Written : 1980
Firestarter predates The X-Files by years in its government paranoia intermingled with (super?)natural powers at work...
The Department of Scientific Intelligence (aka "The Shop") never anticipated that two participants in their research program would marry and have a child. Charlie McGee inherited pyrokinetic powers from her parents, who had been given a low-grade hallucinogen called "Lot Six" while at college. Now the government is trying to capture young Charlie and harness her powerful firestarting skills as a weapon.
In the spring of 1977 Stephen took his motorcycle to a mechanic who lived outside of Bridgton, Maine, "in the middle of nowhere". "I took the bike out there, and I just barely made it. And this huge Saint Bernard came out of the barn, growling. Then this guy came out and, I mean, he was Joe Camber-he looked almost like one of those guys out of Deliverance. And I was retreating, and wishing that I was not on my motorcycle, when the guy said, 'Don't worry. He don't bite.' And so I reached out to pet him, and the dog started to go for me. And the guy walked over and said, 'Down Gonzo,' or whatever the dog's name was and gave him this huge whack on the rump, and the dog yelped and sat down. The guy said, 'Gonzo never done that before. I guess he don't like your face.' And that became the central situation of the book, mixed with those old "Movies of the Week," the made-for-television movies that they used to have on ABC. I thought to myself, what if you could have a situation that was an extension of one scene. It would be the ultimate TV movie. There would be one set, there would be one room. You'd never even have to change the camera angle. So there was one very small place, and it became Donna's Pinto-and everything just flowed from that situation, the big dog and the Pinto."
Firestarter is the tale of an eight-year-old girl named Charlene McGee (called Charlie) and her father Andy. Charlie is a pyrokinetic, a person who has the ability to start fires just by thinking about doing it. And The Shop, a shady government agency who performed drug experiments on Charlie's parents (and are the reason why Charlie's powers exist) are now after the father and daughter, bent on using Charlie as a weapon of war.
The novel begins with Andy and Charlie, out of money and literally running for their lives. Vicky McGee - Charlie's mother and Andy's wife - was murdered by The Shop years ago, and they both know how dangerous the government can be. Charlie has been taught since a very young age that her powers are something to keep in check, but Andy knows that there are times when Charlie must use them to protect them, much to Charlie's chagrin. Andy himself posesses a weak mind-control power (another gift from The Shop), which is useful at times but gives him increasingly intense headaches. Charlie doesn't want her powers but must use them; Andy needs his power but it is painful to use. The Shop wants them both, and such are the threads of a wildly exciting novel.
We are given a few glimpses into the enemy territory, as well: the head of the Shop, known as Cap; the weak-willed closet transvestite scientist Patrick Hockstetter (his final scene approaces King's goriest yet); and the very dangerous and slightly pedophilic John Rainbird, a government killer with his sights set on Charlie.
Such a short description doesn't begin to describe the excitement of Firestarter. Like Christine, this is often described as King at mid-range, but also like Christine, this is not the case. The fireplay in the novel is quite intense and enjoyable, the characters are well-drawn and complete, and the fact that the initial concept of pyrokinesis isn't entirely scientifically implausible makes the novel quiet chilling as well. A good read for those already familiar with King's canon.
Phantasia Hunt Wds 1980
This is probably one of the most valuable limited edition Stephen King books available. Known as the "Asbestos Firestarter", 26 lettered copies, signed and dated July 8, 1980, were made wrapped in some aluminium-coated cloth!
725 #ed signed and dated either 5,6 ,7or 8 July.
This one is usually sold for $10,000 or even more... Every collector dreams of this one!
"First published in 1980 by the Viking Press"
on copyright page.
100,000 first print.
Dust Jacket price: $13.95
ISBN 0 451 16780 5.
On Copyright Page: 33 32 31 30 29 28 27 26
Copyright © Stephen King, 1980.
In memory of Shirley Jackson,
who never needed to raise her voice.
The Haunting of Hill House
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
New York / Albany
(chapter 1 - 24)
Longmont, Virginia: The Shop
(chapter 1 - 7)
The Incident at the Manders Farm
(chapter 1 - 19)
Washington, D. C.
(chapter 1 - 2)
(chapter 1 - 10)
Cap and Rainbird
(chapter 1 - 2)
In the Box
(chapter 1 - 5)
The Blackout(chapter 1 - 12)
Small Fires, Big Brother
(chapter 1 - 23)
(chapter 1 - 19)
(chapter 1 - 24)
(chapter 1 - 12)
You are about to meet the sweetest, most irresistible little girl you've ever known - 8-year-old Charlie McGee. She's everything that a proud father like Andy McGee could want - and all that he can fear. For Charlie was born with the most destructive power a human being has ever commanded - and somehow she must be saved from both herself and from those in high places who want to use her as their weapon.
Meet Charlie McGee - and see what happens when innocence and beauty ignite with evil and terror...
|ALSO KNOWN AS
Feuer Kind (Germany)