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Stephen King

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Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947 in Portland, Maine) is an American author of over 200 stories including over 50 bestselling horror and fantasy novels. King was the 2003 recipient of The National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

King soon began a number of novels. One of his first ideas was of a young girl with psychic powers, but he grew discouraged and discarded it. His wife later rescued it from the trash and encouraged him to finish it. After completing the novel, he titled it Carrie and sent it to Doubleday. 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. Soon following its release, his mother died of uterine cancer. His Aunt Emrine read the novel to her before she died.

On June 19, at about 4:30 p.m., he was walking on the right shoulder of Route 5 in Center Lovell, Maine. Driver Bryan Smith, distracted by an unrestrained Rottweiler named Bullet, moving in the back of his 1985 Dodge Caravan, struck King, who landed in a depression in the ground about 14 feet from the pavement of Route 5.

The Bachman novels contained hints to the author's actual identity that were picked up on by fans, leading to King's admission of authorship in 1985. 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.

Since the publication of Carrie, public awareness of King and his works has reached a high saturation rate. As the best-selling novelist 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 stories have become synonymous with certain key genre ideas. Carrie, Christine, Cujo, It, and The Shining, for example, are instantly recognizable to millions as popular shorthand for the Vengeful Nerd Wronged, the Killer Car, the Evil Dog, the Evil Clown, and the Haunted Hotel. Even King himself is so recognizable to the American public that in an American Express advertisement, the writer was able to satirize his spooky image in 30 seconds, and Gary Larson could portray a young Stephen King torturing his toys in a Far Side panel, without extensive explanation.

Many of King's novels and short stories have been made into major motion pictures or TV movies and miniseries. Unlike some authors, King is untroubled by movies based on his works differing from the original work. He has contrasted his books and its film adaptations as "apples and oranges; both delicious, but very different." The exception to this is The Shining, which King criticized when it was released in 1980; and The Lawnmower Man (he sued to have his name removed from the credits). King seems to have gained greater appreciation for Kubrick's The Shining over the years. Kubrick had knocked the original novel in an interview as not "literary," having its merits exclusively in the plot. This understandably may have upset King. As a film, The Lawnmower Man bore no resemblance whatsoever to King's original short story. King's name was used solely as a faux-brand.


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