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Author - Richard Bachman (Stephen King)

Richard Bachman ( Stephen King ) Actual person unknown

Richard Bachman's author photo. Photo credit: Claudia Inez Bachman (Fictional, real photographer unknown)

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Richard Bachman is a pseudonym used by horror fiction author Stephen King.

Bibliography of Richard Bachman

If a title is linked click on the link to read the first edition pointsof issue and other fun facts for that book.

Title

Year

Genre

Length

Notes

Rage

1977

Horror

211pp

First book published by Stephen King
under the pseudonym Richard Bachman

The narrator, Charlie Decker, a high school senior, details how he had long been fighting his growing rage against the authority figures which populate his world. He finally snapped and hit one of his teachers with a heavy wrench he had taken to carrying in his pocket; after much wrangling and discussion, the incident was dropped and he was allowed to return to school. This book has gone out of print at Stephen King's request as a direct result of the Columbine High School shooting.

The Long Walk

1979

Horror

384pp

Second book published by Stephen King
under the pseudonym Richard Bachman

One hundred teenage boys (picked at random from a large pool of applicants) are chosen to participate in an annual walking contest called "The Long Walk". Each walker must maintain a constant speed of no less than four miles an hour or risk being shot by soldiers monitoring the event. 

Roadwork

1981

Horror

307pp

Third book published by Stephen King
under the pseudonym Richard Bachman

The story takes place in an unnamed city in the 1970s. Barton George Dawes, grieving over the death of his son and the disintegration of his marriage, is driven off the deep end when he finds that both his home and his business are going to be condemned and demolished to make way for the construction of a new interstate highway. 

The Running Man

1982

Horror, science-fiction

214pp

Fourth book published by Stephen King under the pseudonym Richard Bachman

Ben Richards needs money to get medicine for his gravely ill daughter Cathy. Not wanting his wife Sheila to continue prostitution to pay the bills, Richards turns to the Games Federation. After rigorous testing, both physical and mental, Richards is selected for the most popular game, The Running Man. 

Thinner

1984

Horror

309pp

Fifth book published by Stephen King
under the pseudonym Richard Bachman

An obese lawyer named William "Billy" Halleck who has just been through an agonizing court case in which he was charged with vehicular manslaughter after receiving a handjob from his wife Heidi while driving, causing him to run over an old woman who was part of a group of traveling Gypsies. Halleck is acquitted thanks to the judge, who happens to be a close friend of Billy's. As Halleck leaves the courthouse, the old woman's ancient father strokes his cheeks and whispers one word to him: "Thinner." 

The Regulators

1996

Horror

512pp

Sixth book published by Stephen King under the pseudonym Richard Bachman

An evil creature called Tak uses the imagination of an autistic boy to shift a residential street in small-town Ohio into a world so bizarre and brutal that only a child could think it up.

Blaze

2007

Horror

pp

Seventh book published by Stephen King under the pseudonym Richard Bachman

Once upon a time, a fellow named Richard Bachman wrote Blaze  on an Olivetti typewriter, then turned the machine over to Stephen King, who used it to write Carrie . Bachman died in 1985 ("cancer of the pseudonym"), but this last gripping Bachman novel resurfaced after being hidden away for decades -- an unforgettable crime story tinged with sadness and suspense.

Clayton Blaisdell, Jr., was always a small-time delinquent. None too bright either, thanks to the beatings he got as a kid. Then Blaze met George Rackley, a seasoned pro with a hundred cons and one big idea. The kidnapping should go off without a hitch, with George as the brains behind their dangerous scheme. But there's only one problem: by the time the deal goes down, Blaze's partner in crime is dead. Or is he?

Includes a previously uncollected story, "Memory" -- the riveting opening to Stephen King's new Scribner hardcover novel, Duma Key.



Origin of Richard Bachman

At the beginning of Stephen King's career, the general view among publishers was such that an author was limited to a book every year at the utmost; any more, it was felt, was not acceptable to the public. King therefore wanted to write under another name in order to double his production. He convinced his publisher, Signet Books, to print these novels under a pseudonym. The originally selected pseudonym was Gus Pillsbury (King's maternal grandfather); but at the last moment King changed it to "Richard Bachman" in tribute to crime author Donald E. Westlake's long-running pseudonym Richard Stark. The name Stark was used in King's novel The Dark Half, a novel about an author with a pseudonym. The surname was in honour of Bachman-Turner Overdrive, a rock and roll band King was listening to at the time.[1]

Identification that Bachman was King

King dedicated Bachman's early books — Rage (1977), The Long Walk (1979), Road Work (1981), and The Running Man (1982) — to people close to him, and worked in obscure references to his own identity. These clues, not to mention the similarity between the two authors' literary styles, aroused the suspicions of horror fans and retailers. King steadfastly denied any connection to Bachman and, to throw fans off the trail, dedicated Bachman's 1984 novel Thinner to "Claudia Inez Bachman", supposedly Bachman's wife. There was also a phony author photo of Bachman on the dustjacket, credited to Claudia. He also has one of the characters describe how the strange happenings are like a "Stephen King" novel in the book.

Thinner was Bachman's first title to be published in hardback. It sold 28,000 copies before it became widely known that the author was really Stephen King, whereupon sales went up tenfold. The link became undeniable when a persistent bookstore clerk couldn't believe that Bachman and King were not one and the same, and eventually located publisher's records at the Library of Congress naming King as the author of one of Bachman's novels. This led to a press release heralding Bachman's "death" — supposedly from "cancer of the pseudonym, a rare form of schizonomia". At the time of the announcement in 1985, King was working on Misery, which he had planned to release as a Bachman book.

Bachman continues

The Bachman story didn't end with Thinner. In 1996, Bachman's The Regulators came out, with the publishers claiming the book's manuscript was found among Bachman's leftover papers by his widow. Still, it was obvious from the book's packaging and marketing campaign that it was really written by King. There was a picture of a young King on the inside back cover, and the "also by this author" page listed not only works Bachman was credited with writing, but also works he wrote "as Stephen King". The Regulators was released the same day as the King novel Desperation, and the two novels featured many of the same characters; the two book covers were designed to be placed together to form a single picture.

Around the time of The Regulators' release, King said that there may be another Bachman novel left to be "found". Recently, King has stated that another Bachman book had been found, with the announcement soon afterwards that his unpublished novel Blaze was being rewritten, edited, and updated for a possible release. In February 2007 he confirmed that Scribner would be publishing this book in June 2007.

King has taken full ownership of the Bachman name on numerous occasions, as with the republication of the first four Bachman titles as The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King in 1985. The introduction, titled "Why I Was Bachman", details the whole Bachman/King story.

King used the "relationship" between him and Bachman as a concept in his 1989 book The Dark Half, a story in which a writer's darker pseudonym takes on a life of its own. King dedicated The Dark Half to "the deceased Richard Bachman". Originally there were plans to make the book a collaboration between the two, although this was later scrapped.

Richard Bachman appeared in King's Dark Tower series, albeit indirectly. In the fifth book, Wolves of the Calla, the sinister children's book Charlie the Choo Choo is revealed to be written by "Claudia y Inez Bachman". The spelling discrepancy of the added 'y' was later explained as a deus ex machina on the part of "The White" (a force of good throughout King's Tower series) to bring the total number of letters in her name to nineteen, a number prominent in King's series.

The original editions of the first four Bachman books are now among the world's most sought after original paperback novels, with resale prices in the hundreds of dollars.

In 1987, Bachman's The Running Man inspired the Arnold Schwarzenegger film of the same name.

Regarding The Running Man being strikingly similar to "The Prize of Peril" by Robert Sheckley,written so much earlier, Martin Olson says: "Bob Sheckley told me he was surprised at Running Man because it was so close to The Prize of Peril. Sheckley said King was apparently a fan of his, so I asked Bob how he handled it. He said he wrote out a list of all the similarities between the two stories and then called King on the phone. He said King was surprised and said he didn't remember reading The Prize of Peril. Sheckley really had nowhere to go after that and the conversation was over. Sheckley didn't characterize King as a thief or as not a nice guy, but he told me King probably read it and forgot about it, and then was too embarrassed because he'd accidentally stolen from Sheckley, a writer he liked... But regardless of whether King read The Prize of Peril and forgot or whatever, Sheckley wasn't resentful of King and just shrugged it off.

After the Columbine High School massacre, King announced that he would allow Rage to go out of print, fearing that it might inspire similar tragedies. Bachman's other novels are now available in separate volumes, although Rage is available in The Bachman Books, which is still in print in the United Kingdom.

Other known pseudonyms of Stephen King

King wrote a short story, "The Fifth Quarter", under the pseudonym John Swithen; it was reprinted in King's collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes in 1993 under his own name.

References

  1. King, Stephen. Stephen King FAQ: "Why did you write books as Richard Bachman?". StephenKing.com. Retrieved on December 13, 2006.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article on Richard Bachman