Survivor Type

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"Survivor Type"
Author Stephen King
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Horror short story
Published in Terrors (1st release),
Skeleton Crew
Publication type Anthology
Media type Print (Paperback)
Publication date 1982 (1st release)

Survivor Type is a short story by Stephen King, first published in the 1982 horror anthology Terrors, edited by Charles L. Grant, and collected in King's 1985 collection Skeleton Crew. Of Survivor Type, King says: "As far as short stories are concerned, I like the grisly ones the best. However the story "Survivor Type" goes a little bit too far, even for me."[1]

Plot summary[edit]

"Survivor Type" is written as the diary of a disgraced surgeon, Richard Pine (real name Richard Pinzetti), who, while attempting to smuggle a large amount of heroin on a cruise ship, on a round trip from the USA to Thailand and back, finds himself marooned on a tiny island in the Pacific with very limited supplies and no food. A self-proclaimed "survivor" type, his diary entries documenting his day to day activities become more and more disjointed and raving (similar to the writing technique used in Flowers for Algernon), revealing his slow mental decay and eventual insanity caused by starvation, isolation, and drug use. Determined to hold out for rescue, he goes to horrifying lengths to survive. After breaking his ankle while attempting to draw attention to himself when he sees a plane passing by, he amputates his foot, then realizes he has to eat it to survive. He continues to amputate his own limbs to use as a food source, ingesting the heroin as a crude anesthetic during the operations. Although he initially keeps track of the dates (the entries begin January 26), his increasing mental instability causes him to lose perception of days passed (finally ending his entries with "Febba" and "Fe/40?"). His last few diary entries, barely comprehensible, indicate that he has cut off and eaten everything below his waist, as well as his ears, and drools uncontrollably as he ponders which body part to consume next. The diary entries end when he cuts off his left hand to eat. ("lady fingers they taste just like lady fingers").

The ending implies Richard would later be found dead, probably the result of self-cannibalism, since the diary was apparently found and read, and Richard mentioned he would have destroyed it right before being rescued.

Adaptations[edit]

  • Survivor Type (2012) adapted and directed by Maine native, Billy Hanson, starring Gideon Emery.
  • Survivor Type was adapted as a short 2011 film[1] for the film Festival Buried Alive. The script and storyboard was directed by Chris Ethridge.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grant, Charles L. "Interview with Stephen King " Monsterland Magazine, May/June, 1985.