Stephen King has teamed with the charity website Humble Bundle to sell his new short story Red Screen. Fans are allowed to name their own price, and all of the proceeds are going to the ACLU. The story is only available for the next week.
“In this unsettling short story, a cop interrogates a deranged plumber who just murdered his wife,” reads a short description of the short story, “only to discover something far more insidious.”
This is not the first time that Stephen King has released one of his works in an unconventional manner. His 1996 book The Green Mile was originally parceled out in six individual volumes over the course of six months.
In 2000, his novella Riding the Bullet was released online as the world’s first mass-market e-book. Later that year, he offered The Plant directly to fans on his website. The work wasn’t encrypted, but he said future volumes of the story would only come if at least 75% of readers paid a dollar for it. He ultimately abandoned the experiment when interest waned after the early volumes.
In August, King released the novel Billy Summers, which centers around an assassin who takes on one final job before retiring. He told Rolling Stone that the story came to him over the course of a few nights while he was trying to fall asleep.
“I started to think about this problem, of a [hitman] who had to take a shot and get away from the fifth floor, or the high floor, of a building,” he said. “I started to ask myself, ‘How is he going to do that?’ And I put myself to sleep, many a night, thinking about different possibilities, different ways that that might work. And little by little, the story started to spin out from that.”
The tremendous success of the 2017 big-screen adaptation of It has lead to a flood of other movies based on classic King books. Films based on Christine, The Dark Half, The Running Man, Revival, and The Tommyknockers are all in various stages of development.