Survivor Type

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"Survivor Type"
AuthorStephen King
CountryUnited States
Genre(s)Horror short story
Published inTerrors (1st release),
Skeleton Crew
Publication typeAnthology
Media typePrint (Paperback)
Publication date1982 (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 aboard a cruise ship, is abruptly interrupted when an explosion occurs deep within the ship and it rapidly sinks. After barely escaping the sinking vessel, while encountering a storm in his empty lifeboat, Pine finds himself marooned on a tiny island in the Pacific with very limited supplies and no food. A self-proclaimed "survivor" type, Pine bitterly whittles away the time by using a logbook and pencil as his diary, detailing his rise and fall in the medical profession and his determination to survive this ordeal, get even with the people that "screwed him over", and return to prosperity.

Over time, the diary entries documenting Pine's day-to-day activities become more and more disjointed and raving, 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. He eats insects, kelp and seagulls. After breaking his ankle while attempting to signal an airplane, he amputates his own 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 these operations. Although he initially keeps track of the dates (the entries begin January 26), his increasing mental instability causes him to lose perception of the exact number of days passed (finally ending his entries with "Febba" and "Fe/40?"). His last few diary entries, barely comprehensible, indicate that Pine has sliced 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").


  • Survivor Type (2011) adapted, storyboarded, and directed by Chris Ethridge as a short film for the Buried Alive film festival.[2]
  • Survivor Type (2012) adapted and directed by Maine native, Billy Hanson, starring Gideon Emery.
  • Survivor Type (2019) adapted and directed by Greg Nicotero, one of two segments for the first episode of the upcoming Creepshow television series.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Grant, Charles L. "Interview with Stephen King " Monsterland Magazine, May/June, 1985.
  2. ^ "Survivor Type Film". Retrieved September 8, 2016.