Official Newsletter
June 28th, 2013

A Letter From Stephen

    For those of you out there in Constant Reader Land who are feeling miffed because the TV version of Under the Dome varies considerably from the book version, here's a little story.

    Near the end of his life, and long after his greatest novels were written, James M. Cain agreed to be interviewed by a student reporter who covered culture and the arts for his college newspaper. This young man began his time with Cain by bemoaning how Hollywood had changed books such as The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity. Before he could properly get into his rant, the old man interrupted him by pointing to a shelf of books behind his desk. "The movies didn't change them a bit, son," he said. "They're all right up there. Every word is the same as when I wrote them."

    I feel the same way about Under the Dome. If you loved the book when you first read it, it's still there for your perusal. But that doesn't mean the TV series is bad, because it's not. In fact, it's very good. And, if you look closely, you'll see that most of my characters are still there, although some have been combined and others have changed jobs. That's also true of the big stuff, like the supermarket riot, the reason for all that propane storage, and the book's thematic concerns with diminishing resources.

    Many of the changes wrought by Brian K. Vaughan and his team of writers have been of necessity, and I approved of them wholeheartedly. Some have been occasioned by their plan to keep the Dome in place over Chester's Mill for months instead of little more than a week, as is the case in the book. Other story modifications are slotting into place because the writers have completely re-imagined the source of the Dome.

    That such a re-imagining had to take place was my only serious concern when the series was still in the planning stages, and that concern was purely practical. If the solution to the mystery were the same on TV as in the book, everyone would know it in short order, which would spoil a lot of the fun (besides, plenty of readers didn't like my solution, anyway). By the same token, it would spoil things if you guys knew the arcs of the characters in advance. Some who die in the book—Angie, for instance—live in the TV version of Chester's Mill…at least for a while. And some who live in the book may not be as lucky during the run of the show. Just sayin'.

    Listen, I've always been a situational writer. My idea of what to do with a plot is to shoot it before it can breed. It's true that when I start a story, I usually have a general idea of where it's going to finish up, but in many cases I end up in a different place entirely (for instance, I fully expected Ben Mears to die at the end of 'Salem's Lot, and Susannah Dean was supposed to pop off at the end of Song of Susannah). "The book is the boss," Alfred Bester used to say, and what that means to me is the situation is the boss. If you play fair with the characters—and let them play their parts according to their strengths and weaknesses—you can never go wrong. It's impossible.

    There's only one element of my novel that absolutely had to be the same in the novel and the show, and that's the Dome itself. It's best to think of that novel and what you're seeing week-to-week on CBS as a case of fraternal twins. Both started in the same creative womb, but you will be able to tell them apart. Or, if you're of a sci-fi bent, think of them as alternate versions of the same reality.

    As for me, I'm enjoying the chance to watch that alternate reality play out; I still think there's no place like Dome.

    As for you, Constant Reader, feel free to take the original down from your bookshelf anytime you want. Nothing between the covers has changed a bit.

Stephen King
June 27th, 2013


Under the Dome - Mondays on CBS

The CBS TV adaptation of Under the Dome premiered on 6/24! Based on Stephen's thought-provoking novel, the series chronicles the lives of Chester's Mill's many residents as they struggle to survive under a mysterious dome that has cut them off from the outside world.

Produced by Steven Spielberg's Amblin Entertainment and scheduled for thirteen episodes, Under the Dome can be seen on CBS at 10:00pm Eastern and Pacific on Monday nights. Check your local listings for the broadcast time in your area. You can find your local CBS affiliate here.

CBS has also signed an exclusive deal with Amazon to provide the show to Amazon Prime subscribers. Amazon Prime members will be able to stream episodes of the show four days after they debut on CBS, while anyone with a credit card will be able to download episodes on a pay-per-view basis.

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Stephen on CBS Sunday Morning

Stephen will be on CBS Sunday Morning this Sunday, June 30th. CBS Sunday Morning airs from 9am to 10:30am EDT, and you can find your local CBS affiliate here.

The piece features an interview with Anthony Mason filmed in Bridgton, Maine (the inspiration for Chester's Mill) and a walk around the set of Under the Dome.


Ghost Brothers Contest

Bloody-Disgusting is offering a chance to win a deluxe edition of Ghost Brothers Of Darkland County signed by Stephen King, John Mellencamp, and T-Bone Burnett as well as a ghost hunting kit! There are also three runner-up prizes!

Follow this link for more information and to enter the contest.


Joyland Sweepstakes

There are only a few days left to enter the Joyland sweepstakes from Simon & Schuster Audio. You only have until June 30th, so don’t miss out on your chance to win a $2,000 gift card towards travel as well as a 32 GB iPod Touch preloaded with some of your favorite Stephen King Audiobooks!

For more information, and to enter the sweepstakes, follow this link.

Please note: This swepstakes is only open to US residents. Facebook Tabs are not mobile optimized, so please enter using a desktop or laptop.


Mark Twain Event Tickets Available

Tickets are still available for Stephen King in Conversation with WNPR radio personality Colin McEnroe on Thursday, July 18, at 8:00 p.m. Stephen will appear on stage at The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Hartford, Connecticut. Proceeds from the event benefit the continuing educational and preservation activities of The Mark Twain House & Museum.

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