This has to be the most bizarre news story out of the publishing world in a while. It seems that “He Who Seldom Writes His Own Books” (aka James Patterson) canceled publication of a novel for this November about a stalker who is determined to kill Stephen King – supposedly, because he doesn’t want to cause King “any discomfort.”
Well, isn’t that special? Patterson finally wised up to the world in which all of us live, one in which there are nuts on every street corner just looking for an excuse to kill a crowd of people…or maybe they would settle for one famous name – especially if someone like Patterson thought it might be cute to prepare the blueprint beforehand? I guess this is a case of “better late than never,” but that this project even got this far before being put in the trash where it belongs, is both astonishing and crass.
From the sound of an article in The Guardian on Friday, Patterson is not the most remorseful guy in the world, and is using the whole incident as an opportunity to publicize the book that will “replace” his misstep in the publication schedule:
But on Thursday, less than two weeks after the novel was announced, Patterson announced its cancellation. He added that the decision was taken after the publicity that followed the announcement of The Murder of Stephen King, when he was alerted to the fact that “fans of Stephen King have disrupted the King household in the past”.
“My book is a positive portrayal of a fictional character, and – spoiler alert – the main character is not actually murdered,” he said in a statement from his publisher. “Nevertheless, I do not want to cause Stephen King or his family any discomfort. Out of respect for them, I have decided not to publish The Murder of Stephen King.”
How can anyone in the business not have heard of Stephen King’s problems with fans in the past and just now be hearing of it?
The article reminds readers that King is not exactly a fan of Patterson’s writing, as he has stated in the past, although Patterson downplays King’s criticism as “hyperbole.” All of this silliness makes me wonder if King and his family pressured Patterson and publisher to dump the book, because it is hard to imagine that King has not been aware of it for a while now, or that he would sit back and do nothing to influence its ultimate fate.
Come to think of it, King should write a book about this mess.