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7 Stories Stephen King Refuses to Publish

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Legendary horror writer Stephen King has sold over 300 million books, and while his prolific output might lead you to believe he publishes every page he produces, that’s not exactly true. Here are seven tales that King fans are highly unlikely to ever see.

1. The Aftermath  

King completed his first novel at just 16 years old, and at 50,000 words, it’s just a fraction of some of the doorstoppers he would later publish. In a post-nuclear war landscape, a young man attempts to sabotage the Sun Corps, a military force that’s secretly a race of aliens called the Denebians. King considers it a highly juvenile piece of work that he’s content to let rest at the Fogler Archive at the University of Maine: you can read it there, provided you get permission from King.

2. I Hate Mondays

While King has collaborated with Peter Straub and X-Files producer Chris Carter, he’s generally a solo act. Exceptions can be made, however, if you happen to be related: He’s co-written works with sons Joe and Owen as a way of fostering their interest in writing. As a child, the latter helped King—or rather, King helped Owen—on I Hate Mondays, a short story about two misfits who are kidnapped by a goon named Doctor Mindbender and forced to give up the combination to a safe. It also resides in the Fogler Archive.  

3. Squad D

In the late 1970s, King contributed a short story for Harlan Ellison’s anthology, Last Dangerous Visions. The collection was never published, and King has never bothered to find another home for Squad D, his tale about the only survivor of a Vietnam platoon who missed the battle that killed them all because he was in the infirmary for hemorrhoids. Guilt-ridden, the soldier contacts the families of the deceased to apologize, with a Twilight Zone-ish result. The story has found its way into margins of the Internet, where one could find it if so inclined.

4. The Cannibals

Before writing Under the Dome—about a town suddenly inhibited by a giant sphere—King played with the concept in other incarnations. He took two passes at a similar premise titled The Cannibals, which was nearly completed in 1981 and clocked in at around 500 pages before he wound up losing the manuscript. It turned up in 2009, leading to Dome. Owing to fan curiosity—and to put to bed rumors Dome was lifted from the plot of The Simpsons Movie, which saw Springfield encased in a giant bubble—King allowed excerpts to be posted on his official website.

5. The House on Value Street

After King had established himself with the success of Carrie and ‘Salem’s Lot, he attempted to write a fictionalized account of the Patty Hearst kidnapping. Never quite able to get a handle on the story, he set it aside, unfinished. With the Hearst story no longer a contemporary reference, whatever remains of Value Street has likely outdated itself. (King fans are probably thankful: Abandoning Value Street led to work on The Stand.)

6. Phil and Sundance

King started work on this novella circa 1987 and never completed it. Its existence was unknown until 2013, when a French Stephen King fansite pulled it out of obscurity courtesy of a man who claimed he obtained it after meeting King via the Make a Wish Foundation. According to Cemetery Dance, the publisher that acquired the original, King has no plans to revisit it.  

7. Sword in the Darkness

King completed this 150,000 word novel while he was a senior at the University of Maine in 1970. In it, a gang plans a race riot to mask their plan for a series of heists. Twelve publishers rejected it, including Doubleday, which would later prove to be a lucrative partner for King. Disappointed at the time, King later reflected that it was "tawdry" and that he never bothered to have it critiqued in his literature class.

Additional Sources: Stephen King: Uncollected, Unpublished.

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A Limited Edition, Handwritten Manuscript of The Great Gatsby Can Be Yours for $249
SP Books
SP Books

Fans of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic The Great Gatsby need to put this on their holiday wish list: The French manuscript publisher SP Books is releasing a deluxe, limited-edition version of Fitzgerald’s handwritten Gatsby manuscript.

A handwritten manuscript of 'The Great Gatsby' open to a page
SP Books

The 328-page, large-format edition is cloth-bound and features an ornamental, iron-gilded cover. The facsimile of Fitzgerald’s original manuscript shows how the author reworked, rewrote, and otherwise altered the book throughout his writing process, changing character’s names (Nick was named “Dud” at one point), cutting down scenes, and moving around where certain information was introduced to the plot, like where the reader finds out how Gatsby became wealthy, which in the original manuscript wasn’t revealed until the end of the book. For Fitzgerald superfans, it's also signed.

A page of the handwritten manuscript with a pen on it
SP Books

The publisher is only selling 1800 copies of the manuscript, so if you’re a lover of literary history, you’d better act fast.

It’s available from SP Books for $249.

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Pop Culture
An AI Program Wrote Harry Potter Fan Fiction—and the Results Are Hilarious
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

“The castle ground snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind.”

So begins the 13th chapter of the latest Harry Potter installment, a text called Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. OK, so it’s not a J.K. Rowling original—it was written by artificial intelligence. As The Verge explains, the computer-science whizzes at Botnik Studios created this three-page work of fan fiction after training an algorithm on the text of all seven Harry Potter books.

The short chapter was made with the help of a predictive text algorithm designed to churn out phrases similar in style and content to what you’d find in one of the Harry Potter novels it "read." The story isn’t totally nonsensical, though. Twenty human editors chose which AI-generated suggestions to put into the chapter, wrangling the predictive text into a linear(ish) tale.

While magnified wind doesn’t seem so crazy for the Harry Potter universe, the text immediately takes a turn for the absurd after that first sentence. Ron starts doing a “frenzied tap dance,” and then he eats Hermione’s family. And that’s just on the first page. Harry and his friends spy on Death Eaters and tussle with Voldemort—all very spot-on Rowling plot points—but then Harry dips Hermione in hot sauce, and “several long pumpkins” fall out of Professor McGonagall.

Some parts are far more simplistic than Rowling would write them, but aren’t exactly wrong with regards to the Harry Potter universe. Like: “Magic: it was something Harry Potter thought was very good.” Indeed he does!

It ends with another bit of prose that’s not exactly Rowling’s style, but it’s certainly an accurate analysis of the main current that runs throughout all the Harry Potter books. It reads: “‘I’m Harry Potter,’ Harry began yelling. ‘The dark arts better be worried, oh boy!’”

Harry Potter isn’t the only work of fiction that Jamie Brew—a former head writer for ClickHole and the creator of Botnik’s predictive keyboard—and other Botnik writers have turned their attention to. Botnik has previously created AI-generated scripts for TV shows like The X-Files and Scrubs, among other ridiculous machine-written parodies.

To delve into all the magical fiction that Botnik users have dreamed up, follow the studio on Twitter.

[h/t The Verge]

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