FAQ for the newsgroup alt.books.stephen-king

Version 1.5, last updated 10th Jan, 1997.

alt.books.stephen-king is a newsgroup devoted primarily to discussing the works the author Stephen King, but also to getting to know other King fans. This FAQ is posted once per week to alt.books.stephen-king.

If you have any questions that aren't answered here, and you think ought to be, feel free to email me.

Questions answered in this FAQ:

Frequently Asked Questions

1) When is the next book in the Dark Tower series coming out?
The next DT book, Wizard and Glass, is due out possibly in late 97, more probably sometime in 98. Green Mile 3/4 say summer 97, but as King only started writing DT4 in July 96, this seems extremely unlikely.

King read an excerpt from the book at a conference in Orono recently. The rough draft is reportedly over 1400 pages and it really does seem to deal mostly with Roland's childhood.

DMG reportedly has the manuscript now, so a summer release looks just about feasible.

There will be a sneak preview of the book available with Desperation/Regulators, coming out for Christmas.

An excerpt is available now with Desperation/Regulators.

2) What is the next King book to be published?
Probably Wizard and Glass, although no-one's quite sure. There's just a chance it'll be The Pretenders, a rock and roll novel.

3) Does Stephen King have an email address?
Well, obviously it's impossible to prove he doesn't, but if he does, he's keeping it very secret. (Understandable, really). There is now an email address on the Green Mile web page, but as far as I know he doesn't actually reply with it... I don't even know if he reads the emails he gets.

4) I've seen Stephen King quote from The Book Of Counted Sorrows...
No you haven't. Well, maybe you have, and if so, we want to hear about it. There have been several posts asking about this, but this is a fictitious book invented by Dean Koontz. No-one has ever posted evidence of King quoting from it. If you have some, post it. We'll be suitably humble for life.

5) Does Stephen King post to alt.books.stephen-king?
He has twice. The first one has been confirmed several times. The second is generally believed to be genuine, but no conclusive evidence is publicly available. Here are the posts:

From: SK79 (Stephen King)
Newsgroups: alt.books.stephen-king
Subject: stephen king
Followup-To: alt.books.stephen-king
Date: 6 Oct 1994 18:20:30 GMT
Organization: Cornell University
Lines: 19
Sender: (Verified)
Message-ID: <SK79-061094141809@>

Someone wondered if I ever get into these electronic bulletin boards. I got a peek into this one while preparing to do a speaking gig at Cornell University, in Ithaca, on October 6th, 1994. I haven't been in Colorado buying Slurpies at any 7-11s lately, but I was in a Christie's in Hoosick, New York yesterday. The new book is INSOMNIA, and that's what I'm promoting. I'm glad so many people liked Frank's version of SHAWSHANK, and I hope to see many of you on my tour...if the Harley doesn't break down...or if I don't break down. The question that occurs is whether or not the people reading this will believe I'm me. It really is, but if I put in something only I would know in order to prove it, everybody would know it. It's the only catch, Catch-22. In closing, the big cahunas and cahunettes here at Cornell want me to tell you that I don't have an account or an electronic postbox here. In fact, I don't really know what the f- - - I'm doing. Oh, I think I DO know how to prove I'm me. First, the next book is called ROSE MADDER--June of 1995 from Viking. Second, it will be Eddie, not Roland, who saves the party of travellers from Blaine the Mono. Joe Bob sez "Check it out."
Check ya on the flip-flop,
Stephen King

and more recently:

From Fri Nov 22 00:04:57 GMT 1996
Article: 60020 of alt.books.stephen-king
Newsgroups: alt.books.stephen-king
Subject: Gentle Readers (fr. Steve re: DK IV excerpt)
Date: 21 Nov 1996 18:02:01 GMT
Organization: AOL
Lines: 37
Message-ID: <>

I work at Penguin USA (Viking) and Stephen King has asked me to post the following note to you all. Please feel free to copy and disseminate this. For those of you who are wondering, this is only the second time there has ever been a message from Steve in this newsgroup. The first time was when he was on his motorcycle tour cross country for Insomnia (two years ago) when he posted from a bookstore at Cornell U. Please don't flood us with responses to this letter. Steve will not be reading them. Any responses to this aol email address will just be going to the publisher.

<< November 21, 1996

Gentle Readers:
It's reached my attention that there's been a fair degree of pissing and moaning about the Wizard and Glass booklet which comes with a dual purchase of Desperation and The Regulators. I swear to God, some of you guys could die and go to heaven and then complain that you had booked a double occupancy room, and where the hell is the sauna, anyway? The major complaints seem to be coming from people who have already bought both books. Those of you who bought the double-pack got the light, right? A freebie. So whatcha cryin' about?
The booklet was my idea, not the publisher's--a little extra for people who wanted to buy both books after supplies of the famous "Keep You Up All Night" light ran out. If you expect to get the booklet IN ADDITION to the light, all I can say is sorry, Cholly, but there may not be enough booklets to go around. If you bought the two books separately, because there weren't any gift packs left (they sold faster than expected, which is how this booklet deal came up in the first place), go back to where you bought them, tell the dealer what happened, show him/her your proof of (separate) purchase, and they'll take care of you. If they get wise witcha, tell 'em Steve King said that was the deal.
If you're just jacked because you want to read the first two chapters of Wizard and Glass, wait until the whole thing comes out. Or put it on your T.S. List and give it to the chaplain. In any case, those of you who are yelling and stamping your feet, please stop. If you're old enough to read, you're old enough to behave. STEVE KING >>

6) What is King's most recent novel?
King simultaneously released Desperation and The Regulators on Sept. 24th (US). These are two books sharing some character names but no character fates. (Neither is a sequel to the other.)

Also, King recently published The Green Mile as a series of 6 mini-books. (1-5 were 96 pages each, 6 was 134 pages). These were released monthly, between March and August, 1996.

The limited edition "Six Stories" was published in April, 1997. For more details, see the answer to question 19.

7) Is Stephen King losing his touch?
Personally, I'm both surprised and ashamed that I really need to put this in a FAQ. As far as I'm concerned, he's as strong as ever. Many people have not enjoyed his recent work as much as his earlier books, but I just think he's changed his style over the last twenty years. Really, to answer this question for yourself you just need to read his recent books.

8) What is King's address?
Stephen King
49 Florida Ave.
Bangor, ME 04401-3005

9) What has happened to Castle Rock (the newsletter)? What was Castle rock? Is it still around?
Let's let Bev Vincent answer that best...

The old Castle Rock newsletter was NOT supported or endorsed by King. It was run by his sister-in-law at first, later on Christopher Spruce took it over until it stopped publishing in December of 1989. The first six issues of CR contained the short story "Dolan's Cadillac", its first appearance. No other King story was published in those pages, but King did write a couple of non-fiction pieces over the years.

The first few issues were not the tabloid format into which CR evolved, but rather 8-1/2 x 11 photocopies. Let me stress again -- King had no direct involvement in this newsletter, financial or otherwise.

There has been talk about a revitalized CR newsletter, but no sign or recent word.


There is now another newsletter, written by George Beahm, called Phantasmagoria. For more information, check out

10) Where does the quote "All will be well, all will be well, and all manner of things will be well" come from?
Peter Straub writes...

The origin of the quotation is a fifteenth-century English mystic named Julian of Norwich, a woman, sometimes called Juliana. In her book *Revelations of Divine Love,* she wrote, "All shall be well, all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well." I came across this uplifting sentiment in a Muriel Spark novel, I wish I could remember which one but I can't, shortly before King and I started writing The Talisman, and I put it into our book.

11) Can I have a list of King's books with dates please?
How handy this should be asked, as I happen to have here that exact same list, courtesy of Dani K, long may she be able to post.

In Dani's order...

Carrie 1974
'Salem's Lot 1975
The Body {Different Seasons}
(Because Steve said in his foreword to the collection that he wrote it right after he finished 'Salem's Lot)
Night Shift 1976
Rage {The Bachman Books} 1977
The Shining 1977
Apt Pupil {Different Seasons}
(Because Steve said in his foreword to the collection that he wrote it right after he finished The Shining)
The Stand 1978
The Long Walk {The Bachman Books} 1979
The Dead Zone 1979
Rita Hayworth And Shawshank Redemption {Different Seasons}
(Because Steve said in his foreword to the collection that he wrote it right after he finished The Dead Zone)
Danse Macabre 1981 {Non-fiction}
Firestarter 1980
The Breathing Method {Different Seasons}
(Because Steve said in his foreword to the collection that he wrote it right after he finished Firestarter)
Cujo 1981
Roadwork {The Bachman Books} 1981
The Running Man {The Bachman Books} 1982
Christine 1983
Pet Sematary 1983
Cycle Of The Werewolf 1983
Thinner {As Bachman, but published solo} 1984
The Talisman 1984
Skeleton Crew 1985
IT 1986
The Eyes Of The Dragon 1987
Misery 1987
The Tommyknockers 1987
The Langoliers {Four Past Midnight}
(Because I can't figure out a better place to put it and there was a hole in 1988 on this list)
My Pretty Pony 1989 {also in Nightmares & Dreamscapes}
The Dark Half 1989
Secret Window, Secret Garden{Four Past Midnight}
(Because King says in FPM that it is his last 'writers' story)
The Library Police {Four Past Midnight}
(Because the story is dated 1990)
The Sun Dog {Four Past Midnight}
(Because King says in FPM that it is a prologue to Needful Things)
Needful Things 1991
Gerald's Game 1992
Dolores Claiborne 1993
Nightmares & Dreamscapes 1993
Insomnia 1994
Rose Madder 1995
The Green Mile 1996 (in six parts: The Two Dead Girls, The Mouse on the Mile, Coffey's Hands, The Bad Death of Eduard Delacroix, Night Journey, Coffey on the Mile)
Desperation 1996
The Regulators 1996 (Simultaneous release with Desperation, under name of Richard Bachman)

Last, because the series is still unfinished, The Dark Tower Series.

The Gunslinger 1982
The Drawing Of The Three 1987
The Wastelands 1991

12) How was The Talisman written between Peter Straub and King?
Well, thanks to the fact that we now have the honour of Mr. Straub's company on alt.books.stephen-king, we can now have the story from the source (thanks to Antti Matikka for sending me a copy). Over to Mr. Straub...

Soon after we had become friends, King came over to my house for dinner. (We were both living in England at the time, 1977 or 78.) Late at night and after many beers, he said that we might have a lot of fun if we wrote a book together. I agreed - it did sound like fun. Besides that, collaboration was an interesting way to alleviate the loneliness inevitable in writing. The first thing we did was to work out when we could begin - it sounds absurd, but we found that existing contracts for books meant that neither one of us would be free for another four years. So we made a kind of provisional date to begin thinking seriously about it four years later. When the time came, Steve and I spent a lot of time talking about what sort of book we'd do. (Most of the crucial stuff was decided during a series of hapless journeys back and forth from his country house to Portland, I think about 30-40 miles away, in the course of which we kept forgetting something or other, thus making it necessary to do the whole trip all over again. This happened three times, maybe even four, so we had a lot of time to talk.) Soon after that, he came to my house in Westport and we began writing the book together at my computer, purchased especially, as was his, for this project. We ripped and roared through something like 50 pages, I think, and Steve drove back to Maine while I wrote an outline for what was to come. This turned out to be 75 single-spaced pages long, and we kept to it for about four months. He wrote pages, not to any preset plan but simply uhtil he felt like stopping, then sent them to me via modem - lots of jiggery-pokery & adjustments here, because he had a Wang and I had an IBM, both of them dumb clunky old-style hideously expensive word processors - at which point I picked up the thread and wrote until I felt ready to hand it off to him.

Eventually we cut the outline in half; later, in what we called "the Thanksgiving putsch," we cut the remaining half in half. We had written something three hundred pages and were on something like page two or thre of the outline; imagine a Talisman 5,000 pages long. We couldn't.

Things went on as before, pages whipping through the ether between Maine and Connecticut, until we were within about 100 pages of the end, about which we knew virtually nothing. I went to his place, and we spent about 8-10 writing the ending on his computer. He sat down, banged away, stod up, I sat down and banged away, more slowly. When he wrote, his record, by Eddy Grant, played; when I sat down, mine, by Zoot Sims and Phil Woods, did. I have to say that this was an extraordinary period. It was a rich, rich experience, beautiful in a way, and I came away, when it was over, with even more respect for King than I'd had before. A while later, when we'd cooled down, we got together again in Maine with the editor & wrangled about what to take out & what to change. All this ended amicably, and we were both pleased with the book. I even got to sort of like Eddy Grant - bop down to Electric Avenue, I guess that's what we did.

13) What are all the guises of Flagg in King's work? (Possible spoilers)
Flagg appears primarily in The Stand, where he is known as: Randall Flagg, Russell Faraday, Richard Fry, Robert Franq, Ramsey Forrest, The Dark Man, and The Walkin' Dude.

In The Eyes of the Dragon he is just called Flagg, but has been called Browson and Bill Hinch before that.

He is mentioned in Dark Tower 2, as being chased by Dennis and Thomas (no name given).

In Dark Tower 3, he appears at the end as Richard Fannin, but says that he has also been called the Magician, the Wizard, and the Ageless Stranger.

14) Whose picture appears as Richard Bachman in the hardcover release of "Thinner"?
Before answering, I'd just like to point out that this question is in under sufference. Hope you're happy now Bev (and Jon R.). :)

For the millions of you who are eagerly awaiting the answer, here it is:
Richard Manuel, Kirby McCauley's insurance salesman. McCauley was King's agent at the time.

15) What might I have missed out on if I've only bought the books King has published?
Here's Bev Vincent, Man with the Answers again:

I have taken on the task of compiling a list of all of the known uncollected (in an SK anthology) short stories. Any corrections or contributions, please mail to

I'm not going to include those absolutely impossible things to get, like "People, Places and Things" which have never been legitimately published anywhere.

Last updated September 9, 1996

"I Was a Teenage Grave Robber" -- Comics Review, 1965.

"The Glass Floor" -- Startling Mystery Stories, Fall of 1967. King's first professional sale.

"The Blue Air Compressor" -- originally published in the University of Maine literary magazine Onan, 1971, but more popularly available in its Heavy Metal magazine appearance. The text was revised for this July 1981 reprinting.

"Weeds" (seen as "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill" in Creepshow) -- Originally appeared in Cavailer in May of 1976. Later reprinted in Nugget magazine in April of 1979.

"Man with a Belly", Cavalier, December 1978 and Gent, Nov/Dec 1979.

"Night of the Tiger", Fantasy and Science Fiction, 1978. Reprinted later in More Tales of Unknown Horror (1979), The Year's Best Horror Stories (1979) and Chamber of Horrors (1984).

"The Crate" -- originally appeared in Gallery magazine in 1979 and later collected in The Arbor House Treasury of Horror and the Supernatural in 1981. King also wrote the introduction to that anthology.

"Before the Play" -- Whispers, 1982. This is a lengthy introductory section which was cut from "The Shining".

"The Reploids" -- appeared with "Dedication" and "The Sneakers" in Night Visions V, 1988, along with some excellent stories by George R.R. Martin and Dan Simmons.

"The Cat from Hell" -- Cavalier, June 1977 as part of a contest. Revised and republished in: Tales of Unknown Horror (1978), The Year's Best Fantasy (1979), Magicats! (1984) and New Bern Magazine (1984).

"The Revelations of 'Becka Paulson" -- first appeared in Rolling Stone magazine in the July 19/August 2, 1984 double issue. This one is an exception to the rule, as it HAS appeared in an SK collection, the Scream Press limited edition of "Skeleton Crew" and then was later extensively modified for a scene in "The Tommyknockers." Also appears in the collection "I Shudder at Your Touch".

"The Killer" -- Famous Monsters of Filmland #202, Spring '94

"Jhonathan and the Witches" -- from an anthology called First Words.

"Lunch at the Gotham Cafe" appears in a collection entitled "Dark Love" edited by Nancy Collings, Martin Greenberg and someone else. Published by Tor and released in hardcover in either late '95 or early 1996. The paperback should appear soon, if it hasn't already. The story won the 1995 Stoker Award in the novelette category. (Now collected in Six Stories)

"The Man in the Black Suit" -- appeared in the October 31, 1994 issue of The New Yorker magazine andis collected in the new edition of "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror," edited by Datlow and Windling. It won the 1995 O. Henry Award and the 1995 World Fantasy Award.

"Blind Willie" -- appeared in an anthology, not widely available, entitled "Antaeus: The Final Volume". Can be purchased through Ecco Press for about $20.00. This is a very interesting story, unlike anything else of SK's I've ever read.

"The Luckey Quarter" -- appeared in a 1995 edition of The USA Weekend magazine. The Overlook Connection had some copies for sale recently. I got mine directly from the publisher.

Here are some low-profile appearances, most are difficult to find:

"For the Birds" -- appeared in Bred Any Good Rooks Lately?, 1986. King contributed a 1-page story which had to end with a pun.

"Skybar" - a do-it-yourself story from 1982 with many authors contributing sections to the story. King's part amounted to five paragraphs.

"The Plant" -- published in three installments by King's own Philtrum Press and given out as Christmas gifts to friends. Very limited in numbers. Planned to be an epistolery novel, aborted when King decided it was getting to be too much like "Little Shop of Horrors". Expect to pay over $1000 for each installment, if you can find someone willing to part with them.

16) In what order should I read The Regulators and Desperation?
There's no set order you should read them in. They happen in parallel - neither book is a sequel for the other. Most people seem to be quite happy with the order they've read them in, regardless of what that order was. I would advise against reading them both at the same time though - it could get a mite confusing.

17) I've heard a lot about cheques for The Regulators. What are they?
Cheques made payable to Stephen King characters (or institutions, or generally Stephen King-related recipients) were included with the Limited Edition of The Regulators.

I'm putting together a list of the cheques.

18) How was King discovered to be behind the Richard Bachman books?
Steve Brown did the discovering. There seem to be lots of myths about blackmail and hostility, so part of his story is below. The full version will soon be available - watch this space. The cut version:

When I read an advance copy of Thinner, I was no more than two pages into it when I said, "This is either Stephen King or the world's best imitator." I began to ponder that maybe this *was* King. More or less as a kind of game, not real seriously, I took the subway over to the Library of Congress to look up the copyright documents. All but the oldest were copyrighted in Kirby McCauley's name--a big clue, as KM was King's agent, but not conclusive. McCauley had many clients. I almost gave up at this point, as the oldest book was copyrighted before the LC changed to an easy computer system. But, just to be anal about it, I insisted the clerk go off and manually hunt up the document. She came back and handed it to me. There it was: Stephen King, Bangor, Maine. I xeroxed all documents and went home.

I admire and respect King and had no desire to do something that might hurt him. So I made copies of everything and wrote out a letter explaining my research. I told him I'd love to write some little article about this, but that if there was some sort of problem involved, to let me know and I would promise to keep quiet. I mailed the package to King c/o Kirby Mccauley. I expected at most some little note in return.

Two weeks went by. Then I heard a page over the intercom at the big bookstore I worked in. "Steve Brown. Call for Steve Brown on line 5." I picked it up and a voice said, "Steve Brown? This is Steve King. All right. You know I'm Bachman. I know I'm Bachman. What are we going to do about it? Let's talk."

It hadn't occurred to me he'd call, so I hadn't bother to give him my number or even the name of the bookstore. He had spent a whole afternoon calling every bookstore in DC trying to find me!

Anyway, we chatted for a while and he gave me his unlisted home phone and told me to call him in the evening. I ran out and got a tape recorder with a telephone attachment and interviewed him for three nights straight over the phone. He was very relaxed and very funny throughout. He didn't seem at all upset that I had found him out. He was extremely gracious and said that he wouldn't talk to anyone else but me (outside of simply admitting it), that mine would be the only lengthy interview on the subject.

It took a while for me to get it in shape and find a publisher. During this time King kept in contact and told me that more and more people had read Thinner and were coming after him. Finally I published it in the Washington Post. From there, it went everywhere.

My interview (with all the dirty words the Post made me take out) has been reprinted in the Underwood/Miller collection of essays on King, "Kingdom of Fear," for those interested.

I stress that there was never any hint of blackmail, that King talked to me of his own free will and gave me a lengthy interview at his suggestion, not mine. I think he knew that the truth was going to come out anyway, and he liked the idea of this nobody book clerk in Washington getting the story instead of the New York Times or something.

I should also stress that I did all this out of simple respect for the man and because, to me, it was a wild weird and kind of cool game. I did not "cash in" at all. King mentioned me by name in the intro to the original edition of the Bachman Books, but this has vanished in the current edition.

19) What is Six Stories?
Six Stories is a limited edition (signed and numbered) collection of short stories. The stories it contains are (in order):

1100 copies were printed, of which 900 were sold. King gave the others to his friends.

King has stated that the stories won't all be collected elsewhere before the year 2000.

The collection was self-published at King's Philtrum Press, which has done "The Plant," the original edition of "Eyes of the Dragon" and "The Ideal, Genuine Man," the latter written by Don Robertson.

The book is a trade paperback and sold out from Philtrum prior to publication.

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