I was a teenager the first time I read The Shining, Stephen King’s masterful story about madness and magic in a remote Colorado hotel.
Now before you pipe up with a comment, if your experience of The Shining comes from the film of the same title starring Jack Nicholson, just hold your horses. It’s the book we’re talking about here: the film was a different animal and, like many others, I think I would have liked the movie better if it had a different title. That movie didn’t have much to do with the book I loved. It was an interesting psychological portrait. Well acted, sure. But the story was a bit damp.
But the book? The book scared the hell out of me. I remember closing my eyes sometimes as I read it, as I would have in a film. It didn’t work, though. Close your eyes in a movie and the sound can fill in the blanks. With a book, though, the virtual reality disappears. If you want the story to continue, you have to open your eyes again. I was something like 17-years-old and in perfect health, but there were moments in that reading when I felt as though I might have a heart attack.
Now according to The Guardian, 30-some years after the first publication of The Shining, Stephen King has announced that a sequel might be in the works:
Speaking to an audience of fans in Toronto about his new novel Under the Dome, King divulged that he’d begun working on a tentative idea for a follow-up to The Shining — first published in 1977 — last summer.
Danny, he said, was certain to have been left “with a lifetime’s worth of emotional scars” after his experiences at the Overlook, where his father was possessed by the hotel, tried to kill him and his mother and eventually died.
Since I think it’s possible even I have scars from just reading the book (and I’ve never been able to look at a hedge maze in quite the same way) I’m sure Danny Torrance will have been scarred as well. It will be massively interesting to see how King handles this idea and how, also, he’s matured as a writer. He was terrific then, but he’s a master craftsman now.
Don’t get your hopes too far up, though: according to King, the Shining sequel is far from a done deal:
King attempted to calm expectations about the sequel, telling the Toronto audience that he wasn’t “completely committed” to it, and adding: “Maybe if I keep talking about it I won’t have to write it.”