Cover of the Stephen King book Firestarter, featuring flames over the outline of a face
Viking Press

Answer: Stephen King

While working on his 1980 novel Firestarter, Stephen King found himself with a protagonist in need of a technical term to describe her ability to create and control fire with her mind.

Taking a cue from an earlier writer, Henry Holt, King modified Holt’s early 20th-century coinage of psychokinesis into pyrokinesis. After appearing in the novel, the term entered popular usage and has made appearances in many comic books, televisions shows, and movies, including The X-Files, The X-Men, and The Dresden Files.





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