I love Stephen King pretty much unconditionally. The man can almost never do wrong, provided he’s not writing a screenplay, and his work is stunning in how creative and energetic he still is nearly forty years later.
That said, a sequel to The Shining is kind of a terrible idea, but it could be worse.
Part of this is just the fact that there has never been a better novel about alcoholism. The Shining is a book I point to when I’m talking about the ability of horror novels to get at something “straight” fiction can’t, because he’s able to take the metaphorical problems of being a drunk (or for that matter living with one) and make them literal. It kills you to watch Jack Torrance fall apart because King does so with an absolute minimum of moralizing and by pointing out that when he’s sober, Jack is not a bad person. Jack falls apart and becomes a monster not because the Overlook Hotel turns him into one, but because the Overlook is very good about finding the cracks in the armor and bringing out the monster inside Jack.
King has spent a lot of time tweaking The Shining after he got sober, and I’m guessing this novel Doctor Sleep is the ultimate result.
Doctor Sleep mostly just seems to be a sequel in name only; Danny Torrance, all grown up, works at a hospice where he gives the elderly a dignified death with his powers. Unfortunately, a group of psychic vampires driving around in RVs are eating kids with “the Shining”, so Danny teams up with a precognitive cat to… to…
You know what? I take it back. I kind of want to read this. It’ll be out September 2013.