Stephen King’s sequel to ‘The Shining’ is coming

Stephen King published “The Shining” way back in 1977. It was his fourth novel. A year earlier, his first, “Carrie,” had come out as a film directed by Brian De Palma, and had been a huge success. King was big, but he wasn’t yet the giant bestselling author he’s become.

Now, 35 years later, King has gone back to “The Shining” and written a sequel, “Doctor Sleep.” It comes to shelves in January of 2013, just when everyone who might be snowed in will be.

“Doctor Sleep” features the now-adult Danny, the child who could see ghosts in the Overlook Hotel. Troubled by his past -- what with the visions of evil and a homicidal dad, who wouldn’t be? -- Danny has drifted, drunk too much, and tried to find his own kind of peace. He’s made his way to New Hampshire, where he still has visionary “shining” abilities, which he puts to use working in a nursing home.

Troubled man, visions, isolated environment -- sounds like “The Shining” all over again. Except this is Stephen King, and if he writes a sequel, it’s not going to be a carbon copy.

“I did it because it was such a cheesed-off thing to do,” King told Neil Gaiman in April. “To say you were going back to the book that was really popular and write the sequel People think of that book, they read it as kids. Kids read it and say it was a really scary book, and then as adults they might read the sequel and think, this isn’t as good. The challenge is, maybe it can be as good -- or maybe it can be different. It gives you something to push up against. It’s a challenge.”

So to complicate things, there are quasi-vampiric immortals who consume, as lifeblood, something that Danny has. They walk among us. Driving RVs. Wearing polyester. To outward appearances, they’re harmless retirees. But the tribe, called The True Knot, aren’t harmless to Danny.

While a sequel to the novel “The Shining” is on the way, a film prequel is apparently in the works. Who knows if the True Knot will make an appearance there.