Stephen King would like to apologize for writing fiction so realistic that you now feel as though you're living on the page. "I keep having people say, 'Gee, it's like we're living in a Stephen King story. And my only response to that is, 'I'm sorry,'" King tells NPR. The author, who wrote about a pandemic of a strain of influenza that wiped out almost all humans on Earth in his 1978 novel The Stand, says a real, much less severe pandemic was "bound to happen" eventually and that doesn't mean he can predict the future. But "there are people who have those special-type powers," at least in his new book. If It Bleeds, a collection of short stories, centers on Holly Gibney, a private investigator with an apparent supernatural ability who's appeared in several novels since her introduction in 2014's Ms. Mercedes.
Expect more to come from King, who's "made wonderful progress" on the novel he's currently writing. "There's really not too much to do and it's a good way to get away from the fear," he tells NPR. "You're able to go into a world that you know is not real," he says. "And it's a wonderful, exhilarating experience." In need of an escape? Good Housekeeping ranks the 17 best King novels. However, Calum Marsh at the National Post argues "there's never been a better time" to read The Stand, "widely considered the popular horror author's masterpiece." Considered "somewhat cartoonishly satire" when it was initially published, the 1,400-page tome "has a lot to tell us about our current situation—about the things we’re afraid of and of how much worse this could be," Marsh writes. (Read more Stephen King stories.)