Anyone who knows me knows I’m a big Stephen King fan. I have most of his books, thanks to an on-again, off-again affiliation with the Stephen King Book Club and some visits to Half Price Books. I must confess I haven’t read them all, or even half of them. There are several reasons for this – his books tend to be long, I’m not as strong a reader as I would like to be (unlike my Wife, who can devour tomes in a day), I don’t have as much free time as I would like (ASP and Torque won’t code themselves, you know) and mostly I’m lazy. Still, whenever I do get a chance to read I do like King’s work. It’s not Shakespeare but it’s fun.
So I read now that he’s retiring. On the one hand that sucks – no more new stuff. But then again it took him 30 years to write all these books, and at the rate I’m going it might take that long to read them all, so it’s not as if it’s a huge loss. Plus he’s retreading old ground – the forthcoming From a Buick Eight is Christine again (both about psycho cars). Dreamcatcher was IT again (both about groups of friends with psychic connections in Derry, Maine), etc. King wants to retire on the top of his game, like the Neil Young lyric “Better to burn out than fade away”.
Hell, part of me wants him to retire – he can almost churn these things out faster than I can read them. He claims he has five books left – From a Buick Eight, a short story compilation called Everything’s Eventual, and three more entries in the Dark Tower series. However, that seems like an odd note to go out on – some speculate that he’s not counting EE and there will be another unannounced book as a “last caress”. As of now even his agent doesn’t even think he’ll retire (this is apparently not the first time he’s announced something similar). Still others believe that King will continue to write, we just won’t see it. He reportedly has a number of books he’s never finished. Some of his biggest bestsellers have rested on a shelf for years because they were headed somewhere King didn’t like. He comes back to them later, pitches out the last part he didn’t like, and finishes them. Perhaps he’ll write books with posthumous publication dates – it is rumored that J.D. Salinger (The Catcher In The Rye) has written a sequel to his lone book, to be published after he dies (he’s currently living in seclusion). Still another theory says he’ll publish occasionally – under a pseudonym, something he did for a while as Richard Bachman, until someone figured him out.
In any event, I’m sure he’ll have fun.