Bookpoi - A guide to identify rare and first edition books

 

Author - Stephen King

Stephen King


You can search for books by Stephen King on AbeBooks.com , eBay.com, Biblio.com and Amazon.com. These links will take you directly to search results for collectible and rare copies of Stephen King books on for sale the respective sites.

Bibliography of Stephen King

Some of Stephen King's books have tremendous collectible value.  King has made a substantial effort to produce some of the finest signed limted edition books ever published. The Asbestos cover limited edition of Firestarter and the limited edition Dark Tower series are just two examples that are high collectible and worth thousands of dollars.

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

Title

 Year 

Genre

Length

Notes

The Aftermath

1963

Horror

200pp

Unpublished

The 50,000 word manuscript describes life after a nuclear war. Written at the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis. 

Carrie

1974

Horror

199pp

The book uses fictional documents, such as book excerpts, news reports, and hearing transcripts, to frame the story of Carietta "Carrie" White, a teenage girl from Chamberlain, Maine. Carrie's mother, Margaret, a fanatical Christian fundamentalist, has a vindictive and unstable personality, and over the years has ruled Carrie with a proverbial rod of iron. 

Salem's Lot

1975

Horror

439pp

 

Ben Mears, a successful writer who grew up in the (fictional) town of Jerusalem’s Lot, Cumberland County, Maine (or “The Lot”, as the locals call it), has returned home following the death of his wife. Once in town he meets local high school teacher Matt Burke and strikes up a romantic relationship with Susan Norton, a young college graduate. 

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. 

The Shining

1977

Horror

447pp

Jack Torrance is a temperamental writer who is trying to rebuild his life (and his family's) after his alcoholism and volatile temper cause him to lose his teaching position at a prestigious New England preparatory school. Having given up drinking, he accepts a job as a winter caretaker at a large, isolated Colorado resort hotel with a gory history. 

Night Shift

1978

Horror

368pp

Short stories

"Jerusalem's Lot, "Graveyard Shift", "Night Surf", "I Am the Doorway", "The Mangler", "The Boogeyman", "Gray Matter", "Battleground", "Trucks", "Sometimes They Come Back", "Strawberry Spring", "The Ledge", "The Lawnmower Man", "Quitters, Inc.", "I Know What You Need", "Children of the Corn", "The Last Rung on the Ladder", "The Man Who Loved Flowers", "One for the Road", "The Woman in the Room" 

The Stand

1978

Horror

823pp

Original, edited version

A post-apocalyptic science fiction / horror / adventure novel. It re-works the scenario in King’s earlier short story, "Night Surf". It is widely hailed by critics and fans as one of his best novels. 

The Dead Zone

1979

Horror

402pp

Johnny Smith, who is injured in an accident and enters a coma for nearly five years. When he emerges, he can see horrifying secrets, but he cannot identify all the details because of an area of his brain being dead. 

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. 

Firestarter

1980

Horror

416pp

The title character of Firestarter is Charlene "Charlie" McGee, a young girl with pyrokinesis — the ability to create fire with the power of her mind, along with other psychic powers. Charlie is a mutant; she was born with her pyrokinetic talent due to her parents' involvement in an experimental drug trial in college. 

Cujo

1981

Horror

320pp

The book tells the story of the middle-class Trenton family and rural Camber clan in Castle Rock, Maine. Marital and financial difficulties of the mundane sort plague disgraced advertising man Vic Trenton and his adulterous wife Donna. Their domestic problems are dwarfed by the mortal danger when Donna and her four-year-old son Tad are terrorized by a rabid St. Bernard named Cujo. 

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. 

Danse Macabre

1981

Horror

400pp

Nonfiction

Danse Macabre examines the various influences on King's own writing, and important genre texts of the 20th century. Focusing on horror and suspense films, comic books, old time radio, television and fiction from a fan's perspective, King peppers his book with informal academic insight, discussing archetypes, important authors, common narrative devices, "the psychology of terror", and his key theory of "Dionysian horror." 

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

1982

Horror, fantasy, western, science-fiction

224pp

 

The story centers upon "the gunslinger", who has been chasing after his adversary, "the man in black", for many years. Chronicled is the gunslinger's quest through a large desert, and then a mountain, in search of the man. 

Different Seasons

1982

Horror

508pp

Short stories

"Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption" Hope Springs Eternal, "Apt Pupil" Summer of Corruption, "The Body" Fall From Innocence, "The Breathing Method" A Winter's Tale 

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. 

Creepshow

1982

Horror

64pp

Comic Book Illustrated by Bernie Wrightson

A comic book adaptation of the classic anthology horror movie. 

Christine

1983

Horror

503pp

The story revolves around teenage nerd Arnie Cunningham and his 1958 red and white Plymouth Fury, dubbed "Christine" by the previous owner. The story is set in Libertyville (supposedly a suburb of Pittsburgh), Pennsylvania between the summer of 1978 and the spring of 1979. 

Pet Sematary

1983

Horror

416pp

Louis Creed, a doctor from Chicago, moves to a large house near the small town of Ludlow with his wife Rachel and their two young children. From the moment they arrive the family runs into trouble but fortunately their new neighbor, Jud Crandall, is there to help. He warns them about the highway that runs past their house; it is constantly used by big trucks. 

Cycle of the Werewolf

1983

Horror

127pp

Illustrated by Bernie Wrightson

Set in the fictional small town of Tarker's Mills, Maine, a werewolf is viciously killing people and animals and strange incidents takes place every full moon. Marty Coslaw, an eleven-year-old boy in a wheelchair, goes back and forth from the terrifying incidents to his normal day-to-day life. 

The Cannibals

1983

Horror

Unpublished, likely unfinished

 

The Talisman

1984

Horror

672pp

Co-author Peter Straub

This book charts the adventure of a twelve year old boy named Jack Sawyer. The young hero sets out from the East Coast of the USA in a bid to save his mother, who is dying from cancer, by finding an artifact called 'The Talisman'. 

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." 

Skeleton Crew

1985

Horror

576pp

Short stories

"The Mist", "Here There Be Tygers", "The Monkey", "Mrs. Todd's Shortcut", "The Jaunt", "The Wedding Gig", "Paranoid: A Chant", "The Raft", "Word Processor of the Gods", "The Man Who Would Not Shake Hands", "Beachworld", "Nona", "For Owen", "Survivor Type", "Uncle Otto's Truck", "Morning Deliveries (Milkman #1)", "Big Wheels: A Tale of The Laundry Game (Milkman #2)", "Gramma", "The Ballad of The Flexible Bullet", "The Reach" 

The Bachman Books

1985

Horror

704pp

Selected works as Richard Bachman

Rage, The Long Walk, Roadwork, The Running Man 

It

1986

Horror

1142pp

"It" takes place in two separate time periods: In 1985, when the book was first published, and the main characters are adults, and in 1958, when they are eleven years old. The seven self-proclaimed members of the "Losers' Club" are united in seeking refuge from a gang of bullies led by Henry Bowers. The children each individually discover the existence of a terrifying, child-murdering, shape-changing monster.

The Eyes of the Dragon

1987

Fantasy

384pp

This book is a work of classic fantasy with a clearly established battle between good and evil and magic playing a lead role. It is told from the perspective of an unnamed story-teller, who speaks casually and frankly to the reader, frequently adding his own commentary on character's motivations. 

Misery

1987

Horror

310pp

Paul Sheldon is the author of a best-selling series of romance novels featuring the Victorian-era heroine Misery Chastain. Paul is rescued from the car wreck by a woman named Annie Wilkes, an experienced nurse who lives nearby. She feeds and bathes him and splints his broken legs. Annie reads his new manuscript and doesn't like it, believing that there is too much use of profanity. 

The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three

1987

Horror, fantasy, western, science-fiction

399pp

 

This story is the continuation of The Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead, and his quest towards the Dark Tower. The book begins with Roland waking up from unconsciousness on a beach where he is suddenly attacked by a strange lobster-like creature, dubbed "lobstrosities." He manages to kill the creature but not before losing the index and middle finger of his right hand, and most of his right big toe. 

The Tommyknockers

1988

Horror

558pp

While maintaining a horror style, the novel is more of an excursion into the realm of science fiction for King, as the residents of the Maine town of Haven gradually fall under the influence of a mysterious object buried in the woods. 

Nightmares in the Sky

1988

Nonfiction

Photos by f-stop fitzgerald

A coffee table book about architectural gargoyles with text by King. 

The Dark Half

1989

Horror

448pp

Thad Beaumont is an author and recovering alcoholic who lives in the tiny Maine town of Ludlow (the setting of Pet Sematary and about an hour away from the fictional town of Castle Rock, often used in King's novels). His own books are not very successful, but under the pen name George Stark, Thad writes gritty crime novels about a violent killer named Alexis Machine, which are very popular and successful. 

Dolan's Cadillac

1989

Horror

128pp

Limited edition

Robinson finds himself a childless widower when Dolan, a wealthy crime-boss, has Robinson's wife murdered in order to prevent her from testifying against him. Robinson, unskilled in the arts of revenge, has no recourse. 

My Pretty Pony

1989

Horror

Limited edition

An elderly man, his death rapidly approaching, takes his young grandson up onto a hill behind his house and gives the boy his pocketwatch. Standing among falling apple blossoms, the man also gives instruction on the nature of time. 

The Stand
The Complete & Uncut Edition

1990

Horror

1168pp

 

The Stand is a post-apocalyptic science fiction / horror / adventure novel by Stephen King originally published in 1978. It re-works the scenario in King’s earlier short story, "Night Surf" (included in the short story collection Night Shift). It is widely hailed by critics and fans as one of his best novels. 

Four Past Midnight

1990

Horror

804pp

Short stories

"The Langoliers", "Secret Window, Secret Garden", "The Library Policeman", "The Sun Dog" 

Needful Things

1990

Horror

792pp

Set in the small fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine, a new shop named "Needful Things" opens, to the curiosity of the townspeople. One by one, they start to come into the shop, drawn there by something they want more than anything else. 

The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands

1991

Horror, fantasy, western, science-fiction

422pp

 

 

Gerald's Game

1992

Horror

448pp

Jessie Burlingame and her husband Gerald are simply trying to spice up their sex life with a little bondage game. But the game turns into a nightmare for Jessie, handcuffed to the bedposts and forced to face her deepest fears. 

Dolores Claiborne

1993

Horror

305pp

Dolores Claiborne decides to tell the truth when her longtime employer, Vera Donovan, dies under suspicious circumstances. Including the mysterious death of her husband during a solar eclipse thirty years before. 

Nightmares & Dreamscapes

1993

Horror

692pp

Short stories

 

Insomnia

1994

Horror

591pp

 

Set in Derry, Maine, this novel features Ralph Roberts, who falls victim to insomnia, which gives him the remarkable ability to see visions of his fellow townspeople turning into demons. He knows he's not dreaming. He knows he's not crazy, because someone else sees what he sees. But knowing doesn't tell him how to stop the visions coming true. 

Rose Madder

1995

Horror

600pp

 

Rose Daniels has been dreaming away her life. One single drop of blood is enough to rouse her from her sleep, and sends her on a journey hundreds of miles away from her abusive cop husband, Norman. She begins to find happiness in her new home, until Norman figures out where she is. 

Umney's Last Case

1995

Horror

96pp

 

The Green Mile

1996

Horror

105pp

Originally published as a monthly serial consisting of six parts: The Two Dead Girls, The Mouse on the Mile, Coffey's Hands, The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix, Night Journey, and Coffey on the Mile

The Green Mile is Cold Mountain Penitentiary's Death Row. Paul Edgecombe has seen many men come and go through E Block, but none quite like John Coffey. The giant, sentenced to death for a horrifying crime, reveals a fascinating truth to Paul, shaking the very foundations of his world. 

Desperation

1996

Horror

690pp

 

 

The Regulators

1996

Horror

512pp

Sixth book published by Stephen King
under the pseudonym Richard Bachman

 

Six Stories

1997

Horror

384pp

Short stories

 

The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass

1997

Horror, fantasy, western, science-fiction

840pp

 

 

Bag of Bones

1998

Horror

529pp

 

 

Storm of the Century

1999

Horror

400pp

 

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

1999

Horror

224pp

 

The New Lieutenant's Rap

1999

Horror

24pp

Limited edition

 

Hearts in Atlantis

1999

Horror

523pp

 

"Low Men in Yellow Coats", "Hearts in Atlantis", "Blind Willie", "Why We're in Vietnam", "Heavenly Shades of Night are Falling" 

Blood and Smoke

2000

Horror

Audio book

Stephen King reads three of his own short stories. All the stories in Blood and Smoke are about smoking in one way or the other. 

The Plant
Book 1-Zenith Rising

2000

Horror

270pp

Ebook, unfinished

The first part was put on his web site for anyone to download. The last installment was published on December 18, 2000. The book was never completed. 

On Writing
A Memoir of the Craft

2000

Nonfiction

384pp

A book about the prolific author's experiences as a writer. Although he discusses several of his books, one doesn't need to have read them or even be familiar with them. 

Secret Windows
Essays and Fiction on the Craft of Writing

2000

Nonfiction

433pp

Both fiction and non-fiction

A collection of stories and essays that are primarily concerned with writing and the horror genre. Several of the entries have been published elsewhere, including introductions for other authors' novels. 

Dreamcatcher

2001

Horror

896pp

 

Black House

2001

Horror

640pp

Sequel to The Talisman
Written with Peter Straub

 

From a Buick 8

2002

Horror

pp

 

When a mysterious vehicle is left at a Pennsylvania gas station, it becomes the property of Troop D. Officers soon realize this is no ordinary car. The steering wheel doesn't move, the buttons and knobs on the dashboard can't be pushed or turned, and it can't even be started. They realize there is much more to the car than it seems, as the horror unfolds through two decades of day-to-day Troop D life. 

Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales

2002

Horror

368pp

Short stories

 

The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger

2003

Horror, fantasy, western, science-fiction

256pp

Revised edition

 

The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla

2003

Horror, fantasy, western, science-fiction

736pp

 

 

The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah

2004

Horror, fantasy, western, science-fiction

432pp

 

 

The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower

2004

Horror, fantasy, western, science-fiction

pp

 

 

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon

2004

Horror

pp

Pop-up book version

Patricia "Trisha" McFarland, a Red Sox fan, gets lost in the woods during a camping trip toilet break. As the days pass, she wanders deeper and deeper into the impregnable forest, home to the God of the Lost. To comfort and guide her, her idol, Tom Gordon, a Red Sox player, occasionally speaks to her through her walkman. 

Faithful
Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season

2005

Nonfiction, baseball

432pp

Co-written with Stewart O'Nan

Chronicled exchanges between King and O'Nan about the Red Sox's upcoming 2004 season, beginning with an e-mail in summer 2003, and throughout the 2004 season, from Spring Training to the World Series. 

The Colorado Kid

2005

Mystery

184pp

 

Cell

2006

Horror

384pp

Clayton Riddell is in Boston to sell his comic books when something horrifying happens. Anyone who uses a cell phone becomes insane and violent, attacking anyone around them. Clay must, with the help of survivors Tom and Alice, return to Maine to find out if his wife and young son are among the survivors or the monsters. 

Lisey's Story

2006

Horror, Romance

528pp

Widow Lisey Landon has finally gotten around to cleaning out her dead writer husband's study. The cleaning stirs up old memories, many of which she has blocked out and fights to keep blocked. But those memories become vitally important as her life is threatened. She must use every ounce of courage and willpower to go "beyond the purple" and remember. 

Stationary Bike

2006

Horror

audiobook

Read by Ron MacLarty

The story depicts the struggle of Richard Sifkitz — a commercial artist and widower — to suppress a passion for consuming unhealthy foods by using a stationary bike. Originally published in the fifth edition of From the Borderlands in 2003. 

The Secretary of Dreams

2006

Horror, comic

Illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne

A graphic short story collection. 

Blaze

2007

Horror

pp

Seventh book published by Stephen King under the pseudonym Richard Bachman

 

Duma Key

2008

Horror

pp

To be published on January 8, 2008

 

Stephen King - Autograph and Signature Samples

Stephen King's Signature  Stephen King Signed 

stephen king autograph

Stephen King - Biography

Stephen Edwin King (born September 21, 1947) is an American author of over 200 stories including over 50 bestselling horror and fantasy novels. King was the 2003 recipient of The National Book Foundation's Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and his numerous literary awards place him among the most-honored horror authors in recent history.[1]

King evinces a thorough knowledge of the horror genre, as shown in his 1981 nonfiction book Danse Macabre, which chronicles several decades of notable works in literature, cinema, television and radio. He has also written stories outside the horror genre, including the novella collection Different Seasons, The Green Mile, The Eyes of the Dragon, Hearts in Atlantis and his self-described "magnum opus," The Dark Tower series. In the past, Stephen King has written under the pen names Richard Bachman and (once) as John Swithen.

Early life

Stephen Edwin King was born in Portland, Maine. When King was two years old, his father, Donald Edwin King, deserted his family. His mother, Nellie Ruth (née Pillsbury), raised King and his adopted older brother David by herself, sometimes under great financial strain. The family moved to home town of Durham, Maine, but also spent brief periods in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and Stratford, Connecticut.

As a child, he apparently witnessed a gruesome accident — one of his friends was struck and killed by a train.[2] Some commentators have suggested this event may have inspired King's dark, disturbing creations, but King himself dismisses the idea, noting that he has no memory of the event: his family told him that after leaving home to play with the boy, King returned, speechless and seemingly in shock. Only later did the family learn of the friend's death.[3]

King attended Durham Elementary School and Lisbon Falls High School. As a young boy, King was an avid reader of EC's horror comics including Tales from the Crypt, which provided the genesis for his love of horror. His screenplay for Creepshow would later pay tribute to the comics. When in school, he wrote stories based on movies he had seen, copying them with a mimeo machine his brother used to publish a newspaper, Dave's Rag, to which King contributed. King sold the stories to friends, but his teachers disapproved and forced him to return his profits.

His first published story was "In a Half-World of Terror" (retitled from "I Was a Teen-Age Grave-robber"), published in a horror fanzine issued by Marshall Henderson of Birmingham, Alabama.

From 1966 to 1970, King studied English at the University of Maine at Orono, where he wrote a column entitled "King's Garbage Truck" for the student newspaper, the Maine Campus. He met Tabitha Spruce there; they married in January, 1971. The campus period in his life is readily evident in the second part of Hearts in Atlantis, and the odd jobs he took on to pay for his studies, including one at an industrial laundry, would later inspire stories such as "The Mangler" and the novel Roadwork (as Richard Bachman).

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in English and a certificate to teach high school, King taught English at Hampden Academy in Hampden, Maine. He and his family lived in a trailer, and he wrote short stories, most for men's magazines, to help make ends meet. As Carrie's introduction relates, if one of his kids got a cold, Tabitha would joke, "Come on, Steve, think of a monster."[4] King also developed a drinking problem, which would stay with him for over a decade.

Becoming famous

King soon began a number of novels. One of his first ideas was of a young girl with psychic powers, but he grew discouraged and discarded it. His wife later rescued it from the trash and encouraged him to finish it.[5] After completing the novel, he titled it Carrie and sent it to Doubleday. He received a $2,500 advance (not large for a novel, even at that time) but the paperback rights eventually earned $400,000, with half going to the publisher. Soon following its release, his mother died of uterine cancer. His Aunt Emrine read the novel to her before she died.

In On Writing, King admits that at this time he was often drunk and was even intoxicated

Stephen King's House

Stephen King's Home in Maine

while delivering his mother’s eulogy.[6] He states he was the basis for The Shining's alcoholic father, though he would not admit it (even to himself) for several years.

Shortly after The Tommyknockers publication, King's family and friends finally intervened, dumping his trash—beer cans, cigarette butts, grams of cocaine, Xanax, Valium, NyQuil, dextromethorphan (cough medicine), and marijuana—on the rug in front of him to show the evidence of his addictions. As King related in his memoir, he sought help and quit all forms of drugs and alcohol in the late 1980s, and has remained sober since.[6]

King will not sign photographs in person. He feels that is something that should be

reserved for movie stars. However, some of his fans have received autographed photos simply by asking.

King spends winter seasons in a waterfront mansion located off the Gulf of Mexico in Sarasota, Florida. Their three children, Naomi Rachel, Joseph Hillstrom (who appeared in the film Creepshow), and Owen Phillip, are grown and live on their own.

Owen and Joseph are writers; Owen published his first collection of stories, We're All in This Together: A Novella and Stories in 2005. The first collection of stories by Joe Hill (Joseph's pen name), 20th Century Ghosts, was published in 2005 by PS Publishing in a very limited edition, winning the Crawford Award for best new fantasy writer, together with the Bram Stoker Award and the British Fantasy Award for Best Fiction Collection. Tom Pabst will adapt Hill's upcoming novel, Heart-Shaped Box, for a 2007 Warner Bros release.

King's daughter Naomi spent the past two years as a minister in the Unitarian Universalist Church in Utica, New York, where she lived with her partner Thandelka; she has since been reassigned.

Baseball

Stephen King is a fan of the Boston Red Sox and frequently attends home and away baseball games.

King helped coach his son Owen's Bangor West team to the Maine Little League Championship in 1989. He recounts this experience in the New Yorker essay "Head Down", which also appears in the collection Nightmares and Dreamscapes. King has called "Head Down" his best piece of nonfiction writing.

In 1992 King and his wife Tabitha's donations allowed the opening of Mansfield Stadium, a Little League ballpark in Bangor, Maine.

In 1999, King wrote The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, which featured former Red Sox pitcher Tom Gordon as the protagonist's imaginary companion. King recently co-wrote a book titled Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season with Stewart O'Nan, recounting the authors' roller coaster reaction to the Red Sox's 2004 season, a season culminating in the Sox winning the 2004 American League Championship Series and World Series.

In the 2005 film Fever Pitch, about an obsessive Boston Red Sox fan, King tosses out the first pitch of the Sox's opening day game.

Philanthropy

Since becoming commercially successful, King and his wife have donated money to causes around their home state of Maine.

The Kings' early nineties donation to the University of Maine Swim Team saved the program from elimination from the school's athletics department. Donations to local YMCA and YWCA programs have allowed renovations and improvements that would otherwise have been impossible. Additionally, King annually sponsors a number of scholarships for high school and college students.

The Kings do not desire recognition for their bankrolling of Bangor-area facilities: they named the Shawn T. Mansfield Stadium for a prominent local little league coach's cerebral palsy victim son, while the Beth Pancoe Aquatic Park memorializes an accomplished area swimmer who died of cancer.

Car accident

In the summer of 1999, King had finished the memoir section of On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft but had abandoned the book for nearly eighteen months, unsure of how or whether to proceed. King says that it was the first book that he'd abandoned since writing The Stand decades earlier. He had just decided to continue the book and on June 17 wrote a list of questions fans frequently asked him about writing; on June 18, he wrote four pages of the writing section.

On June 19, at about 4:30 p.m., he was walking on the right shoulder of Route 5 in Center Lovell, Maine. Driver Bryan Smith, distracted by an unrestrained Rottweiler named Bullet, moving in the back of his 1985 Dodge Caravan,[7] struck King, who landed in a depression in the ground about 14 feet from the pavement of Route 5.[6]

Smith was leaning to the rear of his vehicle trying to restrain his dog and was not watching the road when he struck King. According to Oxford County Sheriff deputy Matt Baker, King was struck from behind and witnesses said the driver was not speeding or reckless.[8] King's website, however, states this is incorrect and that King was walking facing traffic.

King was conscious enough to give the deputy phone numbers to contact his family but was in considerable pain. King mentioned in an interview that he told a paramedic he knew he was going into shock, as he had done research on the subject for his writing. The author was first transported to Northern Cumberland Hospital in Bridgton and then flown by helicopter to Central Maine Hospital in Lewiston. His injuries — a collapsed right lung, multiple fractures of the right leg, scalp laceration and a broken hip — kept him in Central Maine Medical Center until July 9, almost three weeks later.

Earlier that year, King had finished most of From a Buick 8, a novel in which a character dies after getting struck by a car. Of the similarities, King says that he tries "not to make too much of it." King's work had certainly featured car accidents and their horrors before. His 1987 novel Misery also concerned a writer who experiences severe injuries in an auto accident, and auto wrecks figure prominently in The Dead Zone and Thinner. In Christine, a 1958 Plymouth Fury runs down its enemies. 1994's Insomnia has a main character struck dead by a car, and central to Pet Sematary's plot is the scene in which a tractor-trailer strikes and kills the protagonist's young son. Following his accident, King wrote Dreamcatcher, in which a central character suffers injuries similar to King's own after being struck by a car.

After five operations in ten days and physical therapy, King resumed work on On Writing in July, though his hip was still shattered and he could only sit for about forty minutes before the pain became intolerable.

King's lawyer and two others purchased Smith's van for $1,500, reportedly to avoid it appearing on eBay. The van was later crushed at a junkyard, though King mentioned during an interview with Fresh Air's Terry Gross that he wanted to destroy the vehicle with a sledgehammer.[9] Smith, a disabled construction worker, died of an overdose of pain medication on September 21, 2000 (King's birthday) at the age of 43.

Two years later, King suffered a severe case of pneumonia as a direct result of the puncturing of his lung at the time of the accident. The lower portion of one lung became infected and had putrified. During this time Tabitha King was inspired to redesign his studio. Stephen visited the space while his books and belongings were packed away. What he saw was an image of what his studio would look like if he died, providing a seed for his novel Lisey's Story.

Recent years

In 2000, King published a serialised novel "The Plant" over the internet, bypassing print publication. Sales were unsuccessful, and he abandoned the project.[10] In 2002, King announced he would stop writing, apparently motivated in part by frustration with his injuries, which had made sitting uncomfortable and reduced his stamina.

"I'm writing but I'm writing at a much slower pace than previously and I think that if I come up with something really, really good, I would be perfectly willing to publish it because that still feels like the final act of the creative process, publishing it so people can read it and you can get feedback and people can talk about it with each other and with you, the writer, but the force of my invention has slowed down a lot over the years and that's as it should be. I'm not a kid of 25 anymore and I'm not a young middle-aged man of 35 anymore — I'm 55 years old and I have grandchildren, two new puppies to house-train and I have a lot of things to do besides writing and that in and of itself is a wonderful thing but writing is still a big, important part of my life and of everyday."[11]

Since 2003, King has provided his take on pop culture in a column appearing on the back page of Entertainment Weekly, usually every third week. The column is called "The Pop of King", a reference to "The King of Pop", Michael Jackson.

In October 2005, King signed a deal with Marvel Comics, to publish a seven-issue, miniseries spinoff of The Dark Tower series called The Gunslinger Born. The series, which focuses on a young Roland Deschain, is plotted by Robin Furth, dialogued by Peter David, and illustrated by Eisner Award-winning artist Jae Lee. The first issue was published on February 7, 2007, and because of its connection with King, David, Lee, and Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada appeared at a midnight signing at a Times Square, New York comic book store to promote it.[12][13] The work had sold over 200,000 copies by March 2007.[14]

In June 2006, King appeared on the first installment of Amazon Fishbowl, a live web-program hosted by Bill Maher.

King, a long time supporter of small publishing, has recently allowed the publication of two past novels in limited edition form. The Green Mile and Colorado Kid will receive special treatment from two small publishing houses. Both books will be produced and be signed by both King and the artist contributing work to the book. Half of King's published work has been re-published in limited (signed) edition format.

On February 14, 2007, Joblo.com announced[15] that plans were underway for Lost co-creator J. J. Abrams to do an adaptation of King's epic Dark Tower series.

In June 2007, King's novel Blaze, which was written in the early 1970s, under his long-time pseudonym Richard Bachman, was published. He is also finishing the novel Duma Key and writing a play with John Mellencamp titled Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.

On April 20, 2007, Entertainment Weekly asked King if he felt there was a correlation between Seung-Hui Cho's writing and the Virginia Tech massacre. King stated, "Certainly in this sensitized day and age, my own college writing would have raised red flags, and I'm certain someone would have tabbed me as mentally ill because of them" and "Cho doesn't strike me as in the least creative, however. Dude was crazy. Dude was, in the memorable phrasing of Nikki Giovanni, 'just mean.' Essentially there's no story here, except for a paranoid a**hole who went DEFCON-1." King felt that Cho's work had issues because of its themes and the lack of writing ability and a meaningful story.[16]

On August 15, 2007, King was mistaken for a vandal in an Alice Springs bookstore. King signed six books in total, after a customer thought she had caught a vandal scribbling in volumes in the fiction section and reported him to store manager Bev Ellis.[17]

Richard Bachman

In the late 1970s-early 1980s, after becoming a popular horror writer, King published a handful of novels — Rage (1977), The Long Walk (1979), Road Work (1981), The Running Man (1982) and Thinner (1984) — under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. The idea behind this was largely an experiment to measure for himself whether or not he could replicate his own success again, and allay at least part of the notion inside his own head that popularity might all be just an accident of fate. An alternate (or additional) explanation was because of publishing standards back then allowing only a single book a year.[18]

But there's another part that suggests it's all a lottery, a real-life game-show not much different from Wheel of Fortune or The New Price Is Right (two of the Bachman books, incidentally, are about game-show-type competitions). It is for some reason depressing to think it was all — or even mostly — an accident. So maybe you try to find out if you could do it again.[19]

The Bachman novels contained hints to the author's actual identity that were picked up on by fans, leading to King's admission of authorship in 1985. King dedicated his 1989 book The Dark Half about a pseudonym turning on a writer to "the deceased Richard Bachman", and in 1996, when the Stephen King novel Desperation was released, the companion novel The Regulators carried the Bachman byline.

In 2006, during a London UK press conference, King declared that he had discovered another Bachman novel, titled Blaze. It was published on June 12, 2007 in the UK and US. In fact, the manuscript had been held at King's alma mater, the University of Maine in Orono for many years and had been covered by numerous King experts. King completely rewrote the 1973 manuscript for its publication.

Writing style

In his nonfiction book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, King discusses his writing style at great length. King believes that, generally speaking, good stories cannot be called consciously and should not be plotted out beforehand, they are better served by focusing on a single "seed" of a story and letting the story grow itself. King often begins a story with no idea how it will end. He mentions in the Dark Tower series that halfway through its nearly 30-year writing period a terminally-ill woman asked how it would end, certain she would die before the series's completion. He told her he did not know. King believes strongly in this style, stating that his best writing comes from "freewriting." In On Writing, King stated that he believed stories to exist fully formed, like fossils, and that his role as a writer was to excavate the fossil as well as he could. When asked for the source of his story ideas in interviews, however, he has several times, including the appearance on Amazon.com's Fishbowl, answered, "I have the heart of a small boy……and I keep it in a jar on my desk." (This quote is most often attributed to Robert Bloch, author of Psycho.)

He is known for his great eye for detail, for continuity and for inside references; many stories that may seem unrelated are often linked by secondary characters, fictional towns, or off-hand references to events in previous books. Many of the settings for King's books are in Maine, though often fictional locations.

King's books are filled with references to American history and American culture, particularly the darker, more fearful side of these. These references are generally spun into the stories of characters, often explaining their fears. Recurrent references include crime, war (especially the Vietnam War), violence, the supernatural and racism.

King is also known for his folksy, informal narration, often referring to his fans as "Constant Readers" or "friends and neighbors." This familiar style contrasts with the horrific content of many of his stories.

King has a very simple formula for learning to write well: "Read four hours a day and write four hours a day. If you cannot find the time for that, you can't expect to become a good writer." He also has a simple definition for talent in writing: "If you wrote something for which someone sent you a check, if you cashed the check and it didn't bounce, and if you then paid the light bill with the money, I consider you talented."[20]

Shortly after his accident, King wrote the first draft of the book Dreamcatcher with a notebook and a Waterman fountain pen, which he called "the world's finest word processor."

King's writing style throughout his novels alternates from future to past, character development (including character illumination, dynamics and revelation), and setting in each chapter — leaving a cliffhanger at the end. He then continues this process until the novel is finished.

When asked why he writes, King responds: "The answer to that is fairly simple – there was nothing else I was made to do. I was made to write stories and I love to write stories. That's why I do it. I really can't imagine doing anything else and I can't imagine not doing what I do."[21]

Influences

King has called Richard Matheson "the author who influenced me most as a writer."[6] Both authors casually integrate characters' thoughts into the third person narration, just one of several parallels between their writing styles. In a current edition of Matheson's The Incredible Shrinking Man, King is quoted: "A horror story if there ever was one…a great adventure story — it is certainly one of that select handful that I have given to people, envying them the experience of the first reading."

King is a fan of H. P. Lovecraft and refers to him several times in Danse Macabre. Lovecraft's influence shows in King's invention of bizarre, ancient deities, subtle connections among all of his tales and the integration of fabricated newspaper clippings, trial transcripts and documents as narrative devices. King's invented trio of afflicted New England towns — Jerusalem's Lot, Castle Rock and Derry — are reminiscent of Lovecraft's Arkham, Dunwich and Innsmouth. King's short story "Crouch End" is an explicit homage to, and part of, Lovecraft's Cthulhu Mythos story cycle. "Gramma", a short story made into a film in the 1980s anthology horror show The New Twilight Zone, mentions Lovecraft's notorious fictional creation Necronomicon, also borrowing the names of a number of the fictional monsters mentioned therein. "I Know What You Need" from 1976's anthology collection Night Shift, and 'Salem's Lot also mention the tome. Another tribute to Lovecraft is in King's short story "Jerusalem's Lot", which opens Night Shift. King differs markedly from Lovecraft in his focus on extensive characterization and naturalistic dialogue, both notably absent in Lovecraft's writing. In On Writing, King is critical of Lovecraft's dialogue-writing skills, using passages from The Colour Out of Space as particularly poor examples. There are also several examples of King referring to Lovecraftian characters in his work, such as Nyarlathotep and Yog-Sothoth.

Alexandre Dumas, père, an influence on King.Edgar Allan Poe exerts a noticeable influence over King's writing as well. In The Shining, the phrase "And the red death held sway over all" hearkens back to Poe's "And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all" from "The Masque of the Red Death." The short story "Dolan's Cadillac" has a theme almost identical to Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado," including a paraphrase of Fortunato's famous plea, "For the love of God, Montresor!" In The Shining, King refers to Poe as "The Great American Hack".

King acknowledges the influence of Bram Stoker, particularly on his novel ’Salem's Lot, which he envisioned as a retelling of Dracula.[22] Its related short story "Jerusalem's Lot", is reminiscent of Stoker's The Lair of the White Worm.

Alexandre Dumas, père, an influence on King.
King has also openly declared his admiration for another, less prolific author: Shirley Jackson. 'Salem's Lot opens with a quotation from Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House. Tony, an imaginary playmate from

The Shining, bears a striking resemblance to another imaginary playmate with the same name from Jackson's Hangsaman. A pivotal scene in Storm of the Century is based on Jackson's The Lottery. A character in Wolves of the Calla references the Jackson book We Have Always Lived in the Castle.

King is a big fan of John D. MacDonald and dedicated the novella Sun Dog to MacDonald, saying "I miss you, old friend." For his part, MacDonald wrote an admiring preface to an early paperback version of Night Shift, and even had his famous character, Travis McGee, reading Cujo in one of the last McGee novels.

In an Amazon.com interview, King said the one book he wishes he'd written is William Golding's Lord of the Flies.

King makes references in several of his books to characters and events in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.

Robert A. Heinlein's book The Door into Summer is repeatedly mentioned in King's Wolves of the Calla.

Collaborations

King has written two novels with acclaimed horror novelist Peter Straub, The Talisman and a sequel, Black House. King has indicated that he and Straub will likely write the third and concluding book in this series, the tale of Jack Sawyer, but has set no timeline for its completion.

King also wrote the nonfiction book, Faithful with novelist and fellow Red Sox fanatic Stewart O'Nan.

The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red, was a paperback tie-in for the King-penned miniseries Rose Red. The book was published under anonymous authorship, and written by Ridley Pearson. This spin-off is a rare occasion of another author being granted permission to write commercial work using characters and story elements invented by King.

King wrote an introduction to one of Neil Gaiman's many graphic novel collections, and expressed admiration for him. He also wrote an introduction to the October 1986 400th issue of the Batman comic book.

Speculation that King wrote the novel Bad Twin, a tie-in to the series Lost, under the pseudonym Gary Troup has been discredited.

King played guitar for the rock band Rock Bottom Remainders, several of whose members are authors. Other members include Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson, Scott Turow, Amy Tan, James McBride, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount Jr., Matt Groening, Kathi Kamen Goldmark and Greg Iles. None of them claim to have any musical talent. King is a fan of the rock band AC/DC, who did the soundtrack for his 1986 film, Maximum Overdrive. He is also a fan of The Ramones, who wrote the title song for Pet Sematary and appeared in the music video. They are referred to several times in various novels and stories. In addition he wrote the liner notes for their tribute album We're a Happy Family.

Critical response

Critical responses to King's works have been mixed.

In his analysis of post-World War II horror fiction, The Modern Weird Tale (2001), critic S. T. Joshi[23] devotes a chapter to King's work. Joshi argues that King's best-known works (his supernatural novels) are his worst, being mostly bloated, illogical, maudlin and prone to deus ex machina endings. Despite these criticisms, Joshi argues that since Gerald's Game (1993), King has been tempering the worst of his writing faults, producing books that are leaner, more believable and generally better written. Joshi also stresses that, despite his flaws, King almost unfailingly writes insightfully about the pains and joys of adolescence, and has produced a few outstanding books, citing two non-supernatural novels – Rage (1977) and The Running Man (1982) – as King's best: in Joshi's estimation, both books are riveting and well-constructed, with believable characters.

In 1996, King won an O. Henry Award for his short story "The Man in the Black Suit." In 2003, when King was honored by the National Book Awards with a lifetime achievement award: Medal of Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, there was an uproar in the literary community, with literary critic Harold Bloom denouncing the choice:

The decision to give the National Book Foundation's annual award for "distinguished contribution" to Stephen King is extraordinary, another low in the shocking process of dumbing down our cultural life. I've described King in the past as a writer of penny dreadfuls, but perhaps even that is too kind. He shares nothing with Edgar Allan Poe. What he is is an immensely inadequate writer on a sentence-by-sentence, paragraph-by-paragraph, book-by-book basis.[24]

However, in giving the award, the Foundation said, "Stephen King’s writing is securely rooted in the great American tradition that glorifies spirit-of-place and the abiding power of narrative. He crafts stylish, mind-bending page-turners that contain profound moral truths – some beautiful, some harrowing – about our inner lives. This Award commemorates Mr. King’s well-earned place of distinction in the wide world of readers and book lovers of all ages."

Others in the writing community expressed their contempt of the slight towards King. When Richard Snyder, the former CEO of Simon & Schuster, described King's work as "non-literature", Orson Scott Card responded: "Let me assure you that King's work most definitely is literature, because it was written to be published and is read with admiration. What Snyder really means is that it is not the literature preferred by the academic-literary elite."[25]

In Roger Ebert's review of the 2004 movie Secret Window, he states "A lot of people were outraged that he [King] was honored at the National Book Awards, as if a popular writer could not be taken seriously. But after finding that his book On Writing had more useful and observant things to say about the craft than any book since Strunk and White's The Elements of Style, I have gotten over my own snobbery."[26]

Influence on popular culture

Since the publication of Carrie, public awareness of King and his works has reached a high saturation rate[27], becoming as popular as The Twilight Zone or the films of Alfred Hitchcock[28]. As the best-selling novelist in the world, and the most financially successful horror writer in history, King is an American horror icon of the highest order. King's books and characters encompass primary fears in such an iconic manner that his stories have become synonymous with certain key genre ideas. Carrie, Christine, Cujo, It, and The Shining, for example, are instantly recognizable to millions as popular shorthand for the Vengeful Nerd Wronged, the Killer Car, the Evil Dog, the Evil Clown, and the Haunted Hotel. Even King himself is so recognizable to the American public that in an American Express advertisement, the writer was able to satirize his spooky image in 30 seconds, and Gary Larson could portray a young Stephen King torturing his toys in a Far Side panel, without extensive explanation.

Films and TV

Many of King's novels and short stories have been made into major motion pictures or TV movies and miniseries.[29] Unlike some authors, King is untroubled by movies based on his works differing from the original work. He has contrasted his books and its film adaptations as "apples and oranges; both delicious, but very different." The exception to this is The Shining, which King criticized when it was released in 1980; and The Lawnmower Man (he sued to have his name removed from the credits). King seems to have gained greater appreciation for Kubrick's The Shining over the years. Kubrick had knocked the original novel in an interview as not "literary," having its merits exclusively in the plot. This understandably may have upset King. As a film, The Lawnmower Man bore no resemblance whatsoever to King's original short story. King's name was used solely as a faux-brand.

King made his feature film acting debut in Creepshow, playing Jordy Verrill, a backwoods redneck who, after touching a fallen meteor in hopes of selling it, grows moss all over his body. He has since made cameos in several adaptations of his works. He appeared in Pet Sematary as a minister at a funeral, in Rose Red as a pizza deliveryman, in The Stand as "Teddy Wieszack," in the Shining miniseries as band member Gage Creed and in The Langoliers as Tom Holby. He has also appeared in The Golden Years, in Chappelle's Show and, along with fellow author Amy Tan, on The Simpsons as himself. In addition to acting, King tried his hand at directing with Maximum Overdrive.

After a private screening of the film Stand By Me (which was an adaptation of his novella The Body), King told director Rob Reiner that it was the best film adaptation of any of his works up to that point. He said it was actually better than his original novella. King was also very happy with the job Frank Darabont did with The Green Mile.

King produced and acted in a miniseries, Kingdom Hospital, which is based on the Danish miniseries Riget by Lars von Trier. He also co-wrote The X-Files season 5 episode "Chinga" with the creator of the series Chris Carter.

He is rumored to have stored in his house many of the film props from the numerous movies adapted from his original books, including the car used in Christine and a life-sized model of Barlow the Vampire from 'Salem's Lot. Since 1977, King has granted permission to student filmmakers to make adaptations of his short stories for one dollar (see Dollar Baby).

King is friends with film director George Romero, to whom he partly dedicated his book Cell, and wrote a tribute about the filmmaker in Entertainment Weekly for his pop culture column, as well as an essay for the Elite DVD version of Night of the Living Dead. Romero is rumored to be directing the adaptations of King's novels The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon and From a Buick 8.

Miscellaneous

King often uses authors as characters, or includes mention of fictional books in his stories, novellas and novels, such as Paul Sheldon who is the main character in Misery. See also List of fictional books in the works of Stephen King for a complete list.

Radio stations

Stephen and wife Tabitha own The Zone Corporation, a central Maine radio station group consisting of WDME, WZON, and WKIT. The latter of the three stations, features a caricature of King as Frankenstein-esque character as part of the logo and the tagline "Stephen King's Rock 'n' Roll Station".

References

  1. Honor roll:Horror authors. Award Annals (2007-11-17).
  2. Beahm, George The Stephen King Story: A Literary Profile Andrews and McMeel. 1991. ISBN 0-8362-7989-1 : pp.101
  3. see King's On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
  4. http://people.monstersandcritics.com/archive/peoplearchive.php/Stephen_King/biog
  5. King, Stephen (2000). On Writing. Scribner, 76–77. ISBN 0684853523.  
  6. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft
  7. http://www.cnn.com/books/news/9906/21/stephen.king.03/
  8. http://www.liljas-library.com/accident.html
  9. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1124785
  10. http://slashdot.org/features/00/11/30/1238204.shtml
  11. http://stephenking.com/pages/FAQ/Stephen_King/retired.php
  12. Peter David discusses the signing on his blog.
  13. Another blog entry of the signing with photos and links to interviews.
  14. Stephen King Ventures Into Comic Books
  15. http://joblo.com/abrams-on-dark-tower
  16. http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20036014,00.html
  17. ABC News, Stephen King mistaken for vandal in Alice
  18. King, Stephen. Stephen King FAQ: "Why did you write books as Richard Bachman?". StephenKing.com. Retrieved on December 13, 2006.
  19. The Bachman Books, Stephen King (1985) p. viii
  20. Everything You Need to Know About Writing Successfully — in Ten Minutes
  21. Stephen King's official site. Retrieved on 2007-05-14.
  22. http://www.stephenking.com/pages/works/salems_lot/
  23. Joshi, S.T, The Modern Weird Tale : A Critique of Horror Fiction, McFarland & Company, 2001, ISBN 978-0786409860
  24. http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2003/09/24/dumbing_down_american_readers/
  25. http://www.hatrack.com/osc/reviews/everything/2003-09-21.shtml
  26. http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040312/REVIEWS/403120306/1023
  27. Linda Badley, Writing Horror and the Body: The Fiction of Stephen King, Clive Barker, and Anne Rice (Contributions to the Study of Popular Culture) (Greenwood Press, 1996); Michael R. Collings, Scaring Us to Death: The Impact of Stephen King on Popular Culture (Borgo Press; 2nd Rev edition, 1997).
  28. Amy Keyishian, Stephen King (Pop Culture Legends) (Chelsea House Publications, 1995).
  29. Internet Movie Database: Stephen King. Retrieved on 2007-04-10.

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