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Firestarter Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1981
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"In a special and startling way, King has created a small American gem of a story."—Chicago Tribune
"You'll be bewitched by King's ingenious insights into human behavior, unique characterizations and novel dialogue."—Columbus Dispatch
"Stephen King is superb."—Time
“In a special and startling way, King has created a small American gem of a story.”—Chicago Tribune
“You’ll be bewitched by King’s ingenious insights into human behavior, unique characterizations and novel dialogue.”—Columbus Dispatch
“Stephen King is superb.”—Time
“Terrifying and gripping.”—The Miami Herald
About the Author
Stephen King lives in Maine and Florida with his wife, novelist Tabitha King. He has written more than forty books and two hundred short stories. He has won the World Fantasy Award, several Bram Stoker awards, and the O. Henry Award for his story “The Man in the Black Suit,” and is the 2003 recipient of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
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Top Customer Reviews
Great story, fast-paced. I’d call it Horror-Science Fiction.
Story & Fav Plot Points:
The story begins in the middle, actually, which I thought was an imaginative way of introducing the story and grabbing interest.
Andy and his daughter are on the run. They both have abilities (he, through a psych experiment “gone horribly wrong,” and she through genetics). Andy can make people do what he wants by ‘pushing’ his intention. But he gets major migraines that can cause brain hemorrhaging if he does that too often. His wife, who could close refrigerator doors by thinking about them (now THAT’s convenient!) was killed by “The Shop” (one of those clandestine organizations run by one megalomaniac, who has a money pipeline from Congress – no fiction there), the instigators of the experiment that gave Andy and his wife special abilities The Shop wants for their own nefarious ends.
The daughter has the ability to start fires. Except rather than headaches she gets a rush of pleasure from it!
The story really picks up when they are both captured, after much loss of life and property, to an idyllic ranch where the bad guy lives. But he later rues that day, as King tells us in gory detail about the demise of “The Shop.”
Great story, how we could chemically induce someone to increase their latent psychic ability and how the government plans to use that for global power. The usual plot (since it’s close to the truth) but imaginatively done.
Firestarter seems to be an under appreciated tale, if such a thing were ever possible, from Stephen King. It never seems to be on any list touting his greatest works. It is, however, a very worthy story with strong characters mixed with a story that feels like it's smack dab out of the late 1970's TV show, In Search Of. ESP and government conspiracy cover ups were huge back then and, with how little people trust the government currently, it doesn't seem to be out of the possibility now. While its way too easy to say that this is simply a watered-down derivative of Carrie, Firestarter is much more and definitely worth checking out.
4 1/2 Hot Potatoes out of 5
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to the general run of horror stories he tells (admittedly very well), Firestarter is straight
sci-fi. It deals, as all good sci-fi does, with the effects of technological advances on
Little Charlie did not ask for her pyrokinetic ability, nor did her parents ask for theirs, when
they were the subjects of a government experiment with a psychotropic drug. She rightly
fears the power, which she likens to a vicious and rather stupid animal, that, once let out
of its cage, had a tendency to run amok. But as the government continues to pursue
Charlie and her father, she is forced to use the ability in self-defense, with catastrophic
King does a superb job making the reader see what a double-edged sword such an
ability would be, and you can't help caring for Charlie and hoping everything turns out
well, despite the odds against it.
Though I'm not much of a fan of sequels in general, I've always wished for one here.
And hey, Steve. Since you did one for The Shining (it's called "Dr. Sleep" for those who
weren't aware of the fact), why not continue Charlie McGee's story too?