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Stephen King Writing ‘Shining’ Sequel

Throughout his career, novelist Stephen King has become known for taking decent ideas and drawing them out for so long that they crumble under the weight of their own bloated ambition. Plots meander and split into unneeded directions, subplots are thrown in with no purpose, and as his endless supply of disappointing denouements indicates, he doesn’t know how to end a story. One of the few of King’s novels that didn’t have any of those problems is The Shining, so of course he’s writing a sequel.

Writing a sequel to a 34-year-old novel is normally a sign than an author has finally run out of ideas. That’s clearly not the case for King, who actually ran out of ideas at least 20 years ago. Luckily, that didn’t stop King from continuing his prolific writing output, though.

This is a man who wrote two unrelated novels (and two short stories) about homicidal anthropomorphic cars, two novels about killer pets, several vampire stories, three novels about the revenge of abused wives, a novel about a killer cell phone signal, a novel about a man who is able to see the future after being in a coma, and a novel about a man who is able to see the world differently due to insomnia. He has short stories about a killer pair of chattery teeth, a homicidal laundry press machine, and a cat from hell.

So now the Master of Horror is working on ruining one of his few achievements. The novel, unfortunately, won’t be called The Shining 2: Shinier. Instead it will have the much better name Dr. Sleep. It is about a boy with special powers (a totally new King plot device) who helps patients at a hospice cross over to the other side.

I’m excited about the new novel, because I always thought that The Shining was too short, concise and to the point to be a Stephen King story. By writing a sequel 34 years later, he should be able to remedy that. At the very least, it should be better than his book about alien lampreys that give you irritable bowel syndrome and then kill you after you excrete them into the toilet.

I think King is trying The Shining again because he didn’t like the end. Jack dying in a hotel explosion simply isn’t his style. Given his love for deus ex machina plot devices, I’m sure if he had it to do over with, King would have had a benevolent magical character (perhaps an angel, alien or normal person who was in a coma) use his special powers to shut off the boiler and make the spirits leave Jack alone. Now with Dr. Sleep, he’ll get that chance.

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