Rage is one of Stephen King’s most mysterious books. Written the summer after he graduated from high school, it was published 11 years later as a book under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, and removed from publication two decades later by the author himself.
He spoke to a library conference about that in 1999:
I can’t say for sure that Michael Carneal, the boy from Kentucky who shot three of his classmates dead as they prayed before school, had read my novel, Rage, but news stories following the incident reported that a copy of it had been found in his locker. It seems likely to me that he did. Rage had been mentioned in at least one other school shooting, and in the wake of that one an FBI agent asked if he could interview me on the subject, with an eye to setting up a computer profile that would help identify potentially dangerous adolescents. The Carneal incident was enough for me. I asked my publisher to take the damned thing out of print. They concurred. Are there still copies of Rage available? Yes, of course, some in libraries where you ladies and gentlemen ply your trade. Because, like the guns and the explosives and the Ninja throwing-stars you can buy over the Internet, all that stuff is just lying around and waiting for someone to pick it up.
This book of adolescence — in terms of the author and the protagonist, took on a mystique for me, and when I finally had the chance to get a copy, thanks to a trivia contest on the Stephen King Message Board, I leapt at the chance to read it.
Episode 14 of the Kingcast is 20 minutes of my thoughts on reading Rage, as well as some teasers about upcoming episodes. Enjoy.
As always, your comments are welcome. If you send me a comment at firstname.lastname@example.org, I’d love to include it in a future episode.