Stephen King may be finished.
The master storyteller told The Los Angeles Times this week that he's working on a handful of projects, "Then that's it. I'm done."
As in done writing.
"You get to a point where you get to the edges of a room, and you can go back and go where you've been, and basically recycle stuff. I've seen it in my own work," he told the newspaper, referring to his forthcoming novel From a Buick Eight, about an evil car.
"People when they read Buick Eight are going to think Christine. It's about a car that's not normal, OK?" he told the Times. "You say, 'I've said the things that I have to say, that are new and fresh and interesting to people.' Then you have a choice. You can either continue to go on, or say I left when I was still on top of my game. I left when I was still holding the ball, instead of it holding me."
Hints & Rumors
King's "retirement" has been rumored for years, and he has hinted at it himself often enough.
In an interview with Stanley Wiater to promote 1998's Bag of Bones, King also suggested that he was finished — using almost the exact same words.
"I think I'm about done," he said in the interview, available on the Barnes & Noble Web site, before revising his remarks. "I'll probably continue to work, because I really enjoy it. But I can't see publishing the stuff unless it was something that I felt was really remarkable."
He also offered a similar reason for his potential retirement: "I just don't want to risk that ... self-parody thing," he told Wiater.
The "rumors" page on his official Web site has for some time offered a somewhat vague response to a question about King's supposed retirement.
"That hasn't happened yet," it reads. "There are still books coming out through both Scribner and Pocket Books and plans to complete The Dark Tower series, so there will be new books for several more years to come."
Scribner and Pocket Books are both owned by Simon & Schuster, with whom King signed a three-book deal in 2000 reportedly valued at $48 million. The 2001 release Dreamcatcher, combined with an upcoming novel and short-story collection may represent the completion of that contract.
On the Burner
King's current projects include this week's Rose Red miniseries on ABC television, as well as a television series based on Lars von Trier's Danish cult hit The Kingdom for the same network, which is the parent company of ABCNEWS.com.
He also has a book of short stories, Everything's Eventual, due in spring, and the last three books in his Dark Tower series to complete.
King pulled the plug last year on The Plant, a serial novel that was available only on the Web. Users were asked to pay per chapter, based on the honor system.
The "future" section on his on the official site lists no forthcoming novels beyond From a Buick Eight, but says King will produce a film based on Patrick McGrath's novel Asylum, and a film being made of Dreamcatcher.
The site also lists a number of other possible film adaptations of King works.
King was struck by a van and nearly killed in 1999. He has said that writing after the accident was difficult.