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Dear Stephen King


Mon, May 8th, 2000
Posted in

April 17, 2000

I have to admit that over the years I havenít paid much attention to you or the hundreds of books that youíve written. Iím not a big horror fan and neither is my wife. Sheís such a wimp, in fact, that she suffered nightmares after watching that sappy movie, The Addams Family Values. So itís not likely sheís going to be curling up with a Stephen King novel any time soon.

I did pay attention last year when I heard on the news that you got hit while walking along the side of the road in Maine by that guy in the minivan. His excuse was that he was reaching for his dog. That always sounded sorta fishy to me. What was the dogís name Ė Son of Sam?

I rooted for your recovery and was heartened when you said you knew youíd suffered irreversible brain damage after you found yourself crying while watching Titanic. Your brain, it seemed to me, was in fine form.

Then, how could I ignore all the hoopla around your latest book? The book that is only available on-line and that only cost $2.50 to download. I saw you on the cover of Time magazine and everywhere else. This was a momentous occasion, the media gushed, the publishing world will never be the same. They compared it to Gutenbergís invention of the movable type press and others said it was akin to the beginning of the cheap paperback era, which hit in the 1930ís.

I realized that the time had finally come for me to read a Stephen King book. I guess Iím a consumer like everybody else.

So I went on-line and looked around and discovered that at Amazon.Com, they were Ďsellingí your book for free. No wonder theyíve never made any money. Their site was so overloaded with requests though, that they said that they would e-mail me when things were less hectic. I left my address and within two days I received a message that I could download your book.

First of all I had to download a program called Glassbook Reader. This took over an hour to do. I live out in the sticks where Internet connections donít exactly hum at optimal speed. In fact, the very fastest my modem has ever been able to connect to the Net is at 26,400 bbs, which is akin to going about fifteen mph in your car on an Interstate hiway.

Still thatís a lot better than it was in the past when that evil company called US West pro-vided our phone ser-vice. But thatís an-other story Ė a horror story you might say. If you want to know more, send me an e-mail.

Anyway, after the Glassbook Reader was installed I was instructed to download your book, and this only took ten minutes max. Of course, in the civilized world you can do this in seconds, but thatís the price we pay out here for our country fresh air and uncongested gravel roads.

Your book was called Riding the Bullet and must be the shortest thing youíve ever written, clocking in at just 66 pages. Itís probably due to the severity of your injuries that you are easing back into the literary mode. No doubt your next book will be of the usual 1,500-page doorstop variety.

Youíve got a real easy fluid writing style. I noticed that right away as I sat in front of my monitor clicking through your book. The plot line was fairly simple: a college kid hitchhiking back home to visit his mother in the hospital.

I found myself reading with a certain amount of apprehension and expected at any second that a pack of deranged cats sent straight from Lucifer would suddenly start clawing the eyeballs out of every resident in the state of Maine. Thatís the kind of stuff you usually write, isnít it?

This story doesnít hit you over the head like that though. Itís much more subtle and it takes almost twenty pages before the college kid finds himself in an eerie roadside cemetery with a little mood mist rolling in underneath a foreboding full moon. He bumps into a tombstone with fresh flowers . . . . but hey, I donít want to give too much away here.

Back at the road when he sticks out his thumb the next driver that picks him up is Ė yikes Ė a ghost!

Itís estimated that youíll make $450,000 off this story by sell-ing it on-line. Of course, thatís pocket change compared to the 50 million dollars you earned last year. Man, being Stephen King, is like winning the Powerball jackpot week in and week out.

I saw where you were quoted once saying that your work was "plain fiction for plain folks . . . the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and large fries."

After finally sitting down and reading one of your books, Iíd have to pretty much agree with that analogy. But McDonalds, though?

Naw, Iíd say Riding the Bullet is closer in spirit to those ten burgers for a buck that we used to eat by the bagful in St. Paul at 2 a.m. at that famous culi-nary establishment called White Castle.

Yum!

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