Stephen Richard Bachman-Turner Overdrive King
Takin’ Care of Business
Stephen King was so successful with his early works, and had so many more ideas to get out of his head, he actually created an alter-ego. Back in those days, publishing companies thought the best way to get the most out of a book release was at a pace of 1 book per year. King had so many stories to write, he convinced them to let him come up with a different name to churn out some books under.
Apparently he had to come up with a pseudonym on the fly, so he picked Richard because of crime author Donald E. Westlake’s own pseudonym Richard Stark, and Bachman because he had been listening to the band Bachman-Turner Overdrive.
King also partly wondered if his success was due to talent, or luck. He thought this Bachman character might settle it.
You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet
He released several books under the Bachman name, starting with Rage (1977), The Long Walk (1979), Roadwork (1981), and The Running Man (1982). By the time Bachman’s fifth book, Thinner (1984) came out, people were starting to catch on. Once it came out that it was really a Stephen King book, it sold 10 times more than it had as a Bachman book.
The first four books were included in a collection called “The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King” (1985) with an introduction from King called “Why I Was Bachman,” explaining how it call came about. King said he felt Bachman was outed too soon to prove the talent vs. luck argument.
Let It Ride
King even came up with an elaborate backstory for Bachman, along with the story of Bachman’s death. In 1996, the novel The Regulators came out, supposedly found in Bachman’s papers by his widow. Then in 2007, the novel Blaze was “discovered,” which was actually written by King before he wrote Carrie (1974). King rewrote the whole thing for release in 2007 under Bachman’s name.
The concept of Bachman vs. King was explored in the book The Dark Half, which King dedicated to “the late Richard Bachman.”