Stephen King is the prolific award winning author of more than fifty books, most of which are worldwide bestsellers. Over the years, King has become known for titles that are both commercially successful and sometimes critically acclaimed. His books have sold more than 350 million copies worldwide and been adapted into numerous successful films and TV Shows. Often regarded as the 'King of thrill and chills', the celebrated author made his name in the horror and fantasy genres with books like 'Carrie,' 'The Shining' and 'IT.' He is also well known for Green Mile, Under the Dome and the Dark Tower Series, which has recently been adapted for film as well. Although most of his work has been published under his own name, some of his work has been published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. He has also, on a few occasions, co-authored novels with fellow horror writer Peter Straub. Here is a list of all the major novels written or co-authored by Stephen King (or written under the pseudonym Richard Bachman). Please rank them from most favorite to least favorite and help decide which Stephen King Novels are the best!
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The Green Mile is a 1996 serial novel written by Stephen King. It tells the story of death row supervisor Paul Edgecombe's encounter with John Coffey, an unusual inmate who displays inexplicable healing and empathetic abilities. The serial novel was originally released in six volumes before being republished as a single volume work. The story is set at Cold Mountain Penitentiary, where they call the death row at the Penitentiary “The Green Mile.” John Coffey, sentenced to die for the rape and murder of two young girls, is the latest addition to the Mile. Paul Edgecomb, the ward superintendent, discovers that there is more to John Coffey than meets the eye, for this friendly giant has the power to heal.
The Shining is a horror novel by American author Stephen King. Published in 1977, it is King's third published novel and first hardback bestseller: the success of the book firmly established King as a preeminent author in the horror genre. The setting and characters are influenced by King's personal experiences, including both his visit to The Stanley Hotel in 1974 and his recovery from alcoholism. The novel was followed by a sequel, Doctor Sleep, published in 2013. The Shining centers on the life of Jack Torrance, an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic who accepts a position as the off-season caretaker of the historic Overlook Hotel in the Colorado Rockies. His family accompanies him on this job, including his young son Danny Torrance, who possesses "the shining", an array of psychic abilities that allow Danny to see the hotel's horrific past. Soon, after a winter storm leaves them snowbound, the supernatural forces inhabiting the hotel influence Jack's sanity, leaving his wife and son in incredible danger. The novel was adapted into a 1980 feature film of the same name directed by Stanley Kubrick and co-written with Diane Johnson. Although King himself remains disappointed with the adaptation, having criticized its handling of the book's themes and of Wendy's character, it is regarded as one of the greatest horror films ever made. A television mini-series later premiered in 1997, with the making closely monitored by King to ensure it had followed the novel's narrative. King wrote the series himself and was reportedly unable to criticize the Kubrick version due to his contract.
The Stand is a post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel by American author Stephen King. It expands upon the scenario of his earlier short story "Night Surf" and outlines the total breakdown of society after the accidental release of a strain of influenza that had been modified for biological warfare causes an apocalyptic pandemic which kills off the majority of the world's human population. The novel was originally published in 1978 in hardcover, with a setting date of 1980. The first paperback release in 1980 changed the setting date to 1985. The book was later re-released in 1990 as The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition; King restored some text originally cut for brevity, added and revised sections, changed the setting of the story to 1990, and updated a few pop culture references accordingly. The novel marks the first appearance of Randall Flagg, King's recurring antagonist, whom King would bring back many times in his later writings. The Stand was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1979, and was adapted into both a television miniseries for ABC and a graphic novel published by Marvel Comics. In 2003, the novel was listed at number 53 on the BBC's The Big Read poll.
Carrie is a novel by American author Stephen King. It was his first published novel, released on April 5, 1974, with an approximate first print-run of 30,000 copies. Set primarily in the then-future year of 1979, it revolves around the eponymous Carrie White, a misfit and bullied high school girl who uses her newly discovered telekinetic powers to exact revenge on those who torment her. While in this process, she causes one of the worst local disasters in American history. King has commented that he finds the work to be "raw" and "with a surprising power to hurt and horrify." It is one of the most frequently banned books in United States schools. Much of the book uses newspaper clippings, magazine articles, letters, and excerpts from books to tell how Carrie destroyed the fictional town of Chamberlain, Maine while exacting revenge on her sadistic classmates and her own mother Margaret. Several adaptations of Carrie have been released, including a 1976 feature film, a 1988 Broadway musical as well as a 2012 off-Broadway revival, a 1999 feature film sequel, a 2002 television film and a 2013 feature film.
It is a 1986 horror novel by American author Stephen King. It was his 22nd book and 18th novel written under his own name. The story follows the experiences of seven children as they are terrorized by an entity that exploits the fears and phobias of its victims to disguise itself while hunting its prey. "It" primarily appears in the form of a clown to attract its preferred prey of young children. The novel is told through narratives alternating between two time periods, and is largely told in the third-person omniscient mode. It deals with themes that eventually became King staples: the power of memory, childhood trauma and its recurrent echoes in adulthood, the ugliness lurking behind a façade of small-town quaintness, and overcoming evil through mutual trust and sacrifice. King has stated that he first conceived the story in 1978, and began writing it in 1981. He also stated that he originally wanted the title character to be a troll like the one in the children's story Three Billy Goats Gruff, but who inhabited the local sewer system rather than just the area beneath one bridge. He also wanted the story to interweave the stories of children and the adults they later become. The novel won the British Fantasy Award in 1987, and received nominations for the Locus and World Fantasy Awards that same year. Publishers Weekly listed It as the best-selling book in the United States in 1986. It has been adapted into a 1990 two-part miniseries directed by Tommy Lee Wallace, and into a 2017 film directed by Andy Muschietti.
Under the Dome is the 58th book published by Stephen King; it was his 48th novel, and the 41st under his own name. The book was released by Scribner on November 10th 2009. The novel begins with an an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, when suddenly the town is inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when—or if—it will go away. Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens—town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician’s assistant at the hospital, a selectwoman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing—even murder—to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn’t just short. It’s running out.
'Salem's Lot is a 1975 horror novel by American author Stephen King. It was his second published novel. The story involves a writer named Ben Mears who returns to the town of Jerusalem's Lot (or 'Salem's Lot for short) in Maine, where he had lived from the age of five through nine, only to discover that the residents are becoming vampires. The town is revisited in the short stories "Jerusalem's Lot" and "One for the Road", both from King's story collection Night Shift (1978). The novel was nominated for the World Fantasy Award in 1976, and the Locus Award for the All-Time Best Fantasy Novel in 1987. In two separate interviews King said that, of all his books, 'Salem's Lot was his favorite. In his June 1983 Playboy interview, the interviewer mentioned that because it was his favorite, King was planning a sequel, but King has said on his website that because The Dark Tower series already continued the narrative in the Wolves of the Calla and Song of Susannah, he felt there was no longer a need for a sequel. In 1987 he told Phil Konstantin in The Highway Patrolman magazine: "In a way it is my favorite story, mostly because of what it says about small towns. They are kind of a dying organism right now. The story seems sort of down home to me. I have a special cold spot in my heart for it!"
Misery is a 1987 psychological horror thriller novel by Stephen King. The novel was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1988, and was later made into a Hollywood film and an off-Broadway play of the same name. When King was writing Misery in 1985 he planned the book to be released under the pseudonym Richard Bachman but the identity of the pseudonym was discovered before the release of the book. The novel focuses on Paul Sheldon, a writer famous for Victorian-era romance novels involving the character of Misery Chastain. Novelist Paul Sheldon has plans to make the difficult transition from writing historical romances featuring heroine Misery Chastain to publishing literary fiction. One day he is rescued from a car crash by crazed fan Annie Wilkes, who transports him to her house. The former nurse takes care of him in her remote house, but becomes irate when she discovers that the author has killed Misery off in his latest book. Annie keeps Sheldon prisoner while forcing him to write a book that brings Misery back to life.
11/22/63 is a novel by Stephen King about a time traveler who attempts to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which occurred on November 22, 1963 (the novel's titular date). It's the 60th book published by Stephen King, it is his 49th novel and the 42nd under his own name. The novel was announced on King's official site on March 2, 2011. A short excerpt was released online on June 1, 2011, and another excerpt was published in the October 28, 2011, issue of Entertainment Weekly. The novel was published on November 8, 2011 and quickly became a number-one bestseller. It stayed on The New York Times Best Seller list for 16 weeks. 11/22/63 won the 2011 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Best Mystery/Thriller and the 2012 International Thriller Writers Award for Best Novel, and was nominated for the 2012 British Fantasy Award for Best Novel and the 2012 Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel The story focuses on Jake Epping, a thirty-five-year-old high school English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching adults in the GED program. He receives an essay from one of the students—a gruesome, harrowing first person story about the night 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a hammer. Harry escaped with a smashed leg, as evidenced by his crooked walk. Not much later, Jake’s friend Al, who runs the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to 1958. He enlists Jake on an insane—and insanely possible—mission to try to prevent the Kennedy assassination. So begins Jake’s new life as George Amberson and his new world of Elvis and JFK, of big American cars and sock hops, of a troubled loner named Lee Harvey Oswald and a beautiful high school librarian named Sadie Dunhill, who becomes the love of Jake’s life—a life that transgresses all the normal rules of time.
The Dead Zone is a science-fiction thriller novel by Stephen King published in 1979. It is his seventh novel and the fifth novel under his own name. It concerns Johnny Smith, who is injured in an accident and remains in a coma for nearly five years. Upon emergence, he exhibits clairvoyance and precognition with limitations, apparently due to a "dead zone", an area of his brain that suffered permanent damage as the result of his accident. The Dead Zone was nominated for the Locus Award in 1980. The book is dedicated to King's son Owen. The book spawned a 1983 film adaptation, and a television series.
Wizard and Glass is a fantasy novel by American writer Stephen King, the fourth book in The Dark Tower series, published in 1997. Subtitled "Regard", it placed fourth in the annual Locus Poll for best fantasy novel. Part IV of this epic quest sees Roland the Gunslinger and his followers contend with a sentient monorail intent on killing itself and taking them with it. While seeking to return to the Path of the Beam that will lead them to the Dark Tower, Roland tells his friends a story about the tragic loss of his first love, Susan Delgado.
Revival is a novel by American writer Stephen King, published on November 11, 2014 by Scribner. This was King's second novel published during 2014, and his fourth since 2013. The novel starts with the arrival of Charles Jacobs, a new minister, to a tiny main town where everyone including the young Jamie Morton is excited. Almost everyone in the tiny Maine hamlet comes to love Jacobs, his beautiful wife, and his young son. Things change all too suddenly when Mrs. Jacobs and her child die in a gruesome auto accident. Half-crazed, the reverend denounces God and religion during a sermon, is banished from the town, and thereafter pursues successive careers as a sideshow huckster and then a faith healer, fueled by his lifelong experiments with electricity. Jamie meanwhile, grows up to be a musician and develops an addiction to heroin, which ends after Jacobs uses an unorthodox electrical treatment to heal Jamie and cure him of his addiction. Afterwards, Jamie experiences strange side effects, including sleepwalking and jabbing himself in the arm with sharp objects while in a fugue state, as if trying to inject heroin. This leads him to start looking into the many others that Jacobs has healed. As it turns out, many of them have experienced similar side effects, and some have killed themselves and others as a result. Later, Jacobs contacts him; Jamie's childhood sweetheart, Astrid, has developed terminal cancer. Jacobs agrees to heal her, but only if Jamie will become his personal assistant for one last experiment. Jamie reluctantly agrees, and Astrid is cured. Jamie helps Jacobs prepare for his final experiment: Jacobs has discovered something he terms "secret electricity", an all-powerful energy source that he has been using to achieve his miraculous cures over the years. He now intends to harness a massive surge of this energy from a lightning rod and channel it into a terminally ill woman named Mary Fay, whom he has relocated to his lab. Jacobs' plan is to revive Mary Fay after her death, not in the conventional manner, but in the sense that she will be clinically dead and yet able to communicate with Jacobs and tell him of the afterlife and what fate befell his wife and child after their death. The experiment works, but not in the way Jacobs intends. The revived Mary Fay does become a doorway to the afterlife, but to the horror of both Jacobs and Jamie, there is no heaven and no reward for piety. Instead, the fate awaiting every living person is revealed to be "The Null", a dimension of chaos, where dead humans are enslaved for eternity by insane, Lovecraftian beings, the most powerful of which is known as Mother. Mother inhabits the body of Mary Fay, transforming her into a grotesque monster, and attempts to kill Jacobs. Jamie shoots Mother with Jacobs' gun, and she leaves Mary's body. Jacobs has a fatal stroke, and Jamie arranges his body to make it look like he shot Mary. Jamie flees the scene and relocates to Hawaii. Later, many of the people cured by Jacobs go insane and kill themselves and others, including Astrid, who kills her partner and herself. Jamie, one of the few survivors of Jacobs' treatments, is left relying heavily on antidepressants and reflecting that no matter what happens, sooner or later he is going to die and end up trapped in The Null under the yoke of Mother.
Cujo is a 1981 psychological horror novel by Stephen King about a rabid dog. The novel won the British Fantasy Award in 1982, and was made into a film in 1983. In this tale of a killer canine, man's best friend turns into his worst enemy. When sweet St. Bernard Cujo is bitten by a bat, he starts behaving oddly and becomes very aggressive. As Cujo morphs into a dangerous beast, he goes on a rampage in a small town. Stay-at-home mom Donna (Dee Wallace) gets caught in Cujo's crosshairs on a fateful errand with her son, Tad (Danny Pintauro). Stuck in their tiny car, Donna and Tad have a frightening showdown with the crazed animal.
The Dark Half is a horror novel by American writer Stephen King, published in 1989. Publishers Weekly listed The Dark Half as the second best-selling book of 1989 behind Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger. The novel was adapted into a feature film of the same name in 1993. Stephen King wrote several books under a pseudonym, Richard Bachman, during the 1970s and 1980s. Most of the Bachman novels were darker and more cynical in nature, featuring a far more visceral sense of horror than the psychological, gothic style common to many of King's most famous works. When King was identified as Bachman, he wrote The Dark Half – about an author Thad Beaumont with a sinister parasitic twin George Stark – in response to his outing. In the story, Thad Beaumont has been writing books under the pseudonym George Stark for years. When a journalist threatens to expose Beaumont's pen name, the author decides to go public first, killing off his pseudonym. Stark isn't content to be dispatched that easily, though. Beaumont's alter ego comes to life and begins to stalk those responsible for his demise. The police suspect Beaumont is responsible for these violent crimes.
Pet Sematary is a 1983 horror novel by Stephen King, nominated for a World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1986, and adapted into a 1989 film of the same name. The story begins with the Creed family moving into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, when it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son-and now an idyllic home. As a family, they've got it all...right down to the friendly car. But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth-more terrifying than death itself-and hideously more powerful. The Creeds are going to learn that sometimes dead is better.
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon (1999) is a psychological horror novel by American writer Stephen King. In 2004, a pop-up book adaptation was released, designed by Kees Moerbeek and illustrated by Alan Dingman. This frightening suspense novel tells the story of nine-year-old Trisha McFarland who becomes lost in the woods as night falls. On a six-mile hike on the Maine-New Hampshire branch of the Appalachian Trail, Trisha quickly tires of the constant bickering between her older brother, Pete, and her recently divorced mother. But when she wanders off by herself, and then tries to catch up by attempting a shortcut, she becomes lost in a wilderness maze full of peril and terror. As night falls, Trisha has only her ingenuity as a defense against the elements, and only her courage and faith to withstand her mounting fears. For solace she tunes her Walkman to broadcasts of Boston Red Sox baseball games and follows the gritty performances of her hero, relief pitcher Tom Gordon. And when her radio’s reception begins to fade, Trisha imagines that Tom Gordon is with her—protecting her from an all-too-real enemy who has left a trail of slaughtered animals and mangled trees in the dense, dark woods.
Dreamcatcher (2001) is a novel by American writer Stephen King, featuring elements of body horror, suspense and alien invasion. A film adaptation was released in 2003. Set near the fictional town of Derry, Maine, Dreamcatcher is the story of four lifelong friends: Gary “Jonesy” Jones, Pete Moore, Joe “Beaver” Clarendon and Henry Devlin. As young teenagers, the four saved Douglas "Duddits" Cavell, an older boy with Down syndrome, from a group of sadistic bullies. From their new friendship with Duddits, Jonesy, Beaver, Henry and Pete began to share the boy’s unusual powers, including telepathy, shared dreaming, and seeing “the line,” a psychic trace left by the movement of human beings. Jonesy, Beaver, Henry and Pete reunite for their annual hunting trip at the Hole-in-the-Wall, an isolated lodge in the Jefferson Tract. There, they become caught between an alien invasion and an insane US Army Colonel, Abraham Kurtz. Jonesy and Beaver, who remain at the cabin while Henry and Pete go out for supplies, encounter a disoriented and delirious stranger wandering near the lodge during a blizzard talking about lights in the sky. The victim of an alien abduction, the man grows sicker and dies while sitting on the toilet. An extraterrestrial parasite eats its way out of his body and attacks the two men, killing Beaver. Jonesy inhales the spores of the strange reddish fungus that the stranger and his parasite have spread around the cabin, and an alien entity (“Mr. Gray”) takes over his mind. On the return trip from their supply run, Henry and Pete encounter a woman from the same hunting party as the strange man at the cabin. She is also delirious and infected with a parasite. After crashing their car, Henry leaves Pete with the woman and attempts to regain the cabin by foot. From there, his telepathic senses let him know that Pete is in trouble, Beaver is dead, and Jonesy is no longer Jonesy. Mr. Gray, manipulating Jonesy’s body, is attempting to leave the area. The aliens have attempted to infect Earth multiple times, beginning with the Roswell crash in the 1940s, but environmental factors have always stopped them, and the US government has covered up the failed invasion attempts every time. With the infection of Jonesy, who can contain the alien within his mind and also spread the infection, Mr. Gray has become the perfect Typhoid Mary—and he knows it. It becomes up to Henry—by now a quarantined prisoner of the Army—to convince the military to go after Jonesy/Mr. Gray before it is too late. Jonesy himself, now a prisoner in his own mind, tries to help. Both of them are convinced that their old friend Duddits may be key to saving the world.
Thinner is a 1984 novel by Stephen King, published under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. It would be the last novel which King released under the Richard Bachman pseudonym until the release of The Regulators in 1996, and the last released prior to Bachman being outed as being Stephen King's pseudonym. The initial hardcover release of Thinner included a fake jacket photo of "Bachman". The photo is claimed to have been taken by Claudia Inez Bachman. The actual subject of the photo is Richard Manuel, the insurance agent of Kirby McCauley, who was King's literary agent. Billy Halleck, an arrogant and morbidly obese lawyer in Connecticut, has recently fought an agonising court case in which he was charged with vehicular manslaughter. While he had been driving across town, his wife Heidi distracted him by masturbating him, causing him to run over an old woman who was part of a group of traveling Gypsies. The case is dismissed at a preliminary stage thanks to the judge, who is a close friend of his. However, as Billy leaves the courthouse, the old woman's even more elderly father, Taduz Lemke, strokes Billy's cheek and whispers one word to him: "Thinner." The word, and the old man's behavior, startle Billy. Billy begins to lose weight at a steadily accelerating pace, and he soon realizes that Lemke has cursed him. He also learns that the judge who gave the unfair verdict was also cursed by the old man, causing scales to grow on his skin. The town police chief who helped soft-pedal the charges against Billy is cursed with a horrifying case of acne. Week after week, Billy continues to shed pounds to an extreme. With the help of private detectives and Richie "The Hammer" Ginelli, a former client with ties to organized crime, an emaciated and desperate Billy tracks the Gypsy band north along the seacoast of New England to Maine. He confronts Lemke at their camp and tries to persuade him to lift the curse, but Lemke refuses to do so, insisting that justice must be done upon Billy. The Gypsies throw Billy out of their camp, but not before Lemke's great-granddaughter Gina shoots him through the hand with a ball bearing. Billy calls for help from Richie, who sends a mob doctor to treat Billy's hand and then arrives in person to terrorize the Gypsy camp. After Richie finishes with the Gypsies, Lemke agrees to meet with Billy. Lemke has brought a strawberry pie with him and adds blood from Billy's wounded hand to it, saying that the curse can be transferred to someone else but not destroyed. The weight loss will stop for a short time and then resume unless another person eats the pie, which will strike him/her with the curse and allow Billy to regain his health. Lemke begs Billy to eat it himself and die with dignity, but Billy instead takes it home, finding Richie's severed hand in his car. Later, from a news report, he learns that Richie has been found shot to death with the word "pig" written in blood on his forehead. Billy returns home and intends to give the pie to Heidi, whom he has come to blame for his predicament. The next morning, though, he finds that both she and their daughter Linda have eaten from the pie. Realizing that both of them are now doomed, he cuts a slice for himself so that he can join them in death.
The Gunslinger is a novel by American author Stephen King, the first volume in the Dark Tower series he describes as his magnum opus. The Gunslinger was first published in 1982 as a fix-up novel, joining five short stories that had been published between 1978 and 1981. King substantially revised the novel in 2003, which is the version in print today. The story centers upon Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, who has been chasing after his adversary, "the man in black", for many years. The novel fuses Western fiction with fantasy, science fiction and horror, following Roland's trek through a vast desert and beyond in search of the man in black. Roland meets several people along his journey, including a boy named Jake Chambers who travels with him part of the way.