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King’s strange experiment

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Beginning this week, horror writer Stephen King is trying a strange and interesting experiment. A novel he began working on in 1980, "The Plant," is available for downloading from his Web site www.stephenking.com. All he asks is that the prospective reader pay "a buck" for the privilege of reading it. You can pay by credit card, check or money order, but it is all based on the honor system. You can download it and print it, show it to a friend, whatever — the only thing is he won't finish the novel unless at least 75 percent of readers actually pay for it.

The story is about a vampire vine that takes over a publishing firm and offers financial success in exchange for human sacrifice. Sort of fitting. Part 2 is available Aug. 21. If you do it, says King, "we have a chance to become Big Publishing's worst nightmare."