Last Wednesday, as you may recall, Renee decided to indulge in a bookgasm-oriented day. She hadn't enjoyed one for much too long but King’s sequel to THE SHINING called to her. With the brand new DOCTOR SLEEP: A NOVEL in hand, the female half of our writing team turned off the phone, pulled up the covers, and turned on her Kindle. She was ready to be transported back to the Overlook.
Things didn’t turn out quite as she expected.
Just in case you’d rather not see the Spoilers ahead, here’s her quick review: ***** out of ***** stars, great follow-up to the original, fun read, sadly lacking in enough Overlook-ness but terrific, nonetheless. If you love horror, you should buy it. Also, there’s this: King introduces some wonderful monsters into his story, the True Knot.
And, oh, the True Knot are evil…but, oh, they were not new to Renee. For her, almost from the start, they shared a number of similarities with the Unending, our monsters from THE ATHEIST’S DAUGHTER.
The monsters she’d helped create nearly a decade ago.
At first, she was amused. Then a little creeped out. Then angry (because, you know, she felt we had thought of these guys first). Then scared. Because, as she texted to Harrell, no one will believe we had these creatures first. Everyone will think we stole several of their crucial elements from Mr. King.
Now, everyone knows writers can be a little paranoid and that might be all we’re looking at here. We don’t think so but…we’re writers. (See the “paranoid” note above.) If you’d care to play along with us, see if you think we’re overreacting. We’re about to compare bad guys.
At one time, the True Knot were people. They still look like people but, now, they’re monsters. At one time, the Unending were people. They still look like people but, now, they’re monsters.
Although unrelated by blood, the True Knot consider themselves a family. They are led by a powerful and cruel female. Although unrelated by blood, the Unending consider themselves a family. They are led by a powerful and cruel female.
The True Knot never use their real names around humans. They crave anonymity in order to commit their crimes. The Unending never use their real names around humans. They crave anonymity in order to commit their crimes.
The True Knot call normal people by an insulting name: Rubes. The Unending call normal people by an insulting name: Meat.
The True Knot seek special children, who they violently murder so that they can breathe in their essence. The essence comes off of the children in a cloud, to be stored and later absorbed. If the child is sick with a disease, it makes the True Knot sick.
The Unending seek special adults, who they violently murder so they can breathe in their essence. The essence drains from the adults in waves and is absorbed. If the adult is sick with a disease, it makes the Unending sick.
Breathing in the essence of their victims has allowed the True Knot to live for centuries. Breathing in the essence of their victims has allowed the Unending to live for centuries.
Certain members of the True Knot are locators, using their powers to find the children that will be murdered. Certain members of the Unending are psychics, using their powers to find the adults that will be murdered.
The True Knot appear to be see-through at times; their eyes can be seen floating in their heads. The Unending appear to be see-through at times; their eyes can be seen floating in their heads.
Dogs dislike the True Knot, avoiding them because they can see them for what they truly are. To quote THE ATHEIST’S DAUGHTER and one of the Unending: “Animals hate us but birds are the worse. Only they see us for what we are.”
When things get rough, some members of the True Knot decide to run away. When things get rough, some members of the Unending decide to run away.
The True Knot is frightened of a girl with special abilities; they want to kill her partly because she can expose them. The girl has tried to hide her abilities by pretending to be normal. The Unending is frightened of Kristin, a teenager with special abilities; they want to kill her partly because she can expose them. Kristin has tried to hide her abilities by pretending to be normal.
There’s more but it’s all drabs and dribbles and we don’t actually want to be too obsessed with this. Are there differences between the characters, too? Sure, there are, buckets of them. The storylines travel sharply different paths as well.
But the similarities are enough that, if the True Knot ever make it to film, the Unending never will. So, sadness.
Meanwhile, what should we do next? Thinking it over, we’ve added these words to our novel’s synopsis on Amazon:
**Please note: The monsters in THE ATHEIST’S DAUGHTER and the monsters in DOCTOR SLEEP: A NOVEL share a number of startling similarities. The Hunting Monsters Press publication date for THE ATHEIST’S DAUGHTER was 2011, while the screenplay that formed the basis of the novel was copyrighted in 2004.
DOCTOR SLEEP: A NOVEL was published in 2013.
The authors admire Stephen King’s work and don’t believe he borrowed any of our ideas. We just don’t want you to think we borrowed any of his ideas, either.**
We did this because, while you and you know the truth, the world is large and our readership is tiny. We want to protect our small, self-published novel from a sea of angry reviewers who don’t believe these kinds of coincidences can happen.
They do happen. After all, they just did.
And, Steve, if someone should happen to point you in the direction of this blog – you did good work, man. But so did we.