Blue Oyster Cult. Retrieved 2008-07-14. 
  49. ^ Vertigo blog, SCOTT SNYDER and STEPHEN KING to write a new horror comic book series, AMERICAN VAMPIRE, Sunday, October 25, 2009
  50. ^ The Today Show, 8 February, 2008
  51. ^ Clute, John and Peter Nichols. The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction. New York: St. Martin's Griffin, 1993. ISBN 0-312-09618-6
  52. ^ Joshi, S.T, The Modern Weird Tale: A Critique of Horror Fiction, McFarland & Company, 2001, ISBN 978-0786409860
  53. ^ / News / Boston Globe / Editorial / Opinion / Op-ed / Dumbing down American readers
  54. ^ Yummi Bears, Lions, Boomtown, Mayer, and King - Uncle Orson Reviews Everything
  55. ^ Chicago Sun-Times - Reviews Secret Window (xhtml)
  56. ^,,20207076_20207387_20207349,00.html
  57. ^ 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 (Borngo Press; 2nd Rev edition, 1997, ISBN 0930261372).
  58. ^ Amy Keyshian, Stephen King (Pop Culture Legends) (Chelsea House Publications, 1995).

Additional reading

  • 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 Stephen King Encyclopedia, Stephen Spignesi, Contemporary Books, 1991, ISBN 9780809238187
  • The Lost Work of Stephen King, Stephen Spignesi, Birch Lane Press, 1998, ISBN 9781559724692
  • The Essential Stephen King, Stephen Spignesi, Career Press, 2001, ISBN 9781564147103
  • 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 Wood and 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 Wood and 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

See also Books about Stephen King

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Remember, Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
~ Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, from Different Seasons

Stephen Edwin King (born 1947-09-21) is an American author, screenwriter, musician, columnist, actor, film producer and director. A 2003 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Book Awards, King's books have been enormously successful, and are often featured on bestseller lists.

See also: Carrie, Night Shift, 'Salem's Lot, The Dark Tower (series), Danse Macabre, On Writing, The Stand (miniseries)



  • Kids, the fiction is the truth inside the lie, and the truth of this fiction is simple enough: the magic exists.
    • IT (1986)
  • I work until beer o'clock.
    • On his 9 to 5 writing day, as quoted in Time (October 6, 1986)
  • French is the language that turns dirt into romance.
    • Time (October 6, 1986)
  • Do you know how cruel your God can be, David. How fantastically cruel? ...Sometimes he makes us live.
  • This is how we go on: one day a time, one meal at a time, one pain at a time, one breath at a time. Dentists go on one root canal at a time; boat builders go on one hull at a time. If you write books, you go on one page at a time. We turn from all we know and all we fear. We study catalogues, watch football games, choose Sprint over AT&T. We count the birds in the sky and will not turn from the window when we hear the footsteps behind as something comes up the hall; we say yes, I agree that clouds often look like other things - fish and unicorns and men on horseback - but they are really only clouds. Even when the lightning flashes inside them we say they are only clouds and turn our attention to the next meal, the next pain, the next breath, the next page. This is how we go on.
  • Hearts can break. Yes. Hearts can break. Sometimes I think it would be better if we died when they did, but we don't.
  • When his life was ruined, his family killed, his farm destroyed, Job knelt down on the ground and yelled up to the heavens, "Why God? Why me?" and the thundering voice of God answered, "There's just something about you that pisses me off".
  • I have grown into a Bestsellasaurus Rex -- a big, stumbling book-beast that is loved when it shits money and hated when it tramples houses... I started out as a storyteller; along the way I became an economic force.
    • The Politics of Limited Editions
  • It takes a son of a bitch to change a habit.
  • President Clinton has made a few feeble swipes at addressing this issue [school violence], but one can only gape at the unintentionally comic spectacle of this man chastising the gun-lobby and America's love of violent movies while he rains bombs on Yugoslavia, where at least twenty noncombatants have already died for every innocent student at Columbine High. It is like listening to a man with a crack-pipe in his hand lecture children about the evils of drugs.
    • Keynote Address, Vermont Library Conference, VEMA Annual Meeting, 1999-05-26
  • I understand where Bill Maher is coming from when he says, basically, the world is destroying itself over a bunch of fairy tales about talking snakes and men who are alive inside fishes. I'm very sympathetic to it, but at the same time, given the cosmos that we're living in, it's very persuasive, the idea that there is some kind of first cause that's running things. It might not be the god of Jerry Jenkins and Tim LaHaye, it might not be the god of al-Qaida, and it might not be the god of Abraham, but something very well could be running things. The order of the universe as we see it, the interlocking nature, and the way things work together, are persuasive of the idea that there may be some overarching first cause.

Rage (1977)

  • I don't think there was anything in my brain right then except the usual background static -- the kind you get on your radio when it's turned up all the way and tuned to no station at all. My brain had checked to the power, so to speak; the little guy wearing the Napoleon hat inside was showing aces and betting them.
  • You can go through your whole life telling yourself that life is logical, life is prosaic, life is sane. Above all, sane. And I think it is. I've had a lot of time to think about that.
  • There isn't any division of time to express the marrow of our lives, the time between the explosion of lead from the muzzle and the meat impact, between the impact and the darkness. There's only barren instant replay that shows nothing new. I shot her; she fell; and there was an indescribable moment of silence, an infinite duration of time, and we all stepped back, watching the ball go around and around, ticking, bouncing, lighting for an instant, going on, heads and tails, red and black, odd and even...I think that moment ended. I really do. But sometimes, in the dark, I think that hideous random moment is still going on, that the wheel is even yet in spin, and I dreamed all the rest. What must it be like for a suicide coming down from a high ledge? I'm sure it must be a very sane feeling. That's probably why they scream all the way down.
  • "This," I said pleasantly, "is known as getting it on."
  • Susan Brooks was one of those girls who never say anything unless called upon, the ones the teachers always have to ask to speak up, please. A very studious, very serious girl. A rather pretty but not terribly bright girl -- the kind who isn't allowed to give up and take the general or the commercial courses, because she had a terribly bright older brother or older sister, and the teachers expect comparable things from her. In fine, one of those girls who are holding the dirty end of the stick with as much good grace and manners as they can muster. Usually they marry truck drivers and move to the West Coast, where they have kitchen nooks with Formica counters -- and they write letters to the Folks Back East as seldom as they can get away with. They make quiet, successful lives for themselves and grow prettier as the shadow of the bright older brother or sister falls away from them.
  • My dad has hated me for as long as I can remember. That's a pretty sweeping statement, and I know how phony it sounds. It sounds petulant and really fantastic, the kind of weapon kids always use when the old man won't come across with the car for your heavy date at the drive-in with Peggy Sue or when he tells you that if you flunk world history the second time through he's going to beat the living hell out of you. In this day and age when everybody thinks psychology is God's gift to the poor old anally fixated human race and even the president of the United States pops a trank before dinner, it's really a good way to get rid of those Old Testament guilts that keep creeping up our throats like the aftertaste of a bad meal we overate. If you say your father hated you as a kid, you can go out and flash the neighborhood, commit rape, or burn down the Knights of Pythias bingo parlor and still cop a plea... But it also means that no one will believe you if it's true. You're the little boy who cried wolf. And for me it's true...I don't think Dad himself really knew it until then. Even if you could dig to the very bottom of his motives, he'd probably say - at the most - that he was hating me for my own good.
  • That's what a shrink is for, my friends and neighbors; their job is to fuck the mentally disturbed and make them pregnant with sanity. It's a bull's job and they go to school to learn how, and their courses are all variations on a theme: Slipping It to the Psychos for Fun and Profit, Mostly Profit. And if you find yourself someday lying on that great analyst's couch where so many have lain before you, I'd ask you to remember one thing: When you get sanity by stud, the child always looks like the father. And they have a very high suicide rate.
  • And then a funny thing happened to me...except when I think about it, it wasn't very funny at all. There must be a line in all of us, a very clear one, just like the line that divides the light side of a planet from the dark. I think they call that line the terminator. That's a very good word for it. Because at that moment I was freaking out, and at the next I was as cool as a cucumber.
  • For no reason at all, I thought of New Year's Eve, when all those people crowd into Times Square and scream like jackals as the lighted ball slides down the pole, ready to shed its thin party glare on three hundred and sixty-five new days in this best of all possible worlds. I have always wondered what it would be like to be caught in one of those crowds, screaming and not able to hear your own voice, your individuality momentarily wiped out and replaced with the blind empathic overslop of the crowd's lurching, angry anticipation, hip to hip and shoulder to shoulder with no one in particular.

The Stand (1978)

  • He had a massive stroke. He died with his tie on. Do you think that could be our generation's equivalent of that old saying about dying with your boots on?
  • You couldn't get hold of the things you'd done and turn them right again. Such a power might be given to the gods, but it was not given to women and men, and that was probably a good thing. Had it been otherwise, people would probably die of old age still trying to rewrite their teens.
  • Did you know that Dairy Queen ice cream is mostly bubbles?
    • Frannie
  • M-O-O-N, that spells ILLEGAL!
    • Tom Cullen
  • There are a great many ways to commit suicide you know.
  • When asked, "How do you write?" I invariably answer, "one word at a time."
  • Show me a man or a woman alone and I'll show you a saint. Give me two and they'll fall in love. Give me three and they'll invent the charming thing we call 'society'. Give me four and they'll build a pyramid. Give me five and they'll make one an outcast. Give me six and they'll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they'll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.
    • Glen Bateman

The Long Walk (1979)

  • It was in the rule book. They gave you three warnings. The fourth time you fell below four miles an hour you were...well, you were out of the Walk. But if you had three warnings and could manage to walk for three hours, you were back in the sun again.
  • Talk had faded with the daylight. The silence that set in was oppressive. The encroaching dark, the groundmist collecting into small, curdled pools...for the first time it seemed perfectly real and totally unnatural, and he wanted either Jan or his mother, some woman, and he wondered what in the hell he was doing and how he ever could have gotten involved. He could not even kid himself that everything had not been up front, because it had been. And he hadn't even done it alone. There were currently ninety-five other fools in this parade.
  • It wasn't as bad, Garraty discovered, if you stared down at your feet as you walked and leaned forward a little. You stared strictly down at the tiny patch of pavement between your feet and it gave you the impression that you were walking on level ground. Of course, you couldn't kid yourself that your lungs and the breath in your throat weren't heating up, because they were.
  • Somehow the word started coming back - some people still had breath to spare, apparently. The word was this hill was a quarter of a mile long. The word was it was two miles long. The word was that no Walker had ever gotten a ticket on this hill. The word was that three boys had gotten tickets here just last year. And after that, the word stopped coming back.
  • Overhead, capricious spring clouds began to scud across the sky in mackerel shapes, promising more rain. Garraty turned up his collar and listened to the sound of his feet pounding the pavement. There was a trick to that, a subtle mental adjustment, like having better night vision the longer you were in the dark. This morning the sound of his feet had been lost to him. They had been lost in the tramp of ninety-nine other pairs, not to mention the rumble of the halftrack. But now he heard them easily. His own particular stride, and the way his left foot scraped the pavement every now and then. It seemed to him that the sound of his footfalls had become as loud to his ears as the sound of his own heartbeat. Vital, life and death sound.
  • The darkness. Goddamn the darkness. It seemed to Garraty they had been buried alive in it. Immured in it. Dawn was a century away. Many of them would never see the dawn. Or the sun. They were buried six feet deep in the darkness. All they needed was the monotonous chanting of the priest, his voice muffled but not entirely obscured by the new-packed darkness, above which the mourners stood. The mourners were not even aware that they were here, they were alive, they were screaming and scratching and clawing at the coffin-lid darkness, the air was flaking and rusting away, the air was turning into poison gas, hope fading until hope itself was darkness, and above all of it the nodding chapel-bell voice of the priest and the impatient, shuffling feet of mourners anxious to be off into the warm May sunshine. Then, overmastering that, the sighing, shuffling chorus of the bugs and the beetles, squirming their way through the earth, come for the feast...I could go crazy, Garraty thought. I could go right the fuck off my rocker.
  • Three-thirty in the morning...To Ray Garraty it seemed the longest minute of the longest night of his entire life. It was low tide, dead ebb, the time when the sea washes back, leaving slick mudflats covered with straggled weed, rusty beer cans, rotted prophylactics, broken bottles, smashed buoys, and green-mossed skeletons in tattered bathing trunks. It was dead ebb.
  • Daylight came creeping through a white, muted world of fog. Garraty was walking by himself again. He no longer even knew how many had bought it in the night. Five maybe. His feet had headaches. Terrible migraines. He could feel them swelling each time he put his weight on them. His buttocks hurt. His spine was icy fire. But his feet had headaches and the blood was coagulating in them and swelling them and turning the veins to al dente spaghetti.
  • "The reason all of this is so horrible," McVries said, "is because it's just trivial. You know? We've sold ourselves and traded our souls on trivialities. Olson, he was trivial. He was magnificent, too, but those things aren't mutually exclusive. He was magnificent and trivial. Either way, or both, he died like a bug under a microscope."

The Dead Zone (1979)

  • Ninety-five percent of people who walk the earth are simply inert. One percent are saints, and one percent are assholes. The other three percent are people who do what they say they can do.
  • He felt as if Stillson might have taken the game of the Laughing Tiger a step further: inside the beast-skin, a man, yes. But inside the man-skin, a beast.

Creepshow [film] (1982) (as Jordy Verrill)

  • Jordy Verrill: [upon first viewing the meteor] Whoo! I be dipped in hogshit if that ain't a meteor!
  • Jordy Verrill: [after fluids from the meteor drench him] Meteor Shit!

Different Seasons (1982)

  • The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them - words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that, isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear.
  • Some birds are not meant to be caged, that's all. Their feathers are too bright, their songs too sweet and wild. So you let them go, or when you open the cage to feed them they somehow fly out past you. And the part of you that knows it was wrong to imprison them in the first place rejoices, but still, the place where you live is that much more drab and empty for their departure.

Christine (1983)

  • Has it ever occurred to you...that parents are nothing but overgrown kids until their children drag them into adulthood? Usually kicking and screaming?
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 3
  • I think that part of being a parent is trying to kill your kids...Because as soon as you have a kid, you know for sure that you're going to die. When you have a kid, you see your own gravestone.
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 3
  • If being a kid is about learning how to live, then being a grown-up is about learning how to die.
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 5
  • Son, you're probably too young to look for wisdom in anyone's words but your own, but I'll tell you this: love is the enemy... Yes. The poets continually and sometimes willfully mistake love. Love is the old slaughterer. Love is not blind. Love is a cannibal with extremely acute vision. Love is insectile; it is always hungry.
    When asked what love eats:
    Friendship. It eats friendship.
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 11
  • I think that everybody has a backhoe in his or her head, and at moments of stress or trouble you can fire it up and simply push everything into a great big slit-trench in the floor of your conscious mind. Get rid of it. Bury it. Except that that slit-trench goes down into the subconscious, and sometimes, in dreams, the bodies stir and walk.
    • Pt. 1, Ch. 18
  • A secret needs two faces to bounce between; a secret needs to see itself in another pair of eyes.
    • Epilogue

Pet Sematary (1983)

  • Oh, about beer I never lie. A man who lies about beer makes enemies.
    • Jud, to Louis
  • I don't want Church to be like all those dead pets! I don't want Church to ever be dead! He's my cat! He's not God's cat! Let God have His own cat! Let God have all the damn old cats He wants, and kill them all! Church is mine!
    • Ellie on her fears for Church
  • It takes the average human seven minutes to go to sleep, but according to Hand's Human Physiology, it takes the same average human fifteen to twenty minutes to wake up. It is as if sleep is a pool from which emerging is more difficult than entering. When the sleeper wakes, he or she comes up by degrees, from deep sleep to light sleep to what is sometimes called "waking sleep," a state in which the sleeper can hear sounds and will even respond to questions without being aware of it later...except perhaps as fragments of dreams.
  • They are secret things. Women are supposed to be the ones good at keeping secrets, and I guess they do keep a few, but any woman who knows anything at all would tell you she's never really seen into any man's heart. The soil of a man's heart is stonier, Louis - like the soil up there in the old Micmac burying ground. Bedrock's close. A man grows what he can... and he tends it.
    • Jud speaking to Louis, after the burying the cat
  • Maybe I did it because kids need to know that sometimes dead is better.
    • Jud, to Louis
  • Some things it don't pay to be curious about.
    • Jud, to Louis
  • He was waiting to choke you on a marble, to smother you with a dry-cleaning bag, to sizzle you into eternity with a fast and lethal boogie of electricity- Available At Your Nearest Switch plate Or Vacant Light Socket Right Now. There was death in a quarter bag of peanuts, an aspirated piece of steak, the next pack of cigarettes. He was around all the time, he monitored all the checkpoints between the mortal and the eternal. Dirty needles, poison beetles, downed live wires, forest fires. Whirling roller skates that shot nerdy little kids into busy intersections. When you got into the bathtub to take a shower, Oz got right in there too- Shower With A Friend. When you got on an airplane, Oz took your boarding pass. He was in the water you drank, the food you ate. Who's out there? you howled in the dark when you were all frightened and all alone, and it was his answer that came back: Don't be afraid, it's just me. Hi, howaya? You got cancer of the bowel, what a bummer, so solly, Cholly! Septicemia! Leukemia! Atherosclerosis! Coronary thrombosis! Encephalitis! Osteomyelitis! Hey-ho, let's go! Junkie in a doorway with a knife. Phone call in the middle of the night. Blood cooking in battery acid on some exit ramp in North Carolina. Big handfuls of pills, munch em up. That peculiar cast of the fingernails following asphyxiation- in its final grim struggle to survive the brain takes all oxygen that is left, even that in those living cells under the nails. Hi, folks, my name's Oz the Gweat and Tewwible, but you can call me Oz if you want- hell, we're old friends by now. Just stopped by to whop you with a little congestive heart failure or a cranial blood clot or something; can't stay, got to see a woman about a breech birth, then I've got a little smoke-inhalation job to do in Omaha.
  • It's probably wrong to believe there can be any limit to the horror which the human mind can experience. On the contrary, it seems that some exponential effect begins to obtain as deeper and deeper darkness falls - as little as one may like to support the idea that when the nightmare grows black enough, horror spawns horror, one coincidental evil begets other, often more deliberate evils, until finally blackness seems to cover everything. And the most terrifying question of all may be just how much horror the human mind can stand and still maintain a wakeful, staring, unrelenting sanity. That such events have their own Rube Goldberg absurdity goes almost without saying. At some point, it all starts to become rather funny. That may be the point at which sanity begins either to save itself or to buckle and break down; that point at which one's sense of humor begins to reassert itself.
  • What you buy is what you own, and sooner or later what you own will come back to you.

Cycle of the Werewolf (1983)

  • Something inhuman has come to Tarker's Mills, as unseen as the full moon riding the night sky high above. It is the Werewolf, and there is no more reason for its coming now than there would be for the arrival of cancer, or a psychotic with murder on his mind, or a killer tornado. Its time is now, its place is here, in this little Maine town where baked bean church suppers are a weekly event, where small boys and girls still bring apples to their teachers, where the Nature Outings of the Senior Citizen's Club are religiously reported in the weekly paper. Next week there will be news of a darker variety.
    Outside, its tracks begin to fill up with snow, and the shriek of the wind seems savage with pleasure. There is nothing of God or Light in that heartless sound—it is all black winter and dark ice.
    The cycle of the Werewolf has begun.
    • January
  • Love is like dying.
    • February
  • The smoking butt end of the year, November's dark iron has come to Tarker's Mills.
    • November

IT (1985)

  • He Thrusts His Fists Against The Post And Still Insists He Sees The Ghosts
    • William "Stuttering Bill" Denbrough
  • The boat dipped and swayed and sometimes took on water, but it did not sink; the two brothers had waterproofed it well. I do not know where it finally fetched up, if it ever did; perhaps it reached the sea and sails there forever like a magic boat in a fairytale. All I know is that it was still afloat and still running on the breast of the flood when it passed the incorporated town limits of Derry, Maine, and there it passes out of this tale forever.
  • Once you get into cosmological shit like this, you got to throw away the instruction manual.
    • The Voice of The Turtle
  • Maybe, he thought, there aren't any such things as good or bad friends - maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you're hurt and who help you feel not so lonely. Maybe they're always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for. Maybe worth dying for, too, if that's what has to be. No good friends. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart.
  • So you leave, and there is an urge to look back, to look back just once as the sunset fades, to see that severe New England skyline one final time...Best not to look back. Best to believe that there will be happily ever afters all the way around - and so there may be; who is to say there will not be such endings? Not all boats which sail away into darkness never find the sun again, or the hand of another child; if life teaches anything at all, it teaches that there are so many happy endings that the man who believes there is no God needs his rationality called into serious question...So drive away quick, drive away while the last of the light slips away from Derry, from memory...but not from desire. That stays, the bright cameo of all we were and all we believed as children, all that shone in our eyes even when we were lost and the wind blew in the night. Drive away and try to keep smiling. Get a little rock and roll on the radio and go toward all the life there is with all the courage you can find and all the belief you can muster. Be true, be brave, stand. All the rest is darkness.
    • Page 1087
  • We all float down here!
    • Pennywise
  • But it's nice to think so for a while in the morning's clean silence, to think that childhood has is own sweet secrets and confirms mortality, an that mortality defines all courage and love. To think that what has looked forward must also look back, and that each life makes its own imitation of immortality: a wheel.
    Or so Bill Denbrough sometimes thinks on those early mornings after dreaming, when he almost remembers his childhood, and the friends with whom he shared it.

Misery (1987)

  • The reason authors almost always put a dedication on a book, Annie, is because their selfishness even horrifies themselves in the end.
  • In a book, all would have gone according to plan.... but life was so fucking untidy - what could you say for an existence where some of your most crucial conversations of your life took place when you needed to take a shit, or something? An existence where there weren't even any chapters?

The Eyes of the Dragon (1987)

  • She was a grown up now, and she discovered that being a grown up was not quite what she had suspected it would be when she was a child. She had thought then that she would make a conscious decision one day to simply put her toys and games and little make-believes away. Now she discovered that was not what happened at all. Instead, she discovered, interest simply faded. It became less and less and less, until a dust of years drew over the bright pleasures of childhood, and they were forgotten.
  • Did they live happily ever after? They did not. No one ever does, in spite of what the stories may say. They had their good days, as you do, and they had their bad days, and you know about those. They had their victories, as you do, and they had their defeats, and you know about those, too. There were times when they felt ashamed of themselves, knowing they had not done their best, and there were times when they knew they had stood where their God had meant them to stand. All I'm trying to say is that they lived as well as they could.

Nightmares and Dreamscapes (1993)

  • When I was a kid I believed everything I was told, everything I read, and every dispatch sent out by my own overheated imagination. This made for more than a few sleepless nights, but it also filled the world I lived in with colors and textures I would not have traded for a lifetime of restful nights.
    • Introduction
  • The idea for each of the stories in this book came in a moment of belief and was written in a burst of faith, happiness, and optimism. Those positive feelings have their dark analogues, however, and the fear of failure is a long way from the worst of them. The worst—for me, at least—is the gnawing speculation that I may have already said everything I have to say, and am now only listening to the steady quacking of my own voice because the silence when it stops is just too spooky.
    • Introduction

The Green Mile (1996)

Originally published in a serialized edition with six parts: The Two Dead Girls, The Mouse on the Mile, Coffey's Hands, The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix, Night Journey, and Coffey on the Mile

  • There was no death row at Cold Mountain, only E Block, set apart from the other four and about a quarter their size, brick instead of wood, with a horrible bare metal roof that glared in the summer sun like a delirious eyeball.
  • He looked like he could have snapped the chains that held him as easily as you might snap the ribbons on a Christmas present, but when you looked in his face, you knew he wasn't going to do anything like that.
  • "Your name is John Coffey."
    "Yes, sir, boss, like the drink only not spelled the same way."
  • "I'm rightly tired of the pain I hear and feel, boss. I'm tired of bein on the road, lonely as a robin in the rain. Not never havin no buddy to go on with or tell me where we's comin from or goin' to or why. I'm tired of people bein ugly to each other. It feels like pieces of glass in my head. I'm tired of all the times I've wanted to help and couldn't." I'm tired of bein in the dark. Mostly it's the pain. There's too much. If I could end it, I would. But I cain't.
  • "He kill them with they love", John said. "They love for each other. You see how it was?" I nodded, incapable of speech.
    He smiled. The tears were flowing again, but he smiled. "That's how it is every day", he said, "all over the world."
  • We each owe a death, there are no exceptions, I know that, but sometimes, oh God, the Green Mile is so long. (closing line)

Everything's Eventual (2002)

  • This is nine! Nine! This is nine! Nine! This is ten! Ten! We have killed your friends! Every friend is now dead! This is six! Six! […] Eighteen! This is now eighteen! Take cover when the siren sounds! This is four! Four! […] Five! This is five! Ignore the siren! Even if you leave this room, you can never leave this room!
    • Disembodied voice of Room 1408, over the telephone
    • "1408", p. 396-397Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales (1st edition ed.). New York: Scribner. 2002. pp. 459 pages. ISBN 0-7432-3515-0.  
  • Luck was a joke. Even good luck was just bad luck with its hair combed.

Commencement Address, University of Maine (May 7, 2005)

Online text and audio

  • Hug and kiss whoever helped get you - financially, mentally, morally, emotionally - to this day. Parents, mentors, friends, teachers. If you're too uptight to do that, at least do the old handshake thing, but I recommend a hug and a kiss. Don't let the sun go down without saying thank you to someone, and without admitting to yourself that absolutely no one gets this far alone.
  • Don't live in this place. If you're a grad student or if you have a few more courses to pick up, fine. But if you're still hanging out in Orono or Old Town three years from now, living like an undergraduate in some sleazy apartment or trailer park, there's something wrong with you. This is not Never-Neverland. Peter Pan graduated back in '73 and now has a nice little farm in Bethel. You are not the Lost Boys and Lost Girls, but if you stay here too long, you will grow the equivalent of donkey ears. For most of you, it's time to move on. If you didn't have a better time here than you did in high school, you're weird. If you want to stay here and keep being an undergraduate, you're very weird.
  • Don't forget that you're a physical being with a power-plant to take care of and maintain. I'm talking about the bod under the blue gown. I'm not going to say that we're a lazy, overweight society, a fast-food eatin', SUV-ridin', soda-guzzlin', beer-chuggin', TV-watchin', size-XL-wearin', walk-don't-run generation...except I guess I just did.
  • Don't forget that you're a mental being, with a humongous trillion gigawatt hard-drive at your disposal. Most of you have been running it like crazy for four years, moaning about all the books you've had to read, the papers you've had to write, and the tests you've had to take. Yet thanks to that hard-drive and about a thousand cups of coffee, you made it. Just...let me put it this way. I can find out where you live. I have my resources. And if I show up at your house ten years from now and find nothing in your living room but The Readers Digest, nothing on your bedroom nighttable but the newest Dan Brown novel, and nothing in your bathroom but Jokes for the John, I'll chase you down to the end of your driveway and back, screaming "Where are your books? You graduated college ten years ago, so how come there are no damn books in your house? Why are you living on the intellectual equivalent of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese?" I sound like I'm joking about this, but I'm not. You've got a brain under the cap you're wearing. Take care of the damned thing. Try to remember there's more to life than Vin Diesel and Tom Cruise. It wouldn't kill you to go to a movie once a month that has subtitles on the bottom of the screen. You can read them, you went to college, right?

Cell (2006)

  • Civilization slipped into its second dark age on an unsurprising track of blood, but with a speed that could not have been foreseen by even the most pessimistic futurist. It was as if it had been waiting to go. On October 1, God was in His heaven, the stock market stood at 10,140, and most of the planes were on time (except for those landing and taking off in Chicago, and that was to be expected). Two weeks later the skies belonged to the birds again and the stock market was a memory. By Halloween, every major city from New York to Moscow stank to the empty heavens and the world as it had been was a memory.
    • Preface
  • The event that came to be known as The Pulse began at 3:03 p.m., eastern standard time, on the afternoon of October 1. The term was a misnomer, of course, but within ten hours of the event, most of the scientists capable of pointing this out were either dead or insane. The name hardly mattered, in any case. What mattered was the effect.
    • The Pulse, ch. 1
  • Phoner: "Blet ky-yam doe-ram kazzalah a babbalah!"
    Clay Riddell: "I'll a-babbalah your a-kazzalah, you fuck!"
    • The Pulse, ch. 3
  • He had a wife who was still sort of his responsibility, and when it came to his son there was no sort-of at all. Even thinking of Johnny was dangerous. Every time his mind turned to the boy, Clay felt a panic-rat inside his mind, ready to burst free of the flimsy cage that held it and start gnawing anything it could get at with its sharp little teeth. If he could make sure Johnny and Sharon were okay, he could keep the rat in its cage and plan what to do next. But if he did something stupid, he wouldn't be able to help anyone. In fact, he would make things worse for the people here.
    • The Pulse, ch. 12
  • The phone crazies own the days; when the stars come out, that's us. We're like vampires. We've been banished to the night. Up close we know each other because we can still talk; at a little distance we can be pretty sure of each other by the packs we wear and the guns more and more of us carry; but at a distance, the one sure sign is the waving flashlight beam. Three days ago we not only ruled the earth, we had survivor's guilt about all the other species we'd wiped out in our climb to the nirvana of round-the-clock cable news and microwave popcorn. Now we're the Flashlight People.
    • Gaiten Academy, ch. 3
  • What Darwin was too polite to say, my friends, is that we came to rule the Earth not because we were the smartest, or even the meanest, but because we have always been the craziest, most murderous motherfuckers in the jungle.
    • Gaiten Academy, ch. 16
  • Alice had managed to get herself back under some sort of control, but it was thin. Thin enough to read a newspaper through, his bingo-playing mother might have said. Although a kid herself, Alice had managed to keep herself shiny-side up mostly for the other kid's sake, so he wouldn't give way entirely.
    • Gaiten Academy, ch. 24
Clay Riddell: "Fo-fo-you-you."

Lisey's Story (2006)

  • To the public eye, the spouses of well-known writers are all but invisible, and no one knew it better than Lisey Landon. Her husband won the Pulitzer and the National Book Award, but Lisey had given one interview in her life. This was for the well-known women's magazine that publishes the column "Yes, I'm Married to Him!" She spent roughly half of its five hundred word length explaining that her nickname rhymed with "CeeCee". Most of the other half had to do with her recipe for slow-cooked roast beef. Lisey's sister Amanda said that the picture accompanying the interview made Lisey look fat.

    None of Lisey's sister were immune to the pleasures of setting the cat among the pigeons ("stirring up a stink" had been their father's phrase for it), or having a good natter about someone else's dirty laundry, but the only one Lisey had a hard time liking was this same Amanda. Eldest (and oddest) of the onetime Debusher girls of Lisbon Falls, Amanda currently lived alone, in a house which Lisey had provided, a small, weather-tight place not too far from Castle View where Lisey, Darla, and Cantata could keep a eye on her. Lisey had bought it for her seven years ago, five before Scott died. Died Young. Died Before His Time, as the saying was. Lisey still had trouble believing he'd been gone for two years. It seemed both longer and the blink of an eye.

    • PART I: BOOL HUNT, ch.1
  • "Lisey?" Amanda asked. Her brow was deeply furrowed.

    "I'm sorry," Lisey said. "I just kind of...went off there for a second".

    "You often do," Amanda said. "I think you got it from Scott. Pay attention, Lisey. I made a little number on each of his magazines and journals and scholarly things. The ones piled over there against the wall." Lisey nodded as if she knew where this was going. "I made the numbers in pencil, just light," Amanda went on. "Always when you're back was turned or you were somewhere else, because I thought if you saw you might have told me to stop."

    "I wouldnt've." She took the little notebook which was limp with its owner sweat. "Eight hundred and forty six! That many!" And she knew the publications running along the wall weren't the sort she herself might read and have in the house, ones like O and Good Housekeeping and Ms., but rather Little Sewanee Review and Glimmer Train and things with incomprehensible names like Piskya.

    "Quite a few more than that," Amanda said, and cocked a thumb at the piles of books and journals. When Lisey really looked at them, she saw that her sister was right. Many more than eight hundred and forty-some. Had to be. "Almost three thousand in all, and where you'll put them or who'd want them I'm sure I can't say. No, these eight hundred and forty-six is just the number that have pictures of you."

    • I. Lisey and Amanda (Everything the Same), ch. 1

See also

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Stephen King
File:Stephen King,
Stephen King
Born September 21, 1947 (1947-09-21) (age 63)
Portland, Maine
Pen name Richard Bachman
Occupation Author
Language English
Nationality American
Genres Horror
Notable work(s) It, The Green Mile, Cujo, The Dark Tower series
Spouse(s) Tabitha King

Stephen King (born September 21, 1947) is a famous writer from the U.S. state of Maine. He is known for writing scary books known as horror novels. His books and stories have sold more than 300 million copies[1] Many of his stories have been made into movies or television shows as well. He has written some of his books under the name "Richard Bachman" and collaborated with Peter Straub on others.

His most famous books are the seven novels of the The Dark Tower series.[needs proof]


Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine. His mother's name is Nellie Ruth and his father's name is Donald Edwin King.[2]

Stephen King's house in Bangor

King and his wife Tabitha own three different houses. One house is in Bangor, Maine, one is in Lovell, Maine and one in Sarasota, Florida. Stephen and Tabitha have three children and three grandchildren.[3]


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