Doctor Sleep (novel)
First edition cover
|Publication date||September 24, 2013|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Preceded by||The Shining|
Doctor Sleep is a novel by Stephen King, a sequel to King's novel The Shining (1977), released in September 2013. King first mentioned the idea in November 2009. The author's official website confirmed the project on September 26, 2011. The audiobook edition of Stephen King's 2012 novel The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole, released on April 24, 2012, contains the novel's prologue read by the author. The e-book publication of "In the Tall Grass", a novella written by King and his son Joe Hill, contains the text of this excerpt. Describing the novel on his official site, King stated that it is "a return to balls-to-the-wall, keep-the-lights-on horror". "Doctor Sleep" reached the first position on the New York Times Best Seller Lists for print and ebook fiction (combined), hardcover fiction, and ebook fiction.
On November 19, 2009, while on a promotional tour in Toronto, Canada for his latest novel Under the Dome, during a reading at the Canon Theatre being moderated by the filmmaker David Cronenberg, Stephen King described to the audience an idea for a sequel novel to his 1977 novel The Shining. The story, King said, would follow a character from the original novel, Danny Torrance, now in his 40s, living in New Hampshire where he works as an orderly at a hospice and helps terminally ill patients pass away with the aid of some extraordinary powers. Later, on December 1, 2009, Stephen King posted a poll on his official website, asking visitors to vote for which book he should write next, Doctor Sleep or the next Dark Tower novel:
I mentioned two potential projects while I was on the road, one a new Mid-World book (not directly about Roland Deschain, but yes, he and his friend Cuthbert are in it, hunting a skin-man, which are what werewolves are called in that lost kingdom) and a sequel to The Shining called Doctor Sleep. Are you interested in reading either of these? If so, which one turns your dials more? [We] will be counting your votes (and of course it all means nothing if the muse doesn't speak).
Voting ended on December 31, 2009, and it was revealed that Doctor Sleep received 5,861 votes, while The Wind Through the Keyhole received 5,812.
On September 23, 2011, Stephen King received the Mason Award at the Fall for the Book event at the George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, during which he read an excerpt from Doctor Sleep. The author's official site confirmed three days later that King was currently working on the novel. King finished work on the first draft in early November 2011. On February 19, 2012, King read the beginning section of Doctor Sleep at the Savannah Book Festival, in Savannah, Georgia.
The story was partly inspired by Oscar, a therapy cat who is able to predict the deaths of terminally ill patients; says King, "I thought to myself: ‘I want to write a story about that.’ And then I made the connection with Danny Torrance as an adult, working in a hospice. I thought: ‘That’s it. I’m gonna write this book.' The cat had to be there. It always takes two things for me to get going. It’s like the cat was the transmission and Danny was the motor."
On May 8, 2012, Stephen King's official website announced a tentative publication date of January 15, 2013 for Doctor Sleep. The book was available for pre-order that same day, with the page count of 544 and an ISBN of 978-1-4516-9884-8. However, the exact date was removed the next day with the statement that a new release date is forthcoming, and the pre-order items were removed. Stephen King was not happy with the present draft of the novel and felt it needed a lot of editing. On September 18, 2012, a publication date of September 24, 2013 was announced. Cemetery Dance will also publish Doctor Sleep as a limited edition in three states: Gift edition (limited to 1,750 copies), Limited edition (limited to 700 copies), and Lettered edition (limited to 52 copies), the latter two signed by Stephen King and the illustrators. On March 1, 2013, Stephen King's official site unveiled the book's cover.
With Doctor Sleep, Stephen King returns to the characters and territory of one of his previous novels, The Shining. The novel features the now middle-aged Dan Torrance (the boy protagonist of The Shining) and the twelve-year-old girl, Abra Stone, who possesses an even greater psychic ability ("shining") than Danny did as a child.
Following the events of The Shining, Danny remains psychologically traumatized; Wendy, his mother, is still in pain from her recovered injuries. Angry ghosts from The Overlook Hotel eventually find Danny, including the woman from Room 217.. Chef Hallorann eventually teaches Danny how to imprison the ghosts in lock boxes inside his mind.
The adult Dan reprises his father's legacy of anger and alcoholism. Dan drifts for decades, but eventually finds AA and gives up drinking. He settles in a New Hampshire town and works in a nursing home, where his remnant mental abilities provide comfort to the dying. With the aid of a cat that can foresee the future, Dan became "Doctor Sleep."
Dan establishes a telepathic bond with Abra. She contacts him in desperation when she receives clairvoyant knowledge of the ritual murder of the "Baseball Boy," another child who possesses "the shining." We learn that the child was sacrificed by a group called "The True Knot." Led by Rose the Hat, this group of almost immortal travelers criss-cross the country, periodically feeding on the psychic energy (which they call "steam") of children with the gift of "the shining." They discover Abra's existence and begin closing in on her. Dan and others engage in a struggle to save Abra from The True Knot. An epic war between good and evil ensues.
In addition to briefly referencing Castle Rock, one of King's recurring fictional towns, Doctor Sleep lists Jerusalem's Lot as one of the "company towns" maintained by the True Knot. The novel is also notable for featuring ties to NOS4A2, written by King's son Joe Hill. Early in the novel, Danny's mentor Hallorann shares a story from his childhood in which his malevolent grandfather repeatedly threatened to hand him over to Charlie Manx, the antagonist of Hill's book. Later on in the story, Hallorann refers to the True Knot as 'Empty Devils'. This is the title of a book written by Scott Landon in Lisey's Story. There is also a bumper sticker on one of the True Knot's vehicles referencing Christmasland, Manx's alternate dimension in NOS4A2. At one point, Dan says, "There are other worlds than these," a line originally spoken by Jake Chambers in The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger.
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- In the Tall Grass - eBook & Audiobook Coming October 9th
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- Stephen King: New details of 'The Shining' sequel 'Doctor Sleep' | Shelf Life | EW.com
- "Stephen King unearths origin of 'The Shining' sequel 'Doctor Sleep'". EW.com.
- Stephen King sets release date for 'The Shining' sequel | Shelf Life | EW.com
- Release Date? - Page 5
- Doctor Sleep - Limited Editions From Cemetery Dance - Shipping 9/13
- Doctor Sleep - The Long Awaited Sequel to the Shining - Available 9.24.13
- Doctor Sleep - Stephen King