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Stephen King tells weird stories. That's not a complaint, it's a compliment. Even when his tales appear to start out (relatively) normal, at some point they inevitably set up camp deep in left field, and we love that about his work. Case in point: Doctor Sleep, the forthcoming sequel to The Shining.
Were it anyone else conceiving a sequel to one of the most beloved works of horror fiction of all time (and that goes for both the book and the movie, which King famously isn't a fan of), we'd fully expect them to go back to the Overlook Hotel where the horrors of the original took place. King doesn't care about that, though. He's a writer that cares about characters first and foremost, and it sounds like he's got a host of strange folk ready to populate his latest book.
We've known for a while the film would follow Danny Torrance in his '40s working at a retirement home and using his psychic gift to help ease the elderly to the other side, but now thanks to the official synopsis on King's site [via Blastr], we know considerably more. And, yes, things get weird:
Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his most popular novels ever, The Shining, in this instantly riveting novel about the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the very special twelve-year-old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals.
On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and tween Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the “steam” that children with the “shining” produce when they are slowly tortured to death.
Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father’s legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant “shining” power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes “Doctor Sleep.”
Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her 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. This is an epic war between good and evil, a gory, glorious story that will thrill the millions of hyper-devoted readers of The Shining and wildly satisfy anyone new to the territory of this icon in the King canon.
A tribe of polyester-clad old foggies roaming highways and torturing shining-afflected children so they can get their fix of psychic steam? Did not see that coming, but it sounds right up King's alley, and that means it's right up our's.
If you missed it the last time we wrote about Doctor Sleep, do check out Stephen King discussing the book and reading from its first chapter.