Although it flew under the radar for most people, Stephen King revealed some exciting information about his work on the upcoming third Talisman book and some other ideas about future work during a recent speech.
The third installment in the Talisman series, a project that is the result of a collaboration between Stephen King and Peter Straub, is extremely highly anticipated. The first book of the series, The Talisman, was published in 1984, 17 years prior to publication of the second entry, Black House, and both are among the most beloved works King has ever produced. Now, almost exactly the same 17-year time interval later, Stephen King is apparently working on yet another entry to the saga.
King himself said as much in a speech he made last November at the 2016 National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.
“With any luck, we will start the third one in February of next year,” King told an audience member when asked for an update on the series.
The date Stephen King referred to has already passed, so does that mean another Talisman novel is already under construction? The implication is sure to please many a King fan.
The announcement is made even more significant by the fact that King’s work has not flown as freely as usual recently. Stephen King is usually one of the most prolific writers of popular fiction; his 43 years in the writing business have produced well over 40 full-length novels (most of them over 500 pages), 20 novellas, and hundreds of short stories.
King has been uncharacteristically mum when it comes to his own future works as of late, though. Sure, he is planning on putting out a novella on May 30 and a novel this fall, but they are both science fiction (not King’s native genre) and both collaborations — the former being with Richard Chizmar and the latter being with Stephen’s son, Owen King.
The point is, it has been a while since the King of horror fiction has put out a book in which he does what he does best — straight up visceral scares. The last real horror novel that King published, in fact, was 2014’s Revival, and even that was light on the scare material for the majority of the book.
Another Talisman book is a very literal way for Stephen King to get back to his roots, as the much-praised horror fantasy series has spanned most of his career. Most King-heads can probably agree that, although the hard-boiled crime novels Stephen has been publishing for the past few years have been great and 2015’s short story collection The Bazaar of Bad Dreams was a good read too, it is nice that Sai King is getting back to the basics.
And speaking of visceral horror, King revealed in his speech an idea he says he definitely wants to include in one of his future works. It’s just an anecdote from his past that would probably only be good for one scene, but it is incredibly vivid and pretty horrific. In other words, prime Stephen King material.
King recounts an incident that had happened to his mother as a child, and which she relayed to him.
“Once a week, a guy came along and he had gum for the kids, and you had to chew that piece of gum all week. You would chew it and put it on the bedpost at night. It would harden up, and the next morning you would have to pop it in and soften it up so it was good to go for another day.
“One night, after my mother had put her gum on the bedpost, a moth came down and lit on in and got stuck. When she woke up the next morning, she didn’t look. She just popped her gum into her mouth. She said she bit it in half and the two halves were fluttering inside her mouth.”
After hearing Stephen King tell this story, the audience groaned. King, however, grinned widely, showing he was comfortable in his realm of gross-outs and scares and was relishing the moment. You can skip to 53:34 in the video embedded above to hear Steve recall the story himself.
“I thought to myself, ‘Mom, at some point, I’m going to use that,'” King chuckled.
He hasn’t used that scene in any of his works yet, which means that there are more to come.
Many of his readers on fan communities, such as the Stephen King subreddit, want to see him write a political thriller because, as Reddit user Cat_Handcuffs notes, King is “very politically active and not shy about his opinions.”
Indeed, Stephen King has been extremely vocal about the recent presidential race and Donald Trump’s presidency, especially on Twitter. He has even uploaded a few posts suggesting he will write a horror story about someone like Donald Trump being president, although those posts seemed to assume a joking tone.
As the Inquisitr highlighted recently, King’s upcoming collaboration novella Gwendy’s Button Box is actually about a character who Stephen himself compares to Donald Trump. Is this the beginning of a new career trend for Stephen King?
Maybe it is, but many readers will undoubtedly be happy if King decides to return to what he has become best-known for: unadulterated horror.
What direction do you see Stephen King’s career taking from here? Any predictions about the all but confirmed third Talisman novel? Make yourself heard in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Larry French/Getty Images]