The Plant: Zenith Rising Art
Works / Other Projects

The Plant: Zenith Rising

The Plant: Zenith Rising Art

Released

2000

Available Format(s)

eBook

Project Type

eBook

Things aren't going well for Zenith House, Publishers. Their sales are failing and the company is about to go under when they are approached by Carlos Detweiller who has a book called True Tales of Demon Infestations he would like them to publish. After having his book rejected, Carlos sends them a "gift"--an ivy plant which is taken in and cared for by Riddley Walker (the company's mail clerk who pretends to be less educated than he is). The company experiences a sudden turnaround of fates but, as always, success doesn't come without a price.

Download The Plant, Parts 1-3 (Adobe PDF)

Download The Plant, Parts 4-6 (Adobe PDF)

The Plant was published in six installments and distributed through Stephen's web site as an e-book on the honor system for payment. The novel has not yet been completed. If the inspiration does return, at some time in the future this project will be completed but the format for its publication may be different.

 

Inspiration

In the early 1980s, I started an epistolary novel called The Plant. I published limited editions of the first three short volumes, giving them out to friends and relatives (folks who are usually but not always the same) as funky Christmas cards. I gave The Plant up not because I thought it was bad but because other projects intervened. At the time I quit, the work in progress was roughly 25,000 words long. It told the story of a sinister plant—sort of a vampire-vine—that takes over the offices of a paperback publishing company, offering financial success in trade for human sacrifices. The story struck me as both scary and funny.

 

The letter from Stephen, which accompanied the first installment:

Dear Constant Reader,

    In the early 1980s, I started an epistolary novel called The Plant. I published limited editions of the first three short volumes, giving them out to friends and relatives (folks who are usually but not always the same) as funky Christmas cards. I gave The Plant up not because I thought it was bad but because other projects intervened. At the time I quit, the work in progress was roughly 25,000 words long. It told the story of a sinister plant—sort of a vampire-vine—that takes over the offices of a paperback publishing company, offering financial success in trade for human sacrifices. The story struck me as both scary and funny. Now it has occurred to me that it might be amusing to put it up on this web-site, in installments of 5000 words each…something like that, anyway. If this idea interests you, will you e-mail the website and say so? By the same token, if it sounds like a bad idea, will you tell me that?

    I admit that I have another agenda. I was intrigued by the success of “Riding the Bullet” (stunned would probably be a more accurate word), and since then have been anxious to try something similar, but I’ve also been puzzling over issues of ownership when it comes to creative work. On one hand I applaud Metallica’s decision to try and put a few spikes into the big, cushy radial tire that is Napster, because creative people should be paid for their work just as plumbers and carpenters and accountants are paid for theirs. On the other hand, I think that the current technology is rapidly turning the whole idea of copyright into a risky proposition…not quite a joke, but something close to it. It took hackers only forty-eight to seventy-two hours to bust the encryption on “Bullet” (as Tabitha says, spending invaluable hours to obtain an item that sold for $2.50 and was at many sites given away).

    Being something of an optimist about my fellow creatures, I have the idea that most people are honest and will pay for what they get. I’m therefore willing to try selling The Plant on an honor system. Episodes would not be encoded. If you wanted to download the stuff to your printer, you could do that. But you gotta kick a buck; a dollar an episode seems fair enough to me. If it seems fair to you, e-mail the website and say so. If it seems heavy, say that. My purpose here isn’t to skin anybody but to have some fun and try out a concept so old it may seem new; call it “honesty is the best policy.”

There’s only one small catch. If there are 50,000 downloads, I should get something like $50,000. Of course it won’t be that much, because there are always going to be cheaters and chintzes in the world (and for some reason they seem to live longer than the rest of us, God knows why). But I could live with a ratio of nine honest folks for every chiseler. Maybe even eight. But I do think you should be able to print what you read, and pass it on if you choose, the same way you might pass on a book you bought to a friend. You may not sell copies, however.

    So tell me what you think, keeping in mind that The Plant is an unfinished work (although I reserve the right to continue the story, and to continue posting further installments, if the feedback is positive) and I can’t guarantee you an ending, either happy or sad. And I reserve the right to cease publication if a lot of people steal the story…but I just don’t believe that will happen. I mean, we’re talking a buck a pop here, right?

Best regards,

Stephen King

Characters

Hide List Show List
Name
Description
Abbalah
God or idol prayed to and mentioned by Carlos Detweiller
Demeter
God or idol prayed to and mentioned by Carlos Detweiller
Felix
Name on a note seen at Petersborough Disposal Co's landfill
Green
God or idol prayed to and mentioned by Carlos Detweiller
Hamlet
Character in a book quoted by John Kenton
Jack
From Jack and the Beanstalk
Jesus
Mentioned in passing
Moby Dick
Fictional whale
Rinaldo
What Dina Andrews called her large pink bear won at Coney Island
Turk
Name on a note seen at Petersborough Disposal Co's landfill
Zenith
The plant sent to John Kenton from Roberta Solrac.
?, Coretta
Aunt of Sandra Jackson
?, Eddie
Lawyer cousin of Riddley Walker
?, Elaine
Childhood friend of Sandra Jackson
?, Fergus
Name on a letter in Herb Porters Out box at Zenith House
?, Gertrude
Friend from Fortuna Walkers book circle
?, Orthina
Friend from Fortuna Walkers book circle
?, Phyllis
Childhood friend of Sandra Jackson
?, Randall
Husband of Sophie Walker
?, Ray
Uncle of Roger Wade who was an amateur Horticulturist.
?, Susan
Aunt of John Kenton.
Abelson, Norman
Oak Cove Orderly
Adams, Richard
Author of "Watership Down"
Anderson, Oren
Partner of Floyd Walker
Anderson, Toby
Fiancee of Ruth Tanaka.
Andrews, Dina
11-year-old niece of Sandra Jackson.
Andrews, V.C.
Author mentioned in passing
Arlen, Harold
Composer--wrote "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
Bacon, Francis
Author quoted
Barfield, Don
Husband of Tina Barfield.
Barfield, Tina
The owner of the Central Falls House of Flowers. Boss of Carlos Detweiller. Wife of Don Barfield.
Barker, Olive
Author of the Windhover series published by Zenith House.
Beach Boys, The
Band mentioned in passing
Beatles, The
Band mentioned in passing
Bellows, Saul
Author mentioned in passing
Benchley, Peter
Author of "Jaws"
Bixby, Jerome
Wrote "It's a Good Life"
Blatty, William Peter
Author of "The Exorcist"
Brown, James
Singer mentioned in passing
Carlyle, ?
Writer mentioned in passing
Carroll, Lewis
Author mentioned in passing
Carstairs, Jinky
Author for Zenith House
Chesterton, John
Pilot killed in the crash of OCR Flight 14
Chomsky, Noam
Mentioned in passing
Conley, Arthur
Singer mentioned in passing
Conrad, William
Actor seen on TV
Crandall, ?
Lawyer with Crandall & Ouitz, near Zenith House
Curran, James
Author in John Kenton's files.
Davis, Sammy Jr.
Singer mentioned in passing
DeFelice, ?
Children of Frank DeFelice
DeFelice, Frank
Worked for Tallyrand Office Supply
DeFelice, Mrs.
Wife of Frank DeFelice
DeGaulle, Charles
Mentioned in passing
Denver, John
Singer thought of by Riddley Walker
Detweiller, Carlos
Crazy writer who wanted his book published by Zenith House.
Detweiller, Mrs.
Mother of Carlos Detweiller.
Dorchester, Ellen
Author in John Kenton's files.
Durst, Rita
Worked for "Gimme the World" travel agency
Earhart, Amelia
According to Carlos Detweiller she disappeared due to "Demons"
Eisenhower, Dwight
Decorated Anthony Hecksler in 1954
Eliot, T.S.
Author mentioned in passing
Ellison, Ralph
Author mentioned in passing
Enders, Harlow
Chief Comptroller in New York for Apex Corporation, the owners of Zenith House.
Evans, LaShonda
Part-time receptionist at Zenith House. Also called LaShonda McHue
Faulkner
Author mentioned in passing
Ferguson, George
President of Ocean State Airways
Fields, W.C.
Author mentioned by Roger Wade
Flannagan, ?
Lived up the road from John Kenton as a child.
Flannagan, Tommy
Lived up the road from John Kenton as a child.
Flynn, George
Rejected James Saltworthy's book "The Last Survivor" when working for Viking in November 1978
Fonda, Jane
Ruth Tanaka had her workout video
Ford, Arthur P.
State Police Lieutenant trying to catch Hecksler
Foster, Jodie
Actress mentioned in passing.
Foster, Stephen
Mentioned in passing
Freestone-Love, Janet
Author for Zenith House
Garfunkel, Art
Part of the band that John Kenton listened to
Gaye, Marvin
Singer mentioned in passing
Gear, Richard
Name mentioned in a letter by Detweiller to John Kenton. It should have been Richard Gere.
Gelb, William (Bill)
Zenith House Editor
Gere, Richard
The real name of the person called Richard Gear in a letter by Detweiller to John Kenton
Ginelli, Richard
Owner of the Four Fathers Bar where Roger Wade often drank.
Goldstein, Avery
Co-Pilot killed in the crash of OCR Flight 14
Goldwater, Barry
Mentioned in passing
Graustark, Teddy
Apex Corporation Vice President in charge of Print Media
Hammer, Bill
Used to work as an editor for Zenith House
Hance, ?
Children of Evelyn and Jack Hance
Hance, Evelyn
Married name of Evelyn Walker. Wife of Jack Hance
Hance, Jack
Husband of Evelyn Hance.
Hangstrom, Herb
Used a Ouija board with Carlos Detweiller.
Hardaway, Nick
Pen name of the author Dawson Postlewaite
Hecht, Ben
Play author mentioned in passing
Hecklser, Anthony R. (Iron Guts)
Insane former Major General, but now retired. He wrote a book that Herb Porter had rejected for publishing.
Hecksler, ?
Sister of Anthony Hecksler.
Hemingway, Ernest
Author mentioned in passing
Henries, Dr.
Doctor of Sandra Jackson when she was a child
Hitchcock, Alfred
Film Director mentioned in passing
Hitler, Adolf
Dead mass murderer
Hoffa, Jimmy
Mentioned in passing
Howe, Myron
Saw the crash of OCR Flight 14 on 31 March 1981.
Iverson, Barton
Central Falls police chief.
J. Geils Band, The
Band mentioned in passing
Jackson, Sandra
Editor for Zenith House
Jakes, John
Author mentioned in passing
Joyce, Jones
Author mentioned in passing
Keen, Norville
He was the human "sacrifice" that was in Carlos Detweiller's photographs.
Kennedy, John F.
President of the USA thought of by John Kenton.
Kenton, ?
Married Sister 1 of John Kenton
Kenton, ?
Married Sister 2 of John Kenton
Kenton, ?
Unmarried Sister of John Kenton that lives with her mother
Kenton, John Edward
An associate editor at Zenith House
Kenton, Kevin Anthony
Mentioned in a letter to John Kenton by Tina Barfield. John Kenton's brother who died of brain cancer
Kenton, Mr.
Father of John.
Kenton, Mrs.
Mother of John.
Kimball, Richard
TV character
Knopf, Alfred A.
New York publishing house
LaScorbia, Anthony K.L.
Author published by Zenith House.
Lawrence, ?
Author mentioned in passing
Leekstodder, Hubert D.
Co-Owner of the Shady Rest Mortuary.
Leekstodder, Mr.
Son of Hubert Leekstodder.
Leekstodder, Mrs.
Daughter-in-law of the Leekstodders.
Leekstodder, Mrs.
Wife of Hubert.
Lincoln, Abraham
President of the USA
Lockridge, Ross
Author of "Raintree County"
Lovecraft, H.P.
Author of the Necronomicon mentioned by Carlos Detweiller
Ludlum, Robert
Author mentioned in passing
MacArthur, Douglas
Gave Hecksler the lighter he used to start the fire in the Shady Rest Mortuary
Mailer, Norman
Author of "The Naked and The Dead"
Marksland, Rodney
Police Lieutenant from Long Island
Mayr, Dallas
Passenger killed in the crash of OCR Flight 14
McDowell, Michael
Husband of Olympia McDowell
McDowell, Olympia
Aunt of Riddley Walker.
McHue, LaShonda
Part-time receptionist at Zenith House. Also called LaShonda Evans
Mencken, H.L.
Mentioned by John Kenton
Metalious, Grace
Author of "Peyton Place"
Milton, ?
Author mentioned in passing
Mitty, Walter
Mentioned in passing
Monroe, Marilyn
Actress; friend of J F Kennedy
Moors, Ellen K.
Anthony Hecksler's doctor in Oak Cove Asylum
Mumy, Billy
Child actor who was mentioned as being in a Twilight Zone episode
Newman, Paul
Actor in Cool Hand Luke
Nixon, Richard
According to Carlos Detweiller he was infected with "tulpa"
Nordstrom, Tracy
Psycho truck driver who is the main character in the book "The Last Survivor".
O'Connor, Flannery
Mentioned in passing
Oceanby, John
Possibly fictional author whose name was used as a cover on James Saltworthy's book "The Last Survivor".
Ouitz, ?
Lawyer with Crandall & Ouitz near Zenith House
Parker, Dorothy
Mentioned in passing
Patella, George
Executive Vice President of RainBo Softdrinks.
Penbroke, Alicia
Nurse at Oak Cove Asylum
Perkins, Maxwell
Mentioned in passing
Piet, John
Orderly at Oak Cove Asylum
Poe, Edgar Allan
Poet mentioned in passing
Poppins, Mary
Movie character
Porter, Herb
Editor at Zenith House
Porter, Lisa
Ex-wife of Herb Porter
Porter, Mr.
Father of Herb Porter.
Porter, Mrs.
Mother of Herb Porter.
Postlewaite, Dawson
Writer known as Nick Hardaway
Puzo, Mario
Author of "The Godfather"
Pyne, Joe
Mentioned in passing
Reagan, Ronald
President of the USA.
Redbone, Sherwyn
President of the Apex Corporation
Redford, Robert
Actor mentioned in passing
Riley, ?
Police officer sent to the House of Flowers by Barton Iverson
Rockne, Knute
Football player mentioned by Roger Wade
Rogers, Rosemary
Author mentioned by John Kenton
Rolling Stones, The
Band mentioned in passing
Roth, ?
Author mentioned in passing
Runyon, Damon
Author mentioned by John Kenton
Saltworthy, James (Jim)
Author of the book "The Last Survivor" about a group of survivors on TV show. The book is to be published by Zenith House
Saltworthy, Mrs.
Wife of James Saltworthy
Saul, John
Author mentioned by John Kenton
Savini, Tom
Special effects expert mentioned in passing.
Schneur, Herman T.
Bus driver almost killed by Anthony Hecksler
Scrooge, Ebeneezer
Mentioned in passing
Shakespeare, William
Author mentioned in passing
Simon, Paul
Part of the band Simon & Garfunkel
Sinatra, Frank
Singer mentioned by Harl Enders
Slavinsky, Rodney
Author who uses the name of Bart I Straight
Solrac, Roberta
Alias of Carlos Detweiller.
Stames, Sally
Character in "The Last Survivor".
Stevens, Wallace
Poet mentioned in passing
Straight, Bart I.
Pen name of the author Rodney Slavinsky
Stylistics, The
Band mentioned in passing
Tanaka, Ruth
Ex-fiancee of John Kenton
Temptations, The
Band mentioned in passing
Tidyman, Law
Close friend of Fortuna Walker who read her will. Husband of Sulla Tidyman.
Tidyman, Sulla
Wife of Law Tidyman.
Tyndale, ?
Police Sergeant who helped verify the photos from Carlos Detweiller's book. Worked at the 31st precinct police station in New York
Wade, Mrs.
Mother of Roger Wade.
Wade, Roger
Editor in chief at Zenith House.
Wagner, Honus
Baseball player on a card that was bought by Herb Porter
Walker, ?
Children of Floyd Walker
Walker, Deidre
Sister of Riddley Walker.
Walker, Evelyn
Sister of Riddley Walker. Wife of Jack Hance.
Walker, Floyd
Brother of Riddley Walker.
Walker, Fortuna
Mother of Riddley, Diedre and Floyd Walker.
Walker, Madeline
Favorite sister of Riddley Walker.
Walker, Mr.
Father of Riddley Walker.
Walker, Riddley Pearson
Delivered mail and a janitor at Zenith House.
Walker, Sophie
Sister of Riddley Walker
Wayne, John
Actor in the movie "Wake of the Red Witch"
Weiner, Robert
Passenger killed in the crash of OCR Flight 14
Westmoreland, ? (Westy)
General who spoke to Hecksler in Vietnam
Wettermark, Randy
Best friend of John Kenton in 5th grade.
Whitney, James
Wrote an article on the crash of OCR Flight 14
Williams, Alan
Senior editor at Viking Press
Williams, Tennessee
Singer mentioned in passing
Wilson, Gahan
Owner of a house in Connecticut where Ruth Tannaka met Roger Wade. Husband of Nancy
Wilson, Nancy
Wife of Gahan
Wolfe, Thomas
Author mentioned by John Kenton.
Yeager, Mort
Writer for Zenith House.
...
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