Derry (Stephen King)

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Derry, Maine is a fictional town and a part of Stephen King's fictional Maine topography. Derry has served as the setting for a number of his novels, novellas, and short stories. Derry first appeared in King's 1981 short story The Bird and the Album, and has reappeared as late as his 2011 novel 11/22/63 (see list below). Derry is said to be near Bangor, Maine, but King has acknowledged that Derry is actually his portrayal of Bangor.[1] A map on King's official website, though, places Derry in the vicinity of the town of Etna, Maine.[2]

King, a native of Portland, Maine, created a trinity of fictional Maine towns – Derry, Castle Rock and Jerusalem's Lot – as central settings in more than one work. King has stated that writer H. P. Lovecraft was responsible for King's own fascination with horror and the macabre, and was the single largest figure to influence his writing.[3][4][5] King's trinity of Maine locations is similar to the fictional Massachusetts locations of Arkham, Dunwich, Innsmouth, and Kingsport, found repeatedly in Lovecraft Country.

Derry landmarks[edit]

29 Neibolt Street

On several occasions in It, the Losers find themselves at 29 Neibolt Street, a run-down, abandoned house near the trainyard. It is in this house – or rather, under the house's front porch – that Eddie Kaspbrak first encounters It, which shows itself as a mix between a homeless leper and its familiar Pennywise form. Later, after Eddie tells them his story, Bill and Richie go to investigate the house and are chased off by It, the creature having taken the form of a werewolf.

Soon after these incidents, the Losers Club goes back to the house in hopes of confronting It. However, soon after they confront It, the creature disappears into the sewers through a toilet pipe. They therefore decide to enter the sewers for their first showdown with It.

During Its 1985 killing spree, the body of one of the creature's victims is found directly across the street from the house.

The Barrens

The Barrens is a small tract of land still heavily covered in trees and plant life. Derry's landfill is located here, as is a gravel pit and several sewer pump-stations. The Barrens plays the most prominent a role in It, as the Losers adopt it as their home away from home, even building an underground clubhouse there. Most of the Losers have their first meeting here while trying to build a small dam in the Kenduskeag Stream, which runs through the Barrens, and next, Derry.

The Canal

A section of the Kenduskeag that runs through downtown Derry. The canal goes through a tunnel under the streets for a short way and comes out in Bassey Park. It was in January 1958 that a young Ben Hanscom first encountered It (in the form of a mummy) walking on top of the frozen surface.

Derry Civic Center

The Derry Civic Center is a recent structure built after the old civic center was destroyed in the 1985 flood. It was designed by famed architect (and one-time Derry resident) Ben Hanscom. It played an important role in the events of the novel Insomnia. The Crimson King, the supervillain of King's Dark Tower series, planned to use Ed Deepneau to fly into the Civic Center on a kamikaze mission, using a small plane armed with C4 explosives. The aim of this mission was not to kill the people inside the Center, but to kill a child named Patrick Danville, who plays a key role in the Dark Tower story. Ralph Roberts and Lois Chasse forced Deepneau to crash the plane in the Center's parking lot. Several people were killed, but Danville was saved.

Kitchener Ironworks

The Kitchener Ironworks was an ironworks outside of Derry. In 1906, despite every machine in the works having been shut completely down, the Ironworks inexplicably exploded, killing a group of 88 children and 102 total people who were participating in an Easter egg hunt. The tragedy was caused by It, sabotaging the equipment, and eight bodies were missing, presumably eaten by the monster. This marked the beginning of the creature's twenty-seven-year hibernation period. It was at the ruins of the Kitchener Ironworks where a young Mike Hanlon first encounters It in the form of a giant bird in 1958.

Jake Epping senses It's presence in the ruins of the Kitchener Ironworks when he visits the ruins in 11/22/63.

The Standpipe

The Standpipe was a large watertower in Derry. In its earlier days, it remained unlocked so that patrons of an adjoining park could climb a spiral staircase around the tank to look out over Derry from the top. The Standpipe was closed to the public after several children drowned in the tank, most likely the fault of It. The Standpipe was where Stan Uris first encountered It, which took the form of drowned children.

After the grown-up Losers Club kills It in second Ritual Of Chüd in 1985, a huge storm ensues, destroying many buildings and landmarks in Derry, including the Standpipe. In Dreamcatcher, Mr. Gray drives to Derry to find the Standpipe, only to discover a memorial featuring a cast-bronze statue of two children and a plaque underneath, dedicated to the victims of the 1985 flood and of It. The plaque has been vandalized with graffiti reading, "PENNYWISE LIVES". In 11/22/63, Jake Epping buys a pillow with a picture of the standpipe on it. He hides a gun in it, the gun he uses to kill Frank Dunning.

Tracker Brothers Shipping

According to It, the Tracker Brothers were two men who owned a trucking depot on Kansas Street during It's 1958 killing spree. The brothers maintained a baseball field behind the depot for children to play on. In Dreamcatcher, Jonesy, The Beav, Henry, and Pete first meet Duddits in the depot's parking lot in 1978 (at which time the depot has closed), saving him from a gang of bullies. In 1985, while visiting the abandoned depot, Eddie Kaspbrak encounters Pennywise for the first time since his childhood. The depot was destroyed in the same 1985 storm that destroyed the Standpipe.

Voigt Field

In The Running Man, a Richard Bachman novella set in a dystopian future, Derry is home to a large airport consisting of acres of parking lots, a huge "Northern States Terminal," several runways with the capacity to support large widebody aircraft, and a large fuel tank farm. Ben Richards, the novella's protagonist, arrives here by car and is allowed to board a "Lockheed GA/Superbird" by bluffing that he has enough plastic explosive with him to blow up the entire complex.

Works set in Derry[edit]

Works referring to Derry[edit]

Storm of the Century (1996)

Use by third parties[edit]

In the 1993 novel One on One, author Tabitha King, who is King's wife, refers to Derry. In an afterword, she thanks "another novelist who was kind enough to allow me" to use the town's name.

In the 2010+ television series "Haven", loosely adapted from King's novel The Colorado Kid, the town of Derry has been mentioned.

In the 2010 novel Horns, author Joe Hill, who is King's oldest son, writes of the real city of Derry, New Hampshire. In his 2013 novel NOS4A2, Hill includes the fictional Derry, Maine on a map and a list of supernatural places.

Popular culture[edit]

In a Reddit AMA (Ask me anything) interview, King responded to "Why the hell does anyone live in Derry?!," with "Because they're sick puppies." [6]

Other Maine creations in King's work[edit]

Besides the oft-used trinity of Derry, Castle Rock, and Jerusalem's Lot, King has created other fictional Maine towns, including Chamberlain in Carrie, Ludlow in Pet Sematary and The Dark Half (unrelated to the real Maine town of Ludlow), Haven in The Tommyknockers, Little Tall Island in Dolores Claiborne and Storm of the Century, and Chester's Mill in Under the Dome.

References[edit]

  1. ^ As stated in The Dark Tower
  2. ^ Stephen King's Map of Maine
  3. ^ Wohleber, Curt (December 1995). "The Man Who Can Scare Stephen King". American Heritage 46 (8). Retrieved September 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre, Del Rey Books, 1982, front cover.
  5. ^ King, Stephen (February 1987). Danse Macabre. Berkley. p. 63. ISBN 9-780-42510-433-0. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  6. ^ Stephen King's Reddit AMA

See also[edit]