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Viking, November 1984. Softcover proof. "The Talisman" by Stephen King and Peter Straub. First printing preceding the first edition. This is the Unrevised and Unpublished proof. This copy was never intended for sale or distribution to the public. 635 pages. A rare Stephen King proof in brilliant orange.
This book charts the adventure of a twelve year old boy named Jack Sawyer. The young hero sets out from Arcadia Beach, New Hampshire in a bid to save his mother, who is dying from cancer, by finding an artifact called "the Talisman."
The premise of the novel involves the existence of a parallel world to Earth, called "the Territories" (a strange fantasy world with ties to King's The Dark Tower). Individuals in the Territories have "twinners," or parallel individuals, in our world. Twinners' births, deaths, and (it is intimated) other major life events are usually paralleled. Twinners can also flip, but only share the body of their alternate universe's analogue.
The idea of writing The Talisman first took form when Stephen King moved with his family to London in early 1977. It was there he met Peter and Susan Straub, along with their children, and the two writers became friends, both being fans of each other's work. After a short friendship, King and his family left after only three months back to the United States. Straub and King had talked multiple times before about collaborating to write a book, but nothing ever surfaced until ten years after King moved back, when the Straubs moved to the United States as well. According to King, after Straub moved, "the talk got serious," and they began writing. Their literary friendship did not end after the publication of The Talisman. In 1999 they began working on a sequel to The Talisman, dealing with Jack Sawyer as an adult. It was published in 2001, entitled Black House.
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