New novella from Stephen King

Horror maestro Stephen King co-penned the novella Gwendy's Button Box with Cemetery Dance founder Chizmar.
Horror maestro Stephen King co-penned the novella Gwendy's Button Box with Cemetery Dance founder Chizmar.PHOTO: SHANE LEONARD

BOSTON • A deep chill is in the air for fans of horror maestro Stephen King, with several adaptations of his novels headed for upcoming releases on television and the big screen.

But for those who prefer his printed works, they will not be left out of the frightfully good times, for a new novella - co-written with Richard Chizmar - has just been published.

King, 69, has teamed up before with other authors. The Talisman and Black House, dark epic fantasies co-written with Peter Straub, made a killing on the bestseller charts in 1984 and 2001 respectively.

Speciality publisher Cemetery Dance is behind the latest King collaboration, reported The Washington Post.

The novella Gwendy's Button Box, co-penned with Cemetery Dance founder Chizmar, revisits one of King's favourite locations for his dark and twisted imagination - the small town of Castle Rock in Maine.

The plot hinges on a girl called Gwendy Peterson who is 12 when the story begins.

When a mysterious man gives her a box that can alter lives, her life literally changes.

The Post's take on the novella is that Chizmar and King have created "a cautionary tale directed towards a world that grows crazier - and more incomprehensible - with every passing day".

The praise comes amid a burst of upcoming projects based on King's books, with The Dark Tower movie coming out on Aug 4 and IT hitting cinemas on Sept 8.

The TV adaptation of Mr Mercedes (2014) - about a retired police detective who is pitted against a demented killer - will premiere in the United States on Aug 9.

According to IGN.com, King does not insist that the adaptations are completely true to what he has written.

After all, he said that he himself had taken on influences from others in his own writings.

Speaking of The Dark Tower, he noted: "What I really wanted to do was marry the idea of high fantasy like (J.R.R. Tolkien's) Lord Of The Rings with the whole classic western thing.

"It's really sort of a stew, which is one of the reasons why I love this movie for taking ideas from the book and joining them in a different way, while keeping the core of the books."

There are eight books in The Dark Tower series, with the first published in 1982.

Meanwhile, the new adaptation of IT (a 1986 book that had also spun off a TV mini-series) looks especially promising.

The first trailer of the movie - about a clown whose acts are no laughing matter to his victims - was streamed 197 million times globally in just 24 hours in March, beating previous record-holder The Fate Of The Furious (2017).

The hooha made one group of people - professional clowns - unhappy. The Independent reported that they were apprehensive that their profession would take a beating in the public's image.

Meanwhile, fans of King can also see him in the flesh in September and October as he makes a 10-city tour of the US and Canada to promote the book Sleeping Beauties.

It is the first collaboration between King and his son Owen.

A synopsis from King's website describes the title with these chilling details: "In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep... they go to another place... The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices."

Father and son could have had modern horrors on their minds in writing Sleeping Beauties.

King has already described Mr Donald Trump's presidency as "worse than any horror story I ever wrote".

And in the aftermath of a suicide bombing attack at pop star Ariana Grande's show on May 22 that killed 22 people in Manchester, he tweeted that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria "has substituted superstition and murder for spirituality".

He also predicted that "every bombing hastens the day when they will be no more".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2017, with the headline 'New novella from Stephen King'. Print Edition | Subscribe