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Stephen King publishes novella on Net only

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Horror writer Stephen King is to put his next book exclusively on the Internet. Riding The Bullet, a creepy tale about a hitch-hiker who gets in the wrong car, will only be available in online text when it released on Tuesday. Fans will be able to download the 65-page story for just $2.50 from publisher Simon & Schuster's Web site, as well as a clutch of e-book vendors. It will also be formatted for use in handheld devices such as Palm Pilots. A free excerpt is already available on the site. It starts: "I've never told anyone this story, and never thought I would - not because I was afraid of being disbelieved, exactly, but because I was ashamed... and because it was mine." Chilling. King, whose classics include The Shining and Misery, said he was curious to see what sort of response the Web venture would get. Riding The Bullet is said to be based on an incident in the 52-year-old author's own life. Last June, a runaway van crashed into King when he was out walking, leaving him semi-conscious in a ditch. Part of his scalp was torn away and he needed seven operations. Luckily the resulting writer's block was not permanent. ® Related Story Warner threatens Harry Potter sites

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