"It reminds me of a cookie baked by a first grader," Stephen King said of Carrie, his first published novel, many years after the book’s 1974 appearance. "Tasty enough, but kind of lumpy and burned on the bottom."
Well, that so-so confection led to a cordon bleu parade of some of the world’s most successful novels by, arguably, the most successful and beloved author in any field. Indeed, King has since gone on, in 2003, to receive the Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
But, in the spirit of mighty oaks from little acorns growing, Carrie, a brand-new blustering debut novel about a put-upon girl with menstrual problems written by a young wannabe writer, was indeed a humble beginning. And it was a big chance for its publisher.
Carrie was written on King’s wife Tabitha’s portable typewriter while the couple and their then two children were living in a trailer. It started life as a short story intended for Cavalier magazine, but King dumped the first three pages. Fortunately, his wife noticed the pages in the trash and fished them out, advising her husband to go on and finish the tale . . . but he went one step better: he expanded it into a novel.
"I persisted because I was dry and had no better ideas . . . my considered opinion was that I had written the world's all-time loser."
At the National Book Awards, King did not speak about writing or success or money. He talked about the woman who rescued Carrie from the trash and insisted he keep going. “There is a time,” he said, “in the lives of most writers, when they are vulnerable, when the vivid dreams and ambitions of childhood seem to pale in the harsh sunlight of what we call the real world.
“In short, there’s a time when things can go either way. That vulnerable time for me came during 1971 to 1973. If my wife had suggested to me even with love and kindness and gentleness . . . that the time had come to put my dreams away and support my family, I would have done that with no complaint.” We should all of us give thanks that didn’t happen.
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“The strongest, truest, and most pitch-perfect narration since Huck Finn's. Marvelous and terrifying, Edge of Dark Water is the result of real genius at work. A masterpiece.”
—Dan Simmons, author of the national best-sellers The Terror and Drood
“Edge of Dark Water describes a trip downriver that is one-half Huck Finn, one-half Deliverance, and entirely Joe Lansdale. If you aren't familiar with the work of this true American original, and master of hillbilly noir, climb in the boat and hang on for dear life: the water is rough.”
—Joe Hill, author of best-sellers Heart-Shaped Box and Horns
May Lynn is a pretty girl who dreams of becoming a Hollywood star. Until her dead body is dredged up from the Sabine River. Sue Ellen, May Lynn's strong-willed teenage friend, and her friends Terry and Jinx set out to dig up May Lynn's body, burn it to ash, and take those ashes to Hollywood. If May Lynn can't become a star, then at least her remains can be spread in the land of her dreams. All they need is some money and a raft; while the raft is easily available, stealing the money requires some gumption, but they manage it. Then they head downriver together with Sue Ellen's agoraphobic mother: a motley crew on a mission.
Pursued by Uncle Gene and Constable Sy, who're after the money, and Skunk, an all-too-real legendary killer who's after their lives, they begin to understand that when you set out to make the dreams of a friend your own, your worst nightmares might come along for the ride.
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This third installment of S. T. Joshi’s critically acclaimed Black Wings series contains seventeen stories by some of the foremost writers in contemporary weird fiction, using the ideas, imagery, and atmosphere of H. P. Lovecraft’s tales as springboards. Jonathan Thomas opens the book with a chilling tale of biological horror set in Lovecraft’s native Providence, Rhode Island. Caitlín R. Kiernan melds brooding melancholy with Lovecraftian cosmicism in her tale, while Simon Strantzas weaves an ingenious variant on Lovecraft’s concept of the ghoul. Darrell Schweitzer and Donald Tyson probe the notion of alternate worlds in their tales.
This volume takes the reader on imaginative journeys around the world. Don Webb finds Lovecraftian horror in the wilds of Texas; Peter Cannon’s characters encounter the denizens of Innsmouth on a trip to China; Mollie L. Burleson enlivens the American Southwest with terrors out of history. Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., revivifies Lovecraft’s ancient New England seaport of Kingsport, Massachusetts, while in their collaborative tale W. H. Pugmire and Jessica Amanda Salmonson do the same with Lovecraft’s iconic Arkham. The volume concludes with a searching rumination on Lovecraft’s early tale “From Beyond” by Brian Stableford.
Black Wings III demonstrates how H. P. Lovecraft’s work continues to inspire some of the best in contemporary weird writing.
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Open this book at your own peril! That is because this volume is exactly what it say on the cover—A Book of Horrors contains all-original stories by some of the most successful and exciting names in modern horror fiction. For the first time in many years, here is an original anthology of horror and dark fantasy in all its many and magnificent guises—from classic pulp-style tales of Dark and Stormy Nights, through more contemporary and psychological terrors, to the type of cutting-edge fiction that only the very best horror fiction can deliver. Brought together from around the world by World Fantasy Award-winning editor Stephen Jones, one of Britain's most acclaimed and experienced anthologists of horror fiction, here are many of the authors who have helped shaped the genre in all of its forms, along with terrifying tales of unease by a new generation of storytellers devoted to the Dark Side. But be warned: once you begin to delve within these pages, your imagination and senses will be assaulted by terrors both grim and gruesome, literary and lethal, that will stay with you long after you have closed its covers and tried to put aside the images and situations which have wormed their way deep within your mind. Don't blame us for the bad dreams or cold sweats that these tales will induce. We did tell you—this is A Book of Horrors, and once you open it there is no way that these scarifying stories will ever be forgotten... no matter how much you wish that the nightmares will just go away!
INTRODUCTION: WHATEVER HAPPENED TO HORROR? Stephen Jones
THE LITTLE GREEN GOD OF AGONY Stephen King
CHARCLOTH, FIRESTEEL AND FLINT Caitlín R. Kiernan
GHOSTS WITH TEETH Peter Crowther
THE COFFIN-MAKER'S DAUGHTER Angela Slatter
ROOTS AND ALL Brian Hodge
TELL ME I'LL SEE YOU AGAIN Dennis Etchison
THE MUSIC OF BENGT KARLSSON, MURDERER John Ajvide Lindqvist
GETTING IT WRONG Ramsey Campbell
ALICE THROUGH THE PLASTIC SHEET Robert Shearman
THE MAN IN THE DITCH Lisa Tuttle
A CHILD'S PROBLEM Reggie Oliver
SAD, DARK THING Michael Marshall Smith
NEAR ZENNOR Elizabeth Hand
LAST WORDS Richard Christian Matheson
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