Of course the big news is the pending publication of Blockade Billy, a novella or novelette or novelesque, or something like that. It’s a baseball story with a twist, published by CD Publications this month. Of the book King says, “”I love old-school baseball, and I also love the way people who’ve spent a lifetime in the game talk about the game. I tried to combine those things in a story of suspense. People have asked me for years when I was going to write a baseball story. Ask no more; this is it.” The story reveals the secret life of William “Blockade Billy” Blakely, a man who may have been the greatest player the game has ever seen, although today no one remembers his name. He was the first — and only — player to have his existence completely removed from the record books. Even his team is long forgotten, barely a footnote in the game’s history. As you read the story, be on the lookout for a character with a very familiar name…
Scribner plans to release an audio version of the story in May. Publishers Weekly says (in part): this suspenseful short is a deftly executed suicide squeeze, with sharp spikes hoisted high and aimed at the jugular on the slide home.
The four stories contained in King’s next book, Full Dark, No Stars are: 1922 (The story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed to Arlette by her father), Big Driver (Mystery writer, Tess, has been supplementing her writing income for years by doing speaking engagements with no problems. But following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences), Fair Extension (Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but, as always, there is a price to pay), and A Good Marriage (Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage).
King says that he “originally used Hemingford Home in The Stand because I wanted to put Mother Abigail in the American heartland. That’s Nebraska. Hemingford was in the right place. … I love Nebraska and keep going back to it in my fiction — when I’m not in Maine, that is.”
Haven, the new SyFy series inspired by The Colorado Kid, will premiere on Friday, July 9. “It’s definitely based on the characters of ‘The Colorado Kid, but I would say it’s about a girl named Audrey [Parker], who’s an orphan and becomes an FBI agent,” star Emily Rose says. “She ends up getting sent on this case up in Maine. When she goes up there, she kind of starts having these things happen to her, and she sort of starts feeling like she’s been called home. Paranormal things happen, and some exciting things happen for her, and it’s not only her unraveling this murder case, but kind of unraveling the case of herself, honestly. It’s pretty fascinating.” Lucas Bryant and Eric Balfour also star in the series.
Dolan’s Cadillac is now available on DVD and Blu-Ray. My advice: rent it or skip it. I’ll have a full review in an upcoming issue of CD magazine.
More news about King’s publicity tour for Under the Dome is emerging. Both the New York and Portsmouth events are sold out, according to recent reports. Details about other events have not been made public. Check King’s message board for the most up-to-date information about the tour. The DC/Baltimore and Atlanta events will be straight signings, with no on-stage event, whereas for the others King will presign 250 books that will be made available for sale to attendees, although there may well be more attendees than books for some events.
November 10 – NYC (sold out)
November 11 – D.C. or Baltimore
November 13 – Atlanta
November 16 – Sarasota
November 18 – Minneapolis
November 19 – Toronto
December 1 – Portsmouth, NH (sold out)
December 2 – Manchester, VT
King is quoted in this article about the timing of the release of electronic versions of books: Stephen King, whose novel Under the Dome is being published in November by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, said in an e-mail message that “we’re all thinking and talking about electronic publishing and how to deal with these issues,” adding, “but I can’t say anything right now.” The electronic version of the book isn’t scheduled to be released until early 2010.
Scribner will publish two Collector’s Editions of Under the Dome. The regular Collector’s Edition will have a special jacket with a belly band, a stamped case, four-color printed endpapers, a ribbon marker, and will contain a set of 27 special trading cards featuring drawings of characters from the book (drawn by cartoonist Matthew Diffee). These drawings will also be featured in the book—as a frontispiece image and on the 26 part title pages. The book will be shrink-wrapped and Scribner will print only 25,000 copies of this edition, priced at $75. Scribner is also offering 1,500 copies of a signed, limited Collector’s Edition. This contains all the special elements listed above, plus the book will be signed by the author. This is priced at $200 and will only be sold through their web site. “We’re doing this to generate additional revenue,” says Susan Moldow, publisher of Simon & Schuster’s Scribner imprint. “We used to have a regular business of signed first edition mysteries, but we stopped because there wasn’t an additional mark-up…This is fighting back against the disappearance of the book as an object,” she adds.
An Under the Dome excerpt will be in a fall issue of Entertainment Weekly.
Rand Holston at CAA is currently out with the film rights to Under the Dome. According to Publishers Weekly, the book’s heft may be making it tough for Hollywood execs to see the story working as a feature; one insider said all the activity in the book is causing some to think Dome makes more sense as a miniseries.
Marvel Comics and Random House’s Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group have reached an agreement to allow The Stand: Captain Trips to be distributed in the general bookstore market beginning in January 2010. The hardcover omnibus was originally released exclusively through comics shops in March after Marvel acknowledged that it did not have permission from the book’s original publisher, Doubleday, now a part of Random House, to distribute it to the general bookstores.
Issue #3 of Fall of Gilead is now out.
The special B&W issue 0 of The Talisman was distributed at Comic-Con. The standard version of this prequel will be available in comic shops in October. The first issue of the first six-issue arc, The Road of Trials, will also appear in October. The current plan is for a total of three arcs, each about six issues.
John Harrison, whose Clive Barker-based feature Book of Blood premiered at Montreal’s Fantasia film festival recently, is writing a four-hour miniseries based on Cell for the Weinstein Company, which had originally planned to turn the book into a theatrical feature (with Eli Roth attached at one point to direct), but decided to abandon those plans and will be shopping the project to networks instead. Having served as assistant director/composer on the Creepshow and helmed Tales from the Darkside: The Movie (including an adaptation of “Cat from Hell”), Harrison considers Cell one of King’s best recent books, with opening chapters that will make an incredible first 30 minutes on screen. The filmmaker adds that he doesn’t see this as a zombie story so much as a Village of the Damned-esque chiller, and enjoys the fact that the infected populace possesses a hive mentality. While he has not been officially contracted to direct, he would certainly like to.
The remake of Children of the Corn will premiere on SyFy (formerly SciFi network) on Saturday, September 26 at 9pm Eastern/Pacific.
USA Weekend will have a cover story on Stephen King in its March 6-8 issue. Lorrie Lynch flew up to Maine to talk to him in December. “We got into a discussion of popular authors vs. the academic elite, a subject he has strong opinions about, and I asked him if his mainstream success over the past 35 years paved the way for the massive careers of Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling and Twilight author Stephenie Meyer.” Click read more for King’s feelings about those two as well as some other best-selling authors.
Captain Trips, the first series of graphic novels adapting The Stand, will be released in a hardcover omnibus edition on March 10th.
Dark Tower: Guide to Gilead will be out this month. Since the Golden Age of Eld — when Gilead was first named the capital of the fledgling Kingdom of All-World — the city has served as Mid-World’s most influential urban center. In the latest DARK TOWER handbook, explore Gilead’s seedy Lower Town and its affluent West End corridor! Learn about the religions of Buffalo Star and the Queen o’ Green Days! Marvel at the legend of Lord Perth! Beware the threats posed by the Blue-Faced Barbarians and Kuvian Night Soldiers! The Guide to Gilead is the only way to navigate the past, present and future of this magnificent metropolis!
This will be followed on March 11th by a single-issue installment Dark Tower: Sorcerer, “probing deeply into the incredible life of Marten Broadcloak. We learn his deadly secret agenda and true goal is not to serve the Crimson King, but to climb to the top of the Dark Tower itself and become the overlord of all existence!”
There’s a new Dark Tower critique out: Inside the Dark Tower Series: Art, Evil and Intertextuality in the Stephen King Novels by Patrick McAleer. “Stephen King is no stranger to the realm of literary criticism, but his most fantastic, far-reaching work has aroused little academic scrutiny. This study of King’s epic Dark Tower series encompasses the career of one of the world’s best-selling authors and frames him as more than a “horror writer.” Four categories of analysis–genre, art, evil, and intertextuality–provide a focused look at the center of King’s fictional universe. This book reaches beyond popular culture treatments of the series and examines it against King’s horror work, audience expectations, and the larger literary landscape.”
A new stage version of Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption will have its world premiere at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin on May 19 with previews starting on May 14. Adapted by Owen O’Neill and Dave Johns and directed by Peter Sheridan.
According to an article an earlier article in USA Weekend: Stephen King has gone multimedia. “N.,” one of the tales in the best-selling author’s latest short story collection, Just After Sunset, was turned into an original Web video series in conjunction with Marvel Comics. The collaboration has inspired King, 61; he’s thinking about doing a YouTube video for his novel Under the Dome, out later this year. Such projects are definitely fun, King says. “But with all these multimedia things, the story is the story still, the book is the book, and that’s the source material. As J.R.R. Tolkien might say, ‘That’s the one ring.’ It rules the other one.”
Del Rey announced the adaptor and artist on the comic book and graphic novel versions of The Talisman which debuts early this fall. The book will be penciled and inked by Tony Shasteen, and will be scripted by Robin Furth. Lettering and project management will be handled by Dabel Brothers Publishing.
King conducted another self-interview last week. He says this about the nearly completed novel, Under the Dome: “It’s twice the length of Duma Key. Over 1500 pages in manuscript. The first draft weighs 19 pounds.”
The October issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine containing the new King story “The New York Times at Bargain Prices” is on news stands now.
Filming is now under way in Tipton and Wilton, Iowa and other locations in the Quad-City area for the remake of Children of the Corn. Among the cast: David Anders (Heroes), Kandyse McClure (Battlestar Galactica) and Daniel Newman as Malachai. The film is scheduled to wrap at the end of September and will premiere on the Sci-Fi Channel next year.
Two newish books that might be of interest to you. The Films Of Stephen King,edited by Tony Magistrale is the first collection of essays assembled on the cinematic adaptations of King’s work. Chapters are written by cinema, television, and cultural studies scholars. Haunted Heart: The Life and Times of Stephen King an unauthorized biography by Lisa Rogak will be published in January 2009.
Here is JJ Abrams’ most recent comment on a Dark Tower movie: “The Dark Tower is to me every bit as daunting an adaptation as the Lord of the Rings trilogy must have been for Peter Jackson, except we’ve got seven books we’re looking at. And the idea of doing that at the same time Carlton and I are bringing Lost to a close is simply not viable. There are always Dark Tower conversations, but the figuring out of what this will look like as a movie has not begun. If The Dark Tower were in the right hands, I would love to see seven movies executed just right. But you have to get people to see the first one to get them to come and see the second one.”
Here is the Publisher’s Weekly review of Just After Sunset:
In the introduction to his first collection of short fiction since Everything’s Eventual (2002), King credits editing Best American Short Stories (2007) with reigniting his interest in the short form and inducing some of this volume’s contents. Most of these 13 tales show him at the top of his game, molding the themes and set pieces of horror and suspense fiction into richly nuanced blends of fantasy and psychological realism. “The Things They Left Behind,” a powerful study of survivor guilt, is one of several supernatural disaster stories that evoke the horrors of 9/11. Like the crime thrillers “The Gingerbread Girl” and “A Very Tight Place,” both of which feature protagonists struggling with apparently insuperable threats to life, it is laced with moving ruminations on mortality that King attributes to his own well-publicized near-death experience. Even the smattering of genre-oriented works shows King trying out provocative new vehicles for his trademark thrills, notably “N.,” a creepy character study of an obsessive-compulsive that subtly blossoms into a tale of cosmic terror in the tradition of Arthur Machen and H.P. Lovecraft. Culled almost entirely from leading mainstream periodicals, these stories are a testament to the literary merits of the well-told macabre tale.
Stephen King Goes to the Movies is a 400-page collection due out from Pocket Books in January 2009. In it, King provides brand new commentaries and introductions for five of his favorite stories that have been adapted for the big screen: The Shawshank Redemption, 1408, Children of the Corn, The Mangler, and Hearts in Atlantis. This big book will include an introduction by King, his personal commentary, and behind-the-scenes insights by Stephen.
Amazon has a promo video on its Just After Sunset page where King discusses short stories.
King will be judging book trailers submitted for a contest in which amateur and professional filmmakers produce book trailers (similar to movie trailers) based on the SHOMI imprint—a series of modern-day fantasy fiction. The contest is sponsored by Dorchester Publishing and Circle of Seven Productions. The best trailer—as selected by King—will be shown at a movie premiere in New York City as well as a theater in the winner’s home market.
How do you attract Steven Spielberg’s attention? Canadian filmmaker Mathieu Ratthe wants to adapt The Talisman and has been trying unsuccessfully to get his demo reel to Spielberg, who has had the film option for the novel since it was published. So, Ratthe uploaded his six-minute video The Hotel Room, based on a scene from the novel, to YouTube. The short stars Cameron Bright, who recently played a mutant in X-Men: The Last Stand, as a young man struggling to make sense of a glimpse into a strange alternate universe. The visual effects were done by Montreal-based Buzz Image, the team behind 300. His YouTube page says: “My main objective for creating this piece is to demonstrate my directing ability and my vision to the producers who own the rights to the story: STEVEN SPIELBERG & KATHLEEN KENNEDY.”
This is a strange one! Subterranean Press is publishing a new book by Hard Case Crime founder Charles Ardai called Fifty-to-One. Each chapter of the book will bear the title of a previous HCC novel, including works by Lawrence Block, Richard Stark, David J. Schow and King (The Colorado Kid). There will be 50-copy deluxe edition, signed by many of HCC’s authors (including King) on a tipped-in page in front of the chapter that bears the title of one of their books, and a 500-copy numbered edition signed by Ardai alone. Half of the profits from the deluxe edition will be donated to The Haven Foundation.
Here is King’s more recent Entertainment Weekly column: Why Hollywood Does Not Get Fear. For readers of the print magazine, note that his column no longer appears on the back page, so a quick glance at the magazine doesn’t tell you if he has an essay in a particular issue. Here is another column from a few weeks back: Playing Against Hype.
In a recent interview to publicize their script for “Eaters” on Fear Itself, Richard Chizmar and Jonathan Schaech said, “We have been working on From a Buick 8 for so long and are finally so close to a ‘go’ that we are afraid to talk too much about it and jinx it. What we can say is that we are currently working on one final rewrite for director Tobe Hooper and producer Mick Garris and the good folks at Amicus (producers of the recent Stuck and forthcoming It’s Alive remake).” Once the rewrite is completed, they are prepared to go right into pre-production with plans to film on the East Coast.
Marvel has announced details of their planned graphic novel adaptation of The Stand, which is scheduled to launch in September. The series writer is Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa. Illustrations will be by Mike Perkins, with color art from Laura Martin. The current plan is to do six five-issue arcs, though that is still flexible. They will be basing the adaptation on the uncut version of the novel.
The Dark Tower: Treachery, the third arc of that series, also debuts in September.
The ultra-rare King short story “The Old Dude’s Ticker” is being reprinted in The BIG Book of NECON edited by Bob Booth, from Cemetery Dance. The story only appeared previously in NECON XX. NECON, in case you are unfamiliar with it, is an annual Horror Writers convention in Rhode Island. I’ve been going to it for the last several years. “The Old Dude’s Ticker,” co-attributed to Edgar Allan Poe, is a riff on “The Tell-Tale Heart.”
Filming began last week on Dolan’s Cadillac in Regina and Moose Jaw, Canada. The cast includes Christian Slater (Dolan), Wes Bentley (Robinson) and Emmanuelle Vaugier. Jeff Beesley is directing from a script by Richard Dooling (Kingdom Hospital). Filming will also take place in Quebec and Las Vegas.
It looks like there’s starting to be some activity in the adaptation of Bag of Bones. A couple of news items reported that location scouting was taking place in Michigan. The West Michigan Tourist Association has been seeking volunteers who’ll give up their “time kissed” lakefront cabin in the trees as a stand-in for “Sara Laughs.”
The final season of USA’s The Dead Zone is now available on DVD in a three-disc set containing thirteen episodes, commentary and behind-the-scenes segments.
The first published collaboration between Stephen King and Joe Hill, a novella entitled “Throttle” inspired by the classic Richard Matheson story Duel (and the equally classic adaptation directed by Steven Spielberg), will appear in the Gauntlet Press collection He Is Legend: Celebrating Richard Matheson, which was announced this morning and is now up for reservation pre-orders for a February 2009 limited edition release.
You can listen to King’s NPR interview from last week online here. The main news arising from the interview is that Marvel seems to be moving forward with plans to do a graphic novel adaptation of The Stand.
The Mist comes out on DVD tomorrow. Blockbuster has an online game where you fight off monsters as you escape from the supermarket. If you make it to the end you can see a snippet from an interview between King and Frank Darabont. Blockbuster is also giving out Mist globes at participating stores to people who purchase the DVD tomorrow. Here’s a neat little interview with Francis Sternhagen.
Note that the official title for King’s upcoming story collection from Scribner is Just After Sunset.
Happy Friday the 13th! Someone posted a couple of deleted scenes from Shawshank Redemption on YouTube. They’re interesting, but their ultimate destination, the cutting room floor, was the best place for them, in my opinion.
On July 27th at San Diego Comic-Con, Frank Darabont will be showing clips from The Mist and holding a panel with stars Thomas Jane and Laurie Holden, along with special effects gurus Greg Nicotero (KNB) and Everett Burell (CafeFX). Other cast members may be along for the panel. Darabont is having 3000 teaser posters printed up for the event to hand out at the show.
Lilja reports that Duma Key will be approximately 592 pages long and that King will narrate the audio edition.
King’s most recent Entertainment Weekly column is about the end of the Harry Potter series: Goodbye, Harry
Here’s a review of the new special collector’s edition DVD of Cujo. A new DVD boxed set this month contains Carrie, The Dark Half, Misery and Needful Things. Three TV adaptations will be released in another boxed set on September 25, including The Stand, Golden Years and The Langoliers.
February 27, 2007: Stephen King confirmed at New York Comic Con last weekend that he had granted the option to make a Dark Tower movie to J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindeloff (LOST) for $19.
King also addressed the persistent rumor that he might go back and rewrite the rest of the Dark Tower books, as he did with The Gunslinger. “Yes, that’s correct. It’s a first draft. It was written over a long period of time, and I look at it as a work that’s still in progress. That’s why I re-did the first book. The vision that I had of what was going on got clearer as it went along. So, for instance, I looked back at the first book and I said to myself ‘there’s a lot of things I can do with this now, now that I know how everything turns out in the end.’ I’m a really instinctual writer—I don’t work with an outline. I did have an outline of some of The Dark Tower stuff way back when, when I started, when I was stoned, and I lost it. I didn’t have a clue, and I couldn’t remember what was going on, and I had that poem by Robert Browning to draw on, to start, so I knew certain elements that I wanted to be in it, that were in the poem. So, when I got done, and I looked at it, I said This Horn of Eld should be there at the front. That’s what you when you rewrite a book. I’ve got a book now called Duma Key, and there’s a woman who has some bracelets and the bracelets are important, but they’re not there until the end of the book. What I’m saying is, I know now some things I could do. The Dark Tower is one book, and I’d like go back and fix it up. Who knows—I might end up novelizing their comic book.”
He also suggested that The Stand would make a good project for a comic book adaptation. Here are some reports about the panel, including some with photos:
Eric Roth also stated that Cell would be his next movie project after Hostel II. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (Ed Wood and 1408) are working on the script. “By the time I finish Hostel Part II the script should be ready. I really want to read it.”
Lilja has a nice photo courtesy of Frank Darabont from The Mist set at his web site.
Don’t forget that issue 2 of The Gunslinger Born will be out on March 7th. Each of the first five issues will be released on the first Wednesday in the month. No word yet on the release schedule for the July issue, since the first Wednesday is July 4th.
Thanks to King’s praise of Meg Gardiner, both on his website and in Entertainment Weekly, there’s been a run on her books at second hand outlets and her agent told Publishers Lunch that publishers are lining up to make book deals with her in the U.S., where she is currently unpublished.
Here are more details about Blaze, which is now up for preorder at Cemetery Dance:
Blaze: A Posthumous Novel
By Richard Bachman
Foreword by Stephen King
List Price: $23.00
Hardcover, 256 pages
Happy New Year, readers. Those of you who ordered the limited edition of The Road to the Dark Tower should be seeing your copies soon if you haven’t received them already. Cemetery Dance is shipping copies as fast as they can pack ’em, and I’ve heard from people who’ve been notified by Amazon that their orders are being filled, too. I’m delighted at how the book turned out. The design is wonderful and I’m especially fond of the Tarot card endpapers.
I’m not much one to look back at the end of the year, or make resolutions or anything like that. However, since he started doing his column for Entertainment Weekly, King has done best-of lists for films, books and music from the previous year. Here are the columns that feature his lists:
If you haven’t heard about The Secretary of Dreams yet, then you’ve missed out on the chance to get a lettered or numbered edition, unless stray copies turn up between now and publication, which is anticipated sometime in the first half of the year. The graphic short story collection, illustrated by my buddy Glenn Chadbourne (who worked with us on The Illustrated Stephen King Trivia Book and illustrated The Road to the Dark Tower) adapts “The Road Virus Heads North,” “Uncle Otto’s Truck,” “The Rainy Season,” “The Reach,” “Jerusalem’s Lot,” and “Home Delivery.” What’s unique about these adaptations is that every word of the original stories is conserved. Check out the sample illustrations starting here and working your way through the six stories. Even better news: this is Volume I, which means Glenn will be working on a follow-up this year. This is going to be a gorgeous production that I’m looking forward to seeing.
I haven’t had a chance to work my completely through Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished yet, but I’m very impressed by what I’ve seen and read so far. I was surprised to rediscover how many of King’s stories had been substantially revised on repeat publications. Rocky Wood does a yeoman’s job of chronicling all these updates and revisions and makes me want to go back and reread stories in their original forms.
I’ve updated the Guide to Identifying First Editions, which appears on King’s official web page. It’s now current through The Colorado Kid and corrects a few errors and omissions in the original version.
King wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times in response to a review of a D. H. Lawrence biography. He chastises the reviewer for thinking that a person may be “better able to understand a great writer by reading about him than by reading him.” It’s a riff on the line from Different Seasons: “It is the tale, not he who tells it,” which King updates by saying, “The writer’s rainbow is always found in his work.”
I’m putting the finishing touches on my column for Cemetery Dance magazine issue #55, with in depth coverage of Cell, which I read last week. I’ll have more to say about the book here as publication date approaches. If Richard Bachman hadn’t died before cell phones became part of our culture, this might have had his name on the cover. It’s a dark, gritty, pessimistic novel in many ways and stands in stark contrast to the fundamental optimism of The Stand. I’ll not say more on that subject until more of you have had a chance to read the book. Keep an eye out for the names of the headmaster of Gaiten Academy and a gentleman in a Miami Dolphins hat who appears late in the story. The Publishers Weekly review is online at Amazon. It’s relatively spoiler-free and concludes, “King’s imagining of what is more or less post-Armageddon Boston is rich, and the sociological asides made by his characters along the way…are jaunty and witty. The novel’s three long set pieces are all pretty gory, but not gratuitously so, and the book holds together in signature King style.”
Here is an interesting article about King’s appearance at the New Yorker festival last fall from the Sydney Morning Herald. Note the following snippet, which is surely the genesis of Cell.
King told a story about leaving a New York hotel to get a coffee one morning about six years ago. “A lady under the canopy was on her cell phone and the doorman was getting someone a cab. I thought, what if she got this message on her cell phone that she could not deny and she had to attack everyone she saw – and she started with the doorman, she ripped his throat out.”
The Scribner edition of Cell contains a sneak peak at Lisey’s Story. The first twelve pages of the book are presented in King’s own handwriting. The excerpt is not the same as what we’ve previously seen in “Lisey and the Madman.” The opening chapter is called “Lisey and Amanda (Everything the Same)” and deals with Lisey Landon two years after the death of her famous writer husband Scott. She’s finally going through his writing office, trying to decide what to do about his unpublished works. Amanda is her older sister, and there seems to be tension between the two. My feeling is that this book will be in the Bag of Bones vein.
Each time I update this online column, I’m going to tackle a FAQ, which comes either from questions I see on King’s message board or ones directed to me via e-mail.
Q: Does King have any plans to complete “The Plant”?
A: The short answer is: “It’s not on his to-do list at the moment.” When King stopped work after finishing Book One: Zenith Rising, he said that he felt like he was pushing the story instead of having it pull him along. That’s never a good feeling. My guess is that until the day comes when the story recaptures his imagination and sweeps him up again, “The Plant” will stay in its current state. Who knows? Someday a few years from now he may find new wind to breath life into the story. Those of us who bore with the Dark Tower series for two decades have learned patience toward the storyteller.
Welcome to the first installment of the web version of News from the Dead Zone. Those of you who read Cemetery Dance magazine know that I’ve been publishing a column in every issue for nearly five years now. However, because of the magazine’s publication schedule, getting timely information out has been a little problematic. With the relaunch of their web site, the good folks at CD suggested doing an online “lite” version of my column. The magazine version will continue, focusing more on in-depth analysis, review and commentary than on breaking news.
Up top, you’ll always find a handy-dandy calendar of important, upcoming dates so you can see at a glance what’s on the horizon. Then I’ll expand briefly on each item as news is announced. Then follow up in the next issue of CD magazine for more details and commentary.
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The next book due out from King is called Cell, which will be published on January 24th, 2006. Here is the description from the publisher as posted to the Barnes & Noble web site.
Civilization doesn’t end with a bang or a whimper. It ends with a call on your cell phone.
What happens on the afternoon of October 1 came to be known as the Pulse, a signal sent though every operating cell phone that turns its user into something . . . well, something less than human. Savage, murderous, unthinking-and on a wanton rampage. Terrorist act? Cyber prank gone haywire? It really doesn’t matter, not to the people who avoided the technological attack. What matters to them is surviving the aftermath. Before long a band of them-“normies” is how they think of themselves-have gathered on the grounds of Gaiten Academy, where the headmaster and one remaining student have something awesome and terrifying to show them on the school’s moonlit soccer field. Clearly there can be no escape. The only option is to take them on.
Cell is classic Stephen King, a story of gory horror and white-knuckling suspense that makes the unimaginable entirely plausible and totally fascinating.
I should have a review for you in the next issue, but let me just say that this book is sure to inspire some interesting discussions, with comparisons to classic books like The Stand and darker tales like The Regulators. King describes the book as “like cheap whisky . . . very nasty and extremely satisfying.” I find it interesting that the main character in Cell is a graphic novel artist who has just sold his first major project, given the recent announcement of a graphic novel Dark Tower series (see below).
When you read the book, look out for a character named Ray Huizenga. His sister paid $25,100 in an eBay charity auction of character names benefiting the First Amendment Project. The real-life Huizenga is a fishing captain and longtime King fan, but is also the son of the owner of the Miami Dolphins. Huizenga beat out another strong bidder who was willing to take out a credit line on his house for the honor of having a character in Cell named after him.
The Dark Tower fan community was recently thrilled to learn that Marvel comics was planning to release a series of graphic novels based on untold Dark Tower stories. Originally planned for a May 2006 release, a recent memo on King’s web site revealed a new schedule for this project.
Stephen and Marvel have decided to push back the launch of the Dark Tower comic books to 2007. “Given the size of the project and all the creative talent involved, I want to give the Marvel series all the room to breathe it needs and deserves,” said Stephen. “I’ve got so much else going on in 2006-two novels coming out, Cell and Lisey’s Story, and the work with John Mellencamp on ‘Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.’ The Marvel series is going to be a blast, and I want to have the time to enjoy it.”
The 1st issue of the yet-to-be-named first arc of the Dark Tower comic series will be shipping in February 2007. The last issue of this six-issue series will be shipping in July 2007. The first hardcover collection will be shipping in October 2007.
Though original reports billed this project as The Dark Tower 8, in truth the stories will fill in some of the gaps in Roland’s early history, in the era covering the trip to Mejis and the final battle at Jericho Hill, “new stories that delve into the life and times of the young Roland, revealing the trials and conflicts that lead to the burden of destiny he must assume as a man.”
Jae Lee is the illustrator who will bring King’s stories to life, and the colorist is Richard Isanove. The complete number of series has not been announced, but there may be as many as six different stories.
Though originally scheduled to be part of the series, Mick Garris’s adaptation of “Home Delivery” was shelved due to schedule changes for the series and his commitment to the Masters of Horror series on Showtime, which was recently renewed for a second season.
Among the cast members announced for the series are Steven Weber, Kim Delaney, William H. Macy, Henry Thomas, Tom Berenger, Marsha Mason, William Hurt and two actresses familiar from the recent ‘Salem’s Lot remake, Samantha Mathis and Rebecca Gibney. Richard Christian Matheson adapted “Battleground” and Lawrence M. Cohen (Carrie) penned “The End of the Whole Mess.” The show will run one episode per week during the summer months of 2006 starting with “Umney’s Last Case”—one of my favorite short stories—which will reportedly run without commercials. Filming is currently taking place in and around Sydney, Australia. An upcoming issue of Fangoria will feature a visit to the set.
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King and his collaborator John Mellencamp got together in November to continue their work on a musical production about death and reconciliation called “Ghost Brothers of Darkland County.” A member of The Dark Tower dot Net forum helped crew the latest reading. A self-admitted skeptic when he first heard about this project, he reported that the music is fantastic, the cast was great and, though there is still work to be done, he says it will be a worthwhile endeavor.
Mellencamp reports that the guys who did “Spamalot” are now involved, which may make the final stages of development “less hectic.” King’s story involves two brothers who dislike each other immensely. Their father takes them to their family vacation cabin, where, a generation before them, the father’s two older brothers killed each other in a similar sibling rivalry.
“There’s a confederacy of ghosts who also live in this house,” Mellencamp told Billboard. “The older (dead) brothers are there, and they speak to the audience, and they sing to the audience. That’s all I want to say, except through this family vacation, many things are learned about the family, and many interesting songs are sung.”
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CD’s very own Rich Chizmar co-scripted an adaptation of From a Buick 8 that is currently attached to George Romero as director, who also has the film rights to The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. However, recent reports hint that Romero may tackle another zombie feature before working on either of these King adaptations.
Galleys of Stephen King: Uncollected and Unpublished by Rocky Wood (The Complete Guide to the Works of Stephen King) are in distribution, so the book can’t be far behind. I’ve started perusing my copy and am impressed by the amount of information and detail contained in this volume. In addition to containing the first appearances of some very rare King works (a poem, and a chapter from the early novel Sword in the Darkness), the book highlights the various appearances of rare King stories and indicates the ones that were substantially revised for later publication. Makes me want to go back to some of the earlier appearances to refresh my memory of what the stories were like in their original incarnations.
A new King project called The Secretary of Dreams was announced recently. Stay tuned to the CD web page for more details very shortly. This one is very cool!