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"My friends, we have a chance to become big publishing's worst nightmare," says Stephen King on the Official Stephen King Web Presence website. Reflecting major contacts of Uranus to his natal chart, the King of Fright has managed to rock the publishing industry's world with the July release of his Internet-only, dollar-a-download installment novella, The Plant.

It isn't surprising that King is a bit of a rebel, shown by the fact that when he was born, the Sun was forming an electric and unpredictable square with the planet Uranus. The urge to cut down existing power structures and reform the status quo is central to the nature of such people, and King, true to form, has rocked big publishing's world.

Lightning Strikes

Stephen King has been busy indeed, since the June, 1999 car accident that nearly cost him his life and showed us just how tough a combination Pluto and Saturn can be (see What Really Scares the King of Fright). Although King says he doesn't write as much as he used to, the industrious Virgo has nevertheless completed several projects since his brush with death and the long recovery from his injuries, including the first massively distributed ebook, Riding The Bullet, which was well received but plagued with issues of Internet copyright theft.

But it is his latest work, The Plant, a novella about an evil plant that takes over a publishing house, which is said to be both gruesome and funny, that has the publishing industry buzzing. Truly ground breaking and quintessentially Uranian, The Plant is also an electronic book, but unlike Riding The Bullet, it is not encrypted, and will only be released by direct download in installments, paid for by the reader on the honor system.

"No stealing from the blind newsboy!" says King at his website, and he means it. The first two 5000–7000 word installments were guaranteed, but King made it clear that if downloaders didn't pay the buck a pop, there would be no third installment. Not surprisingly, considering King's massive popularity, his fans have responded with enthusiasm; so far they have paid the blind newsboy, making a succes of King's effort and insuring future releases.

Though cynics and nervous publishing moguls have said that only someone as well-known as King could pull this off, the fact remains that King has very effectively cut the middle man—the publishing houses—out of the game and left the door open for anyone who might want to come along and do the same. King said recently that he loves his publishers, has had a long and happy relationship with them and has no plans to abandon them; so whatever possessed him to do such a thing?

Uranus, the great reformer and notorious upsetter of the status quo, has been traveling in the sign of Aquarius, representing society and community. Transiting Uranus is often the harbinger of social revolution and completely new ideas, and as this unpredictable, rebellious planet moved directly opposite King’s First House Pluto (big business, power) and Saturn (existing structures, established authorities) earlier this year, it is no surprise that he felt compelled to strike at the heart of the publishing industry.

Noblesse Oblige

King, without a doubt one of the richest and most powerful men in publishing today, has the royal sign of Leo and the powerful combination of Pluto and Saturn in his First House. (Editor’s note: King’s Ascendant is 29 degrees Cancer, so the majority of his First House is Leo.) This infuses his personality with a dignity and raw magnetism that is unmistakable and remarkable, and indicates his tremendous creative potential.

The midheaven, or MC, at the very top of a natal chart, represents status and career, and at the top of King’s chart we find the sign of Aries, associated with leaders and pioneers. King has been a true leader in his field, rescuing the languishing horror genre with his phenomenal popularity and opening up the gates for many fiction writers at a time when they couldn’t sell their manuscripts as fish wrappers. No other writer of horror fiction has ever reached such heights of popularity, and King, appropriately, rules his world from the throne of terror.

Still, he has never forgotten his humble roots, and has said that, by offering The Plant for direct download, he hopes to give a leg up to new writers struggling to navigate the complicated and often murky waters of the publishing industry, as well as connect to his readers in a more personal way. With three planets in his Third House, King thrives on neighbors and community, and this extends to both his readers and fellow writers. Before he became too busy to do so, he used to personally answer every letter he received, often sending signed copies of his books back in the mail, and he has written numerous essays on the craft of writing for beginners. He’s active in his local Little League organization, owns a local rock radio station in Maine and retains a sense of community and connection to “regular people” in spite of his wealth and power. As befits royalty, King's intent regarding The Plant is to expand the horizons of his realm and give back some of what he's been given by his loyal subjects.

The signifigance of The Plant is being downplayed by the powers-that-be as something that won’t work for most writers, but Pluto's (transformation) position in Sagittarius opposite Jupiter (publishing) in Gemini says otherwise, hinting that sweeping, long-term changes will continue to affect the way we give and receive information. King has seriously challenged the established order, sided with the “little guy” and pioneered a whole new option for both readers and writers. The publishing business will never be quite the same thanks to the very talented and irrepressible King of Fright.



Sharyn Smith is a freelance writer and life-long student of astrology. She is a former newspaper staff reporter and columnist and now publishes her independent articles and editorials on the Internet.

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Other StarIQ articles by Sharyn Smith:

  • Mel Gibson Has What Women Want   12/7/2000
  • Bush and Cheney: A Promising Partnership   10/19/2000
  • Gorgeous George Clooney   9/9/2000
  • The Dixie Chicks   7/22/2000
  • A Blast From The Past: Remembering Mt. St. Helens   6/21/2000
  • An Apple A Day   5/31/2000
  • The Ninth Gate   4/14/2000
  • What Really Scares the King of Fright?   2/27/2000

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