Table of Contents
What happens when one good and-angry man fights back is murder—and then some.
. . .
Bart Dawes is standing in the way of progress. A new highway extension is being built right over the laundry plant where he works—and right over his home. The house he has lived in for twenty years ... where he has made love with his wife ... played with his son.... But before the city paves over that part of Dawes’ life, he’s got one more party to throw—and it’ll be a blast....
WORKS BY STEPHEN KING
The Dead Zone
THE DARK TOWER I:
Cycle of the Werewolf
(with Peter Straub)
The Eyes of the Dragon
THE DARK TOWER II:
of the Three
THE DARK TOWER III:
The Waste Lands
The Dark Half
The Green Mile
THE DARK TOWER IV:
Wizard and Glass
Bag of Bones
The Girl Who Loved Tom
(with Peter Straub)
From a Buick 8
THE DARK TOWER V:
Wolves of the Calla
THE DARK TOWER VI:
Song of Susannah
THE DARK TOWER VII:
The Dark Tower
AS RICHARD BACHMAN
The Long Walk
The Running Man
Four Past Midnight
Hearts in Atlantis
Storm of the Century
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First Printing, March 1981
First Printing (King Introduction), June 1999
Copyright © Richard Bachman, 1981
Introduction copyright © Stephen King, 1996
All rights reserved
Grateful acknowledgment is made for permission to reprint an excerpt from the following copyrighted works: “On the Border” by Al Stewart. Copyright © Gwyneth Music Ltd., 1976. Controlled in the United States of America and Canada on behalf of Gwyneth Music Ltd. by Dick James Music, Inc. International copyright secured. All rights reserved. “Dirty Water” by Ed Cobb. Copyright © Equinox Music, Inc., 1965. By permission of Equinox Music. “Gimme Shelter” by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. Copyright © ABKCO Music, Inc., 1969. All rights reserved.
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eISBN : 978-1-101-13813-7
The Importance of Being Bachman
by Stephen King
This is my second introduction to the so-called Bachman Books-a phrase which has come to mean (in my mind, at least) the first few novels published with the Richard Bachman name, the ones which appeared as unheralded paperback originals under the Signet imprint. My first introduction wasn’t very good; to me it reads like a textbook case of author obfuscation. But that is not surprising. When it was written, Bachman’s alter ego (me, in other words) wasn’t in what I’d call a contemplative or analytical mood; I was, in fact, feeling robbed. Bachman was never created as a short-term alias; he was supposed to be there for the long haul, and when my name came out in connection with his, I was surprised, upset, and pissed off. That’s not a state conducive to good essay-writing. This time I may do a little better.
Probably the most important thing I can say about Richard Bachman is that
he became real.
Not entirely, of course (he said with a nervous smile); I am not writing this in a delusive state. Except ... well ... maybe I am. Delusion is, after all, something writers of fiction try to encourage in their readers, at least during the time that the book or story is open before them, and the writer is hardly immune from this state of ... what shall I call it? How does “directed delusion” sound?
At any rate, Richard Bachman began his career not as a delusion but as a sheltered place where I could publish a few early works which I felt readers might like. Then he began to grow and come alive, as the creatures of a writer’s imagination so frequently do. I began to imagine his life as a dairy farmer ... his wife, the beautiful Claudia Inez Bachman ... his solitary New Hampshire mornings, spent milking the cows, getting in the wood, and thinking about his stories ... his evenings spent writing, always with a glass of whiskey beside his Olivetti typewriter. I once knew a writer who would say his current story or novel was “putting on weight” if it was going well. In much the same way, my pen-name began to put on weight.
Then, when his cover was blown, Richard Bachman died. I made light of this in the few interviews I felt required to give on the subject, saying that he’d died of cancer of the pseudonym, but it was actually shock that killed him: the realization that sometimes people just won’t let you alone. To put it in more fulsome (but not at all inaccurate) terms, Bachman was the vampire side of my existence, killed by the sunlight of disclosure. My feelings about all this were confused enough (and fertile enough) to bring on a book (a Stephen King book, that is), The Dark Half. It was about a writer whose pseudonym, George Stark, actually comes to life. It’s a novel my wife has always detested, perhaps because, for Thad Beaumont, the dream of being a writer overwhelms the reality of being a man; for Thad, delusive thinking overtakes rationality completely, with horrific consequences.
I didn’t have that problem, though. Really. I put Bachman aside, and although I was sorry that he had to die, I would be lying if I didn’t say I felt some relief as well.