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Stephen King announces his second book of 2018

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Feb 7, 2018, 5:05 PM EST

Does Stephen King ever sleep? The 70-year-old author has just announced a new book—his second of 2018—called Elevation. The 144-page novella will be published on October 30, just over five months after his other 2018 book, The Outsider, arrives in May.

Like his recent novella Gwendy's Button Box, Elevation is set in King's signature town of Castle Rock, Maine, and is described by its publisher as a "riveting, extraordinarily eerie, and moving story about a man whose mysterious affliction brings a small town together" and "a timely, upbeat tale about finding common ground despite deep-rooted differences." The publisher adds that it's "an antidote to our divisive culture, as gloriously joyful (with a twinge of deep sadness) as 'It's a Wonderful Life.'"

Here's a more detailed synopsis, courtesy of King's official website:

Although Scott Carey doesn't look any different, he's been steadily losing weight. There are a couple of other odd things, too. He weighs the same in his clothes and out of them, no matter how heavy they are. Scott doesn't want to be poked and prodded. He mostly just wants someone else to know, and he trusts Doctor Bob Ellis.

In the small town of Castle Rock, the setting of many of King's most iconic stories, Scott is engaged in a low grade -- but escalating -- battle with the lesbians next door whose dog regularly drops his business on Scott's lawn. One of the women is friendly; the other, cold as ice. Both are trying to launch a new restaurant, but the people of Castle Rock want no part of a gay married couple, and the place is in trouble. When Scott finally understands the prejudices they face -- including his own -- he tries to help. Unlikely alliances, the annual foot race, and the mystery of Scott's affliction bring out the best in people who have indulged the worst in themselves and others.

Elevation sounds less like straight horror and more like the magical realism of King tales like The Green Mile. It also appears to swing in the opposite direction from The Outsider, the synopsis of which almost reads the dark flipside to Elevation's somewhat more hopeful-sounding narrative.

It's not one of King's epics (The Outsider, by contrast, runs 576 pages), but it fits a recent pattern in which King has been releasing two titles a year -- one a full-sized novel and one a shorter work or a collection. And while we can't say that every recent publication has been a home run, the man's work is always consistently readable.

The good news is that King doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon, and will continue to be well-represented on TV and at the movies, with Hulu's Castle Rock, the sequel to It, a Pet Sematary remake, a second season of Mr. Mercedes and an adaptation of Doctor Sleep all on the way. And now you can add Elevation to the King goodness coming your way this year.