This Video Primer Is a Perfect Introduction to Stephen King's Horror Fantasy Multiverse

Pennywise sure is a creepy dude, huh?
Pennywise sure is a creepy dude, huh?
Image: Warner Bros.

Did you know that Stephen King’s books are almost all interconnected? You probably did, it’s definitely one of those fun facts about the prolific author that gets thrown around a lot. But do you know how that multiverse comes together and just how deep those connections go?

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If not, this video by Birth.Movies.Death is an excellent introduction to the wacky horror fantasy world that King has created through decades of books (of varying quality) and with them a slow dribble of Easter eggs and little connections that turn King’s isolated tales of terror and trauma into one big, complicated, sprawling and unending tale of terror and trauma. And also cowboys, sometimes?

The new adaptation of It doesn’t make any big gestures toward this interconnected vision of King’s, but it’s something to keep in mind as the current deluge of King adaptations hits theaters and TV. It might make things a little more entertaining, or at least remind you that somewhere in this shared universe, a version of Stephen King is puttering around, doing King-ly things with his time. Probably writing another horror novel. 

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io9 Weekend Editor. Videogame writer at other places. Queer nerd girl.

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DISCUSSION

lightninglouie
lightninglouie

Outside of the Dark Tower books, the novels and characters don’t really blend together that much. They’re really more like Easter Eggs for diehard fans. You will never see Pennywise and Randall Flagg fighting for control of the Derry sewers. (Well, maybe now you will.) I never got the feeling that King had worked out a coherent cosmology beyond good vs. evil.

To be fair, before the modern era of multiverses and linked works, that was kind of how these things worked. Lovecraft’s horror fiction was a sort of game that he played with his fans and collaborators, and the term “Cthulhu Mythos” was coined by August Derleth after Lovecraft had died. In the ‘80s, it got codified by the Call of Cthulhu RPG.

And plenty of authors have done this in the past. All of Faulkner’s stuff was interconnected. Elmore Leonard’s characters inhabit a common universe (namely, the real world) and sometimes cross each others’ paths. The Golden Age SF writers were obsessed with in in their old age -- Heinlein, Asimov, and even Clarke assembled all of their major works into semi-coherent “future histories.” So King is just working in an established tradition.