Thursday, November 20, 2014

"The Bazaar of Bad Dreams" Prognostication

As you may or may not have heard, Stephen King recently announced that he would be releasing a new short story collection (titled The Bazaar of Bad Dreams) in late 2015.  This will be King's sixth collection of short stories (I'm choosing to not count books like Full Dark, No Stars that primarily collect novellas), and while we do not yet know what the contents will be, we do know a few facts:
  • There will apparently be twenty stories included.
  • None of the included tales will be King's recent collaborations with Joe Hill ("Throttle" and "In the Tall Grass") and Stewart O'Nan ("A Face in the Crowd").  That's a shame, from where I'm sitting, but evidently, them's the breaks.
Apart from that, we simply do not know.
We can, of course, engage in wild speculation, and that's exactly what I'm about to do.
First, however, this: it brings me near-physical pain to post a blog entry that has no images, so now -- in real time! -- I am going to Google the phrase "the bazaar of bad dreams," and post the five most interesting images from page one of the results.  I have no idea what this will yield; for all I know, it could be nothing but genitals.  I hope not, but we're all going to find out together.
Here goes:

I . . . don't know.

Well, hello....

You tell me: is that a portrait of a monkey?

And finally, a wee cheat...

...but I couldn't bear to post only one side of the Breaking Bad "tread lightly" conversation, so I went with six images instead of the previously-stated five.
Now, with that out of the way, let's get to the meat of this post: a story-by-story examination of all of King's uncollected short prose, along with prognostication from yours truly as to what the eventual contents of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams will be.

We'll proceed chronologically:
1967, "The Glass Floor" -- This was King's first-ever professional fiction sale, and it is damn-near to being juvenilia.  It's just not that great a story.  King did allow the magazine Cemetery Dance to reprint it in 2012, though, so maybe he's developed a soft spot for it.  However, I suspect it will be omitted yet again, and that's a good decision: without a major rewrite, it would stand out like a goat in a box of cookies.  (Bryant's prediction: odds are poor.)
1970, "Slade" -- A satirical piece published serially in King's college newspaper, this Western reads less like fiction than it does like King's audition for Mad -- and not a successful one.  This would be even more out of place than "The Glass Floor."  (Bryant's prediction: as close to being a sure bet for exclusion as I can imagine.)
1971, "The Blue Air Compressor" -- One of King's absolute worst pieces of fiction, this weird tale has the requisite gross-out factor, but that's about it.  It isn't totally without merit, but King is really struggling to sound postmodern, and it doesn't suit him.  (Bryant's prediction: very unlikely.)
1976, "Weeds" -- King fans may generally have never read this, but many of them will be familiar with the plot: it served as the basis for the "Jordy Verrill" segment of Creepshow.  The original story is both better (a lot less jokey) and worse (a lot less jokey), and until recently had never been reprinted.  But it appeared in a 2013 Cemetery Dance anthology, and is also going to be included in an upcoming e-book anthology.  I suspect this means something.  (Bryant's prediction: not a done deal, but I think it will happen.)

1978, "The Night of the Tiger" -- A definite obscurity, this is a very good little tale that deserves to be much more widely-read.  King has had multiple chances to include it in his collections, though, and you've got to figure he's excluding it for a reason.  In my opinion, it can't be poor quality; this is good stuff.  (Bryant's prediction: it's worthy of inclusion, but will be left out yet again.)
1978, "The King Family and the Wicked Witch" -- Also known as "The King Family and the Farting Cookie," this was a jokey, quasi-autobiographical tale published only once, in an extremely obscure newspaper.  I've actually read it, believe it or not.  It's amusing, but VERY slight.  (Bryant's prediction: uh, no.)
1978, "Man with a Belly" -- This rapey mobster story is by no means one of King's better uncollected works, and some of its content would play even worse in 2015 than it must have done in 1978.  (Bryant's prediction: very unlikely.)
1979, "The Crate" -- Look, I'll just say it: the fact that this has never been included in one of King's collections is fucking insane.  I'm sure there's a reason for it, but I have no clue what it would be.  (Bryant's prediction: my brain says no, but my gut says the time has finally come.  In this case, though, I think my brain is correct.)
1982, "Before the Play" -- Not a short story, per se, but instead an omitted prologue that once was the beginning of The Shining.  It's pretty good, but not so good that I feel King was wrong to delete it from the novel.  (Bryant's prediction: it could happen, given the rumblings about a Shining prequel movie based on "Before the Play."  However, it feels like something that would be more natural as an inclusion in some sort of new edition of The Shining itself.  So I say maybe, but probably not.)
1984, "The Revelations of 'becka Paulson" -- This short story was eventually folded into The Tommyknkockers, and while it has been reprinted a couple of times in its original format, I doubt King would include it in a collection.  (Bryant's prediction: very unlikely.)
1988, "The Reploids" -- This short story appeared in the same anthology that served to introduce the world to "Sneakers" and "Dedication," but King apparently forgot about it come collection time.  It's a solid little tale, one that evidently once belonged to a longer work King never completed. (Bryant's prediction: it's got a bad-dream sort of quality to it, which means it would fit with the title.  I mostly feel like it's a no, but I'd love to be wrong.)
1970s/2000, "The Old Dude's Ticker" -- This pastiche of Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" was written in the early seventies, but didn't see publication of any sort until it appeared in a convention program in 2000.  It's not a great story; interesting, but an exercise more than anything else.  (Bryant's prediction: unlikely.)
1970/2006, "Chapter 71 from Sword in the Darkness" -- King permitted Rocky Wood to reprint a single chapter from his never-published 1970 novel Sword in the Darkness in Wood's 2006 book Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished.  The chapter is okay; I'd love to read the full novel someday, despite assurances from the few who have read it that it's not all that good.  (Bryant's prediction: very unlikely.  I suspect King gave Wood the limited rights only as a favor, and that he's not keen to give the novel more attention than it deserves.)
2009, "Ur" -- Now we reach the era where things ought to be easier to predict.  "Ur" was published as a Kindle exclusive, and unless King feels it should only be read electronically -- which is a possibility -- then this one is a no-brainer.  (Bryant's prediction: very likely.)
2009, "Morality" -- This one is an interesting case.  It's technically already been collected: it appeared as a back-up story in the mass-market edition of Blockade Billy.  Will that be enough to keep it out?  (Bryant's prediction: yes, it will.)
2009, "Premium Harmony" -- I wouldn't call this top-flight King, but it's solid.  (Bryant's prediction: very likely.)
2010, "Blockade Billy" -- I guess some people consider this to be a novella, but I'd say it's a short story, personally.  But let's not forget that it was published as a hardback already, with "Morality" filling it out a bit.  (Bryant's prediction: very unlikely, although if he wished, he could include both this and "Morality" and allow the Blockade Billy hardback to go out of print.)
2011, "Herman Wouk Is Still Alive" -- This is one of several recent short stories by King that have no supernatural elements at all.  Unless he wants to exclude all of them, this one is in.  (Bryant's prediction: almost certain to be included.)
2011, "Under the Weather" -- It's already appeared in a King book: the trade paperback edition of Full Dark, No Stars.  Not sure about the mass-market edition.  It was NOT in the hardback, though, so it's not technically a part of that collection; it was a bonus inclusion in the trade.  (Bryant's prediction: this is a tough one for me to call.  I'm inclined to say it won't appear.)
2011, "Mile 81" -- This one is close to being novella-length, and will likely feel like a bit of a centerpiece unless there are several other long tales.  Is it good enough for King to want to use it as a centerpiece?  I'm not sure it is; I didn't much care for it, myself.  Also, it may be another one King prefers to keep as an e-book exclusive.  Or not.  (Bryant's prediction: likely.)
2011, "The Little Green God of Agony" -- King already allowed it to be adapted as a web-comic, so I suspect this is one he's proud of.  (Bryant's prediction: a near-certainty.)
2011, "The Dune" -- (Bryant's prediction: if it isn't included, I'll punch myself in the face.  It's such a no-brainer that I skipped the preamble!)
2012, "Batman and Robin Have an Altercation" -- One of King's best recent stories, for my money.  (Bryant's prediction: another near-certainty.)
2013, "Afterlife" -- King first "published" this by way of reading it for a live audience, and then having the reading be part of a video released by the host of the event (UMass Lowell).  It later appeared in print form in Tin House.  (Bryant's prediction: very likely.)
2013, "The Rock and Roll Dead Zone" -- This short story appeared in the Rock Bottom Remainders e-book Hard Listening, as part of a blind contest for readers to choose which of several King-esque stories had actually been written by King.  It's a slight, atypical work; it's not unamusing, but it would feel out of place in a proper King collection.  (Bryant's prediction: very unlikely.)
2013, "Summer Thunder" -- A gloomy piece of work and no mistake.  (Bryant's prediction: very likely.  It'd be criminal not to include it.  But then again, "The Crate"...)
2014, "Bad Little Kid" -- King published this story first in e-book editions in French and German, as a thank-you for some of his European fans.  Very cool of him.  He's already more or less confirmed the original version will appear in the next collection.  (Bryant's prediction: guaranteed.)
2014, "That Bus Is Another World" -- As of this writing, it's his most recently-published short story.  It certainly would fit the bill of the title.  (Bryant's prediction: definitely.)
So, here's what I've come up with in the way of an official prediction:
#01 -- Weeds
#02 -- Ur
#03 -- Premium Harmony
#04 -- Herman Wouk Is Still Alive
#05 -- Mile 81
#06 -- The Little Green God of Agony
#07 -- The Dune
#08 -- Batman and Robin Have an Altercation
#09 -- Afterlife
#10 -- Summer Thunder
#11 -- Bad Little Kid
#12 -- That Bus Is Another World
My prediction: the remaining eight stories will be things King has never published before.  If that's how it plays out, it'll be pretty dang exciting.
There is always the chance that we could get some of King's uncollected poems ("Tommy," "The Bone Church," or "Mostly Old Men," for example) or some essay-length nonfiction ("Guns").  I suppose there's even a theoretical chance that he could include some stuff which ended up (like "The Revelations of 'becka Paulson") being folded into other works, such as "Memory" (Duma Key), "Lisey and the Madman" (Lisey's Story), "The Tale of Gray Dick" (Wolves of the Calla) or even older stuff like "The Revenge of Lard-Ass Hogan" and "Stud City" (both of which ended up as part of "The Body").
Those seem very unlikely, though; and I think most King fans would consider them to be a bit of a ripoff.
So, my official list is those twelve, plus eight more as-yet-unknown tales.
Come this time next year, we'll know for sure!


  1. Although his novels to me haven't been that great for a while now, I still love all of his short fiction. It may be that I just like short stories rather than novels. I don't know, but I'm really excited for this one.
    I still think Morality will be in it, it is almost a perfect example of his post post 9-11 stories.
    I hope Under the Weather is in it, I only have the audiobook and that's not included. One thing of note as far as short story audiobooks is that they go to the next story to fast or the music cue is too early, I hate that. Listen to a story like Harvey's Dream and you get to the end and you're like wait wha... ding ding ting ping Rest Stop. Let the story breath people!
    Sorry about that. I'm leaning toward The Rock and Roll Dead Zone being in bc it's a nice oddity kind of how Head Down and Beggar and the Diamond were in N and D.
    Good list though Bryant!

    1. What audiobook is "Under the Weather" a part of? I didn't know it was out in that format.

      "Dead Down" and "The Beggar and the Diamond" are good arguments both for AND against including such oddities. On the one hand: great, because those are wonderful pieces, and they deserve to be read. On the other hand: not great, because let's face it, they didn't fit tonally at all.

      Me? I'm a "throw it all in and let people take it as they will" kind of guy, so if I were the editor making the decision, I'd have all sorts of shit in that book.

    2. I have the audiobook of Full Dark is what I meant sorry.
      Yea I mean his last 2 collections were really well thought out Mix tapes or compilations so I would expect that from the new one as well.

    3. I didn't know there was an audio edition that had that story in it. Mine doesn't. Thanks!

  2. Can't wait for this. Good predictions - I'll be curious to see what all ends up in there. (And good overview of the unpublished / uncollected stuff, the "deep tracks" of the Kingverse.)

    It'd be wild to see The Reploids in there.

    I hope there's a meaty essay/ "commentary track" in this one, like we got for Nightmares and Dreamscapes.

    Wherever (and whatever) the hell the restaurant is with that monkey portrait is where I want to dine, everyday.

    1. "Chilled . . . monkey brains . . . !"

      I think "The Reploids" deserves a shot, for sure. That's good stuff -- get it in, King!

      I second the call for extensive liner notes. Those are always fun.

    2. I re-read the Reploids a couple years ago and thinking it was awful. It had no ending from what I remember and it had a lot of famous people in it too right?

    3. A few, from what I recall. It's an excerpt from an unfinished novel, so the lack of an ending is a for-sure.

  3. You know, Kevin Quigley of the King site Charnel House once posted a very good essay on the topic of what stories should go in the next King collection, and in what order should they be.

    His standard of judgment was based on Skeleton Crew as, in his words, "it reads almost like a novel". Basically then, he's been hoping for a collection that will recreate the organic feel of Crew. I admit that sounds like a good goal. The article was title "Collection Time for Stephen King: An Observation", and it was originally posted at The problem is, while Kev still has it listed on Charnel House (you have to scroll to the very far away bottom of the page to reach it, but it's still there (fingers crossed) for some reason doesn't seem to carry it anymore.

    The only other thing I remember about Quigley's points is that he felt Mile 81 should serve as the collections "slam-bang, special effects finale" or words similar to that.


    1. As for that Bazaar Restaurant Dining Room.

      I think Bryant found the perfect interior for the Dixie Pig.


    2. Ooohh . . . I like that.

      Chris, your comments for some reason make me remember that there's a title I accidentally left off the list: "Squad D."

      It's never been published at all, but has looooooooong been intended to appear in the Harlan Ellison anthology "Last Dangerous Visions." But Ellison has been sitting on that book without publishing it for close to forty years now, and there's no reason to believe it'll see the light of day until he can't anymore.

      So, don't hold your breath waiting on "Squad D."

  4. I read where somebody was theorizing that his Under the Dome script could be included. There is a precedent in previous collections, both for including screenplays (Sorry Right Number) and including stories which may make more sense to those who've read a novel they're related to (the two Salem's Lot stories in Night Shift. The Little Sisters of Eluria, etc). Plus, I seem to recall that the episode wasn't particularly faithful to the book (as usual), so it's more than just an adaptation of something the fans will already have. I'd say there's maybe a 35-40% chance of seeing it.

    As far as the poems go, I haven't read Mostly Old Men or Tommy but The Bone Church definitely fits with the title of the collection and it's a narrative poem also.

    As for the essays, Guns is the only one I can think of that would fit the title and I hope it isn't included. He should save it for a non-fiction collection rather than turning off 50% or more of the public who may otherwise purchase this book and enjoy it's fictional stories.

    1. I'd be fine with that screenplay showing up, but I'd say the odds are slim. More likely among screenplays: "The General," an excerpt from "Cat's Eye." But that seems unlikely, too.

      As for "Guns," I suspect King has approximately zero interest in isolating potential customers. He doesn't strike me as that kind of guy. And my take on it is if that's the sort of thing that would keep a person from buying a book, that person is a lost fucking cause anyways.

    2. That non-fiction collection really needs to happen. He's got more than enough of it at this point.

      I also hold out hope that we'll see some kind of "Collected Letters of Stephen King," as well as a bio that will elude his Upper New England reticence to share personal stories/ talk smack (admirable qualities but I'm nosy) and get to all the dirt on Bill Thompson, Kirby Macauley, and Dino de Laurentiis and all his old coke-smuggling buddies.

    3. @Bryant- My issue isn't so much with his viewpoint on guns. Whether I agree or disagree with his viewpoint isn't really important and it sure as hell won't keep me from buying the book even if the essay is included. But one thing I think we can all agree on is that guns are a serious topic and King's essay was a sincere attempt to discuss that topic. Placing it in a book of fictional stories seems an awful lot like trivializing the issue to me. Whether it fits with the rest of the collection or not, that wasn't a concern with "Head Down" and it wouldn't be a concern with essays like "Cone Head" or "The Ring." But when real-life tragedy is involved, proper presentation needs to be taken into account.

      @B McMolo- I agree. I'd like to see a big volume of his various reviews, essays, and columns over the years along with odds and ends like transcripts of speeches and lectures.

      Very interesting that you brought up letters. I'm a huge fan of John D. MacDonald and I thank King for introducing me to him by mentioning his work many times over the years. Recently while I was browsing on the web, I came across the University of Florida's collection of MacDonald's papers and it mentioned that it included correspondence with King. A volume of MacDonald's correspondence with Dan Rowan (of Rowan and Martin fame) has been released and I would be very interested in reading what he and King wrote back and forth, especially as King moves increasingly into MacDonald's territory with some (semi) crime novels and even a series character who is essentially a private investigator in all but name.

    4. Very interesting! King turned me onto John D. MacDonald, as well, but I've only ever read the Travis McGee series. (I keep meaning to blog about those at some point... I read them with that intention and took notes/ earmarked pages, etc. One of these days.) But I've got maybe 5 or 6 of his other books, too, in queue. He's a very enjoyable writer. I'd absolutely love to read those letters between him and King.

    5. He's great. I love the McGee books, but I think I'm an even bigger fan of his '50s and early '60s paperback originals like "The Price of Murder," "Where is Janice Gantry," "Thd End of the Night," etc. His later non-McGee works like "Condominium," "One More Sunday," and "Barrier Island" are great too, especially if you don't mind a bit of social commentary.

      Now that I think about it, I actually have King to thank for turning me on to crime fiction in general. King's books were some of the first "adult" books I'd read and from their I got into Straub, Koontz, Saul, McCammon, etc. I wasn't into crime stories at all. But King kept mentioning MacDonald, Elmore Leonard and Donald Westlake/Richard Stark so often that I decided eventually that I needed to check all of them out. Long story short, today I have an extensive collection of crime novels and in all honesty I read that genre more often than horror these days. King, Straub, Joe Hill and Dan Simmons are about the only horror authors I keep track of at this point. I know I'm probably missing out on some great stuff, but my point is that it was King who made me take that genre seriously.

    6. @anonymous -- I see your point about trivializing "Guns" via including it in a fiction collection. However, you could easily make the argument that by including it, King would be putting it in front of the eyes of literally hundreds of thousands of people who might not see it otherwise. I'm not sure that's trivialization so much as it is -- in theory -- misappropriation of audience good-will.

      And my guess is that, if it became an issue, King would not be terribly concerned about risking the good-will from that 50ish% of his audience. If he cared about that, he'd probably be more careful with his Twitter feed.

      Regardless, I suspect "Guns" will be excluded from the collection.

      I'm with Bryan in championing the call for a big, thick, serious collection of King nonfiction. That needs to happen in a major way.

  5. What about the Dark Man poem that CD sold?

    1. Good one. I do look for that one to be included along with the three more recent poems (and isn't there another unpublished one from the '80s or '90s?) and that would bring it up to 16 if he's counting them as part of the 20. Which he probably isn't. They take up maybe two or three pages at the most.

    2. Since "The Dark Man" a la Cemetery Dance is still in print, it seems unlikely King would cannibalize their sales by including it in his collection. I could be wrong, of course. Probably not, though.

  6. I didn't go into this previously, but why not mention it in a comment: how do we feel about King's decision to omit three of his recent stories simply because he co-authored them with other writers?

    My take on it is this: in the case of the two stories ("Throttle" and "In the Tall Grass") he co-wrote with Joe Hill, I've been thinking it might come to pass that those stories would appear not in King's next collection, but in Hill's. That seems like a pretty solid birthday present from father to son. I'm only guessing, and it might not end up happening that way; time will tell.

    As for "A Face in the Crowd," I don't know what to say about that being left out. I'll engage in some speculation, for which I need to direct you to the story's Wikipedia page ( The info presented there leads me to wonder if the collaboration didn't result in a story that is more O'Nan than it is King. I suspect that if King hadn't worked on it in some substantial way, he wouldn't have put his name on it; but if he feels the final product is more of an O'Nan piece than a King piece, that might incline him to leave it out of his own collection.

    Again, pure guesswork on my part. But it's semi-educated guesswork, at least.

    1. My suspicion is that the two stories with Joe Hill will be included not in Joe's next collection but rather in their own collection. Both are longer stories so I think that two more would make up a decent sized book. Maybe they are going to write a few more together or maybe they'll each include one longer story of their own, but I suspect that they will be released that way rather than in a single-author collection.

    2. Interesting idea. I'd be all for King and Hill continuing to collaborate on a semi-regular basis and then ending up with a collection of their co-authored stories. Or something like what you suggest.

      I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if you end up being right about that.

  7. So until now I had no idea that "The Crate" and Jordy Verrill were actual short stories. Does the same go for the other stories in Creepshow (and "Old Chief Woodenhead" and "The Hitchhiker" from Creepshow 2) ?

    1. Nope, it's just those two and "The Raft" that were based on actual published stories.

  8. 20 stories seems like a lot but fingers are crossed.

    Beyond the mentioned short stories, I'd love to see non-fiction piece crafted as an addendum to Danse Macabre to take into account new books, stories, TV shows, movies etc since the book was published.

    Potentially 8 new pieces! Cautiously drooling if that comes to fruition. And dammit - The Crate - MUST be one of them!

    Of his more recent pieces - Herman Wouk and - especially - Batman and Robin - are my favorite ones.

    1. An addendum to DM might come in actually useful, now that you mention it.

      I'm thinking of the Macabre epilogue here where King says his views won't shift all that much, and that it would be "suspect" if he did.

      Aside from catching up on the state of modern horror (although here one worries about whether or not there is much to say in terms of quality, not for every new work, just the shameless knock-off majority) it would also be able to see what, if any of King's thought has altered over the course of years.


    2. Twenty would actually be more or less in line with his first three collections; and who knows if it'll end up being that exact number, but it's what he';s indicated is a ballpark figure.

      I agree totally on "Herman Wouk" and "Batman and Robin Have an Altercation." This seems like it's going to be a really strong collection, and those will be two of the standouts.

      I'd be so excited for a sequel to "Danse Macabre" I would barely be able to stand it. There's a pretty good essay called "What's Scary" that appears in the recent paperback editions of DM; it was originally in Fangoria, and it sort of accomplishes the goal of updating King's thoughts on the genre. It's well worth reading.

  9. Thanks for the heads up Bryant. I'll have to track the article down.

    1. To find the "What's Scary" article, all you got to do is pick up a copy of the 2010 edition of "Danse Macabre". It's printed there as a new intro.


    2. If all else fails, email me and we might be able to work something out. ;)

  10. I look forward, I love Stephen King anthologies although even here in Mexico fails "Revival" and just this month came "Mr. Mercedes" to the libraries.

    1. I love the anthologies, too. They don't always get talked about as much as the novels, but the best ones are just terrific.

  11. The Crate, Mile 81, Green God, Summer Thunder, Reploids, Weeds, Before The Play, Bone Church...

    This has potential to be his best collection!

  12. We know about two of the never-before-published stories now, by the way:

    "A Death" (which will appear in the March 9 issue of The New Yorker) and "Drunken Fireworks" (which will be released in audio format on June 30).


  13. I have a screenshot of the stories that are going to be included, but can't figure out how to upload pics in a comment-- LOL. Regardless, it's been posted on the SK boards in the "Bazaar of Bad Dreams" thread.

    1. Yeah, sadly Blogger won't allow photo uploads. I found a text version at Lilja's Library, though, and here it is:

      Author’s note
      1. Mile 81 – Scribner e.
      2. Premium Harmony – 2009 New Yorker
      3. Batman and Robin Have an Altercation – Harpers 2012
      4. The Dune – Granta 2011
      5. Bad Little Kid – New; Serial
      6. A Death
      7. The Bone Church – poem
      8. Morality – Esquire 2009
      9. Afterlife – Tin House 2013
      10. Ur – 2009 Amazon e.
      11. Herman Wouk is Still Alive – The Atlantic 2011
      12. Under the Weather – Mass Market FDNS
      13. Blockade Billy – Scribner e.
      14. Mister Yummy – New; Serial
      15. Tommy – Playboy poetry
      16. The Little Green God of Agony – A Book of Horrors 2011
      17. That Bus is Another World - Esquire
      18. Obits – New; Serial
      19. Drunken Fireworks
      20. Summer Thunder – Cemetery Dance 2013

      I'm a bit surprised to see "Blockade Billy" and "Under the Weather" and "Morality" included, but I think they belong there, so why not? Nice to see some of the poems included, as well. I am not at all surprised to see "The Rock and Roll Dead Zone" given the cold shoulder; it would have been out of place, for sure.

      It's a mild bummer that some of the older uncollected stories didn't get tapped for inclusion. I guess it's just never going to happen for poor old "The Night of the Tiger," eh? Or poor old "The Reploids"!

      Regardless, this is shaping up to be an outstanding collection.

  14. A thought I had regarding the earlier works. I haven't read all of them, but the ones I have read weren't all that lengthy as I recall. Seems to me like a collection consisting of The Glass Floor, The Old Dude's Ticker, Night of the Tiger, Weeds, The Crate, Man with a Belly, The Blue Air Compressor, The Reploids, and the unpublished Squad D and fleshed out with a few of the early poems like The Dark Man would be an excellent fit for Hard Case Crime. If he doesn't think the stories are up to the standards of those in his anthologies, simply emphasizing on the cover that these are early stories and providing an introduction similar to the one in Blaze should do trick.

    Come to think of it, Hard Case Crime would be an excellent place for Richard Bachman to publish Sword in the Darkness as well... Not that it will ever happen.

    1. I don't know if you've written about this before or not but which King novels do you think would have been Bachman novels had he not been exposed. We know Misery would have been, but beyond that my best guesses are Gerald's Game, Cell, 11/22/63 and Revival. Maybe The Regulators would have still been published, but I think he would have changed all of the Desperation references. I doubt Blaze would have been published under the Bachman name since King had mentioned it in the afterword of Different Seasons.

    2. Personally, I think the Bachman thing is big-time overrated. The only ones which feel like "genuine" Bachman books to me are the first four; and that's because they just feel like very early Stephen King novels. "Blaze" sort of fits that bill, too, I guess; publishing "Sword in the Darkness" that way would make sense to me. But "The Regulators" and "Thinner" just feel like Stephen King novels to me.

    3. I agree to an extent and even King has stated that Thinner is more a Stephen King novel than a Bachman novel. But as far as The Regulators goes, it's the last "new" Bachman book to date and was published in 1996, as was The Green Mile and Desperation. The first one was Rage, published the same year as The Shining. Are the stylistic differences between Rage and The Regulators really that much different from those between The Shining and Desperation? I think the problem is that King went public with the fact that Bachman had died in 1985. We didn't accept that "Bachman" could have written The Regulators before his death, but had he lived and had he kept writing between 1985 and 1996, I think we'd have accepted his stylistic changes the same as we did King's over the same time period.

      But since Bachman did die, I think it would be best for anything he publishes in the future to be pre-1985. Sword in the Darkness, The Aftermath, or if ever decided to finish The Cannibals, The House on Value Street, or the western novel, etc. I'd even be fine with him releasing the older short stories as Bachman. But one thing I will say is that if any of them are to be published (which they probably won't be) is that he should leave them in the past. Doing a bit of rewriting and editing is fine, but he mentioned in the intro to Blaze that he had also removed a lot of the '70s references to make the time setting an unspecified point in the recent past. Since I haven't read the original I can't say for certain, but I believe that was probably a mistake.

    4. I like your idea for the early short stories to be published as Bachman tales. That would be cool.

      I think the stylistic differences between "Rage" and "The Shining" are fairly significant; or at least the thematic and tonal differences are. It's been too long since I read either for me to be able to back that up very well, though, I will grant you.

      It's also important to remember that while "Rage" may have been published more or less concurrently with "The Shining," it was the first novel King actually wrote. All four of those initial Bachman books (excepting "Roadwork") were written well before "Carrie" was. They received some revisions before their publications, much like "Blaze" did (although the changes to "Blaze" feel more pronounced to me; that's guesswork on my part, though, because I obviously haven't read the original and unrevised versions of any of those books).

      I dunno, I just feel like the "Bachman is different than King" thing has been blown somewhat out of proportion by some King fans. Despite that, it's a fun idea to tinker around with mentally on occasion, so I get why people do it.

      And, obviously, sometimes so do I myself!