Stephen King has apologised for the fact that people are likening the coronavirus pandemic to living in one of his novels.
The US author, who wrote a book in the ’70s called The Stand about a viral pandemic, said he’s aware that fans are comparing the current outbreak to the kind of horrors depicted in his books.
“I keep having people say, ‘Gee, it’s like we’re living in a Stephen King story,’ he told NPR. “And my only response to that is, ‘I’m sorry.'”
Last month, King spoke out against rumours that the coronavirus epidemic is comparable to the Blue virus written in The Stand. “It’s not anywhere near as serious. It’s eminently survivable. Keep calm and take all reasonable precautions,” he wrote on Twitter.
Elsewhere in the NPR interview, King said a pandemic like COVID-19 was “bound to happen.”
He said: “There was never any question that in our society, where travel is a staple of daily life, that sooner or later, there was going to be a virus that was going to communicate to the public at large.”
The It author was also asked how he is coping with the fear and anxiety related to the pandemic.
“The short answer to that is I’m not,” he said. “What I’m living with and what I suspect a lot of people are living with right now is cabin fever…But to be in the house day after day, all I can say is I’ve made wonderful progress on a novel, because there’s really not too much to do and it’s a good way to get away from the fear.
“It’s not panic. It’s not terror that I feel, that I think most people feel, it’s a kind of gnawing anxiety where you say to yourself, I shouldn’t go out. If I do go out, I might catch this thing or I might give it to somebody else,” he said.
King recently released a new collection of short stories If It Bleeds, which centre on private investigator Holly Gibney who appears to have supernatural ability. The character is featured in several other his novels including The Outsider, which was recently adapted into an HBO series.
The novelist added that he doesn’t mind people labelling him a horror writer (“that’s fine — as long as the checks don’t bounce”) but that he thinks he’s more than that. “I’m interested in the mystery of what we are and what we’re capable of doing.”