Stephen King is huge right now. Possibly because of the Earth-shaking buzz surrounding this September’s film adaptation of King’s 1986 novel ‘It,’ the author is experiencing a renaissance. More King adaptations are being made than ever, and Stephen King fan forums show the hype is generating lots of new fans of his books. With all the SK love flying around, it’s worth taking a minute to go over some of the most interesting facts about the author’s life and legacy.
1. King almost died in 1999 and made it a major plot point in his books.
While walking along the shoulder of a road near his house in 1999, Stephen King was mowed down by a car. The collision left King with a collapsed lung, a broken hip, a lacerated scalp, and a leg broken in nine places. King almost died but made a miraculous recovery. In the next few years, he would go on to actually write himself as a character in some of his books, including an explanation of the supposed divine intervention that kept him from dying that day. Ever since then, terrible car accidents have been a running theme in King’s bibliography.
2. Stephen King hates Stanley Kubrik’s adaptation of his book, ‘The Shining.’
Kubrik’s 1980 screen adaptation of ‘The Shining’ is widely considered to be one of the best horror films of all time, but Stephen King hates it. He has been extremely vocal about his great distaste for the film for decades now. King says his opinion is due to the fact that the film took the book’s premise and ran in a completely different direction with it. Whether that is the real reason or not, Stephen’s now-frequent social media jabs at Kubrik’s work have become somewhat of a joke among the novelist’s dedicated fans.
3. He’s definitely not just a horror author.
Most of King’s earlier books – ‘Carrie,’ ‘Salem’s Lot,’ ‘The Shining,’ ‘Pet Semetary,’ ‘It’ — were straight-up horror. In the past few decades, though, very few of his books have been horror at all. Some of his most well-received works, such as the historical romance thriller 11/22/63, will appeal even to the most squeamish readers. Even those books tend to contain one or two short scenes that involve a bit of carnage, but they are miles from the bloodbaths with which King made a name for himself. In fact, King has not included an actual monster in his novels in the past 30 years.
4. Rock and roll is beyond huge for King.
Stephen and his wife Tabitha King own three radio stations in Maine, one of which is called “Stephen King’s Rock.” He plays guitar in a rock band made up of authors called The Rock Bottom Remainders. He writes a column for ‘Entertainment Weekly’ about music. The bottom line is that King is a huge fan of rock and roll. It’s apparent in his writing, too, as his characters are constantly referencing rock and roll songs and lyrics.
5. Stephen King’s biggest fear in writing is the number 13.
King is a subscriber to the old notion that “13” is an unlucky number, and he avoids it like the plague. He claims that, when writing, he refuses to stop on any page with a numbering divisible by 13 or for which the individual digits add up to 13.
Honorable Mention: Stephen King wrote the novella on which “The Shawshank Redemption” is based.
It’s not enough to make up its own list entry since a lot of non-King fans know this too, but it is extremely significant for those who don’t know that Stephen King was behind what many agree is among the greatest non-horror films ever made.
There’s obviously a lot more to learn about Stephen King and his bibliography, which contains over 50 novels and many, many more short stories and novellas. The above are a few that are more noticeable in his writing and his public image, though, and should enable you to pass as somewhat of a Stephen King veteran.