Riding the Bullet

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{film, series, show}
{son, year, death}
{system, computer, user}
{car, race, vehicle}
{day, year, event}
{work, book, publish}
{water, park, boat}
{school, student, university}

Riding the Bullet is a novella by Stephen King. This work marks King's debut on the Internet. Simon & Schuster, with technology by SoftLock, first published Riding the Bullet in 2000 as the world's first mass-market electronic book, available for download at $2.50. In 2002, it was collected in King's collection Everything's Eventual.



During the first 24 hours, over 400,000 copies of "Riding the Bullet" were downloaded, jamming SoftLock's server.[1] Some Stephen King fans waited hours for the download.[2]

With over 500,000 downloads, Stephen King seemed to pave the way of the publishing future. The actual number of readers was unclear because the encryption caused countless computers to crash.[3]

The financial success of the electronic publication was doubtful. Initially offered at $2.50 by SoftLock and Simon & Schuster, Amazon and Barnes and Noble gave free downloads.[4]

A movie adaptation of the story, starring Jonathan Jackson and David Arquette, was released in 2004.

In 2009, the Riding the Bullet: The Deluxe Special Edition Double by Stephen King and Mick Garris was announced by Lonely Road Books[5] It is scheduled to be released as an oversized slipcased hardcover that is bound in the flip book or tête-bêche format (like an Ace Double). It will feature the novella Riding the Bullet, the original script for the film with same name by Mick Garris, and artwork by Alan M. Clark and Bernie Wrightson. It will be available in three editions:

  • Collector's Gift Edition: limited to just 3000 slipcased copies (not signed)
  • Limited Edition of 500 copies (signed by Mick Garris and the artist)
  • Lettered Edition of 52 copies (signed by Stephen King)

Plot summary

Alan Parker is a student at the University of Maine, Orono who is trying to find himself. He gets a call from a neighbor in his hometown, Lewiston, telling him that his mother has been taken to the hospital after having a stroke. Lacking a functioning car, Parker decides to hitchhike the 120-miles south to visit his mother.[6]

His first ride is with an old man who continually tugs at his crotch in a car that stinks of urine. Happy to escape this ride, Alan starts walking, thumbing his next ride. Coming upon a graveyard, Alan notices a headstone for a stranger named George Staub: "Well Begun, Too Soon Done." Sure enough, the next car to pick him up is George Staub, complete with black stitches around his neck where his head had been sewn on after being severed and wearing a button saying "I rode The Bullet at Thrill Village, Laconia." [7]

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