If you missed the first post, it's still on the board somewhere, but the gist is that I am reading all of Stephen King's books in order of publication, summarizing them and giving my thoughts, rating each one at the end. The posts will be full of spoilers, but I'm willing to bet that if you haven't read certain King books already you probably aren't going to get around to it anytime soon, so read away to find out what happens and see what I think of it all.
'Salem's Lot (October 1975)
By the time King published his second novel he was already a sensation, with a million copies of Carrie flying off book shelves. Never one to rest on his laurels, King set out to better his first novel with a larger yet more focused story about vampires in small-town Maine.
His inspiration for this arose from before Carrie made him famous, when he was still teaching high school and barely making ends meet. He taught Bram Stoker's Dracula to his students and began to wonder what it would be like if Dracula returned in the modern day. He's not the only person who's ever had this idea, but King expanded it into something different. Instead of bringing a vampire to a city, he brought a group of vampires into a sleepy small town of fewer than 1500 people.
In 'Salem's Lot, King takes his trick of mixing a regular small town with the supernatural from Carrie and takes it to the next step. While the town of Chamberlain in Carrie was a small town with small town people, it didn't become a pervasive part of the story. In his second novel, for the first time King made the town almost a character in its own right, and this is a storytelling choice he will return to again and again throughout his career.
King first titled this second novel, appropriately enough, Second Coming, but his wife didn't like it so he named it Jerusalem's Lot after the town instead. His publishers, finding this too religious for the title of a horror novel (even though the town was itself named after a pig), shortened it to 'Salem's Lot, which more easily brings the supernatural to mind because of the association with the Salem Village witchcraft trials of the 17th Century. Yet this book isn't about witches at all, so.
'Salem's Lot was nominated for Best Novel in the 1976 World Fantasy Awards, but did not win.
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