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|Genre(s)||Post-apocalyptic horror short story|
|Published in||Ubris |
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
"Night Surf" is a post-apocalyptic short story by Stephen King, first published in the spring 1969 issue of Ubris magazine, and later collected in a heavily revised version in King's 1978 collection Night Shift.
Loosely related to the author's highly regarded novel The Stand, the story occurs on an August night on Anson Beach, New Hampshire, with a group of former college students who survived a catastrophic plague caused by a virus called A6, or "Captain Trips". They believe the virus spread out of Southeast Asia and wiped out most of humanity.
The characters have a grim and dark outlook, having recently taken a man dying of the plague (and seemingly out of his mind with delirium) and burned him on a pyre as a half-serious black-magic human sacrifice. The main character of the story, Bernie, reflects upon this new world and reminisces about "the time before" when he went to Anson Beach in his youth years before the plague. All the members of Bernie's group characters had all survived a virus called A2, which supposedly made them immune to A6. But one character, Needles, reveals to Bernie that he has contracted A6. Bernie admits to himself that deep down they know that A2 is not a guarantee against A6, and that they will probably all be dead by Christmas. Bernie's girlfriend keeps up the pretense, accepting Bernie's explanation that Needles must have lied about having A2 so the others would not leave him behind.
Unlike The Stand, the world in this story is lingering on somewhat longer, as shown by the fact that the characters are still able to get two radio stations (run by survivors), and that some people are still dying of the superflu months after the height of the outbreak.
Film, TV or theatrical adaptations
"Night Surf" was adapted into a short film in 2001 by writer-director Peter Sullivan. The film continues to play at numerous festivals and has been well received by King fans and general audiences alike. Optioned from King for a dollar, the film is part of the Dollar Baby collection of similar short films.
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