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Bram Stoker Award 1987, World Fantasy Award nominee 1988.
Stephen King is arguably the most popular novelist in the history of American fiction. He owes his fans a love letter. Misery is it.
Paul Sheldon, author of a bestselling series of historical romances, wakes up one winter day in a strange place, a secluded farmhouse in Colorado. He wakes up to unspeakable pain (a dislocated pelvis, a crushed knee, two shattered legs) and to a bizarre greeting from the woman who has saved his life: "I'm your number one fan!"
Annie Wilkes is a huge ex-nurse, handy with controlled substances and other instruments of abuse, including an axe and a blowtorch. A dangerous psychotic with a Romper Room sense of good and bad, fair and unfair, Annie Wilkes may be Stephen King's most terrifying creation. It's not fair, for example, that her favorite character in the world, Misery Chastain, has been killed by her creator, as Annie discovers when Paul's latest novel comes out in paperback. And it's not good that her favorite writer has been a Don't-Bee and written a different kind of novel, a nasty novel, the novel he has always wanted to write, the only copy of which now lies in Annie's angry hands.
Because she wants Paul Sheldon to be a Do-Bee, she buys him a typewriter and a ream of paper and tells him to bring Misery back to life. Wheelchair-bound, drug-dependent, locked in his room, Paul doesn't have much choice. He's an entertainer held captive by his audience. A writer in serious trouble. But writers have weapons too...
This is a great way to play on every writer's fear:
A crazed fan who literally couldn't get enough of their work.
Not many people would have liked to be in Paul Sheldon's place, me included. But King saw an opportunity and he grasped it with everything a writer should.