"The Plant," Now or (Maybe) Never

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prufrock21

Well-Known Member
Jun 2, 2011
2,956
12,657
The Caribbean
STEPHEN KING SHOULD CONTINUE WRITING “THE PLANT,” AND WHY IT MATTERS

Arguably “The Plant,” Stephen King's epistolary novel, is his unfinished masterpiece. And he should continue writing it. Why? Without a doubt the reasons are multiple and varied, as I will explain below.

Stephen King wrote “The Plant” and published it as an experiment of sorts, since it appeared online in digital form. He also published it through his own Philtrum Press, as a limited edition, and gave out copies of a different version as “funky Christmas cards,” as he himself has described it, to his relatives and friends. It is important to note that this happened before the well-earned fame and the media blitz accorded to The Stand, It, The Dark Tower or any of his other major works. My contention is that early King was not tainted by phenomenal success, so he had nothing to lose (and everything to gain) by composing a work with such a bizarre (even for him), unheard of premise and unusual format: a work which is unapologetically grossed out and creepy.

Equally as important—and this point is crucial in my reasoning—in “The Plant” we encounter Stephen King writing at fever pitch, with no holds barred and no censorship--incarnate in his creative energy and inventive zeal. In essence, with the four-barrel (shades of Christine and From a Buick Eight) carburetor of his imagination wide open. No wonder Harlan Ellison, as quoted in The Stephen King Companion (edited by George Beahm), states on p. 111: “. . . those of us who have been privileged to read the first couple of sections of The Plant . . . perceive a talent of uncommon dimensions.”

Writing of “uncommon dimensions” is what Stephen King brings to “The Plant.” Among all his other works, “The Plant” is unique in that it is written as an epistolary novel, as were Frankenstein and Dracula, and it appeared in digital format as well as in print. It is this uncommonness, this uniqueness in execution and writing ability, this synergy of artist and his creation, which moves me to consider it his unfinished masterpiece.

If it is unfinished, this begs the question: Why doesn't he finish it?

The reasons here may also be multiple and varied. One of the primary ones I can think of, and which immediately comes to mind, is: The man has lost the inspiration, the initial thread, as it were. Consider that he began the work in the early eighties, and much water has passed under the bridge since then. This might result a stumbling block for a writer of mediocre talent, but for Stephen King, who has been publishing successfully for over three decades, it should not represent any insurmountable hurdle. I am aware, however, that though inspiration might not be an impediment, his other obligations and commitments could be.

Inspiration (or the lack thereof) aside, there is also the prickly issue of the fans, those who paid to read it initially and were “left in the lurch,” so to speak. To paraphrase Lincoln: You cannot please all of the people all of the time. Diehard fans, I'm sure, will not begrudge Stephen King his decision to cease digital publication of the work. After all, such an action was his prerogative. And I am certain that most fans will cast ill feeling to the winds and welcome the work's continuation. Let bygones be bygones. Forgive and forget.

Having consider the major issues, why does it matter that he should finish it?

It matters precisely because it is his unfinished masterpiece, and Mr. King is a true artist. In a very real sense he owes it, if not to the fans, then to himself. Imagine if Picasso had never completed Guernica, what a loss this would have meant to the artistic world. I believe, then, that “The Plant” is Stephen King's Guernica, and it would mean a terrible loss to the literary world, in particular to the horror genre, if he were never to complete it.

There are other reasons why it matters that he should continue with it as well. The main one is: Stephen King fans would welcome it, embrace it, like the birth of a long-awaited child, naked and unadorned but fully formed, complete. I am referring here to diehard fans, fans who positively love his work, fans who in scope and degree are comparable to the fan who is Annie Wilkes, in scope and degree, without the mayhem.

The other main reason he should continue with the work and finish it is this: It matters to the genre of horror that he do so. Since I have described “The Plant” as Stephen King's unfinished masterpiece, the genre of contemporary horror would be an incomplete canon without it. Think of the Western Canon without Hamlet, or the horror genre without Dracula. Not that Stephen King is either Shakespeare or Bram Stoker—-or even a classic (not yet)---but in another time and place, a time and place that has “moved on,” he could be.

Given the reasons and arguments expressed above, I challenge Stephen King to continue writing “The Plant,” and, if Ka-tet wills it—to finish it.

The man himself has stated, “. . . I reserve the right to continue the story, and to continue posting further installments.” Consider, then, what it would mean to relive the magic, to revisit the dark and delicious world of Carlos Detweiller et. al. and capture once again the “awful daring,” the rare yet wonderful synergy which exists between the artist and his creation. Like looking over the shoulder of Bram Stoker as he writes Dracula. Such is the brilliant creative power of “The Plant.”

So, what do you say, Mr. King? Are you willing to allow The Powers to once more freely give? If so, then the mere thought incites the mind and inflames the imagination.
 

kingricefan

All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.
Jul 11, 2006
30,011
127,446
Spokane, WA
I still haven't read it...seems like it would frustrating to read something unfinished. Then again, that didn't stop me from reading the Dark Tower series as it was released...
You should go ahead and read it. It really is a great piece of fiction. It gets better with each installment! I hope someday that King will return to it and finish it.
 

DiO'Bolic

Not completely obtuse
Nov 14, 2013
22,864
129,998
Poconos, PA
You should go ahead and read it. It really is a great piece of fiction. It gets better with each installment! I hope someday that King will return to it and finish it.

I just downloaded it and printed it out. Will have to give it another try. That's a lot of paper. Killed another tree. Thankfully I have tens of thousands growing on a property of mine and one won't be missed.
 

GNTLGNT

The idiot is IN
Jun 15, 2007
87,651
358,754
59
Cambridge, Ohio
I just downloaded it and printed it out. Will have to give it another try. That's a lot of paper. Killed another tree. Thankfully I have tens of thousands growing on a property of mine and one won't be missed.
...unless the Ent's are watching...

9447_press02-001.jpg
 

Spideyman

Uber Member
Jul 10, 2006
46,336
195,472
76
Just north of Duma Key
I still haven't read it...seems like it would frustrating to read something unfinished. Then again, that didn't stop me from reading the Dark Tower series as it was released...

FF, do give it a read. Think of a sunflower-- the installments are the growth of it up to the completed flower. You can read it and enjoy the beauty of that flower without harvesting the seeds. There is enough of the story to enjoy.
 

prufrock21

Well-Known Member
Jun 2, 2011
2,956
12,657
The Caribbean
...dude I love the campaign, but even with your great "fertilizer", I don't think he's ever gonna let it grow again...
It's what I've been trying to do: give it water and fertilizer. Consider:
It's not the first time SK has taken a sabbatical from continuing or finishing a work. I believe the same thing happened with Under the Dome, and especially with 11-22-63. I know it's been over thirty years. I also believe that "The Plant" is a work whose time has come.

If inspiration isn't a major hurdle, the question is: How do we get Zenith ivy to grow? I've suggested before that the plant needs blood, especially virgin blood in order to really flourish. Pop quiz: How do we get a virgin to bleed inside Zenith House?

Once the plant has been satiated, I see it going "out into the world," creeping, its tendrils exploring. Imagine Zenith ivy spreading, not only in NY but across the entire Eastern Seaboard. Man, that would be something.

The plant is now affecting, influencing the lives of many other people. Other characters (other than those inside Zenith House) will make an appearance. This will necessarily entail subplots, and the most relevant of these characters will have their own narratives. How can the man maintain the epistolary form when things become this complicated, when the plot thickens?

Now for the thorny issue. The fans, those who paid to read the initial installments, and those who have read the work since (I'm one) and were "left in the lurch," waiting for it to continue. Mon ami, it's been over thirty years. How long can you sustain a grudge? Let bygones be bygones. Render unto the man the credit he deserves, and let's move on.

Just some ideas to bounce of the wall of the SKMB. There are others, but we'll consider them later.
 

BeverleyMarsh

Well-Known Member
Jul 23, 2010
862
5,374
The Twilight Zone
It's what I've been trying to do: give it water and fertilizer. Consider:
It's not the first time SK has taken a sabbatical from continuing or finishing a work. I believe the same thing happened with Under the Dome, and especially with 11-22-63. I know it's been over thirty years. I also believe that "The Plant" is a work whose time has come.

If inspiration isn't a major hurdle, the question is: How do we get Zenith ivy to grow? I've suggested before that the plant needs blood, especially virgin blood in order to really flourish. Pop quiz: How do we get a virgin to bleed inside Zenith House?

Once the plant has been satiated, I see it going "out into the world," creeping, its tendrils exploring. Imagine Zenith ivy spreading, not only in NY but across the entire Eastern Seaboard. Man, that would be something.

The plant is now affecting, influencing the lives of many other people. Other characters (other than those inside Zenith House) will make an appearance. This will necessarily entail subplots, and the most relevant of these characters will have their own narratives. How can the man maintain the epistolary form when things become this complicated, when the plot thickens?

Now for the thorny issue. The fans, those who paid to read the initial installments, and those who have read the work since (I'm one) and were "left in the lurch," waiting for it to continue. Mon ami, it's been over thirty years. How long can you sustain a grudge? Let bygones be bygones. Render unto the man the credit he deserves, and let's move on.

Just some ideas to bounce of the wall of the SKMB. There are others, but we'll consider them later.
I just finished reading The Plant ( absolutely loved it ) and I am suspecting Stephen King might have finished it just not released it for a reason or other. It just seems very strange that he would leave those characters in the place they are, when the story is reaching such momentum. According to him, it's almost like the characters are telling him the story, he sees events unfold in his mind and he just writes it. It seems so strange that he would have decided to stop it like that. Just a thought...