Published September 26, 2011

It seems to be a time of renaissance for Stephen King.  The world’s best-selling author has never gone away – neither have his 60+ books gone out of print – but between news of his new novel 11/22/63 being released in November 2011, The Stand being adapted for a big-screen trilogy, the Bag of Bones miniseries airing this fall, remakes of Carrie and Pet Sematary on their way, and Ron Howard’s (on again-off again) Dark Tower series seeking a braver studio than Universal (an eighth DT novel, The Wind Through the Keyhole, arrives in the spring of 2012), Uncle Stevie is everywhere.

TWO STEPHENS: COLBERT AND KING – this picture just cracks me up.

King still does book tours. Only rather than manning a lonely table in a book store, he now appears in lecture halls and other university locales, filling thousands of seats.  At these events, he is wont to regale his Constant Readers with stories and anecdotes about the origins of his most loved books (amusingly, every time King drops the name of one of his novels – The Dead Zone, The Shining, IT – the crowd cheers and applauds as if he were a rock star giving snippets of his Greatest Hits).

And now, he is at it again.

Years ago, Stephen King once joked that he wondered what would happen if little Danny Torrance from The Shining and young Charlie McGee from Firestarter, grew up, met, fell in love, got married, and had kids.  That there might be a novel in there somewhere.  Well, while King has not taken that route, he HAS been writing a follow up to The Shining that catches up with Danny some 35 years after the tragic events at The Overlook Hotel.  The book is entitled Doctor Sleep.  Danny Torrance is now a hospice worker who uses his shining abilities to help terminal patients pass on as painlessly as possible.  Things turn ugly, when Danny discovers a group of “psychic vampires” who feed not on blood, but on human energy … or something like that.

Here, in a homemade video, Uncle Stevie reads an excerpt from Doctor Sleep:

For a nice contrast to King’s 2011 public speaking style, check out a 90-minute lecture from Uncle Stevie given in March of 1982 at the University of Dayton.  King is younger and beefier than in the previous videos – with his infamous black lumberjack beard, that has yet to sprout any gray – but is just as entertaining.  He repeats a few of his anecdotal stories, and it is interesting to see how those stories have changed a bit over the decades.  King also reads a short story called The Reach, featured in the 1985 collection, Skeleton Crew.  I read along with him from my own copy, and realized that he had tweaked this story from its 1981 premiere in Yankee Magazine.  This video can be found at Lilja’s Library, one of the best King reference sites on the web.  Check it out