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King Worried That 'Shining' Fans Expect More of the Same in New Sequel

Stephen King warns fans that "Doctor Sleep" won't offer the same kinds of scares as "The Shining," although it may be a better book.

Doctor Sleep Stephen King Book Cover - P 2013
Scribner

When Doctor Sleep is released this month, it'll come more than three decades after The Shining, the book that introduced Sleep's lead character Danny Torrance -- a fact that worries author Stephen King.

Talking to the BBC about the response fans will have toward the new book, King said he's concerned that fans will expect more of the same kind of feeling The Shining provoked in them. "The fear is that people will come back expecting that kind of scare as grown-ups, and that just never happens," he said. "I wanted to try and write a more adult book."

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That itself is a potential worry, King admitted. "You are faced with that comparison [between The Shining and Doctor Sleep], and that has got to make you nervous, because there is a lot of water under the bridge," he said, calling himself "a different man" today than the 28-year-old who wrote The Shining.

Certainly, the new book reflects a kinder attitude toward the character, picking up the story of Danny -- the son of The Shining lead character Jack Torrance -- decades after the first book, during which time he's become able to use his telepathic abilities in his job as a hospice care worker. (If that sounds a bit too dull, don't worry -- there're apparently psychic vampires in the book as well.)

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"What a lot of people are saying is, 'Well, OK, I will probably read this book, but it cannot be as good as The Shining,'" he went on. "I am obviously an optimist and I want them to say when they get done with it, that it was as good. But what I really want them to say is that it is better than The Shining."

Doctor Sleep will be published Sept. 24. Now, if only someone could convince Danny Lloyd to come out of acting retirement for the inevitable movie adaptation …