Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #190

End_of_Watch_coverNot long now until End of Watch comes out, the final installment in the Mr. Mercedes trilogy. King is doing a major tour for this book, with twelve stops between June 7 and June 18. The June 16 event in Albuquerque is of particular interest because George R.R. Martin will be interviewing King. Most of the events have already sold out (some in almost record time), but you can find the list of venues here.

After years of saying “no news yet” with reference to the Dark Tower movie, things are finally moving forward. The current release date is set at February 17, 2017, and the following people have been cast: Idris Elba (Roland), Matthew McConaughey (Man in Black), Jackie Earle Haley (Richard Sayre), Fran Kranz (Pimli Prentiss), Tom Taylor (Jake), Abby Lee (Tirana) and Katheryn Winnick (unknown). Some early photos from the set appeared a few days ago, and some of them disappeared soon after!Continue Reading

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #164

In case you haven’t heard the news yet, Cemetery Dance recently announced a deal to create Deluxe Special Editions of the six books King published with Doubleday. The series launches this summer with Carrie. Check the link for specifics, including the artist, cover art, and the extra material that will appear in the book.

We’re less than two months away from the publication date of Mr. Mercedes, and the first reviews have started to show up. Publishers Weekly’s review came first, calling it a “suspenseful crime thriller” and lauding King for his disturbing portrait of the book’s villain, Brady, “a genuine monster in ordinary human form who gives new meaning to the phrase ‘the banality of evil.'” Then came the Booklist review, which concludes: “No need to rev the engine here; this baby will rocket itself out of libraries with a loud squeal of the tires.” My review will appear in the next issue of Cemetery Dance magazine, but I loved it. I’ve been waiting for King to write a non-supernatural crime novel for ages and at last my wish is granted. And PW is right: Brady is one twisted guy. He’s not at all sympathetic, but he’s fascinating. And Bill Hodges is a comfortable narrator / protagonist to spend five hundred pages with. The audiobook will be narrated by Will Patton.

King’ second book of the year is Revival, which will be out on November 11. Here is the synopsis:

In a small New England town, over half a century ago, a shadow falls over a small boy playing with his toy soldiers. Jamie Morton looks up to see a striking man, the new minister. Charles Jacobs, along with his beautiful wife, will transform the local church. The men and boys are all a bit in love with Mrs. Jacobs; the women and girls feel the same about Reverend Jacobs—including Jamie’s mother and beloved sister, Claire. With Jamie, the Reverend shares a deeper bond based on a secret obsession. When tragedy strikes the Jacobs family, this charismatic preacher curses God, mocks all religious belief, and is banished from the shocked town.

Jamie has demons of his own. Wed to his guitar from the age of 13, he plays in bands across the country, living the nomadic lifestyle of bar-band rock and roll while fleeing from his family’s horrific loss. In his mid-thirties—addicted to heroin, stranded, desperate—Jamie meets Charles Jacobs again, with profound consequences for both men. Their bond becomes a pact beyond even the Devil’s devising, and Jamie discovers that revival has many meanings.

This rich and disturbing novel spans five decades on its way to the most terrifying conclusion Stephen King has ever written. It’s a masterpiece from King, in the great American tradition of Frank Norris, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe.

To thank all his German and French fans for their warm welcome during his Doctor Sleep book tour last fall, King wrote a novella, “Bad Little Kid”, which is available in e-book format in German (Böser kleiner Junge) and French (Sale Gosse). You can’t buy it in the US at the moment, but it is available in Canada and the UK (but not in English). I wrote an article / review for FEARnet, probably my last piece for that market, which was gobbled up by Comcast last week.

And, no, he isn’t writing a sequel to Christine called Christine Lives as was announced on April 1.

King will appear in a cameo role in the first episode of the second season of Under the Dome, which launches on June 30. According to an article in USA Today, he wrote the episode, titled “Heads Will Roll,” and will show up in the town’s diner as “just a citizen of Chester’s Mill for at least the moment.” Check out the article for a photo of King being served coffee at Sweet Briar Rose. Several new characters will be introduced this season, including barbershop owner Lyle Chumley (Dwight Yoakam), Big Jim’s late wife Pauline (Sherry Stringfield), his brother-in-law, Sam Verdreaux (Eddie Cahill), teacher Rebecca Pine (Karla Crome), Greg (Dwayne Boyd), and Melanie (Grace Victoria Cox), a character pulled from the lake by Julia at the end of the first season. If you haven’t seen it already, be sure to check out this promotional video of King “tweeting from the set.”

During his Emerald City Comicon Secret Origins panel, Peter David revealed that Marvel will resume adapting the Dark Tower series with The Drawing of the Three, without providing any timeline. He told the story of how he pitched the idea when King came to visit him while he was convalescing after suffering a stroke.

In other comic news, Walter Simonson’s 22-page Lawnmower Man Artist’s Edition portfolio, collecting the entire story into a deluxe portfolio from IDW, is set to arrive in time for San Diego’s Comic-Con International in July.

King has a short non-fiction piece called “The Ring” in Tin House, Issue, 59, Volume 15, Number 3. The theme for the issue is Memory and King’s 2-page essay is about their wedding rings and the day they got married.

He and Karen Russell talk about their books Doctor Sleep and Sleep Donation in this interview posted at Goodreads.

Joyland, which is now available as an e-book for the first time, was nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for an Edgar in the Best Paperback Original category. Doctor Sleep was nominated for a Thriller Award in the Best Hardcover Novel category by the International Thriller Writers.

The latest movie adaptation, A Good Marriage, premieres in New York on Thursday, April 24.

Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) is in early talks to take over as director of The Stand for Warner Bros. and CBS Films. He will be at least the fourth potential director for this project. Boone is also currently attached to direct a movie version of Lisey’s Story.

Cary Fukunaga, fresh off his recent success directing HBO’s True Detective, is working on a script for the two-part remake of It. It appears that the first part will be about the kids and the second part about the adults. Fukunaga said, “There will be no spider at the end of our movie. We’re definitely honoring the spirit of Stephen King, but the horror has to be modernized to make it relevant. That’s my job, right now, on this pass. I’m working on making the horror more about suspense than visualization of any creatures. I just don’t think that’s scary. What could be there, and the sounds and how it interacts with things, is scarier than actual monsters.”

The SyFy series Haven was renewed for 26 more episodes, 13 to air this year and 13 for 2015, although they are all supposedly part of a single season. In a related concept, Universal TV is adapting the short story “Ayana” into a TV drama set in a world of miracles. The series has not been picked up by a network yet, though.

King has been interviewed for the PBS series Finding Your Roots, where “we trace people’s habitypes, which tell where your ancestors came from.” Dr. Henry Louis Gates’ interview with King will air later this year.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #162

Scribner has released their description of Mr. Mercedes, King’s next novel, which will be out on June 3, 2014.

In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes.

 In another part of town, months later, a retired cop named Bill Hodges is still haunted by the unsolved crime. When he gets a crazed letter from someone who self-identifies as the “perk” and threatens an even more diabolical attack, Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing another tragedy.

 Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. He loved the feel of death under the wheels of the Mercedes, and he wants that rush again. Only Bill Hodges, with a couple of highly unlikely allies, can apprehend the killer before he strikes again. And they have no time to lose, because Brady’s next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim thousands.

 Mr. Mercedes is a war between good and evil, from the master of suspense whose insight into the mind of this obsessed, insane killer is chilling and unforgettable.

This is just one of two novels we’ll see next year, the other being Revival. There’s a new King short story, “Summer Thunder,” in the CD anthology Turn Down the Lights. Editor Rich Chizmar says it “might be one of the most heartbreaking post-apocalyptic tales we’ve ever read.”

King joined Twitter late last week. Within minutes he had 30,000 followers and the number has since climbed to nearly 200,000. You don’t need to join Twitter to see his feed, though. Just click here.

Samuel L. Jackson will play Tom McCourt in the movie adaptation of Cell, joining John Cusack for the second time (1408). There were some amusing follow-up articles in which Jackson confessed that he didn’t know that his character was gay in the novel. The film will be directed by Tod “Kip” Williams (Paranormal Activity 2). Production is scheduled to begin in January.

Long-time King fan Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) plans to adapt Lisey’s Story. King had a cameo in Boone’s debut, Stuck in Love. Boone talks about how King responded when he sent some books to be autographed when he was 12 in this article.

Add another title to the list of remakes or reworkings. Bob Weinstein is developing a proposed 10-part series with Frank Darabont, based on Dimension’s film version of The Mist. Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) is in talks to direct Pet Sematary. The day after it was announced that Scott Cooper was considering Christian Bale for the theatrical version of The Stand, the director left the project. Paul Greengrass is now being courted to help the film. Cary Fukunaga is currently attached to the remake of It.

Doctor Sleep link roll:

European tour:

In closing, here is my review of the campy horror film You Can’t Kill Stephen King, which should get US distribution in 2014.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #161 (Doctor Sleep edition)

Doctor Sleep, which has been out for less than a week, went straight to the top of all of the major bestseller lists. According to USA Today, it is King’s seventh book to debut at #1 since he moved to Scribner in 1998. For those of you who think that the book’s ending invites yet another sequel, King told USA Today that Doctor Sleep will be “my first and only solo sequel.”

Scribner made a book trailer for the novel that has some creepy scenes drawn from the text. They also created an interactive website for Doctor Sleep, which requires you to have the Chrome browser on your desktop and iPhone. An audio excerpt narrated by Will Patton can be found here.

King did a brief tour in support of the book, with appearances in New York, Boulder and Boston. Here is a report from Boulder. He will appear (with son Owen, who was also at the east coast appearances) in Toronto on October 24. In mid-November, he will go on a limited European tour (Paris, Munich and Hamburg). All the details about those events can be found here.

He also did a few interviews, including these:

The reviews have been, for the most part, very positive. Here is a selection from the major outlets:

You can find my review in Cemetery Dance #70. I joined the Lilja and Lou podcast for a discussion of The Shining leading up to Doctor Sleep’s publication day. Apparently it was the most listened-to installment of their podcast series. I also wrote a brief article for the Early Reader’s Club about crossovers between Doctor Sleep and other novels (not just King’s). I don’t think I’ve ever had an online article generate that many comments!

The Stanley Hotel, inspiration for The Shining, has been getting a little press of late, too. There was a report that they plan to dig up and relocate a pet cemetery on the grounds and Yahoo Homes presented a pictorial tour of the hotel.

The sequel has also renewed discussion of the Kubrick adaptation of The Shining, including a couple of pieces in Salon: The Shining’s horrifying misogyny and What Stanley Kubrick got wrong about The Shining. Well, other than the miniseries, there’s always the opera version. The what?

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #160 (Under the Dome recap)

As everyone prepares to get copies of Doctor Sleep tomorrow or perhaps even head out to Boulder or NY or Boston to see King, I thought I’d talk about Under the Dome, which wrapped its first season last week. I’ll be back later with my Doctor Sleep coverage—or you can check out my review in issue #70 of Cemetery Dance.

Not everyone was enamored of the show. One objection was that some people went into it thinking they were committing to a limited-run miniseries instead an open-ended, ongoing series. When it was renewed, there were howls from some quarters, even though that was always the producers’ hope.

The biggest complaint, though, was the degree to which it departed from the novel. Every Tuesday morning, the woman in the office next to mine would stop at my door, express her frustration at the most recent changes, shake her head, and continue on to her desk. Stephen King wrote an open later defending the changes on his website after only a couple of episodes had aired. He said, “I’m enjoying the chance to watch that alternate reality play out; I still think there’s no place like Dome.”

The writers and producers didn’t sneak these changes into the story. The opening scene features Dale Barbara burying Peter Shumway’s body. That was as clear an announcement as any that this wasn’t Uncle Stevie’s Under the Dome, for better or for worse.

In my opinion, mostly for the better. If the TV series had followed the novel to the letter, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it nearly as much as I did.

But let’s be clear. It won’t go down in the annals as one of the best TV shows ever. This isn’t Lost or Breaking Bad. Why? It’s hard to put a finger on the reason. I didn’t mind that I often didn’t get to see an episode until a day or two after it aired, whereas missing Lost was a major crisis. Under the Dome is a show about mysteries, and the characters are intriguing, but it doesn’t have that frisson that comes with the crème-de-la-crème of television. The acting is generally satisfactory but not award-worthy. The writing is mostly decent. The story is engrossing. The special effects can be quite good at times. Faint praise, but praise nonetheless.

The show delivered consistently strong ratings, with more than 10 million people watching most episodes. The final episode had the second-highest viewership of the season, after the premiere. Compare that to Breaking Bad, which peaked at 6.4 million viewers. It had strong support from the network and from its cast. Dean Norris (Big Jim) was one of its biggest advocates. My Twitter stream during the hour the episode ran was overrun by cast members commenting on the episode. I’m still not 100% sold on the concept of live tweeting—is it wise to distract viewers from the show?—but the level of commitment is encouraging.

Let’s talk about the characters. Every one of them departs from the novel versions in some aspect. Angie lives on the TV show, whereas she’s dead (but not gone) throughout the book. “Scarecrow” Joe is older than his novel counterpart; Julie Shumway is younger (and hotter). Maxine Seagrave, Norrie Calvert’s moms, and several other characters are new to the series. Few are “sacred,” in the sense that just about anyone could be killed.

In general, they’re more ambiguous in the TV show. At times you feel bad for Big Jim, or you think that he might redeem himself. Similarly with Junior, who is basically a confused and disturbed young man seeking his father’s approval and love. On the other hand, Barbie has aspects to his personality that aren’t so laudable.

This added depth is intriguing. Consider Linda, who is forced into the role of chief lawkeeper after Duke dies (and how great would it have been if Jeff Fahey had stuck around a little longer?). Her allegiances drift over the course of the thirteen episodes. Some complained about inconsistent characterization, but in Linda’s case, she’s simply befuddled and confused. She’s not privy to as much information as viewers are. Swayed by stronger personalities and overwhelmed by the demands of her job. By contrast, Maxine, who was uniformly and delightfully evil wasn’t all that interesting

Unlike in the book, there is weather inside the dome. This is more of a filming consideration than a deliberate decision on the part of the writers, but it gives them some interesting things to play with. The dome itself is different, too. It seems sentient. It communicates via Lost-like apparitions, but also displays a temper, sending massive storms when it’s displeased. However, it also sends needed rain, so it’s not altogether hostile, and we learn late in the season that the dome claims to be protecting the people of Chester’s Mill, although from what we don’t yet know. And then there’s the egg. Is it the generator or something more? Have we seen the last of it, now that it’s at the bottom of the lake?

The producers promised that they wouldn’t make us wait for the answers to some of the big mysteries, and they were true to their word. We found out why Barbie was burying Julia’s husband. We found out why Big Jim was stockpiling propane. The mysterious “pink stars are falling” mantra began to make some sense with the revelations about Big Jim’s dead wife. We even learned something of the nature of the dome, though not everything. It appears that some extraterrestrial force is at work, though one less capricious and juvenile than what King created in his novel. Was I surprised that Julia ended up being the monarch? In retrospect, maybe I shouldn’t have been. After all, she was the narrator, and I’d found myself wondering from time to time why that was. It makes sense now.

Will I be back for the second season? Yes, definitely. I doubt that Barbie is going to dangle (did anyone else think about Roland and Cort watching Hax during that scene?), but I’m curious to see how he gets out of that pickle. How long can Big Jim keep on doing what he’s doing before more people catch on?

There’s still plenty of story to tell, and some shows improve with age. The writers have time to step back and assess what works and what doesn’t. Stephen King will be writing at least the first episode of the second season, so there’s that, too.

Stephen King: News from the Dead Zone #159

Check out the The New York Times Magazine in this Sunday’s paper for a cover story called The Kings of Maine. The text is online at this link, but there may be more pictures in the print version. The author of the interview also posted a sidebar on the Times site: An Easter Egg Hunt With Stephen King and Family.

King will be making three stops on his book tour for Doctor Sleep. First, he’ll appear with his son, author Owen King, in New York City on September 24th at 7:30 PM, presented by The Center for Fiction at the Gerald Lynch Theater at John Jay College. Then he’ll be at the  Colorado Chautauqua Auditorium in Boulder on Wednesday, September 25th at 7:30 PM. His final appearance is an event hosted by Harvard Book Store at 7 PM on September 27th at the Memorial Church, One Harvard Yard, in Cambridge, MA. See King’s official web site for links to the various sites and the full details of each event.

Under the Dome has been a big hit for CBS. Factoring time-shifting viewers and people downloading it on Amazon, more than 15 million people have been tuning in. Last week, CBS announced that they are renewing the series for a second season. The first episode of the 2014 series will be written by King. A lot of people have been complaining about how much the series diverges from the novel. King addresses these complaints here. On CBS Sunday Morning, King took the producers to the Maine town that was the inspiration for Chester’s Mill:  Stephen King and his compulsion to write. And this was pretty funny: On David Letterman, Bruce Willis joked  that he was joining the series, playing “the guy who lives right next door to the dome.” Because of the realities of filming outdoors, the producers have had to make some concessions about the weather. It’s impossible, for example, to eradicate the wind, so they published the rules of Under the Dome.

Here is a report from King’s recent appearance at Mark Twain House and a video of the event.

During a Q&A session promoting Under the Dome, King said that he’s halfway through a novel called Revival. During his interview at Mark Twain House (see above), he said, “The main character is a kid who learns how to play guitar, and I can relate to this guy because he’s not terribly good. He’s just good enough to catch on with a number of bands and play for a lot of years. The song that he learns to play first is the song that I learned to play first, which was ‘Cherry, Cherry’ by Neil Diamond. One of the great rock progressions: E-A-D-A.”

In an interview with The Atlantic, King discusses why he spends “months and even years” writing opening sentences.

The AARP website has posted an excerpt: Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep Revisits The Shining — Nearly 30 Years Later. During the premiere of Under the Dome, CBS ran an ad for the book.

Haven creators Sam Ernst and Jim Dunn have sold a pilot to ABC based on the short story “The New York Times at Special Bargain Rates.”

NBC has announced plans for a miniseries remake of The Tommyknockers. Emmy Award winner Yves Simoneau (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee) is attached to direct.

After years of being unavailable, The Golden Years is once again on DVD and Blu-Ray.

News from the Dead Zone #156

Since we last spoke, my book The Dark Tower Companion came out in trade paperback and eBook (Kindle | Nook). The reviews have been rolling in, so if you’re on the fence about buying a copy, check them out here. One of my favorites says, in part, “Bev Vincent … is so fluent in Mid-World, one gets the feeling he has gone through a doorway and visited. Really, you have the sense that he’s been there.”

Did you miss your chance to see Ghost Brothers of Darkland County when it played in Atlanta last year? If so, don’t despair. There are a couple of options available that will allow you to experience the show. First, you can order the soundtrack on iTunes or various other places. There’s a one-disc version that has the songs interspersed with select dialog from the play and a 2-disc deluxe set that comes with a trade paperback of the libretto and a DVD containing a Making of Ghost Brothers mini-documentary, featuring in-depth interviews with King, Mellencamp and Burnett along with the digital libretto and other bonus material. Then there’s the  3-disc version that has an additional CD that is just the music (no dialog) and a hardcover version of the libretto. The soundtrack will be available on June 4. Rolling Stone has been featuring individual tracks recently, including one of my favorite songs from the musical, Home Again.

On the other hand, maybe you’d rather see the play itself. If so, you may be pleased to hear that the show is going on tour, playing in 20 cities in the Midwest and Southeast beginning October 10 in Bloomington, IN, and ending November 6 in Grand Rapids, MI. Tickets go on sale Friday, May 17 at 10am at aeglive.com. The full list of cities and dates can be found here.

June 4 is also publication day for Joyland. Check out issue 70 of Cemetery Dance magazine for my review and an interview with Hard Case Crime publisher Charles Ardai. Thus far the only review has been from Publishers Weekly, and it’s a good one. The audiobook will be narrated by Michael Kelly. Last week it was announced that Tate Taylor (The Help) has optioned the film rights.

Cemetery Dance has revealed some of Vincent Chong’s spectacular artwork for their limited edition of Doctor Sleep here and here.

A Dollar Baby Film Festival will be part of Comicpalooza in Houston on the Memorial Day weekend. Twenty of these short films will be screened. I will be attending as a special guest. Shawn S. Lealos is hosting the event, screening his adaptation of “I Know What You Need” and promoting his upcoming book Dollar Deal: The Stories of the Dollar Baby Filmmakers.

The film adaptation of A Good Marriage is getting in gear. Filming will start in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Joan Allen and Anthony LaPaglia star as husband and wife, with Kristen Connolly playing their daughter. Stephen Lang plays a retired investigator from the Maine Attorney General’s office who is obsessed with solving a crime. Peter Askin is directing from King’s screenplay.

Only six more weeks until the premiere of Under the Dome, the summer series on CBS. Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), who plays Big Jim Rennie, tweeted a picture from the set with King recently. Cast members and producers discussed the series recently at Wondercon. You can see video of that panel at the bottom of this page. It’s hard to turn on ABC these days without seeing a promo for the show, but just in case you’ve missed them, here’s the latest teaser trailer. Be on the lookout for a shout-out to The Simpsons when the show airs. The plan is for this to be an ongoing series rather than a limited miniseries.

JJ Abrams has stepped in with a proposal to turn 11/22/63 into a TV series after Jonathan Demme recused himself from the project.

Season 4 of Haven began production recently. Eureka’s Colin Ferguson joins the cast as (what else?) a mysterious stranger.

The Dark Tower comics from Marvel are nearing the end of their run. The second issue of Evil Ground, the prequel to The Little Sisters of Eluria, comes out this month. Then, in July, a one-shot called So Fell Lord Perth ends the series.

Could the Dark Tower adaptation find its way to Netflix? Chief Creative Officer Ted Sarandos has revealed that he has talked to Ron Howard about the possibility. He says that he and Howard plan to continue their discussions after Arrested Development is finished.

Hard Listening is a forthcoming e-book by members of the Rock Bottom Remainders. It is a collection of essays, stories, musings, group email exchanges, candid conversations, compromising photographs, and audio and video (semi-musical) clips, as well as interactive quizzes. It will feature a new King story, as well as stories by some of his collaborators written to imitate him.

On July 18, King will appear at The Bushnell in Hartford, Connecticut, in conversation with WNPR radio personality Colin McEnroe. Proceeds from the event benefit the continuing educational and preservation activities of The Mark Twain House & Museum. He and son Owen will headline the PEN Canada annual benefit on October 24. The Q&A discussion will be moderated by the award-winning mystery writer, Louise Penny.

Want to blow your mind? Check out this flowchart of The Stephen King Universe. You may think you’ve seen it before, but it was recently updated to include the Dark Tower series.

 

Doctor Sleep: The Deluxe Special Edition by Stephen King Announced!

Doctor Sleep: The Deluxe Special Edition
by Stephen King

Slipcased Gift Edition, Signed Limited Edition, and Deluxe Signed Lettered Edition Available For Preorder Now!

Doctor Sleep

Read more on our website or place your order before time runs out!

Discuss this project on our message board!

As always, thanks for your continued support and enthusiasm!

News from the Dead Zone #155

The official Stephen King Facebook page debuted today. Be sure to click on the banner when you get there to see a clever mosaic.

Once upon a time, not so terribly long ago, I pretended to be Scarecrow Joe as part of the promotion leading up to the hardcover release of Under the Dome. I wrote the kid’s blog entries and ran his twitter feed. Colin Ford (We Bought a Zoo) will play him in the CBS TV series that debuts on June 24th. That’s the first casting news to be announced. There’ll be a promotional ad for the series during the Super Bowl. Neal Baer serves as showrunner. DreamWorks’ Stacey Snider is executive producing with Spielberg, King, Baer, Brian K. Vaughan (who wrote the pilot), Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank. Here’s an interview with King and Vaughan about the adaptation. Filming starts in Wilmington, NC in February. The thirteenth and final episode will reveal a vital piece of information about the town’s situation, but will be open-ended, the hope being that the series will be renewed and there will be more adventures in Chester’s Mill.

The third season of Haven ended with a series of bangs last night as the final two episodes were aired. What a cliffhanger it was, too. We learned some new information (who’s the Colorado Kid’s father? Who’s in charge of the guard?) but now we have to wait months and months to find out what will become of Audrey and Nathan and company. Turning Duke into a teenager, albeit briefly, was a stroke of brilliance.

The signed, limited edition of The Shining from Subterranean Press will go on sale at approximately 12:00 PM, EST, on Wednesday, January 23. The artist for this edition is Gabriel Rodriguez (of the comic series Locke & Key).

There’s a three page interview with King in the January 11 issue of Entertainment Weekly about Doctor Sleep. “6 Books We Can’t Wait For — Stephen King on His Shining Sequel” I haven’t found it online yet, though.

PS Publishing is going to do two 30th anniversary editions of King’s books this year. Their plan is to get the books out as close to the original publication dates as possible: Christine (with an introduction by Michael Marshall Smith) in late April and Pet Sematary (with an introduction by Ramsey Campbell) in mid-November. The books will have wraparound covers, two-page endpapers back and front (each one different) and full color wraparound artwork on a special slipcase plus six interior b&w illustrations. The artists will be signing the tip sheets and they’re hoping to include King’s signature as a facsimile. Print run should be 300-400 numbered copies.

Part 1 of the two-part Sheemie’s Story is now out from Marvel, with the concluding section coming out in February. After that, another two-part series called Evil Ground launches in April. It’s described as a prequel to “The Little Sisters of Eluria.” Here’s the blurb: “While traveling through the Desatoya Mountains towards Eluria, Roland comes across a haunted camp. While there, he relives one of his past adventures, in which he and his ka-tet fought Farson’s forces, only to be trapped by supernatural enemies”

Sony Pictures announced recently that the Carrie remake has been pushed back from its March 15 release to October 18.

The Facebook page Blumhouse Productions has released two behind the scenes photos for the movie Mercy, based on King’s short story “Gramma.” Dylan McDermott joined the cast recently, along with Frances O’Connor, Chandler Riggs and Joel Courtney. Peter Cornwell is directing. See more here.

News from the Dead Zone #152

The cover art for Joyland (see right) was released today. The book, from Hard Case Crime, will be released on June 4, 2013. The original publication will be in paperback only. Other editions (hardcover, electronic, audio) are possible but not currently scheduled. Joyland takes place in a small-town North Carolina amusement park, where college student Devin Jones arrives to work as a carny for the summer, but he ends up experiencing much more than he bargained for when he confronts the legacy of a vicious murder and the fate of a dying child. Read the entire press release.

Three months after Joyland, we’ll get Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining. The publication date was announced earlier this week: September 24, 2013. The story picks up with Dan Torrance (formerly Danny), who is now middle-aged and working at a hospice in rural New Hampshire. He meets Abra Stone, a very special twelve-year old girl he must save from a tribe of murderous paranormals known as The True Knot, quasi-immortal creatures that live off the ‘steam’ that children with the ‘shining’ produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Have you ever read “Weeds,” the rare King story that was the basis for “The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill” in Creepshow? If not, check out Shivers VII, which also features stories by Clive Barker, Ed Gorman, Bill Pronzini and many others, including me!

King’s short story “Batman and Robin Have an Altercation” appeared in the 9/12 issue of Harper’s Magazine, the first time he has published with them. “In The Tall Grass,” his collaboration with Joe Hill, first published in Esquire last summer, will be released as an audio book and an eBook in October. I wrote an essay about the story behind the story of “A Face in the Crowd” (which came out as an eBook and in audio on August 24) for FEARNet: Faces in the Crowd.

Movie news: Joan Allen will play the lead in The Good Wife, which should start filming next month. Rachel Nichols is in negotiations to join Justin Long in The Ten O’Clock People.

A group of filmmakers are working on a documentary called Unearthed & Untold: The Path to Pet Sematary. They have have already shot every location and filmed over two dozen interviews with the cast, crew and Maine locals who worked on the production, most of whom have never been interviewed on camera about their role in the film. John Campopiano says, “Our goal is to show the unique bridging of a relatively small Hollywood production with a small Maine community who continue to think highly of its involvement in the film. We’re also seeking to explore the legacy the film has established and how its core themes are being taught and explored in the film and academic worlds.”

Warner Bros.is quietly exploring the possibility of a prequel to The Shining. The studio has solicited Laeta Kalogridis and her partners to produce the proposed film, which would focus on what happened before the Torrances arrived at The Overlook. A WB spokeswoman cautioned that the project was in a very early stage and not even formally in development.

King, Dave Barry and The Rock Bottom Remainders, appeared on The Late, Late Show with Craig Ferguson. You can see it in its entirety here.

Earlier this week I received an advanced copy of Carrie: The Musical – Premiere Cast Recording from Ghostlight Records. For the first time ever, the music from the infamous Broadway adaptation is available, revised and updated for its recent reincarnation that closed after less than 50 performances (which is about ten times more than the original version). One motivation behind the reboot was to come up with a musical that could be licensed for productions across North America. The CD booklet has a reflection on the show’s history written by Lawrence D. Cohen, who wrote the book for the play as well as the script for the Brian De Palma film. Here’s a video for the opening song, “In.”

Matt Selman, an executive producer of The Simpsons, has undertaken the task of writing Billy Joel’s “We Didn’t Start the Fire” as it would have been recorded in the universe of 11/22/63.

James Smythe has gotten as far as The Dead Zone in his chronological reread of King’s books.

Here is a trailer for Season 3 of Haven, which premieres this Friday night on SyFy.

The Wind Through the Keyhole will be out in paperback on November 6th.

Finally, I have to share this enthusiastic (6 out of 5!) video review of The Stephen King Illustrated Companion.

News from the Dead Zone #151

My 150th post was so memorable, so legen—wait for it—dary that I was hesitant to follow it up. Nah, I’ve just been busy with other stuff (a likely story). So, here it is, #151. All the news that’s fit to print, and even some that isn’t.

The hottest news is the pending publication of “A Face in the Crowd,” an e-book and audiobook short story co-written with Stewart O’Nan, release slated for August 21. You can read the plot synopsis at King’s website. If you find yourself saying, “Hey, that sort of sounds familiar,” there’s a good reason. King talked about this story idea in Faithful, also co-written with O’Nan, while discussing the Face Game, something he’d do to amuse himself while watching baseball games. “What if a guy watches a lot of baseball games on TV because he’s a shut-in or invalid…and one night he sees his best friend from childhood, who was killed in a car crash, sitting in one of the seats behind the backstop…After that the protagonist sees him every night at every game.” You can read the full passage from Faithful here. The idea stuck around. King mentioned it again at the end of his appearance at the Savannah Book Festival, where Stewart O’Nan was in attendance. You can hear King talking about it at the 1 hr 5 min mark of this video.

The next book to be published will probably be Joyland, which will be out from Hard Case Crime next June. Neil Gaiman spilled the beans about this crime novel in an interview with King published in the Sunday Times in April. The book will only be available in paperback at first because King wants people to experience it as a physical book. Presumably there will eventually be an eBook, too. Set in a small-town North Carolina amusement park in 1973, Joyland tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a carny and confronts the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the ways both will change his life forever. Publisher Charles Ardai calls the it “a breathtaking, beautiful, heartbreaking book. It’s a whodunit, it’s a carny novel, it’s a story about growing up and growing old, and about those who don’t get to do either because death comes for them before their time.  Even the most hardboiled readers will find themselves moved.”

Doctor Sleep, the sequel to The Shining, originally slated for a January 2013 release, has been pushed back to give King more time to work on revisions. A new release date has not yet been announced, but you can hear King read the opening section on the audiobook version of The Wind through the Keyhole.

Part 1 of “In the Tall Grass,” a novella co-written with Joe Hill, was published in the June/July issue of Esquire, with the conclusion following in the August issue. It’s a nasty little story about what happens to people who unwisely choose to listen to the Canadian rock group Rush while traveling cross-country.

Movie update: The remake of Carrie is currently in production, with Chloë Grace Moretz in the starring role. Julianne Moore, Judy Greer and Portia Doubleday are also in the movie, which is directed by Kimberly Peirce. Justin Long is starring in a feature film adaptation of “The Ten o’Clock People,” directed by Tom Holland (The Langoliers, Thinner). Both are slated for 2013 releases. At Cannes, there were reports that “The Reach” and “A Good Marriage” would be turned into films, too, but there’s been no further news since then, nor has there been anything else about SyFy’s plans to turn The Eyes of the Dragon into a 4-hour TV movie. There are still rumblings about a 2-movie remake of It, too, but who knows if that project will take off or not.

King played with the Rock Bottom Remainders at their last-ever gigs in California recently. Before the shows, King said,  “A few years ago, Bruce Springsteen told us we weren’t bad, but not to try to get any better otherwise we’d just be another lousy band. After 20 years, we still meet his stringent requirements. For instance, while we all know what ‘stringent’ means, none of us have yet mastered an F chord.” Kathy Kamen Goldmark, who came up with the idea for the band, passed away shortly before these shows. You can find some clips of their performances on YouTube. Here’s an article about the band in the L.A. Times.

King will take to the stage at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell, offering fans the chance to hear him read his work, ask him questions and listen to him discuss his passion for writing and his advice for aspiring authors on Friday, Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.  See more about the event here.

Mark and Brian of KLOS hosted a wide-ranging interview with King recently You can listen to it here: Part 1 | Part 2.

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County may make the move to Broadway. Director Susan V. Booth plans to workshop the play in New York in September to try to arrange financial backing. In case you missed it in the awesomeness that was NFtDZ #150, here is my review of the Premiere at FEARnet.

James Smythe, a writer for the UK newspaper The Guardian, has read every King book and is now reading them again and reviewing them along the way. If you’re interested in following along, his first post on Carrie can be found here.

Season 3 of Haven is currently filming in Nova Scotia. The SyFy original series, based on The Colorado Kid (loosely based, that is), returns with thirteen new episodes on September 21. Hmmm. There’s something special about that date. Now, what could it be?

 

News from the Dead Zone #150

My 150th post to the online version of News from the Dead Zone. Let’s make it worth while, shall we?

The big news, of course, is yesterday’s publication of The Dark Tower 4.5, aka The Wind Through the Keyhole. I have a long review of the book in CD #66 and a shorter one at Onyx Reviews. The book is also out in the UK with a fascinating concept: The back cover is composed of hundreds (if not thousands) of user-contributed photographs, including mine. I haven’t seen the final product yet, but I expect that the pictures will be so small as to be unrecognizable but the online graphic lets you look around to see how it was built. A neat idea.

King reads the audio version, which is available on audio CD (not to be confused with this CD) and as an MP3 download. It also contains the opening section of Doctor Sleep, which will be published next year. There is an official Dark Tower page on Facebook, where you can read a discussion between King’s longtime editor, Scribner Editor-in-Chief Nan Graham, and his longtime editor and agent Chuck Verrill, of Darhansoff and Verrill, about the new book. My pal Bill Sheehan reviews the book in the Washington Post.

While we’re on the subject of the Dark Tower, the Marvel series The Way Station wraps up this month and the final series, The Man in Black, launches in June with artist Alex Maleev taking the reins. No word if Marvel will continue on past the end of The Gunslinger.

Ghost Brothers of Darkland County is nearing the middle of its run at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, GA. I wrote an essay for FEARnet about the show’s long road from inception to execution (Ghost Brothers I: The Long Road to Atlanta) and another in which I review the musical (Ghost Brothers II: Review). I was fortunate enough to be in attendance at for the red carpet premiere on April 11 and got to meet many of the principles and actors afterward. You can find a lot of great photos (not mine) here. No word yet on any CD release of the songs or if the show will have a life beyond Atlanta. Here’s a study guide about the story.

Neil Gaiman interviewed King for the Sunday Times (UK) magazine a couple of weeks ago. Among the revelations was the news that King was working on a novel called Joyland about an amusement park serial killer. King’s administrator follows up by saying that “this is indeed a work in progress that has been completed but will need to be edited. There is no official publisher or publication date set at this time. We will update you as more official news becomes available.”

11/22/63 was a winner at the 32nd annual Los Angeles Times Book Prizes in the mystery/suspense category. It has also been nominated for an International Thriller Award. The trade paperback edition will be out in October.

“Herman Wouk is Still Alive” (yes, he really is) won the Bram Stoker Award for short story. An audio adaptation of the story was prepared for Tales to Terrify in the run-up to the award ceremony. (While you’re there, check out an audio adaptation of my story, “Silvery Moon.”)

SyFy plans to adapt The Eyes of the Dragon for the cable network, we learned yesterday. It’s “in development,” with Michael Taylor and Jeff Vintar writing and Taylor executive producing with Bill Haber.

Mark Pavia (director of The Night Flier) is working on an anthology movie called Stephen King’s The Reaper’s Image that will adapt these four stories: “The Reaper’s Image,” “The Monkey,” “N,” and “Mile 81.”

Chloe Moretz has been chosen to play Carrie in the remake planned for next March. Julianne Moore is reportedly in talks to play Margaret White. Kim Pierce, the director, writes on Facebook: “I have gone back to the wonderful Stephen King book Carrie; I am also modernizing the story as one has to in order to bring any great piece of work written in one era into the next and especially given how very relevant this material is right now.”

I did an hour-long podcast about the Mick Garris miniseries Bag of Bones hosted by Louis Sytsma and featuring his frequent fellow podcaster Karen Lindsay.

All the links fit to print:

News from the Dead Zone #149

It can’t really have been two months since I last updated this site, can it? Apparently so. My apologies. I’ve been somewhat busy with an as-yet-unannounced book project that I hope will interest y’all when I can talk about it.

So, what’s new? The biggest thing, probably, is the fact that The Wind Through the Keyhole is starting to ship from Donald M. Grant. If you ordered the Artist Edition, you’re at the head of the list, though us poor alphabet-challenged people will have to wait a little longer than the Andersons and Billings and Carpenters of the world. My review of what King calls Dark Tower 4.5 (because the contemporary action takes place after the ka-tet leaves the Green Palace) will appear in the next issue of Cemetery Dance magazine.

I won’t bore you with news about the various remakes of movies based on King’s works. None of them seem to be going anywhere fast these days. However, I wrote an essay for FEARnet about the various Carrie adaptations, both cinematic and dramatic: Carrie On.

What’s King reading these days? According to Entertainment Weekly, he’s deep into the second volume of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Issue #1 of Road Rage, IDW’s graphic novel adaptation of Throttle is out this month, as is The Way Station #4.

King has commented about how he reworked the ending of 11/22/63 in response to feedback from his son. The original version of the last page or so of the manuscript is now available on his website.

Do you have your copy of Cycle Zombies by Stephen King? Nope, me neither. When showrunner Kurt Sutter asked King if he had a book he would like to promote during an episode of Sons of Anarchy last fall, this is the title King came up with. Sutter put his art department to work, and you can see the results here. Note that the text below the image is a spoiler for the fate of a major character, so if you haven’t seen the most recent season yet, don’t read the text!

King was at the Savannah Book Festival last weekend. He read from the opening pages of Dr. Sleep, the sequel to The Shining. This is a different passage than the one he read from last fall and features Danny and Wendy. You can find audience videos of the reading on YouTube.

Speaking of The Shining, you might be interested in Room 237, a documentary that digs into Kubrick’s film and comes up with some surprising deductions and extrapolations. Some articles about the movie: Cracking the Code in ‘Heeere’s Johnny!’ and Fascinating ‘Room 237? Will Forever Change ‘The Shining’ For Audiences.

This week’s Saturday Night Live featured a sketch in which “Maya Angelou” stars in a ‘prank show.’  One of her victims is Bill Hader playing Stephen King (which can be seen in this video at about the 1:40 mark).

Just a couple of months until the premiere of Ghost Brothers of Darkland County. I’ll be attending and will file a report after the event. A guest star-packed studio concept album is scheduled to be released on May 22 in both a single disc and 3-CD deluxe edition.

“Fair Extension” appears in the charity anthology Rage Against the Night to benefit King expert Rocky Wood. I also have a story in the book, which you can order here.

“Herman Wouk is Still Alive” was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award in the short fiction category.

I found this in-depth essay fascinating: You Can’t Always Get What You Want: On Stephen King from The Nation.

News from the Dead Zone #145

Bag of Bones wrapped filming a while back and will air as a two-night/four-miniseries on A&E in early December. Though preliminary dates were announced, these are not carved in stone. A couple of teaser trailers are available on YouTube: Beware the Lake and this Behind the Scenes video.

At an awards ceremony at George Mason University last month, King surprised the audience by reading a chapter from Dr. Sleep, which is a sequel to The Shining featuring Danny Torrance some thirty-five years after his experience at the Overlook Hotel. You can watch King’s reading along with the Q&A session that accompanied the award presentation here. I wrote an essay for FearNet discussing the genesis of Dr. Sleep called Whatever happened to Danny Torrance?

Most of the details for King’s book tour for 11/22/63 have been announced and tickets to these events are selling rapidly. Even though the book won’t be out for a while, the film rights have been snapped up. Jonathan Demme optioned the feature rights,  and is set to write, direct and produce the adaptation through his Clinica Estetico banner. Excerpts from the audiobook are being released each Monday and Friday. Scribner has also produced a 2 minute video in which King discusses 11/22/63

DreamWorks’ Spielberg and Stacey Snider nabbed the rights to Under the Domel shortly after it was published in November 2009 to strong reviews and the current plan is to air the adaptation on Showtime. Search is underway for a writer to write the project, whose executive producers will include King and DreamWorks TV’s Justin Falvey and Darryl Frank.

The eBook exclusive Mile 81 is out now. I wrote an essay for FearNet discussing King’s history with electronic publication that goes back farther than you probably realized: King of the eBooks.

IDW announced this week that they will be adapting the King/Joe Hill collaboration Throttle as a comic/graphic novel. Their story will be adapted in two monthly issues starting in February 2012 and will be followed by two issues adapting the story that inspired Throttle, Richard Matheson’s classic tale of suspense, Duel, beginning in April.

There’s probably still time to catch an airing of A Night at the Movies: The Horrors of Stephen King on TCM. The network shows repeat airings on October 18 and 24. Check your local provider for details. Here’s an interview with interviewer author/filmmaker Laurent Bouzereau: THE KING’S SCREECH.

A couple of weeks after Haven wrapped its second season, SyFy announced they were renewing the weekly series for a third season. Guess we’ll get to know whose gun went off after all.

The Stephen King Library Desk Calendar 2012 is now up for preorder to Book of the Month Club/Stephen King Library members. The theme this year is the Dark Tower and I have an essay in it.

The next installment of the Marvel graphic novel series is The Way Station. It debuts in December.

Interesting links:

News From The Dead Zone #125

When’s the last time you got a say in what book Stephen King is going to write next? Never! But now King is asking for people to express their preferences between two possible novels. Voting is open at his official web site until Jan 1, 2010. Here is his message on the matter:

Hey, you guys–I saw a lot of you Constant Readers while I was touring for Under the Dome, and I must say you’re looking good. Thanks for turning out in such numbers, and thanks for all the nice things you’ve said about Under the Dome. There’ll be another book next year. It’s a good one, I think, but that’s not why I’m writing. I mentioned two potential projects while I was on the road, one a new Mid-World book (not directly about Roland Deschain, but yes, he and his friend Cuthbert are in it, hunting a skin-man, which are what werewolves are called in that lost kingdom) and a sequel to The Shining called Doctor Sleep. Are you interested in reading either of these? If so, which one turns your dials more? Ms. Mod will be counting your votes (and of course it all means nothing if the muse doesn’t speak). Meanwhile, thanks again for 2009.

According to Ms. Mod, this isn’t an either/or proposal–King may write both of these books. It’s more a matter of which one you’d like to see first.

The Torontoist has this summary of King’s discussion of Dr. Sleep: “Seems King was wondering whatever happened to Danny Torrance of The Shining, who when readers last saw him was recovering from his ordeal at the Overlook Hotel at a resort in Maine with fellow survivors Wendy Torrance and chef Dick Halloran (who dies in the Kubrick film version). King remarked that though he ended his 1977 novel on a positive note, the Overlook was bound to have left young Danny with a lifetime’s worth of emotional scars. What Danny made of those traumatic experiences, and with the psychic powers that saved him from his father at the Overlook, is a question that King believes might make a damn fine sequel. So what would a sequel to one of King’s most beloved novels look like? In King’s still tentative plan for the novel, Danny is now 40 years old and living in upstate New York, where he works as the equivalent of an orderly at a hospice for the terminally ill. Danny’s real job is to visit with patients who are just about to pass on to the other side, and to help them make that journey with the aid of his mysterious powers. Danny also has a sideline in betting on the horses, a trick he learned from his buddy Dick Hallorann.”

In the aftermath of that statement, numerous news sources assumed that King was committed to writing the novel, which caused him to issue a sort of retraction via Entertainment Weekly. “It’s a great idea, and I just can’t seem to get down to it,” says the author in an e-mail. “People shouldn’t hold their breath. I know it would be cool, though. I want to write it just for the title, Dr. Sleep. I even told them [at the book signing], ‘It will probably never happen.'” Still, King — whose most recent novel is this month’s Under the Dome — can’t quite shut the door on the Shining sequel, adding, “But ‘probably’ isn’t ‘positively,’ so maybe.” The poll appeared on his website a few days later.

Concerning the next book (before he tackles either of these two), he said this in Toronto: “I have one (story) that’s kind of like Under the Dome, that I tried to write when I was 22 or 23 years old and I’m going to try to go back to that after this tour. I’d like to write that one. Beyond that, I have things that bounce around in my head. Dome bounced around a long time. I don’t keep a writer’s notebook of ideas because I’ve felt all my life that if I get a really good idea, it will stick.”

King’s appearance on The Hour can be found on the CBC website. Here is a one-minute clip of King and Cronenberg on stage in Toronto. Here are three video snippets from Talking Volumes in Minneapolis:

King reviews Raymond Carver’s Life and Stories in the NY Times. His latest Entertainment Weekly column is My Ultimate Playlist.

SyFy has ordered 13 episodes of Haven, the weekly TV series inspired by The Colorado Kid. Haven centers on a spooky town in Maine where cursed folk live normal lives in exile. When those curses start returning, FBI agent Audrey Parker is brought in to keep those supernatural forces at bay — while trying to unravel the mysteries of Haven. Producer Lloyd Segan talks about the show in this interview.

Casting has commenced for the reboot of Carrie: The Musical. The cast will feature Sutton Foster as gym teacher Ms. Gardner, Marin Mazzie as Margaret White, Molly Ranson as Carrie and Jennifer Damiano as Sue. Also revealed in the cast are “American Idol” finalist Diana DeGarmo (Hairspray, The Toxic Avenger) as Chris, Matt Doyle as Tommy and John Arthur Greene as Billy. The Carrie ensemble includes Corey Boardman, Lilli Cooper, Katrina Rose Dideriksen, Benjamin Eakeley, Emily Ferranti, Kyle Harris, Philip Hoffman, Kaitlin Kiyan, Max Kumangai, Mackenzie Mauzy, Preston Sadleir, Jonathan Schwartz, Bud Weber and Sasha Weiss. Producer Seller has reunited composer Michael Gore, lyricist Dean Pitchford and book writer Lawrence D. Cohen, whom took a crack at the stage show back in 1988 to reprise their roles for this update.  You can actually check out an official Carrie: The Musical website with plenty of tid-bits on the original show, as well as info on the new one right here.