Stephen King fans have taken some relief in the knowledge that the legendary author has been providing them with plenty of entertainment while the majority of the world remains in COVID-19 lockdown. In a recent remote guest appearance on A Late Show with Stephen Colbert, King speculated about which of the many hundreds of characters from his novels, short stories and screenplays would make the ideal “quarantine buddy.”
Before you launch into the video below, you can rest assured Jack Torrance is definitely on King’s “NO” list — although social media has been having a field day with The Shining memes about the Torrance family’s own “lockdown” at the Overlook Hotel. (If you recall, that didn’t turn out so well for them.) But Jack isn’t the one King chose as the worst possible roomie during isolation…
“Imagination is a terrible thing sometimes,” King tells Colbert, explaining how his own talents can sometimes come back to haunt him — as in the case of his apocalyptic novel The Stand, which he researched by interviewing a doctor about the most likely extinction-level “nightmare scenario.” Oddly enough, the answer was a viral pandemic — and now King is being told by countless fans that they feel they’re living inside one of his stories.
The Stand has been a household topic lately, even among those who never actually read it. In the novel, a flu virus nicknamed “Captain Trips” wipes out 99% of Earth’s population, leaving a handful of immune survivors to confront supernatural villain Randall Flagg — whose cult of followers threatens to upset the balance of power between Good and Evil.
He also points out the uncanny resemblance between diabolical presidential candidate Greg Stillson in The Dead Zone and the current occupant of the White House (of whom King is definitely not a fan).
King’s new short-story collection If It Bleeds is available now; the common thread in the book is one of King’s favorite characters — eccentric private eye Holly Gibney — whom he also considers the ideal stay-at-home buddy.