Richard Bachman

Richard Bachman's author photo, credited to Claudia Inez Bachman. The actual subject of the photo is Richard Manuel, the insurance agent of Kirby McCauley, who was Stephen King's literary agent.

Pen name (as well as fictional character) of American horror fiction author Stephen King.

- Richard Bachman

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Pen name

Pseudonym adopted by an author and printed on the title page or by-line of their works in place of their real name.

A young George Sand (real name "Amantine Lucile Dupin")

Stephen King published four novels under the name Richard Bachman because publishers did not feel the public would buy more than one novel per year from a single author.

The Running Man (1987 film)

1987 American dystopian action film directed by Paul Michael Glaser and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, María Conchita Alonso, Richard Dawson, Yaphet Kotto, and Jesse Ventura.

Theatrical release poster

The film's story about a television show where convicted criminal "runners" must escape death at the hands of professional killers is very loosely based on the 1982 novel of the same name written by Stephen King and published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.

Misery (novel)

American psychological horror thriller novel written by Stephen King and first published by Viking Press on June 8, 1987.

First edition cover

King planned the book to be released under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, but his identity was discovered before the book's release.

Donald E. Westlake

American writer, with more than a hundred novels and non-fiction books to his credit.

Westlake at home in the 1980s

Richard Stark: Westlake's best-known continuing pseudonym was that of Richard Stark. The Stark pseudonym was notable both for the sheer amount of writing credited to it (far more than any other except Westlake's real name itself), as well as for Stark's particular style of writing, which was colder, darker, less sentimental, and less overtly humorous than Westlake's usual prose. For a period in the late 1960s, the popularity of the Parker series made Stark's name more well-known and more lucrative for Westlake than his real name. According to Westlake, he chose the name "Richard Stark" for actor Richard Widmark, whose performance in the film Kiss of Death impressed Westlake: "part of the character's fascination and danger is his unpredictability. He's fast and mean, and that's what I wanted the writing to be: crisp and lean, no fat, trimmed down ... stark." Westlake described the difference between Stark's style and his usual style in a 2001 article for the New York Times Book Review: "Stark and Westlake use language very differently. To some extent they're mirror images. Westlake is allusive, indirect, referential, a bit rococo. Stark strips his sentences down to the necessary information." Stark debuted in 1959, with a story in Mystery Digest. Four other Stark short stories followed through 1961, including "The Curious Facts Preceding My Execution", later the title story in Westlake's first short-story collection. Then, from 1962 to 1974, sixteen novels about the relentless and remorseless professional thief Parker and his accomplices (including larcenous actor Alan Grofield) appeared and were credited to Richard Stark. After Butcher's Moon in 1974, Westlake unexpectedly found himself unable to tap into what he called Stark's "personality." Despite repeated attempts to bring him back, Westlake was unsatisfied. Years later, when Westlake had been hired to write the screenplay for The Grifters, director Stephen Frears was so impressed by its lean, cold attitude that he insisted that the screenplay had been written by Stark, not Westlake, and even tried to get Stark's name officially credited as the writer. Westlake said that "I got out of that one by explaining Richard Stark wasn't a member of the Writer's Guild. I don't think he's a joiner, actually." Stark was inactive until 1997, when Westlake once again began writing and publishing Parker novels under Stark's name beginning with Comeback. The University of Chicago began republishing the Richard Stark novels in 2008. George Stark, the central villain in Stephen King's 1989 novel The Dark Half, was named in honor of Richard Stark. King telephoned Westlake personally to ask permission. King's own pseudonym Richard Bachman was named for the book King was reading at the time (a Richard Stark novel) and the music he was listening to at the time (Bachman-Turner Overdrive).


Fictitious name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, which differs from their original or true name .

A young George Sand (real name "Amantine Lucile Dupin")
Comment quality on Disqus by type
Comment types used on HuffPost using different kinds of anonymity

Some prolific authors adopt a pseudonym to disguise the extent of their published output, e. g. Stephen King writing as Richard Bachman.

Stephen King

American author of horror, supernatural fiction, suspense, crime, science-fiction, and fantasy novels.

King in 2007
In 1971, King worked as a teacher at Hampden Academy
Stephen King at the Harvard Book Store, June 6, 2005
Stephen King in 2011
King campaigning for Gary Hart for President in 1984
King at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany, 2013
King's home in Bangor
King wearing a Boston Red Sox jersey at a book signing in November 2004

King has published 64 novels, including seven under the pen name Richard Bachman, and five non-fiction books.

Bachman–Turner Overdrive

Bachman–Turner Overdrive, often abbreviated as BTO, were a Canadian rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba, founded by Randy Bachman, Robbie Bachman and Fred Turner in 1973.

BTO in 1974 (L–R: Fred Turner, Robbie Bachman, Randy Bachman, Blair Thornton)
BTO in Örebro, Sweden, April 1991
L-R: Randy Bachman, Fred Turner, Blair Thornton, Robbie Bachman

Stephen King derived his Richard Bachman pen name from Bachman–Turner Overdrive when he was listening to the band's song "You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet" at the time his publisher asked him to choose a pseudonym on the spot.

The Dark Half

Horror novel by American writer Stephen King, published in 1989.

First edition cover

Stephen King wrote several books under a pseudonym, Richard Bachman, during the 1970s and 1980s.

Rage (King novel)

First edition cover

Rage (written as Getting It On; the title was changed before publication) is a psychological thriller novel by American writer Stephen King, the first he published under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.

The Long Walk

First edition cover

The Long Walk is a dystopian horror novel by American writer Stephen King, published in 1979, under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.