News from the Dead Zone #140

Which artist would you like to have illustrate The Wind Through the Keyhole? You get to have your say on this subject via a poll being conducted at King’s official web site. Voting closes on April 1st, so don’t delay!

King’s 6500-word short story, “Herman Wouk is Still Alive,” will be published in the May issue of The Atlantic, on newsstands April 19 and available on the web and to subscribers a week earlier. For those unfamiliar with that name, he is the author of The Caine Mutiny, The Winds of War, and War and Remembrance.

The official page count for the Scribner edition of 11/22/63 is 864. King first talked about this idea in Marvel Spotlight: The Dark Tower, published on January 27, 2007. It remains to be seen whether some of the ideas he discussed in that interview made it into the book.

King tells Entertainment Weekly that he is in talks to write an episode of the AMC zombie series The Walking Dead, which is executive-produced by Frank Darabont. If this comes about, it could be for season 2 or season 3, and King might share the writing with Joe Hill.

The next cycle in the Marvel adaptation of the Dark Tower is The Battle of Tull, which launches a five-issue arc in June. Eisner Award nominee Michael Lark joins the team for this series. “I have nothing but respect and admiration for Stephen King and the chance to work on the Dark Tower is a wonderful privilege,” said Lark. “I only hope that I can come close to conveying his vision – a daunting task, but a challenge that I’m enjoying tremendously. It has allowed me to explore the darker aspects of my art and really start pushing some of the boundaries of my own style. And who doesn’t love drawing cowboys and horses?!”

Bluewater Comics says it will work with King on a bio-comic about his “incomparable” career. Orbit: Stephen King, scheduled for release in May, will trace the King’s career from rejections and anonymity to global fame. “It includes insight on his legacy as a writer, his love of the Boston Red Sox, forays into film, drug and alcohol issues, and the accident [in 1999] that nearly cost him his life,” Bluewater says in a release. All in just 32 pages!

Sometimes authors are asked to blurb books, and sometimes they are just so taken by a book that they send in their comments unsolicited. Such is the case with King’s comments on Robert McCammon’s next book. “The Five isn’t just Robert McCammon’s best novel in years; it’s his best novel ever. Terrifying, suspenseful, unputdownable, and full of rock and roll energy. It’s also uplifting, a book you’ll finish feeling better about your world, your friends, and your music. Here’s one you’ll beg friends to read.”

And sometimes he’s asked for his opinion, as in the case of the new HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce, based on the James M. Cain novel. He writes:  Kate Winslet Is Mommie Dearest in Mildred Pierce.

Filming for the second season of Haven begins in Nova Scotia in April and will carry through until late August. Here’s an article about how happy the locals are to have the production back in the area.

News from the Dead Zone #138

Scribner announced Stephen King’s next novel this morning. The title is 11/22/63 and it will be in stores on November 8, 2011. A palindromic date (11/8/11) in the US.  Here is the book’s description:

On November 22, 1963, three shots rang out in Dallas, President Kennedy died, and the world changed. If you had the chance to change history, would you? Would the consequences be worth it?

Jake Epping is a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk.

Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.

See King’s website, Scribner’s website and Hodder & Stoughton’s website for more.

At the Academy Awards last weekend, MTV asked Brian Grazer for news about casting for the Dark Tower film adaptation. Grazer said, “[Javier Bardem] is locked in psychologically,” Grazer said. “He really wants to do it, so we’re absolutely rooting for him to do it.” Until they cast Roland, they aren’t pursuing actors for any other roles, Grazer said.

King has been selected as the 2011 recipient of the Mason Award from the Fall for the Book Festival at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. He will be presented the award at a ceremony on September 23, 2011 and will be speaking and/or reading for approximately 30-45 minutes. Details regarding the speech and a possible signing to follow are still being negotiated. More information, including how to secure tickets for the event, will be posted here.

Full Dark, No Stars was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Collection. Winning titles will be announced at the Stoker Weekend in Long Island NY, June 16-19, 2011.