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Firestarter by Stephen King
Identifying First Edition Points of Issue

Firestarter first edition trade cover

First Trade Edition Front Cover

You can search for first and limited editions of Firestarter on Abebooks.com, eBay.com, Biblio.com and Amazon.com. These links will take you directly to search results for 1st and limited edition copies copies for sale on the respective sites.

Firestarter by Stephen King - First edition points of issue.

Pages: 326

Price: $13.95

Publisher: Viking Press

Date Published: 1980

Copyright page: Stated, "First Published in 1980 by the Viking Press"

First Edition Total Publication: Approximately 100,000

First Edition Points of Issue: Code on the dust jacket is 0980, Viking's original address on the copyright page and separately on the dustjacket should be 625 Madison Avenue.

Size: 6.25 x 9.5"

Bound: Quarter bound in orange cloth and black boards, with white pastedowns.

Dedication: In memory of Shirley Jackson, who never needed to raise her voice.
The Haunting of Hill House
The Lottery
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
The Sundial

    Firestarter Asbestos Signed Lettered Cover                Firestarter signed limited front cover and spine

     Signed Lettered "Asbestos" Front cover     Signed limited front cover and spine          

Limited or Special Editions: Two limited editions of this book, both published by Phantasia Press.

The first and most valuable Stephen King signed limited is known as the Asbestos Firestarter, the cover is wrapped in aluminum - coated cloth with only 26 lettered copies available.  Signed and dated by Stephen King on July 8, 1980.  Copies of this book commonly sell for more than $14,000 when they become available.

The second more common signed limited edition is a blue slipcased edition of 725 numbered, signed and dated either July, 5, 6, 7 or 8 1980.

Description: Firestarter is a novel by Stephen King originally published in 1980. It was serialized in Omni magazine prior to being published.

The title character of Firestarter is Charlene "Charlie" McGee, a young girl possessing many potential abilities, amongst them most notably pyrokinesis; the ability to create fire with her mind. Charlie is a mutant, she was born with her abilities due to her parents, Andrew "Andy" McGee and Vicky Tomlinson, having participated in a mysterious government-funded experiment during college. Both parents had been injected amounts of a drug known as Lot Six, which, among other things, had been proven to alter the subject's chromosomes and pituitary gland.

As a major effect of the Lot Six, Andy developed telepathic hypnosis, a mind control ability he calls the "push", the ability to create a state of extreme suggestion in the victim's mind. Vicky developed minor telekinesis, the extent of her power being able to close a refrigerator door from across the room. Both of their powers are almost insignificant compared to the latent power of Charlie, who at one point is suspected of eventually being able to create a nuclear explosion from sheer will alone. It is also revealed that these powers are self-destructive; prolonged use of the "push" causes Andy to suffer devastating headaches, and eventually, a brain aneurysm.

The government agency that sponsored the original drug trials, The Shop, regarded the experiment as a failure, with one member stating that humans were simply not evolved yet to make full use of the drug. However, although they unanimously regarded Andy and Vicky as useless test subjects and dead ends, it was also unanimously agreed that Charlie was a groundbreaking development, and as a result, the McGee family was placed under surveillance for around seven years.

Due to a mistake made by Shop agents, Vicky was unnecessarily murdered and Charlie kidnapped. Using "the push", Andy is able to rescue Charlie and the two live together for several years as fugitives, moving whenever Andy feels the Shop may be catching up to them. After several near misses with Shop agents, the McGees find temporary refuge with the Manders, a friendly old-fashioned couple living on a remote farm. The farm is then sieged by Shop agents later, only to have Charlie reveal her emerging power by incinerating several Shop agents and cars.

  • Firestarter was adapted into a movie in 1984, directed by Mark L. Lester and starring Drew Barrymore as Charlie, David Keith as Andy, and George C. Scott as Rainbird. It also starred Heather Locklear and Martin Sheen. The movie was filmed in and around Lake Lure, North Carolina.
  • A TV movie sequel, Firestarter 2: Rekindled, was made in 2002. It starred Marguerite Moreau as a grown-up Charlie and Malcolm McDowell as Rainbird.
  • On the February 3rd, 2007 episode of Saturday Night Live, host Drew Barrymore reprised her role as Charlie McGee, in a fake commercial for "Firestarter Brand Smoked Sausages."

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