Stephen King's Doctor Sleep gets a release date
|NEWS - PRINT NEWS|
The Shining fans will be getting an alarm call in about a year's time...
Nearly a year ago I wrote about Stephen King’s plans to release a sequel to his classic 1977 novel The Shining, and my mixed feelings about this news. At the time King was still in the process of writing the book, having confirmed its existence and reading an extract from it on 23rd September last year while accepting an award at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, but as of this week we finally have a release date of 24th September 2013 to look forward to, as confirmed by the author's website.
[This article contains possible spoilers as to the general plot of the novel Doctor Sleep.]
This new novel, called Doctor Sleep, is set three decades after The Shining and picks up the story of a now forty-year-old Danny Torrance who is working as a hospital orderly in a hospice for the terminally ill in upstate New York. Inevitably, given that five hundred pages or so of changing bed pans and giving bed baths would test the patience of even King’s number one fan (come on down, Annie Wilkes!), Danny has a more supernatural purpose for skulking around God’s waiting room, and that is, to quote the Master of Horror himself, “To visit with patients who are just about to pass on to the other side, and to help them make that journey with the aid of his mysterious powers.”
Continuing his recurring use of felines, as witnessed in Sleepwalkers (1992), Cat’s Eye (1985), and Pet Sematary (1989), Danny is aided in his euthanasic endeavors by a “prescient cat”, but this being a King novel there are, of course, complications in the shape of a tribe of people called The True Knot who according to the plot details on the author’s website are “quasi-immortal and live off the ‘steam’ that children with the ‘shining’ produced when they are slowly tortured to death”. Which is nice.
[The next paragraph contains spoilers for The Shining, both the book and the 1980 Stanley Kubrick film.]
While working at the nursing home, and supplementing his income by betting on horse races using a trick taught to him by his old friend, and ex-Head Chef at the Overlook Hotel, Dick Hallorann (who survives in the novel but isn’t so lucky in Kubrick’s 1980 film), Danny meets Abra Stone, who has a “spectacular gift, the brightest Shining ever seen, that reignites Dan’s own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra’s soul and survival.”
If I’m being honest (and I speak as a long-time constant reader of King’s work), even though he recently delivered what I think is one his best books for years, the extremely enjoyable and satisfying 11/22/63, I’m still feeling a little burned by Black House (2001), the sequel to 1994’s The Talisman, King's epic and enjoyable collaboration with Peter Strauss which remains one of my favourite fantasy novels. Given that The Shining is another of my favourite books of any genre, and the crushing disappointment that I felt on reading Black House, I’m finding it difficult to get my hopes up too high for Doctor Sleep, so here’s hoping that King will manage to once again give me sleepless nights and not actually put me to sleep.
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