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Film Studies 101
Feature
The Secrets Behind Pop Culture's Most Mysterious Pseudonyms
J. K. Rowling, Stephen King and other covert authors

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The Secrets Behind Pop Culture's Most Mysterious Pseudonyms | Stephen King
Stephen King

Pseudonym: Richard Bachman

Early in his career Stephen King was contractually unable to publish more than one book a year. Given his success even then, you might think that would be enough, but since he was as prolific then as he is now, he created the ‘Bachman’ brand. It was partly to get more books out there, but also as an experiment to see if his success under his own name had been down to talent or luck. Thinner sold five times as many copies when outed as a King novel than it had as a Bachman, but King says the plan didn’t get enough time to play out.

Along with Thinner, the novels written as Bachman before he was discovered were Rage, The Long Walk, Roadwork and The Running Man. Misery would have been Bachman’s sixth had he not been found out. The first four were collected as omnibus edition The Bachman Books, but modern editions no longer include Rage, which King took out of print when it was implicated in a school shooting. King has occasionally returned to the Bachman name for shits and giggles in subsequent years: for The Regulators (a companion to the King novel Desperation) and Blaze. He later used the Bachman experience for the novel The Dark Half, in which an author’s angry killed-off pseudonym gains a life of its own. He also dropped some Bachman shenanigans into the Dark Tower series, and played a character called ‘Bachman’ on Sons of Anarchy.

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