There is scarcely any scary situation that Stephen King has not written about. From a clown that kidnaps children in the sewers to a hotelkeeper going mad from cabin fever, the iconic American author has delved into the human psyche in just about every setting.
Thus it is not surprising that his 1978 novel The Stand eerily reflects the current global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus that first started in Wuhan, China.
In the novel, a lethal virus becomes a global pandemic and kills off most of the human population on Earth. King’s fans have been expressing how they feel like characters in their favorite author’s book. His response? He’s sorry that the fans feel that way.
King said that it was not difficult to foresee a massive pandemic breaking out. With people living in more congregated spaces and global travel and commerce so common, he believed that one virus could put many people into serious peril.
Although he is famous for his horror stories, King says that he is most interested in the human psyche. In particular, he says that he is interested in how people react when their normal everyday lives are suddenly challenged.
To borrow his own words, he is fine with people recognizing him as a horror writer, although he considers himself much more invested in human capacity and potentials.
In his interview with NPR, King said that he is staying in his house like millions of other people under quarantine. Unsurprisingly, he says that he spends a good amount of time writing.
According to King, he spends 4 hours a day writing. To him, those four hours is an extraordinary experience where he gets to escape the mundane reality that everyone is going through.
King says that he doesn’t feel scared about the pandemic. More precisely, he says that the dominant sentiment is that of anxiety. That includes both anxiety from being locked in your homes and anxiety on catching the virus.
Asked what horror novels can do for people during scary times, King believes that they work like a dream. If the artist and situation is good enough, it should be able to provide a short escape and respite from the world around them.
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