King, Stephen and Peter Straub: The Talisman
(researched by Tracy Nectoux)

Assignment 1: Bibliographical Description
1 First edition publication information (publisher, place, date, etc.)
Stephen King and Peter Straub. The Talisman. New York: Viking Penguin, 1984. ?A special limited edition of this book was published by Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Rhode Island.??T.p. verso. The Talisman was published in a joint publishing agreement with Viking and G.P. Putnam?s Sons. Copyright: Stephen King and Peter Straub, 1984
2 First edition published in cloth, paper, or both? If both, simultaneous or staggered?
The first edition was published in quarter cloth binding.
3 JPEG image of cover art from first edition, if available
4 Pagination
328 leaves, pp. [i-ix] x [1-3] 4-10 [11] 12-22 [23] 24-39 [40] 41-54 [55] 56-67 [68] 69-76 [77-79] 80-88 [89] 90-119 [120] 121-129 [130] 131-149 [150] 151-160 [161] 162-173 [174] 175-179 [180] 181-196 [197] 198-208 [209] 210-222 [223] 224-228 [229] 230 [231] 232-240 [241] 242-257 [258] 259-278 [279-281] 282-292 [293] 294-303 [304] 305-318 [319] 320-330 [331] 332-338 [339] 340-348 [349] 350-371 [372] 373-380 [381] 382-391 [392] 393-395 [396] 397-400 [401] 402-409 [410] 411-423 [424] 425-431 [432-435] 436-449 [450] 451-453 [454] 455-480 [481] 482-496 [497] 498-519 [520] 521-525 [526] 527-537 [538] 539-550 [551] 552-555 [556] 557-568 [569] 570-582 [583] 584-590 [591] 592-603 [604] 605-621 [622] 623-632 [633] 634-644 [645-646]
5 Edited or Introduced? If so, by whom?
Includes advertisement for other works by Stephen King and Peter Straub (p. ii). Dedication (p. v): This book is for | Ruth King | Elvena Straub No editor or introduction.
6 Illustrated? If so, by whom?
The Talisman has no illustrations, but the title page is ornamented. The book is divided into four parts, with ornamentations introducing each part (pp. 1, 77, 279, 433). For a sample of the ornamentation, see section 13 of this assignment, below.
7 JPEG image of sample illustration, if available
8 General physical appearance of book (Is the physical presentation of the text attractive? Is the typography readable? Is the book well printed?)
Pagination, typography, legibility are all excellent. Text typeface, including chapter titles and heading, is typeset in Garamond. Text, excluding chapter titles, is 12-pt. font. Chapters are numbered and titled. Opening chapter initial capitals are dropped 4 lines. Book contains five interludes, with Old English typeface introducing each interlude. Book is divided into four parts, with Old English typeface and ornamentation introducing each part. 115R. Book size 254mm. by 153mm.
9 JPEG image of sample chapter page, if available
10 Paper (Assess the original quality of the paper used for the book. Is the paper in the copy or copies you examined holding up physically over time?)
White, wove paper. Fore-edge is cut. Book is printed on acid-free paper, and has no visible aging. It has held up beautifully, considering it is over 20 years old.
11 Description of binding(s)
The Talisman is quarter cloth bound. Cover is gray (possibly faded from black), plain board, with no text or pictures. Description of spine: Spine is bound in red cloth. Title is stamped in gold ink with Old English typeface. Authors? names are stamped in black ink with Garamond typeface: The Talisman | STEPHEN KING | PETER STRAUB | VIKING Title and authors? names on spine are horizontal. Publisher is vertical.
12 Transcription of title page
The | Talisman | Stephen King | Peter Straub | Viking | G. P. Putnam?s Sons Title page verso transcription: VIKING | Viking Penguin Inc., 40 West 23rd Street, | New York, New York 10010, U.S.A. | Penguin Books Ltd, Harmondsworth, | Middlesex, England | Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, | Victoria, Australia | Penguin Books Canada Limited, 2801 John Street, | Markham, Ontario, Canada L3R 1B4 | Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182?190 Wairau Road, | Auckland 10, New Zealand | Copyright © Stephen King and Peter Straub, 1984 | All rights reserved | First published in 1984 by Viking Penguin Inc. | Published simultaneously in Canada | A special limited edition of this book was published by | Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Rhode Island. | LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING IN PUBLICATION DATA | King, Stephen, 1947? | The talisman. | I. Straub, Peter. II. Title. | PS3561.I483T3 1984 813´·54 83-40677 | ISBN 0-670-69199-2 | Grateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permission to reprint copyrighted material: | Bourne Co. Music Publishers: Portions of lyrics from ?Who?s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf,? by Frank E. | Churchill and Ann Ronell. Copyright 1933 by Bourne Co. Copyright renewed. | Bourne Co. Music Publishers and Callicoon Music: Portions of lyrics from ?When the Red, Red Robin Goes Bob- | Bob-Bobbing Along,? music and lyrics by Harry Woods. Copyright © 1926 by Bourne Co. and Callicoon | Music. Copyright renewed. | CBS Songs, A Division of CBS, Inc.: Portions of lyrics from ?Rueben James,? by Barry Etris and Alex Harvey. | Copyright © 1969 by UNART MUSIC CORPORATION. Rights assigned to CBS CATALOGUE PARTNERSHIP. All | rights controlled and administered by CBS UNART CATALOG INC. All rights reserved. International copyright | secured. An excerpt from ?The Wizard of Oz,? lyric by E. Y. Harburg, music by Harold Arlen. Copyright | © 1938, renewed 1966, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. Copyright 1939, renewed 1967 by Leo Feist, Inc. | Rights assigned to CBS CATALOGUE PARTNERSHIP. All rights controlled and administered by CBS FEIST | CATALOG INC. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. | Hudson Bay Music, Inc.: Portions of lyrics from ?Long Line Rider? (Bobby Darin). Copyright © 1968 by | Alley Music Corporation and Trio Music Company, Inc. All rights administered by Hudson Bay Music, Inc. | All rights reserved. | Jondora Music: Portions of lyrics from ?Run Through the Jungle,? by John Fogarty. Copyright © 1973 by | Jondora Music, courtesy Fantasy, Inc., Berkeley, California. | Sanga Music Inc.: Portions of lyrics from ?Gotta Travel On,? by Paul Clayton, David Lazar, Larry Ehrlich, and | Tom Six. Copyright © 1958, 1960 by Sanga Music Inc. All rights reserved. | Printed in the United States of America | by R. R. Donnelley & Sons Company, Harrisonburg, Virginia | Set in Garamond | Designed by Ann Gold
13 JPEG image of title page, if available
14 Manuscript Holdings
Stephen King ?King has donated most of his manuscript material to the Special Collections of the Fogler Library (at the Orono campus of the University of Maine). This collection, which includes the manuscripts of all his books, is not open to the public.? From Fogler?s online catalogue: KING, STEPHEN EDWIN, 1947- Papers. ca. 80 ft. Author, of Bangor and Bridgton, Maine. Drafts and galleys of published works. Typescripts of unpublished works. Card catalog in the repository. Gift of Mr. King. Additions to the collection are anticipated. COLLECTION RESTRICTED SUBJECTS: AUTHORS, AMERICAN - MAINE Peter Straub I have been unable to find information on Peter Straub?s manuscript holdings. Sources: Fogler Library Hill House Publishers
15 Other (typograpical information from title page, etc.)
Half-title (p. i), in Garamond: THE TALISMAN Two quotations preface the book (p. vii): Well, when Tom and me got to the edge of the hilltop, we looked away down into the village and could see three or four lights twinkling, where there was sick folks, and may be; and stars over us was sparkling ever so fine; and down by the village was the river, a whole mile broad, and awful still and grand. ?Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn My new clothes was all greased up and clayey, and I was dog-tired. ?Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
Assignment 2: Publication and Performance History
1 Did the original publisher issue the book in more than one edition? If so, briefly describe distinguishing features of each (illustrations, cover art, typography, etc.); if not, enter N/A
Penguin, 1985 (unknown binding) Berkley, Nov. 1, 1985 (paperback)--Berkley is a paperback imprint of Putnam, now of Penguin Putnam Special limited editions by Donald M. Grant: 1,200 signed limited editions 1,200 unsigned trade editions 6 different limited editions have been issued: 1. 30 copies reserved for the press, marked "Author's Copy" 2. An indeterminate number of copies designated the "artist's presentation state," signed by the authors and the book's 10 illustrators 3. 70 numbered copies, designated the "artist's presentation state" 4. 5 designer copies 5. A "deluxe edition" of 1,200 copies, numbered and signed by King and Straub 6. A "trade edition" of 1,200 copies, not numbered or signed These editions all feature the artwork of 10 artists, including Michael Whelan, R. J. Krupowicz, Stephen Gervais, Rick Berry, and Tom Canty. Sections 2 & 3 contain images of Grant's limited publication. Source: Hill House Publishers
2 JPEG image of cover art from one subsequent edition, if available
3 JPEG image of sample illustration from one subsequent edition, if available
4 How many printings or impressions of the first edition?
Publishers Weekly states that The Talisman "was backed with a record-breaking 600,000-copy first printing (largest ever for a hardcover novel)." Additionally, by Nov. 2nd, a second printing of 75,000 brought the total in-print to 705,000, five days before the distribution date. On Nov. 9th, Publishers Weekly announced a third printing of 75,000 copies, bringing the final Viking 1st edition in-print total to 780,000. Note: There is a discrepancy of 30,000 copies for which I am not able to account. Sources: BooksInPrint.com Publishers Weekly. Nov.?Dec. 1984. Vol. 226.
5 Editions from other publishers? If so, list their dates and publishers; if not, enter N/A
The following post-1984 editions are listed in chronological order: Turtleback Book Distributed by Demco Media, Jan. 1985 (hardcover) Random House Value Publishing, Feb. 9, 1987 (hardcover) Berkley, reissue edition, Mar. 15, 1987 (paperback) New English Library, 1996 (unknown binding) BT Bound Publishing, Oct. 1999 (library binding) Sagebrush (rebound), July 2001 (school & library binding) Turtleback Books Distributed by Demco Media, July 2001 (unknown binding) Ballantine Books, July 31, 2001 (paperback) Random House, Sep. 2001 (hardcover) Box Set Editions of The Talisman and Black House: Ballantine Books, Oct. 1, 2002 (paperback) Donald M. Grant, Oct. 1, 2003 (hardcover gift set, limited edition, 3,500 copies) Sources: Worldcat Amazon.com Donald M. Grant Publisher AddAll.com
6 Last date in print?
As of March 1, 2006, The Talisman is still in print, the most recent edition occurring in 2001 by Random House. This 2001 edition coincided with the publication of the book's sequel, Black House. See Section 15. See also, Supplementary Materials for images of the 2001 edition. Source: BooksInPrint.com
7 Total copies sold? (source and date of information?)
Unknown
8 Sales figures by year? (source and date of information?)
Publishers Weekly reports that The Talisman's final 1984 sales figure was 880,287 copies. Time spent on bestsellers lists Viking hardbound edition: New York Times, #1 for 12 weeks, 23 weeks in total Publishers Weekly, #1 for 11 weeks, 26 weeks in total (George Beahm reports 28 weeks in total) Berkley paperback edition: New York Times, #1 for 2 weeks, 14 weeks in total Publishers Weekly, #1 for 3 weeks, 13 weeks in total Sources: BooksInPrint.com Justice, Keith L. Bestseller Index. Jefferson: McFarland & Company, 1998. p. 176. Beahm, George, ed. The Stephen King Companion. Rev. ed. Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1995. p. 249.
9 Advertising copy (transcribe significant excerpts, briefly identify where ads were placed)
Following is an ad placed in the New York Times, October 28, 1984. Please see Section 10 for a scanned image of this particular ad. This full page ad, which includes both an image of the book and a Viking imprint, reads: The ultimate fusion of fantasy and fear "Astounds" "Mesmerizes" "Terrifies" "Fulfills" "Surpassing the expectations created by their separate past work, THE TALISMAN astounds, mesmerizes, terrifies, and fulfills the reader . . . The plot shuttles from world to world, cresting like a stormy sea from climax to climax . . . Seamlessly written, THE TALISMAN is a grand novel."--Publishers Weekly Buy THE TALISMAN wherever hardcover books are sold. Not available through book clubs. Source: ProQuest
10 JPEG image of sample advertisement, if available
A210191060301222709.jpg
11 Other promotion
The Talisman was backed by a $550,000 promotion campaign. However, it was not made available through book clubs, and Viking did not release the book to stores until the day of publication (Nov. 7, 1984). Sources: BooksInPrint.com Beahm, George. The Stephen King Companion. Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1995. pp. 248?249
12 Performances in other media? If so, list media, date, title, production information; if not, enter N/A
The Talisman is available in numerous audio and digital media: Audioworks, MP3-CD edition, Sep. 1, 2001 (audio CD) Audioworks, unabridged edition, Sep. 1, 2001 (audio cassette) Audioworks, unabridged edition, Sep. 1, 2001 (audio CD) Ballantine Books, Sep. 2001 (digital download: ADOBE READER) Ballantine Books, Sep. 2001 (digital download: MICROSOFT READER) Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, 2005 (audio CD) Simon & Schuster (audio.com), Sep. 2001 (digital audiobook, unabridged) A Dreamworks production of The Talisman is in pre-production, with Ehren Kruger, Kathleen Kennedy, and Steven Spielberg credited as executive producers. Kruger has written the screenplay. Internet Movie Database lists a release date of 2008. Sources: Worldcat Amazon.com Internet Movie Database: The Talisman Internet Movie Database: Ehren Kruger
13 Translations? If translated, give standard bibliographic information for each translation. If none, enter N/A
Translations in Alphabetical Order by Language: Chinese Mo fu. Taibei Shi: Huang guan chu ban she, 1985 Czech Talisman. Plzen: Perseus, 1996 Finnish Talismaani. Hyvinkää: Book Studio, 1991 French Le Talisman. Paris: R. Laffont, 1986 German Der Talisman. Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe, 1986 Der Talisman. München: Heyne, 1994 Hebrew ha-Kamià. Tel-Aviv: Modan, 1985 Italian Il Talismano. Milano: Sperling and Kupfer Editori, 1986 Japanese Tarisuman. Tokyo: Shinchosha, 1987 Korean Pujok. Seoul: Parkun Sesang, 1992 Polish Talizman. Warszawa: Prószynski i S-ka, 2002 Russian Stolknovenie Mirov. Leningrad: KHRONOS, 1993 Talisman. Moskva: AST, 1997, 1999, 2002 Spanish El Talismán. México, D.F.: Editorial Planeta Mexicana, 1983 El Talismán. Barcelona: Planeta, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1998, 2002, 2003 El Talismán. Barcelona: Plaza & Janés Editores, 2002 El Talismán. New York: Random House Español, 2002 Turkish Tilsim. Instanbul: Inkilâp, 2002 Sources: Worldcat AddAll.com
14 Serialization? If serialized, give standard bibliographic information for serial publication. If none, enter N/A
N/A
15 Sequels/Prequels? Give standard bibliographic information for each. If none, enter N/A
In 1987, Stephen King wrote The Tommyknockers, which contains a scene that includes Jack Sawyer (89?92). We learn that Jack is still living at the Alhambra Hotel on Arcadia Beach. As Jack stands, looking out at the water, he meets Jim Gardener, the novel's protagonist, whose surname, if Jack knew it, would have surely caused Jack to think his troubles were beginning anew (as it happens, Jim introduces himself as "Gard," so no harm done). Jim and Jack have a short conversation in which Jack tells Jim that Lily drank so much she was sometimes "too hung-over to talk," and that she had recently died in a car crash (90). Thus, three years after The Talisman was published, we learn that the effort, the suffering, the literal torture that Jack's endured to save Lily was for naught. This disturbingly cynical twist to Jack's story borders on the tragic, until we remember that his heroic quest transcended the health of his mother: it brought justice for his father's murder; it brought to Jack knowledge of the Good; and it saved an entire world. In 2001, King and Straub published Black House, a sequal to The Talisman. See Assignment 4 for brief discussion of Black House's reception among book reviewers. King and Straub have said that they intend The Talisman to be a trilogy, and King was quoted on Feb. 17, 2006 as saying that a third book is in the planning stages. In 2007, Straub concurred that he and King "have agreed to do the last book in the series," but there is no definite completion date thus far. Sources: CemeteryDance.com The Overlook Connection King, Stephen. The Tommyknockers. New York: Putnam's, 1987. King, Stephen and Peter Straub. Black House. New York: Random House, 2001.
Assignment 3: Biographical Sketch of the Author
1 Paste your biographical sketch here (maximum 500 words)
Stephen King The Bestsellers Database contains eleven biographies for Stephen King. I have read them all, and consider those for Cujo, Misery, and It to be the most accurate and detailed regarding King's early life. This biography will focus on the time during which King and Peter Straub co-wrote The Talisman.
Steve King and I respect each other enormously, and by now there can be no doubt that our mutual trust is well-nigh absolute. Me, I'd damn near step off a building if he told me he'd be there to catch me.~~Peter Straub on Stephen King ("A chat with . . .")
In 1977, Stephen and Tabitha King moved their family to London. They had planned to live there for a year, but stayed for only three months. However, within that short time, the Kings met Peter and Susan Straub, who were living in London's Crouch End district (King, "jack's back"). They had long been fans of each other's work, and after meeting, came to enjoy "each other as well" ("jack's back"). The two self-proclaimed "ghettoized" horror writers found a common bond in their shared dismissal by the more "literary-established types" ("jack's back"), and though they did not mind the critical condescension, they longed to break down the doors of the Fantasy Departments in the publishing companies and find a larger audience (Straub, "Meeting Stevie" 12). The Kings and the Straubs (including their children) quickly became friends, and King even dedicated his book Eyes of the Dragon to his daughter, Naomi, and Straub's son, Ben. King recalls that he and Straub "started talking about collaboration at that first meeting in London" (King, "jack's back"). When the Straubs moved to Connecticut in the early eighties, the "talk got serious" ("jack's back"). Before meeting Straub, King had published three novels: Carrie, 'Salem's Lot, and The Shining. By the time he began collaborating with Straub, he had already "driven a huge wedge" into the New York Times bestsellers list (Straub, "Meeting Stevie" 13), and he had also become an alcoholic and drug addict (King, On Writing 96). In his memoir, King admits to drinking "a case of sixteen-ounce tallboys a night" (99), and in 1982, even Straub affectionately remarked that he "drinks a lot of beer" ("Meeting Stevie" 13). Indeed, The Talisman has a short, but near-poetic scene, in which Morgan Sloat dances the ritualistic steps to prepare and then snort cocaine?"His nasal passages opened up as wide as tunnels. Way back there, a drip began to deliver the goodies" (451). And what Morgan does next is telling: he washes his hands, and then, "for the sake of his nose [draws] a little of the moisture on his thumb and index finger up into his nostrils" (451). It is impossible to read this scene without thinking of King's description of himself, writing The Tommyknockers with "cotton swabs stuck up [his] nose to stem the coke-induced bleeding" (On Writing 96). King has been sober since 1986. That he was going through such monstrous ill health while producing such excellent work is impressive; that he is brave enough to admit it is admirable. King and Straub's partnership did not end with The Talisman. In 1999, they began discussing a possible sequel that they originally called T2, but later titled Black House. However, two months into the preliminary writing, King was horrifically injured when a van ran him down on June 19, 1999 (an eerie coincidence given Straub's childhood trauma [see below]). He and Straub resumed their writing during the winter in 2000, and Black House was published in 2001. A list of Stephen King's publications can be found on his website. Please see the Supplementary Materials section for a list of the author's honors and awards. Peter Straub
I was impressed with Peter because he had such a beautiful grasp of how people behave. Also, the man had a sense of humor and could tell a story.~~Stephen King on Peter Straub ("jack's back")
Peter Francis Straub was born on March 2, 1943 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is male. He is white. He is son to Gordon Anthony and Elvena (Nilsestuen) Straub. He is husband to Susan (née Bitker, married since 1966). He is father to Benjamin Bitker and Emma Sydney Valli (Literature Resource Center). He is Lutheran. He is heterosexual (NNDB.com). And he gleefully tricks his fans by providing a faux email link, getting us excited, and then crushing our hopes when the inevitable "mailer-daemon" response arrives in our inboxes. And he chuckles about it (Straub, "Frequently Asked Questions About Peter Straub"). When reading about Straub, it quickly becomes clear that he has an extraordinary intellect. As a child he lived in a world "filled with a code [he] wished to master" (Straub, "Peter Straub: Connoisseur of Fear"). As early as kindergarten he was frustrated by the "stupefyingly banal disappointment devoted to cutting animal shapes out of heavy colored paper," and consequently taught himself to read before reaching the first grade (Straub, "About the Author"). While still in the first grade Straub was hit by a car, "which resulted in a classic near-death experience, many broken bones, surgical operations, a year out of school, a lengthy tenure in a wheelchair, and certain emotional quirks" (Straub, "About the Author"). He also developed a "severe stutter," which?though much improved?has lasted into adulthood ("About the Author"). And though he discusses this terrible event with wit and aplomb, Straub suffered recurring nightmares until thirty years later, when he began writing horror fiction ("About the Author"). After graduating with a Bachelor of English from the University of Wisconsin (1965) and an MA from Columbia University (1966), Straub married Susan Bitker, and began teaching at the University School of Milwaukee (Wilson Web). But Straub was not happy, and feared turning into a "spiritless & chalk-stained drudge" if he did not pursue what he intuitively knew to be his calling: writing (Straub, "About the Author"). So, in the fall of 1969, he embarked on PhD study at the University College Dublin in Ireland, specializing in Victorian literature and D. H. Lawrence under the auspices of literary critic Denis Donoghue (Wilson Web). While there, Straub did very little studying, but quite a bit of writing, and by 1972 he had published two books of poetry: Ishmael (Turret Books) and Open Air (Irish UP), participated in readings with a playwright friend, and finally completed and published his first book, Marriages, in 1973 (Coward) (Literature Resource Center). He then moved to London, where "his writing improved," where he "gathered up his ancient fears and turned them into fiction," and where he eventually met Stephen King (Straub, "About the Author"). It was through a blurb that Straub first became aware of Stephen King. King had written a short commentary for Straub's new book, Julia, and he considered it "easily the most insightful" of any of the other responses (Straub, "Meeting Stevie" 7). Straub had never heard of King, nor had he heard of Carrie or 'Salem's Lot, the only books that King had published at that time (7). But he was intrigued, simply because?though the praise was appreciated?"King showed in a few sentences that he understood what I was trying to do" (7). Straub saw that King got him, so he made a point to remember the name. Straub eventually read 'Salem's Lot, and was delighted by it (Straub, "Meeting Stevie" 8-9). Then King wrote yet another blurb for Straub's If You Could See Me Now: "two pages of generosity and insight. . . . So it was clear that if I had an ideal reader anywhere in the world, it was probably Stephen King" (9). Reading The Shining, says Straub, made it impossible not to write to King; he considered the book a "masterpiece" (10). King wrote back, saying that he would be traveling to England shortly, and asked if they could meet. Thus, two writers who not only "noticed each other's work almost as soon as it appeared," but appreciated the "common ambitions and attitudes toward [their] bizarre field" ("A chat with . . ."), and who clearly still value each other's friendship, met through a blurb. And the literary world is better for it. Straub and his wife live in the Upper West Side of New York City. His latest novel is In the Night Room, published in 2004, and his current publisher is Random House. A list of Peter Straub's publications can be found on his website. Please see the Supplementary Materials section for a list of the author's honors and awards. Sources Cited King, Stephen. Interview. "jack's back." Black House. July 2001. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. 3 Apr. 2006. FireAndWater.com ---. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. New York: Pocket Books, 2000. Literature Resource Center. "Peter (Francis) Straub." 28 Sept. 2005. Thompson Gale. 5 Apr. 2006. Literature Resource Center Notable Names Database: Tracking the Entire World. "Peter Straub." 2006. Soylent Communications. 3 Apr. 2006. NNDB.com Straub, Peter. "About the Author." 6 Feb. 2006. PeterStraub.net. 3 Apr. 2006. PeterStraub.net ---. "Frequently Asked Questions about Peter Straub." 6 Feb. 2006. PeterStraub.net. 3 Apr. 2006. PeterStraub.net ---. Interview. "A chat with . . ." Black House. July 2001. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. 3 Apr. 2006. FireAndWater.com ---. Interview. "Peter Straub: Connoisseur of Fear." Originally published: June 1997. By Paula Guran. DarkEcho.com. Apr. 2002. Dark Echo Horror. 4 Apr. 2006. DarkEcho.com ---. Introduction. "Meeting Stevie." Fear Itself: The Early Works of Stephen King. Eds. Tim Underwood and Chuck Miller. San Francisco: Underwood-Miller, 1993. 7?13. Wilson Web. "Peter Straub." 1995. The H. W. Wilson Company. 5 Apr. 2006. Wilson Web
Assignment 4: Reception History
1 Paste contemporary reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Because of the immense popularity of Stephen King and Peter Straub, anticipation for The Talisman was extraordinarily strong. Along with the unprecedented $550,000 promotion budget were publicity articles, such as "Kindred Spirits," in which Michael Kernan describes the electricity "crackl[ing]" between the two authors, and exclaims that the "remarkable thing about the Straub-King collaboration is not that it happened but that it took them so long to think of it" (C1). Indeed, George Beahm claims that the expected result of the King/Straub collaboration was nothing less than "the greatest horror novel ever written" (The Stephen King Companion 248). Thus, with expectations this high, mixed opinion among readers was inevitable, and most critics expressed at least some disappointment. By far the most negative review came from People magazine, which awarded The Talisman the top spot in its yearly "Worst of Pages" list: "In horror fiction, two heads are better than one only if they're on the same body" (qtd. in Beahm, Stephen King from A to Z 224). Conversely, the most positive review was probably that of Twilight Zone magazine, whose readers chose The Talisman as the year's best novel (224). Another positive review came from Peter Gorner of the Chicago Tribune: "[T]here is so much cliffhanging, so much virtuosic shtick and so many realistic shtunks that few young readers are likely to feel cheated" (E3). But most reviews of The Talisman were not so black and white. Reviewers expressed enjoyment of the characters, delight with the Territories, irritation at the authors' bombastic writing style, and boredom with the book's "long-winded" ending?all of these descriptions can be found in a single review (Pollock 1), and their near-opposite can be found in others (Shapiro 587). Though Dale Pollock of the Los Angeles Times considers the collaboration between King and Straub both "gripping" and "immensely satisfying," and compliments the authors on refraining from "intruding on their story," he nonetheless claims that Straub could not "eliminate all of King's tired mannerisms," and criticizes the book's "long-winded" and "predictable" ending (1). The Washington Post's Frank Herbert?who wrote an otherwise extremely positive review?faults the book for its "contrivance," saying that it is "not so much a novel as it is a film vehicle" (A1). Christopher Lehmann-Haupt of the New York Times says that he long viewed King the "more instinctive" psychologically of the two authors, and Straub the "more cerebral and aware of the history of the genre" (C27). However, Lehmann-Haupt pronounces that The Talisman?suffering from a "surfeit of monstrosity"?"inherited the worst traits" of both authors: brand-name product placement, teenage pop culture, and "cryptic italicized phrases" from King; "literary self-consciousness," "ink-stained scholarliness," and "an over-fascination with complicated magic effects" from Straub (C27). And though Lehmann-Haupt assumes that the authors have each learned from the other, he still concludes that the "result of their union" is nothing to "fawn over" (C27). One aspect of the novel on which reviewers almost universally agreed is the well-written characters, especially Jack Sawyer and Wolf. Herbert finds himself "caring whether Traveling Jack-Jason will triumph" over the many "frightening characters" (A1). And Gorner lists "true-hearted" Jack and the "immensely appealing" Wolf as just two reasons he found The Talisman enjoyable (E3). Lehmann-Haupt makes mention of the "good werewolf" and the "hip and groovy kid," Jack Sawyer, and he gleefully admits that the "villain" Osmond made him "nervous" (C27). Reviewers also find the "quasi-medieval" Territories enchanting (Pollock 1), and seem to enjoy comparing them to other literary fantasy worlds. Indeed, every reviewer I have read references at least one literary predecessor to the Territories: Gorner mentions Tolkien and Bradbury; Herbert suggests that the chase scene rivals A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court; Pollock calls Jack a "junior Candide" (1); the New York Times' Anna Shapiro sees the entire book as "The Wizard of Oz written as a boy's adventure" (587); and Lehmann-Haupt claims that the "alternate landscape evokes Oz, the Looking Glass World, Narnia, the lands of both John and Paul Bunyan, . . . as well as several other worlds that buffs of fantasy fiction could cite" (C27). And yet, it is the fantastical setting juxtaposed with King and Straub's trademark horror that some reviewers found the most off-putting. This consensus was due to the novel being both horror and fantasy, and because of this, critics presumed that it was going to have a difficult time finding an audience. Herbert recommends the book, but only if the reader is "into good horror and suspense" (A1). As positive as Gorner's review is, he still worries that the novel might annoy King and Straub's fan base: "Horror fans may not know what to make of the Territories, while fantasy buffs may find themselves marking time as King/Straub repeatedly try to scare the bejabbers out of them" (E3). Thus, The Talisman was not universally acclaimed as "the greatest horror novel ever written," but neither was it universally condemned. With the exception of People magazine, I found no critic that advised against reading the book at all. Sources Cited Beahm, George. Stephen King from A to Z: An Encyclopedia of His Life and Work. Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1998. ---, ed. The Stephen King Companion. Rev. ed. Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1995. Gorner, Peter. "Horror kings put power in ?Talisman.' " Chicago Tribune. 8 Nov. 1984: E3. Herbert, Frank. "When Parallel Worlds Collide." The Washington Post. 14 Oct. 1984: A1+. Kernan, Michael. "Kindred Spirits." The Washington Post. 27 Nov. 1984: C1+. Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. "Books of The Times." New York Times. 8 Nov. 1984: C27. Pollock, Dale. Los Angeles Times. 18 Nov. 1984: 1. Shapiro, Anna. "In Short." New York Times. 4 Nov. 1984: 587.
2 Paste subsequent reception history in here (maximum 500 words)
Because of the immense popularity of Stephen King and Peter Straub, anticipation for The Talisman was extraordinarily strong. Along with the unprecedented $550,000 promotion budget were publicity articles, such as "Kindred Spirits," in which Michael Kernan describes the electricity "crackl[ing]" between the two authors, and exclaims that the "remarkable thing about the Straub-King collaboration is not that it happened but that it took them so long to think of it" (C1). Indeed, George Beahm claims that the expected result of the King/Straub collaboration was nothing less than "the greatest horror novel ever written" (The Stephen King Companion 248). Thus, with expectations this high, mixed opinion among readers was inevitable, and most critics expressed at least some disappointment. By far the most negative review came from People magazine, which awarded The Talisman the top spot in its yearly "Worst of Pages" list: "In horror fiction, two heads are better than one only if they're on the same body" (qtd. in Beahm, Stephen King from A to Z 224). Conversely, the most positive review was probably that of Twilight Zone magazine, whose readers chose The Talisman as the year's best novel (224). Another positive review came from Peter Gorner of the Chicago Tribune: "[T]here is so much cliffhanging, so much virtuosic shtick and so many realistic shtunks that few young readers are likely to feel cheated" (E3). But most reviews of The Talisman were not so black and white. Reviewers expressed enjoyment of the characters, delight with the Territories, irritation at the authors' bombastic writing style, and boredom with the book's "long-winded" ending?all of these descriptions can be found in a single review (Pollock 1), and their near-opposite can be found in others (Shapiro 587). Though Dale Pollock of the Los Angeles Times considers the collaboration between King and Straub both "gripping" and "immensely satisfying," and compliments the authors on refraining from "intruding on their story," he nonetheless claims that Straub could not "eliminate all of King's tired mannerisms," and criticizes the book's "long-winded" and "predictable" ending (1). The Washington Post's Frank Herbert?who wrote an otherwise extremely positive review?faults the book for its "contrivance," saying that it is "not so much a novel as it is a film vehicle" (A1). Christopher Lehmann-Haupt of the New York Times says that he long viewed King the "more instinctive" psychologically of the two authors, and Straub the "more cerebral and aware of the history of the genre" (C27). However, Lehmann-Haupt pronounces that The Talisman?suffering from a "surfeit of monstrosity"?"inherited the worst traits" of both authors: brand-name product placement, teenage pop culture, and "cryptic italicized phrases" from King; "literary self-consciousness," "ink-stained scholarliness," and "an over-fascination with complicated magic effects" from Straub (C27). And though Lehmann-Haupt assumes that the authors have each learned from the other, he still concludes that the "result of their union" is nothing to "fawn over" (C27). One aspect of the novel on which reviewers almost universally agreed is the well-written characters, especially Jack Sawyer and Wolf. Herbert finds himself "caring whether Traveling Jack-Jason will triumph" over the many "frightening characters" (A1). And Gorner lists "true-hearted" Jack and the "immensely appealing" Wolf as just two reasons he found The Talisman enjoyable (E3). Lehmann-Haupt makes mention of the "good werewolf" and the "hip and groovy kid," Jack Sawyer, and he gleefully admits that the "villain" Osmond made him "nervous" (C27). Reviewers also find the "quasi-medieval" Territories enchanting (Pollock 1), and seem to enjoy comparing them to other literary fantasy worlds. Indeed, every reviewer I have read references at least one literary predecessor to the Territories: Gorner mentions Tolkien and Bradbury; Herbert suggests that the chase scene rivals A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court; Pollock calls Jack a "junior Candide" (1); the New York Times' Anna Shapiro sees the entire book as "The Wizard of Oz written as a boy's adventure" (587); and Lehmann-Haupt claims that the "alternate landscape evokes Oz, the Looking Glass World, Narnia, the lands of both John and Paul Bunyan, . . . as well as several other worlds that buffs of fantasy fiction could cite" (C27). And yet, it is the fantastical setting juxtaposed with King and Straub's trademark horror that some reviewers found the most off-putting. This consensus was due to the novel being both horror and fantasy, and because of this, critics presumed that it was going to have a difficult time finding an audience. Herbert recommends the book, but only if the reader is "into good horror and suspense" (A1). As positive as Gorner's review is, he still worries that the novel might annoy King and Straub's fan base: "Horror fans may not know what to make of the Territories, while fantasy buffs may find themselves marking time as King/Straub repeatedly try to scare the bejabbers out of them" (E3). Thus, The Talisman was not universally acclaimed as "the greatest horror novel ever written," but neither was it universally condemned. With the exception of People magazine, I found no critic that advised against reading the book at all. Sources Cited Beahm, George. Stephen King from A to Z: An Encyclopedia of His Life and Work. Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1998. ---, ed. The Stephen King Companion. Rev. ed. Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1995. Gorner, Peter. "Horror kings put power in ?Talisman.' " Chicago Tribune. 8 Nov. 1984: E3. Herbert, Frank. "When Parallel Worlds Collide." The Washington Post. 14 Oct. 1984: A1+. Kernan, Michael. "Kindred Spirits." The Washington Post. 27 Nov. 1984: C1+. Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. "Books of The Times." New York Times. 8 Nov. 1984: C27. Pollock, Dale. Los Angeles Times. 18 Nov. 1984: 1. Shapiro, Anna. "In Short." New York Times. 4 Nov. 1984: 587.
Assignment 5: Critical Analysis
1 Paste your critical analysis in here (maximum 2500 words)
"Never harm the herd": Social Criticism and Environmental Consciousness in Stephen King and Peter Straub's The Talisman
You're reaching up to hold a universe of worlds, a cosmos of good, Jack? . . . Don't drop it, son. For Jason's sake, don't drop it~~Philip Sawyer
The only way Stephen King and Peter Straub could have prevented The Talisman from becoming a bestseller would have been to publish under pseudonyms. George Beahm says that by 1984, King was considered "the premier writer of contemporary horror," and that of King's "perceived heirs," Straub "enjoyed perhaps the highest standing" (The Stephen King Companion 248). The authors' popularity, along with Viking's $550,000 publicity campaign, certainly helped propel The Talisman to the top of the bestseller lists (Publishers Weekly). Thus, with such admiration and anticipation from their fans, King and Straub's collaboration could not help but be an instant bestseller. But were popularity and money the only things that kept the novel on the lists for seven months? Are they what has kept The Talisman in print for the past twenty-two years? King and Straub gave their readers more than standard horror fare. They wrote a novel that contains fantastic imagery, homages to both contemporary and past authors, and important contemporary thematic concerns. The Talisman is a quest story; it is a bildungsroman, written in the tradition of Huckleberry Finn and The Wizard of Oz; it is a fantasy tale; it is a Gothic horror story; it is an epic in the purest literary definition of the word. But most especially, it is a novel of ferocious social criticism that is as timely today as it was when it was written over twenty years ago. During his undergraduate years at the University of Maine, King's "conservative upbringing fell away with a sudden rage," and he has been active in politics, civil rights, and environmental issues ever since (Winter 22?23). Of his college activism, King has said that, for him, the issues "boiled down to three or four strong points?protest the war, protest poverty, protest discrimination against women" (qtd. in Smith). According to Beahm, King "passionately" opposed Ronald Reagan (Stephen King from A to Z 163), and campaigned for Gary Hart in 1988 (94). In 2004, King supported John Edwards for president, and described the Bush administration as the " ?most dangerous and unpleasant bunch' to occupy the White House since the Nixon years" ("Edwards speaks at UMaine rally, criticizes Cheney"). Peter Straub is less vocal about his political leanings, but he seems to agree with those of King, at least with respect to the environment:
What Steve describes as ?Reagan's America' is almost implicit in elements we assembled for the book. The book does seem to be about the death of the land, the terrible poisoning of the land. (qtd. in Bosky 70)
Moreover, Straub continued to write "[r]adical horror" that "expose[s] the nasty side of American society" long after The Talisman was published. In 1997, Straub published The Hellfire Club, a book that Paula Guran calls "a vivid view of the festering corruption of present day American society," replete with "the evil greed of capitalist misogynist power-mongering fascists." Guran applauds Straub for stripping away the "facade" of the "Republican world of reactionary politics and morality." Whether King and Straub originally intended their novel to be "an investigation of the American Dream and the nightmare that it sometimes becomes" is not readily apparent (Bosky 69); however, that they wrote exactly this is unmistakable. King and Straub began plotting The Talisman in 1980, the year Ronald Reagan was elected President (Magistrale, "Science, Politics, and the Epic Imagination" 114). The Talisman's "grim" account of "American society and values" takes place during Autumn in 1981, the first year of Reagan's presidency (Bosky 70). And by the time the novel was published in November 1984, Reagan had been elected for a second term. A demonstrable example of 80s American culture in The Talisman is the character of Reverend Sunlight Gardener, a frighteningly insane Christian fundamentalist, who is modeled on the likes of Jimmy Swaggart, Oral Roberts, Jerry Falwell, and Jim Bakker?four prominent television evangelists in the 1980s. Additionally, Swaggart, Roberts, and Falwell (who took control of Jim Bakker's The PTL Club and Heritage USA theme park after accusations of sexual affairs, embezzlement, and fraud were charged against Bakker) had all founded institutes of education, on which Gardener's Sunlight Home is probably based. And only Jerry Falwell has avoided the various scandals that Swaggart, Roberts, Bakker, and Sunlight Gardener have faced. Sunlight's closeness with Morgan is a possible literary representation of Jerry Falwell's conservative political lobbying group Moral Majority, and the hazy line between Church and State in America. King has written that, though he believes in God, he has "no use for organized religion" (On Writing 61). Considering his unfavorable treatment of fundamentalism in his late-70s and early-80s novels, such as Carrie, The Dead Zone, and The Gunslinger, it seems likely that Sunlight Gardener may have been King's creation. Fundamentalism of all beliefs and ideologies did not end with Reagan's presidency, and is alive and well in twenty-first-century America. When we read The Talisman today, it is not Jimmy Swaggart who comes to mind, but Pat Robertson; not Oral Roberts, but Tim LaHaye. Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition is one of the most influential political lobbying groups today. Ralph Reed, leader of the Christian Coalition until 1997, worked for the Bush/Cheney campaign in 2004. And Jerry Falwell is as powerful and as politically connected today as he was during the 80s. Another issue that influenced The Talisman?though only symbolically?was the AIDS epidemic. By the end of 1981, the Center for Disease Control had already reported the deaths of 234 "young men, all active homosexuals," that were linked to diseases caused from complications of what would later be known as AIDS ("So little time . . ."). By July 27, 1982, the term "AIDS" was being used for the first time, and the CDC had linked the disease to blood ("So little time . . ."). It was also in 1982 that White House Press Secretary Larry Speakes made jokes about AIDS and gay men, while claiming not to "know anything about it":
Q: Larry, does the President have any reaction to the announcement the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, that AIDS is now an epidemic and have over 600 cases? [sic] MR. SPEAKES: What's AIDS? Q: Over a third of them have died. It's known as "gay plague." [Laughter.] No, it is. I mean it's a pretty serious thing that one in every three people that get this have died. And I wondered if the President is aware of it? MR. SPEAKES: I don't have it. Do you? [Laughter.] Q: No, I don't. . . . Well, I just wondered, does the President . . . MR. SPEAKES: How do you know? [Laughter.] Q: In other words, the White House looks on this as a great joke? MR. SPEAKES: No, I don't know anything about it, Lester. Q: Does the President, does anyone in the White House know about this epidemic, Larry? MR. SPEAKES: I don't think so. (James).
At the time of Speakes' press briefing, 200 Americans had already died of AIDS (James). By the year's end, that number rose to 853. And by the end of 1983, 2,304 more had died of AIDS ("So little time . . ."). In May 31, 1984, "the number of Americans killed in the AIDS epidemic surpassed 2,000, . . . [not including a] diagnosis of 2,615 others who now awaited death," including Rock Hudson (Shilts 456). By December 31, "the Center for Disease Control reported that 7,699 Americans were dead or dying of [AIDS]" (502?503), and yet President Reagan had still not seen a need to mention the disease in public ("So little time . . ."). The AIDS crisis does not appear in The Talisman, but there seems little doubt that King and Straub were aware of this epidemic, if only as a "gay plague." The Talisman, however, does contain two gay characters, and both are sympathetically portrayed. These characters appear in the story so fleetingly, that to call them "minor" is generous. But when we read about them, we realize how important they are, simply because King and Straub treat them with empathy and dignity. Homosexuality itself is treated in such an adult, matter-of-fact way by twelve-year-old Jack Sawyer, that when homophobia does appear, it is even more starkly highlighted. In fact, the only characters who use bigoted slurs against homosexuals are the cruel people that Jack encounters: Morgan Sloat, Smokey Updike, Sunlight Gardener and his thugs. Tommy Woodbine is the first gay character we encounter, and his story is told by Morgan, after Morgan has had him killed:
Sloat understood almost at once, and knew that Phil Sawyer would never see it unless he were told, that Tommy Woodbine lived with an enormous secret: . . . Tommy was now a homosexual. Probably he'd call himself gay. And that made everything easier?in the end, it even made it easier to get rid of Tommy. Because queers are always getting killed, aren't they? (74)
King and Straub make it very clear that Tommy was a good man, a trusted friend, possessing humility, "seriousness and straightforwardness"?attributes that only feed Morgan's hatred (72?73). Phil and Lily make Tommy the executor of their estate, and legal guardian of Jack (72). We only see Tommy through Morgan's eyes, but because Phil, Lily, and, especially, Jack trust him, we do too. As far was we know, none of them are aware that Tommy is gay (though how this got past the cynical, street-smart Lily is anyone's guess), but what is also very clear is that?gay or straight?Tommy is a much better guardian for Jack than Morgan Sloat. That King and Straub were writing this during a decade in which homosexuals had to fight in the courts to adopt, or even keep custody of their biological children, makes this brief episode incredibly brave and subversive. The Talisman's other prominent gay character is Donny Keegan, a mentally handicapped boy who lives in the Sunlight Home with Jack and Wolf. We first meet Donny as the boys are outdoors working the fields, and another boy, Ferd Janklow, starts teasing Jack that Donny is "in love" with him, which embarrasses Jack terribly (321). This scene, one probably enacted in every park and playground everywhere, is a realistic portrayal of boys' interactions, and it is clear that poor, retarded Donny?though teased often?is safe enough around Ferd, Jack, and Wolf. But when we next see Donny, circumstances are very different. Jack has found the Talisman, and everywhere, those close to Jack experience their own personal revelations:
Donny looked up suddenly, his muddy eyes widening. Outside, clouds . . . pulled open in the west, letting out a single broad ray of sunshine that was terrible and exalting in its isolated beauty. "You're right, I DO love him!" . . . He's beautiful and I DO love him!" Donny honked his idiot laugh, only now even his laugh was nearly beautiful. . . . His face was bathed in the sunlight from that one clear, ephemeral ray, and one of the boys would whisper to a close friend that night that for a moment Donny Keegan had looked like Jesus. (584)
Our last sight of Donny Keegan is this revelation, this knowing, experiencing of "love and triumph, . . . of grace for once fulfilled and delivered," of "clarity" and "ecstasy" (584). And we are told that he would never forget this moment. Why King and Straub chose Donny for this particular gift is important. He is one of the few real orphans at the Sunlight Home. He is one of the few Americans whom Jack meets who intuits something "special" about Jack. And he is one of the few true innocents that Jack encounters on his journey. The fact that Donny is gay removes nothing from his innocence, no matter what Sunlight (or the preachers on which he is based) believe. It is necessary to note that homoerotic interpretation of Donny's feelings toward Jack is not indisputable. It could convincingly be argued that Donny's feelings for Jack are more Agape than Eros. However, when we compare Jack's friendships with Richard and Wolf, the difference becomes more apparent:
Wolf smiled so openly?and yet so wistfully?that Jack was moved to take his hand. It was something he never could have done in his old life, no matter what the circumstances, but that now seemed like his loss. He was glad to take Wolf's warm, strong hand (234). . . . ?I love you, Jacky.' ?I love you, too, Wolf,' Jack said, ?Right here and now.' (371)
[Jack] reached for Richard. Richard tried to push him away. Jack was having none of that. He held Richard. The two of them stood that way in the middle of the deserted railroad bed for awhile. Richard's head on Jack's shoulder (507?508). . . .Then Richard fell on his knees with his hair in his tired face, and Jack got down there with him, and I can bear to tell you no more?only that they comforted each other as well as they could. (510)
Jack's affection for his friends is, indeed, Agape. He loves them openly, without reservation. Comparing these friendships with Jack's reaction to Donny's adoration?"Donny grinned at him worshipfully, baring those amazing buck teeth. Spit dribbled from the end of his lolling tongue. Jack looked away quickly"?highlights the difference dramatically (321). The imagery is not subtle and it starkly elucidates Agape vs. Eros. During a time when not even our President would acknowledge an epidemic that was killing literally thousands of gay citizens, King and Straub were writing about gay characters who were intelligent, loyal, moral. Perhaps even more meaningful, during a time when the so-called "gay plague" was further ostracizing homosexuals, further designating them as "Other," and encouraging more people to feel justified in their homophobia, King and Straub were writing a novel that contains not only open, affectionate, loving friendships between male characters, but gay characters (however minor) who possessed both innocence and dignity. Today, AIDS is still a prominent health issue, now for people of both gay and straight orientations. But it is just one of many, many issues that are relevant to gays in the twenty-first century. Today the LGBT community (with help from its allies) is fighting for the right to adopt, the right to marry, domestic partner benefits, and anti-discrimination laws based on sexual orientation. The hate crimes to which Morgan so flippantly alluded still occur, and civil rights for gay people are at the forefront of the so-called "culture wars" in America. The reactions of Sunlight Gardener and his minions upon catching Jack and Wolf in the bathroom stall?"I don't even want to touch him. He's a sinner. And he's a queer" (366)?the torture and murder that follow, happen every year, every month, every week in America. On his website, Straub, whose novel In the Night Room has a gay protagonist (a novelist and combat veteran), reflects on the very real danger that often comes with being gay in America, saying, "Thinking back to what elementary school and high school were like, I think that it probably takes a great deal of courage to grow up gay in this country. This reflection always contributes a degree of admiration to my relationships with gay men and women." During the 80s, though the American government did not seem to be concerned with the troubles of our most desperate citizens, it was extremely concerned with peoples in other countries, especially those whose leaders happened to be leftist or socialist. Robert Parry reports that during his years in the White House, "Reagan found virtually every anticommunist action justified, no matter how brutal." Reagan interfered with every leftist or socialist government he could in Central America, funding "hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid" to conservative forces and dictatorial governments (Parry): "The death toll was staggering? . . . possibly 20,000 slain from the contra war in Nicaragua, about 200 political ?disappearances' in Honduras and some 100,000 people eliminated during a resurgence of political violence in Guatemala." A "CIA-inspired torture manual surfaced from El Salvador," and Reagan backed the Mozambique National Resistance, which "perpetrated ghastly massacres" that were ignored by the U.S. Government (Cockburn). The reports of what happened in Guatemala under Reagan's watch (and with his funding) are biblical in scale:
. . . cruelty of the most extreme forms carried out by agents of the State; genocide committed by the State against the Mayan peoples; a National Security Doctrine based on racism which targeted Mayans and all political opposition for elimination; . . . large number[s] of girls and boys who were victims of violent cruelty and murder, . . . special brutality directed against women, especially against Mayan women, who were tortured, raped and murdered. ("Guatemala's Memory of Silence")
Mayan communities were "exterminated"; livestock and crops were destroyed (Parry). Father Miguel D'Escoto, Nicaragua's Foreign Minister in the 1980s, calls Ronald Reagan "the Butcher of [his] people," and says that in Guatemala "about 200,000 civilians were massacred [by] death squads," and 70,000 more were killed in El Salvador. Given Stephen King's history of anti-war activism, it is not surprising that he would co-author a book that would contain analogies to America's many atrocities in foreign lands during Reagan's presidency. "[B]oth the Territories and America itself are governed by some version of the Morgan business ethic," says Tony Magistrale, "The American capitalist has been setting the tone for society since the start of this country, and in exporting the doctrine of oppressed labor to the Territories, Morgan Sloat represents the most contemporary illustration of capitalist imperialism" ("Science, Politics, and the Epic Imagination" 117). Though Morgan's plans for the Territories are hazy, we can guess at what they are. He has already brought weaponry to the land, and has begun using slave labor in the mines. His "taking" of Wolf's sister brings to mind the raping of the Guatemalan women (or any spoils of war). That Sunlight's Twinner, Osmond, has a mutant, half-breed son only further solidifies this image. Morgan has "made himself a place" in the Territories, and he means to get rich off of its resources after he overthrows the Queen (The Talisman 231?234). The primitive agricultural society of the Territories seems to represent smaller, weaker nations in which America was involved during the entire decade of the 80s. Magistrale, who calls The Talisman "a specific indictment of the Reagan legacy," writes that King and Straub "shaped Morgan in Ronald Reagan's image" ("Science, Politics, and the Epic Imagination" 120). And Morgan's willingness to allow his own son to die in order to "profit the world" (The Talisman 552) shows the fury that King and Straub must have held for their country's leaders. Stephen Kinzer's recent book, Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq, tells us that American Imperialism is nothing new:
Hawaii Cuba Philippines Puerto Rico Nicaragua Honduras Iran Guatemala South Vietnam Chile Grenada Panama Afghanistan Iraq What do these 14 governments have in common? You got it. The United States overthrew them. And in almost in every case, the overthrow can be traced to corporate interests. (Mokhiber and Weissman)
Today, charges of "American Imperialism" resound throughout the world. In the U.S. territory of Saipan, factories "forc[ed] women to have abortions and treated workers like indentured servants" (Ross). Nike's reputation for unethical labor practices is well-known, and Philips-Van Heusen, the Gap, Wal-Mart, Reebok, and Disney all "contract out their production to overseas manufacturers whose labor rights violations have been exposed by U.S. and international human rights groups" (Given). America's occupation in Iraq is becoming increasingly unpopular, and the recent press conferences regarding Iran are only worsening America's already bad reputation. King and Straub's message in The Talisman is as relevant today as it was twenty-two years ago. In "Science, Politics, and the Epic Imagination: The Talisman," Magistrale says that one of the hard lessons that Jack learns on his journey is the "economic and psychological bondage" that Reagan's America placed on the less fortunate (117), those whom King describes as "the ebb and flow of an underclass, the dregs of society, the roadies who are put upon by other people, the unhomed and homeless drifting just below everybody's sight" (qtd. in Winter 145). King and Straub's description of Oatley, New York, with its "shabby" buildings, its factories with "dingy" or broken windows, businesses with boarded over windows, and houses with "sagging porches" and "neglected" yards highlights the desolation and poverty that some American towns began experiencing in the 1980s: "The fields were brown and bare, and the houses were not farmhouses. . . . No cows lowed, no horses whinnied?there were no animals, and no farm equipment" (The Talisman 123?126). Towns like Oatley still exist in our own twenty-first-century, especially in America's "heartland." What Thomas Frank calls "brutal economic processes" have created "trailer park cities, dilapidated and unpaved and rubbish-strewn," and his description of Garden City, Kansas?an "industrialized agriculture" town since 1984?is eerily similar to Oatley, New York: "Take a drive through the countryside here, and you will see no trees, no picturesque old windmills or bridges or farm buildings, and almost no people" (53). Urban Anthropology reports that Garden City is in danger of a " ?permanent breakdown' in middle-class life" (qtd. in Frank 54). Blaming Garden City's desperate situation on Ronald Reagan's presidency may be too simplistic (and some would say erroneous). However, King and Straub were certainly pointing to Reagan's trickle-down economic policies, corporate monopolies, and rampant free market deregulation as correlatives of Oatley's economic squalor. As Magistrale points out:
[I]t is no coincidence that the dark evils of both Morgan Sloat and Morgan [of] Orris emerge from the west coast and head east, roughly paralleling Ronald Reagan's political ascendancy in California and eventual consolidation of power in Washington D.C. ("Science, Politics, and the Epic Imagination" 120)
In 1984, when readers compared the Territories to Oatley, they were reminded of "the world America once was before it was spoiled by the business ethics of modern capitalism" (Magistrale, Landscape of Fear 104). And today, when we compare the Territories to Garden City, we are reminded of the same. In a panel discussion in 2002, Stephen King said that the "three or four strong points" regarding his activism were: "protest the war, protest poverty, protest discrimination against women" (qtd. in Smith). King only listed three of his four points; however, his graduation announcement in his college newspaper column "King's Garbage Truck," says that his future prospects are "Hazy, although nuclear annihilation or environmental strangulation seems to be a distinct possibility" (Beahm, The Stephen King Companion 20). This statement makes it pretty clear that King would have listed nuclear energy/waste and other anti-environmental polices as his fourth concern. Straub, too, worries about America's negative impact on the environment. The "infection" that American culture inflicts on the Territories reflects Straub's view of the American frontier as not a land of "promising potential," but rather a landscape of "frightening vastness with an unaccountable history and disposition all its own" (Bosky 70?71). Bosky writes that "most of Straub's novels" reflect "shame and guilt from the land," and lists If You Could See Me Now, Floating Dragon, and Ghost Story as examples of this (71). Pollution in America has been a problem since the dawn of the Industrial Age, but it has steadily risen at an increasingly accelerated rate since the 1950s, when the worldwide growth of automobile ownership rose at a "dizzying" pace: "from less than a million in 1910 to 100 million by 1955 and half a billion by 1995," and which, in turn, burned 700 billion barrels of oil (Hunter 51). Cars have become America's primary source of transportation, and this "heavy reliance . . . accounts for a large proportion of the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere" (Gore 326). As carbon-dioxide emissions grow, so does the Earth's temperature, and Greenpeace's Robert Hunter says that in 1983, the U.S. National Academy of the Sciences (NAS) reported that "a doubling of CO2 would raise the world's temperature by between 1.4 and 4.5 degrees Celsius" (76). Sadly, the Reagan administration ignored warnings of a global environmental crisis, and even removed the solar panels that Jimmy Carter had installed on the roof of the White House (Conlan). Reagan also appointed James Watt as Secretary of Interior from 1981?1983. As Secretary of Interior, Watt oversaw the "management of nearly 500 million acres of public land" (St. Clair). Watt is reported to have "proposed the sale of 30 million acres of public lands to private companies"; he ignored the strip mine laws, held up our coal resources, our national parks, and Outer Continental Shelf oil reserves for the highest bidder, and disregarded the Endangered Species Act. And he "purged the Interior Department of any employees who objected to his agenda" (St. Clair). Watt is a millennialist Christian, and he truly believed that "conservation of resources for future generations amounted to a waste of ?God's gift to mankind' " (St. Clair). Watt "gave away billions in public timber, coal and oil to favored corporations, leaving behind toxic scars where there used to be wild forests, trout streams and deserts," and Reagan once said to the Sierra Club Foundation's David Brower that "Once you've seen one redwood, you've seen them all" (qtd. in St. Clair). Reagan's blatantly dismissive statement regarding a national treasure?said in 1980 during his election campaign?brings to mind Jack and Richard's walk through the California redwoods, "conspicuously smaller" than their Territories counterparts, and containing tunnels, cut into their trunks, large enough for cars to drive through (The Talisman 627). Magistrale writes that "by the conclusion of the novel Jack is as radical a twelve-year-old environmentalist" as has been written since Huck Finn ("Science, Politics, and the Epic Imagination" 121-122). Perhaps Jack's dawning awareness of America's predicament is modeled on King's own experience of changing from a "conservative who voted for Nixon in 1968 to becoming what he termed a ?scummy radical bastard' " (Beahm, A Stephen King Companion 21). It is with Jack Sawyer's first swallow of Speedy Parker's foul-tasting wine, his first "flip" into the Territories, that we first read King and Straub's lament for the Earth's environmental destruction. Jack tastes "amazingly sweet, amazingly good" blackberries (The Talisman 48), sleeps in "sweetly fragrant Territories haystacks," and enjoys the "clear" Territories air (174). It isn't long before Jack realizes the atmosphere of the planet is thoroughly polluted:
The world, this world, stank. . . . Gasoline, other nameless poisons floated in the air; and the air itself stank of exhaustion, fatigue?even the noises roaring up from the highway punished this dying air. (197)
Jack also experiences the Territories' Blasted Lands, what Magistrale calls "both a reflection of the nuclear tests conducted by the army in Arizona and Nevada, as well as a dark prognosis for America's larger future" ("Science, Politics, and the Epic Imagination" 121). Indeed, it is understood before he is killed that Wolf, who we've seen weep and retch in response to the stench and filth of America, has been weakened and will die from his prolonged stay in the Sunlight Home (The Talisman 332). Even Morgan of Orris is incapable of staying in America for too long, lest he suffer serious allergic reactions (428). And Queen Laura DeLoessian, the "visible symbol of her world's slow collapse" (Magistrale, "Science, Politics, and the Epic Imagination" 121), is one of The Talisman's several allusions to Arthurian Legend. Queen Laura's name suggests her ties to the earth; the German löss means "of the earth" (Winter 147), and the English "loess," etymologically derived from the German, means "an earthy substance deposited by the wind." The Queen's symbolic name distinguishes her as more than just a means to save Jack's mother; she is also a warning that we are the land we are polluting. With warnings of peak oil and melting icebergs in the news, environmental problems seem even more dire now than they were in the 1980s. The chemical waste dumped in our landfills is another profoundly troubling issue: "[A]nnual production of organic chemicals soured from 1 million tons in 1930 to 7 million tons in 1950, 63 million in 1970, and half a billion in 1990" (Gore 147-148). Al Gore?a U.S. Senator in 1984?writes:
Global warming, ozone depletion, the loss of living species, deforestation?they all have a common cause: the new relationship between human civilization and the earth's natural balance. (31)
The Talisman reflects Gore's position. The Blasted Lands are as recognizable today as they were twenty-two years ago. Wolf's outraged reaction to the stink of our pollution, and Jack's eventual recognition of it are everyday reality to many people in cities and town around the world. One wonders, if King and Straub were writing The Talisman today, if the money in Speedy's suitcase would be sufficient for Jack and Richard to buy enough gas for the Cadillac to drive them back to Arcadia Beach. The contemporary cultural issues that Stephen King and Peter Straub included in The Talisman are still relevant, important issues that Americans are grappling with today. They echo the four "strong points" that King fought for in college; they echo the concerns and social criticism of other novels that Straub has published. This was not what fans of King and Straub had expected. They had anticipated "straightforward horror," but received instead "critiques of contemporary politicians and writers, of social and economic conditions" (Beahm, The Stephen King Companion 249). But this surprise did not harm sales. The Talisman sold 880,287 copies by the end of 1984 (Publishers Weekly). Moreover, though the contemporary reviews from critics were mixed, in "the decade that has followed its first appearance, The Talisman has emerged to be ranked as one of King's (and Straub's) stronger novels" (Beahm, The Stephen King Companion 249?250). And in 2001, when King and Straub published The Talisman's sequel, Black House, readers who perhaps had not read The Talisman were treated with a story that was still surprisingly relevant to today's cultural and political climate. To me, this is what is special about The Talisman. It is not dated; its themes are as meaningful today as they were when it was first published. The irony is, if this was (or has been) ever brought to their attention, I doubt that King and Straub would be happy. In 2002, King reflected on his generation's social and political apathy:
Sometimes I'm not a big fan of my generation. I think the impact of the activism can be overrated. To my mind, a lot of people?even the people involved in the anti-war movement?moved to the center in politics later on. I think an awful lot of people got involved with, ?How much money can I make?' and, ?God, I know that Reagan's politics are a little bit Neanderthal, but Jesus, he is good for the economy. My portfolio is getting so big. Not only can I afford to put my kids through school, but I can afford some blow.' (qtd. in Smith)
The Talisman is a mirror held up to this value system. It is biting social criticism, and I would venture to guess that, if given the choice, King and Straub would rather it lose its impressive timelessness. Sources Cited Beahm, George. Stephen King from A to Z: An Encyclopedia of His Life and Work. Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1998. ---, ed. The Stephen King Companion. Rev. ed. Kansas City: Andrews and McMeel, 1995. Bosky, Bernadette. "Stephen King and Peter Straub: Fear and Friendship." Discovering Stephen King. Ed. Darrell Schweitzer. Starmont Studies in Literary Criticism Ser. 8, Mercer Island: Starmont House, 1985. 55?82. Conlan, Mark Gabrish. "Reagan's Dark Legacy." san diego indy media. 24 June 2004. The San Diego Independent Media Center. SanDiegoIndyMedia.org D'Escoto, Miguel. Interview. "Reagan Was the Butcher of My People." DemocracyNow! The War and Peace Report. 8 June 2004. Pacifica Radio Foundation. 10 May 2006. DemocracyNow.org "Edwards speaks at UMaine rally, criticizes Cheney." USA Today. 8 Sep 2004. The Associated Press. 7 May 2006. USAToday.com Frank, Thomas. What's the Matter with Kansas?: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America. New York: Henry Holt, 2004. Given, Olivia. "Feminists Against Sweatshops." Feminist Majority Foundation Online. Sep. 1997. Feminist Majority Foundation. 9 May 2006. Feminist.org Gore, Al. Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992. "Guatemala's Memory of Silence." Central America and Mexico Report. February 1999. Religious Task Force on Central America and Mexico. 8 May 2006. RTFCAM.com Guran, Paula. Review. DarkEcho.com. 2002. Dark Echo Horror. 7 May 2006. DarkEcho.com Hunter, Robert. Thermageddon: Countdown to 2030. New York: Arcade, 2003. James, John S. "Ronald Reagan Remembered." AEGiS: HIV Today. 12 June 2004. AIDS Education Global Information System. 7 May 2006. AEGiS.com King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. New York: Pocket Books, 2000. King, Stephen and Peter Straub. The Talisman. New York: Viking, 1984. Magistrale, Tony. Landscape of Fear: Stephen King's American Gothic. Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1988. ---, ed. "Science, Politics, and the Epic Imagination: The Talisman." The Dark Descent: Essays Defining Stephen King's Horrorscape. New York: Greenwood Press, 1992. 113?127. Mokhiber, Russell and Robert Weissman. "Overthrow." Common Dreams News Center. 22 Apr 2006. Common Dreams. 9 May 2006. CommonDreams.org Parry, Robert. "Reagan & Guatemala's Death Files." May/June 1999. Third World Traveler. 6 May 2006. ThirdWorldTraveler.com Publishers Weekly. "Over a Century of Publishers Weekly® Bestsellers: 1984." BooksInPrint.com. 2006. R. R. Bowker LLC. 9 Mar. 2006. BooksInPrint.com Ross, Brian. Interview. "Forced Abortions & Sweatshops: A Look at Jack Abramoff's Ties to the South Pacific Island of Saipan & How Tom DeLay Became An Advocate for Sweatshop Factory Owners." DemocracyNow! The War and Peace Report. 4 Jan 2006. Pacifica Radio Foundation. DemocracyNow.org St. Clair, Jeffrey. "The Nature of Ronald Reagan: Will the Earth Accept His Corpse?" CounterPunch.org. 8 June 2004. Ed. Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair. 6 May 2006. CounterPunch.org Shilts, Randy. And the Band Played On. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1987. Smith, Christopher. "Stephen King on the '60s: Reflections of a campus activist." UMaine Today: Creativity and Achievement at the University of Maine. Ed. Margaret Nagle. UMaine Today 1.2 (December 2001/January 2002). University of Maine System. 6 May 2006. UMaineToday "So little time . . . An AIDS History." AEGiS: HIV Today. 7 May 2006. AIDS Education Global Information System. 7 May 2006. AEGiS.com Straub, Peter. Interview. "Frequently Asked Questions About Peter Straub." 6 Feb 2006. PeterStraub.net. 9 May 2006. PeterStraub.net Winter, Douglas E. Stephen King: The Art of Darkness. New York: New American Library, 1984.
Supplemental Material
Peter Straub Awards and Honors 2003 Bram Stoker Award Best Novel, for Lost Boy Lost Girl 2003 International Horror Guild Award Best Novel, for Lost Boy Lost Girl 2000 Bram Stoker Award Fiction Collection, for Magic Terror 1999 Bram Stoker Award Best Novel, for Mr. X 1998 International Horror Guild Award Best Long Form, for Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff 1998 Grand Master at World Horror Convention (TK City) 1998 Bram Stoker Award Best Long Fiction, for Mr. Clubb and Mr. Cuff 1994 British Fantasy Award Best Novel, for Floating Dragon 1993 World Fantasy Award Best Novella, for The Ghost Village 1993 Bram Stoker Award Best Novel, for The Throat 1989 World Fantasy Award Best Novel, for Koko PeterStraub.net
Stephen King Awards and Honors 2005 Quill Award Best Sports, for Faithful 2004 World Fantasy Award Lifetime Achievement Award 2003 Bram Stoker Award Fiction Collection, for Everything's Eventual (Nominated) 2003 Horror Guild Best Novel, for From A Buick 8 2003 Horror Writers Association Lifetime Achievement Award 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters Recipient King's acceptance speech 2002 Bram Stoker Award Novel, From a Buick 8 (Nominated) 2002 Horror Guild Best Novel, Black House 2001 Bram Stoker Award Novel, for Black House (Nominated) 2001 Horror Guild Best Non-Fiction, On Writing 2001 Locus Award Best Non-Fiction, for On Writing 2000 Bram Stoker Award Long Fiction, for Riding the Bullet (Nominated) 2000 World Fantasy Award Collection, for Hearts in Atlantis (Nominated) 1999 Bram Stoker Award Novel, for Low Men in Yellow Coats (Nominated) 1999 Locus Award Best Novel, for Bag of Bones 1998 Bram Stoker Award Best Novel, for Bag of Bones 1997 Bram Stoker Award Long Fiction, for Everything's Eventual (Nominated) 1997 Horror Guild Award Best Novel, for Desperation 1997 Locus Award Best Novel, for Desperation 1996 Bram Stoker Award Best Novel, for The Green Mile 1996 O. Henry Award Best Short Story, for "The Man in the Black Suit" 1995 Bram Stoker Award Best Long Fiction, for Lunch at the Gotham Café 1995 World Fantasy Award Best Short Fiction, for "The Man in the Black Suit" 1994 Bram Stoker Award Novel, for Insomnia (Nominated) 1993 Bram Stoker Award Fiction Collection, for Nightmares & Dreamscapes (Nominated) 1991 Bram Stoker Award Novel, for Needful Things (Nominated) 1990 Bram Stoker Award Long Fiction, for The Langoliers (Nominated) 1988 Bram Stoker Award Long Fiction, for The Night Flier (Nominated) 1988 World Fantasy Award Novel, for Misery (Nominated) 1987 Bram Stoker Award Best Novel, for Misery (Tie) 1987 World Fantasy Award Novel, for IT (Nominated) Short Fiction, for "The End of the Whole Mess" (Nominated) 1986 Locus Award Best Collection, for Skeleton Crew 1986 World Fantasy Award Collection/Anthology, for Skeleton Crew (Nominated) 1985 World Fantasy Award Novel, for The Talisman (Nominated) Novella, for The Ballad of the Flexible Bullet (Nominated) 1984 World Fantasy Award Novel, for Pet Sematary (Nominated) 1983 World Fantasy Award Collection/Anthology, for Different Seasons (Nominated) Novella, for The Breathing Method (Nominated) 1982 Hugo Award Best Non-Fiction, for Danse Macabre 1982 Locus Award Best Non-Fiction, for Danse Macabre 1982 World Fantasy Award Best Short Fiction, for "Do the Dead Sing?" 1981 World Fantasy Award Novel, for The Mist (Nominated) 1980 Nebula Award Novella, for The Way Station (Nominated) 1979 World Fantasy Award Collection/Anthology, for Night Shift (Nominated) Novel, for The Stand (Nominated) 1976 World Fantasy Award Novel, for 'Salem's Lot (Nominated) StephenKing.com
The Talisman has an exceptionally large cast of characters, and Stephen King's official website lists them all. Below is the list, complete and unedited: Gloria Worked at Smoky Updike's bar Larry CPA who was on the road with his family Lori Girlfriend of Smokey Updike Rudolph Cook in Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Timmy At mall with girls. Abelson, Peter In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Adams, Billy In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Anders Depot Keeper in the Territories Atwell, Carlton (Digger) Chief of police who frequented Smoky Updikes bar Aubrey, ? Fake stepfather of Jack Sawtelle (Jack Sawyer) Balgo, Mr. Jack Sawyer's computer teacher Banberry, Minette Owner of the "Golden Spoon" in Auburn Bast, Hector Steward in Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Bledsoe, Jerry Service station attendant and handyman for Sawyer and Sloat Bledsoe, Nita Wife of Jerry Boynton, ? Security guard at Thayer School Brady, Diamond Jim Mentioned by Jack Sawyer Buckley, ? At Thayer School Calhoun, Haystack Wrestler Casey, ? Worked in Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Cassidy, Tom In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Cavanaugh, Lily Maiden name of Lily Sawyer Chang, Lorette Saw Jerry Bledsoe die Clark, ? In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Darrent, Bob Gave Jack Saywer a ride. District high school Superintendent Davey, Bruce Killed in Angola earthquake DeLoessian, Jason Son of the queen of the Territories, who died at birth. Jack Sawyer's twinner DeLoessian, Queen Laura Queen of the Territories. Mother of Jason. The woman who Jack Sawyer has to save along with his mother Destry, Alan Frightened to death Dondorf, Asher Client of Sloat. Actor Dufrey, Mr. Principal of Thayer school Duggan, Andrew Actor Elam, Jack Actor Ella Speed Carousel Horse at the Arcadia Funworld Ellis, Andy Character in Lily Sawyer's movie "Last train to Hangtown" Ellis, Rafe Character in Lily Sawyer's movie "Last train to Hangtown" Elroy A nasty pedophilic shape-changer with hooves Etheridge, ? In Thayer School Fairchild, Judge Ernest Judge in Cayuga. Puts Wolf and Jack in Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Farren, Lewis The captain of the outer guard, who helps Jack in the Territories. Also the name Jack Sawyer uses while travelling. Feeney, Mrs. Jack Sawyer overheard her talking about Jerry Bledsoe Ferguson, Tom Gave Jack Sawyer a ride. Shoe shop foreman Frazer, Coach Coach at Thayer School Gardiner, Reuel Son of Reverend Gardiner. Went to school at the Thayer school Gardiner, Reverend Sunlight Twinner of Osmond. Evil man who runs Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Gargan, Joseph Writer for Angola Herald Garson, ? At Thayer School Glover, Randy College friend of Phillip Sawyer Gordon, Dexter Sax Player Hagen, Michael Killed in Angola Earthquake Hallas, Judge Told Snowball where he could busk for money Hatfield, George Expelled from Thayer School Hatfield, Mr. Father of George Haywood, Mr. At Nelson's house Heidel, Robert Killed in Angola Earthquake Henry Gave Jack Sawyer a lift in the Territories. Father of Jason Henry, Mrs. Wife of Henry Humbert, Albert Fat kid in Thayer School Hunkins, Mr. Math teacher in Thayer School Hutchins, Will Actor Irwinson, George In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Janklow, Ferd In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Jason Son of Henry Keegan, Donald In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Kiger, Myles P. Gave Jack a lift, and a coat Lewis Name given to Osmond as the name of Jack Sawyer, the son of Lewis Farren Lewis, Brandon Went to school with Jack Sawyer. Had a speech Impediment Light, Emory W. Gave Jack a ride. President of the First Mercantile bank of Paradise Falls Littlefield, ? At Thayer School Margaret Wife of Morgan of Orris Martin, Bill Mentioned in a song sung by Speedy Parker Midnight Carousel Horse at the Arcadia Funworld Morgan of Orris Evil twinner of Morgan Sloat. Morton, ? In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Norrington, ? At Thayer School Oates, Buster In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Olafson, Mr. Worked at the Buckeye Mall Osmond Morgan of Orris's right hand man. Possibly smothered Jason DeLoessian. Owdersfelt, Mrs. Mother of Roy Owdersfelt, Roy In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Palamountain, Elbert Jack Sawyer worked on his farm Palamountain, Mrs. Wife of Elbert Parker, Jack Name used by Jack Sawyer Parker, Lester (Speedy) Jack's friend who taught him how to "flip" between worlds. Blues musician Parkins, Billy Youngest son of Buddy Parkins Parkins, Buddy Driver who gave Lewis Farren (Jack Sawyer) a lift Parkins, Emmie Wife of Buddy Parkus Lester Parker's Twinner Peabody, Bobby In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Pedersen, ? In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Rasmussen, Theodore Missing after Angola earthquake Rushton Son of Morgan of Orris. Sawtelle, Jack Name given to Smokey Updike by Jack Sawyer Sawtelle, Prince Philip Twinner of Phillip Sawyer. Killed by Orris shortly after birth Sawyer, Jack (John Benjamin) Twelve-year-old Travelin' Jack that has to find the Talisman in order to save the queen and his mother, and possibly the world. Sawyer, Lily Cavanaugh Queen of the B Movies. Mother of Jack. Actress in "Death's Darling", "Blaze", "Last train to Hangtown". Sawyer, Philip Father of Jack. Died in hunting accident Schulkamp, Arnold Missing after Angola earthquake Scoffler, Hank Friend of Jack Sawyer Scoffler, Mrs. Mother of Hank Scout Carousel Horse at the Arcadia Funworld Silver Lady Carousel Horse at the Arcadia Funworld Simon Guard in the Territories Singer, Sonny Steward In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Skarda, Vernon In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Sloat, Gordon Father of Morgan. Lutheran minister Sloat, Morgan An evil manipulator, Twinner of Morgan of Orris. Father of Richard. Partner of Phillip Sawyer Sloat, Richard Llewell Good friend of Jack Sawyer Snowball Blind man who sung. Looked like Speedy Parker Stephen Delivered ale to village until his carriage overturned and the ale was spilled. Stevens, Inger Actress Temkin, Victor In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Thayer, Andrew In Thayer School Thayer, Elder In Thayer School Thielke, Thomas Killed in Angola Earthquake Thompson, Bill (Buck) Gave Wolf and Jack a ride Thudfoot, Morgan Morgan Sloat's Twinner. Also known as Morgan of Orris Updike, Smokey Owner of Oatley's Tap bar where Jack worked. Van Pelt, Armin Worked in New York University Geology Department Van Zandt, ? Urinated on beds in Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Vaughan, Helen Fake aunt that Jack Sawyer was travelling to find. His mother's sister Walker, Clint Actor Warwick, Andy In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Wild, Jerome Killed in Angola Earthquake Williams, Officer Frank B. Took Wolf and Jack to Judge in Chayuga Wolf Jack's werewolf friend Wolf, Phillip Jack Name Jack Sawyer uses for Wolf Woodbine, Thomas Uncle of Jack Sawyer who was killed by a car. Homosexual. He was killed by order of Morgan Sloat Woodruff, Benny In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys Yellin, ? In Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys StephenKing.com
On first edition dust jacket back flap: Jacket design © Neil Stuart, 1984 | Jacket lettering by David Gatti
Photo of Stephen King
Photo of King and Straub on the first edition dust jacket back flap, taken by Andrew Unangst
An image of the 2001 paperback edition
An image of the 2001 hardcover edition
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