has single-handedly written his own bio many times, in the various prefaces to his novels; if you want a truer representation
of who (and what) Stephen Edwin King is, then read his books. It's all there. But I'll get the facts out of the way, and attempt
the reason why Stephen King
is a major force and source of inspiration
for my own meagre writing
Born in 1947 in Portland, Maine, Mr. King was raised by his mother after his father left when he was still a toddler. His mother was a wonderful influence and source of strength where King's gift for writing was concerned; she allowed him to pursue writing ventures from a young age. His gift was apparent, too, as one can see in On Writing's accompanying book Secret Windows. There is a short story written in there, by King at the age of fifteen, and the traditional, brutal frankness of Stephen King is there at the outset. In 1970, King graduated the University of Maine at Orono, with a B.S. in English, where he met his future wife, Tabitha Spruce. They were married in 1971, and have three children together, Owen, Joe, and Naomi.
After a couple of years of labour-related work, King found employment as a high school English teacher. Writing after the stacks of papers were marked, and on the weekends, King produced stories which were published by men's magazines, like the now-defunct Adam, which were later gathered into collections like Night Shift.
His first published novel was Carrie (Doubleday, 1973). Though it enjoyed little success in its hardcover run, it sold amazingly in paperback. It permitted him some spending money, which he could use to live, while he wrote his next novels, 'Salem's Lot, and then The Shining. The rest was downhill from there, as the books sold very well, and King and family could live solely off the "writing money," as King likes to call it. The money has never been truly an issue with King; it's nice to have, that's all. As he said in the preface to Four Past Midnight regarding thinking of the money you'll make while writing a great novel, "it constipates the whole process." He's grateful for the money, naturally, it represents the money of the average joe, worked for, sweated for, placed into his pocket. As he likes to point out, he is paid for publishing, not for writing. The act of writing, in King's opinion, is worth far more than the simple concept of money, or payment. And being typecasted as a horror writer means little to Mr. King; he likes to scare people, a small guilty pleasure in his life.
I see no need to place Mr. King's bibliography in this writeup; it's covered nicely above, but what I would like to speak about for a moment is a couple of Stephen King's works, and how they've affected me, made me want to pursue writing as a pastime, made me want to grab someone in the street and shout into their faces: "You HAVE TO read this!"
The Stand is a sweeping work of fiction, of what King calls "dark Christianity", in the preface to the novel. I will sum it up for you, very briefly, my thoughts on the work: it could happen. That's what's scary about it. The destruction of the world has been a dank fear most people have bottled up inside once or twice, with the Cold War-related obsession with The Bomb dropping at any given time. And it's nice for people to view the government as a faceless automaton, with all sorts of bombs and diseases to kill us all with. King makes us look that fear in the face, and attempt to come to terms with it.
Equal in size to The Stand, It scared the hell out of everybody. To this day, I still know people who are afraid of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. It was a coming-of-age tale, which "The Body," the novella upon which the movie Stand By Me was based, is a more clear representation of. That was what It was all about. Not only did it allow us to remember the small horrors of our own childhoods, it helped us to understand that there are worse fears out there than we remembered: the sounds of the sewer, that dusty, boarded up house at the bottom of the hill, or that scary old woman downstairs.
Stephen King's works speak to working-class people, as it's "working class" fiction, situational fiction. He doesn't coddle, he doesn't try to impress. As he says, he's no Robert Browning, he's no Ray Bradbury or Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., or Herman Melville. He writes what he is, what he knows, and he's a simple person, who enjoys crashing out in front of the TV, watching the Red Sox get beat.
That's what makes me like him.
Other authors (of this sort?) to check out: Dean Koontz, Thomas Harris, Ray Bradbury, Peter Straub.
Following are several lists that more or less comprise King's bibliography. Most of the info was either taken from previous nodes or his website, http://www.stephenking.com, or the liner notes from any of his novels. They're pretty boring, so feel free to skip on by, but before you do, take a quick look at how many books and movies there are. It's sort of a testament to the man's popularity, and to be honest, it's pretty impressive. Let's start with his novels, by publisher:
- Carrie, Doubleday, 1974
- Salem's Lot, Doubleday, 1975
- The Shining, Doubleday, 1977
- The Stand, Doubleday, 1978
- The Dead Zone, Viking, 1979
- Firestarter, Viking, 1980
- Cujo, Viking, 198l
- The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger, Donald M. Grant, 1982
- Christine, Viking, 1983
- Pet Sematary, Doubleday, 1983
- The Talisman, Viking, 1984, (co-written by Peter Straub)
- IT, Viking, 1986
- The Eyes of the Dragon, Viking, 1987
- Misery, Viking, 1987
- The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three, Grant, 1987
- Tommyknockers, Putnam, 1987
- The Dark Half, Viking, 1989
- The Stand, The Complete & Uncut Edition, Doubleday, 1990
- The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands, Grant, 199l
- Needful Things, Viking, 199l
- Gerald's Game, Viking, 1992,
- Delores Claiborne, Viking, 1992
- Insomnia, Viking, 1994
- Rose Madder, Viking, 1995
- Desperation, Viking, 1996
- The Dark Tower: Wizard & Glass, Grant, 1997
- Bag of Bones, Scribner, 1998
- The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, Scribner, 1999
- Hearts in Atlantis, Scribner, 1999
- Dreamcatcher, Scribner, 2001
- Black House, Random House, 2001 (co-authored by Peter Straub)
- From a Buick 8, Scribner, 2002
- The Dark Tower V: Wolves of The Calla, Scribner, 2003
- The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah, Scribner, 2004
- The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower, Scribner, 2004
As Richard Bachman:
Short story collections, Novella Collections and miscellany:
- Night Shift, Doubleday, 1978
- Danse Macabre, Everest House, 1980: a nonfiction account of horror fiction (and some material covering movies as well) leading up from books like Bram Stoker's Dracula and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein.
- Different Seasons, Viking, 1982, which includes the very excellent Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption novella
- Skeleton Crew, Putnam, 1985
- Four Past Midnight, Viking, 1990
- Nightmares and Dreamscapes, Viking, 1993: this includes my personal favourite, The End of the Whole Mess.
- Storm of the Century, screenplay, Pocket Books, 1999
- On Writing, Scribner, 2000
- Secret Windows, Book of the Month Club, 2000: sort of a companion book to On Writing, with excerpts from Danse Macabre and Night Shift, and others. Several interviews and one or two other short stories.
- Everything's Eventual: 14 Dark Tales, Scribner, 2002
A number of movies have been made based on Stephen King's novels and short stories. Again, these are current as of November 2004, but disclude unfinished/pre-production or anything else
If I'm ever in need if additions, please let me know.
Sources: any and all of Stephen King's books, especially Four Past Midnight, Secret Windows, Night Shift, The Stand.
Also, http://www.stephenking.com, and various TV things.