Any new book by Master of Horror Stephen King merits attention. Gwendy’s Button Box, the new novella King co-wrote with Richard Chizmar, marks the author’s return to the town of Castle Rock, venue of some of his best novels from the past decades.
Often setting his books in a small town, King nearly destroyed that particular town in Needful Things, with a diabolical being making the characters go for each other’s throats. Another trademark of most of the works of The Shining author is the presence of a child character. The premise of Gwendy’s s Button Box is that the fate of the world can rest in the hands of a very young female protagonist.
Intriguing Child Protagonist
Twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson climbs the stairs up a cliffside one summer day in 1974. She hears kids playing baseball in a distant game, then a man in black jeans, white shirt and black hat calls her over for a “palaver.” The stage is set for weird goings-on in the town that was the site of such great novels as The Dead Zone, Cujo, and The Dark Half.
It is not the first time that one of the most bestselling authors in the universe has participated in a collaboration. Avid readers probably still remember Black House that King co-wrote with Peter Straub. As with any collaborative effort, the book can be a hit or a miss, with two authors’ often different writing styles coming together to tell one, cohesive story.
For his part, Richard Chizmar is the publisher of the esteemed genre magazine, Cemetery Dance. He has worked with many horror writers through the years, and has just come up with his own story collection, A Long December.
In an interview, the two writers revealed that they just passed the material back and forth, after King’s initial effort of around 7,000 words. Further, it was stated that the novella had been done before J.J. Abrams sold his own series, set in the same town, to Hulu.
With a cover already released, the novella comes out in hardcover in May. J.J. Abrams has offered a blurb, exclaiming: “Loved the characters…and the sense of one little girl’s connection to the whole world through this weird device. It all just sang.”
TV and Big Screen Adaptations
The use of the word “adaptation” in relation to Stephen King’s works will be repeated many times this year. A teaser trailer has been released for the new 10-episode Castle Rock series executive produced by J.J. Abrams, to be shown on Hulu. In addition, The Dark Tower movie has a July 2017 release date, and there is also the remake of It, set to be shown in September this year.