Last November, Stephen King released Under the Dome, a massive work hailed by many as a return to form. Since then, things have seemed pretty quiet from Mr. King—that is, if you’ve been listening for something making a Dome-sized splash. But there are at least a few smaller works from the King of Horror released so far this year that may have slipped under your radar, and rumors are beginning to fly about more to come.
The first King release of 2010 was the audiobook edition of UR, a novella about a technophobic professor whose newly purchased e-reader arrives with a few rather crucial differences from the standard specs. The story was actually published in 2009, but I mention it here because you may have missed it (I know I did) due to its delivery mechanism: the text was a Kindle exclusive, and it is still unavailable in a printed edition.
Then, announced out of the blue less than a month before its April 20 release date, was a novella about baseball, Blockade Billy. King is a well-known fan (he co-wrote Faithful, about the 2004 Red Sox World Series season, with novelist Stewart O’Nan), and Billy is the story of the titular star catcher, who harbored a secret so dark that once it was revealed, every mention of him was stripped from the records of the game. Billy was published in an illustrated limited first edition by small press Cemetery Dance (they boasted the smallest print run for a Stephen King first edition in decades), but the book has not yet been released to retailers—Simon and Schuster will publish a trade edition in late May. The text is also available electronically from various sites for around $7.99, which is a bargain compared to the $25.00 Cemetery Dance charged for the first edition, but still enough to get plenty of complaints from readers who felt they deserved more words for their money.