Stephen King is no stranger to the parallels between the coronavirus pandemic and his work. In a new interview with NPR, the Master of Horror digresses on the state of the world, particularly how he called much of it with his 1978 epic The Stand.
“I keep having people say, ‘Gee, it’s like we’re living in a Stephen King story,'” he explained told NPR. “And my only response to that is, ‘I’m sorry.'” Of course, this isn’t the first time he’s addressed the parallels between our facts and his fiction.
Back in March, when everyone started talking about The Stand, King reassured his Constant Readers on Twitter, writing, “No, coronavirus is NOT like THE STAND. It’s not anywhere near as serious. It’s eminently survivable. Keep calm and take all reasonable precautions.”
While he’s right, COVID-19 is nowhere near as fatal as the guaranteed death curse of Captain Trips, it’s hard to dismiss much of the imagery and the ripple effect of the disease. King admitted to NPR that a pandemic like this, however, was “bound to happen.”
“There was never any question that in our society, where travel is a staple of daily life, that sooner or later, there was going to be a virus that was going to communicate to the public at large,” King ruminated.
If there’s any other story of King’s that comes to mind in the age of coronavirus and social distancing, it’s The Shining, what with its themes of seclusion and isolation. King is well aware of those notions, but appears seemingly unaffected by them. If anything, it’s only made him more productive.
“What I’m living with and what I suspect a lot of people are living with right now is cabin fever,” he said. “But to be in the house day after day, all I can say is I’ve made wonderful progress on a novel, because there’s really not too much to do and it’s a good way to get away from the fear.”
Ultimately, like the rest of us, King does feel anxious: “It’s not panic. It’s not terror that I feel, that I think most people feel, it’s a kind of gnawing anxiety where you say to yourself, I shouldn’t go out. If I do go out, I might catch this thing or I might give it to somebody else.”