First edition cover
|Author||Stephen King under the name of Richard Bachman|
|September 24, 1996|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
The Regulators is a novel by Stephen King under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. It was published in 1996 at the same time as its "mirror" novel, Desperation. The two novels represent parallel universes relative to one another, and most of the characters present in one novel's world also exist in the other novel's reality, albeit in different circumstances. Additionally, the hardcover first editions of each novel, if set side by side, make a complete painting, and on the back of each cover is also a peek at the opposite's cover.
King had previously "killed off" Bachman after the pseudonym was publicly exposed around the time of the 1984 release of the Bachman novel Thinner. However, on the book's jacket and in a tongue-in-cheek introduction by the book's editor, it was alleged that this 1996 work was written by Bachman years earlier, but the manuscript had only recently been discovered by his widow in a trunk.
King states that he got the idea for the book while having a conversation with the late Sam Peckinpah. The novel originated as a screenplay titled "The Shotgunners". Apparently, Peckinpah liked it and made some suggestions about the script. King wrote a second draft for it, but Peckinpah died before King finished the script.
The story takes place in the fictional town of Wentworth, Ohio, a typical suburban community. On Poplar Street, an autistic boy named Seth has gained the power to control reality through the help of a being known as Tak. Soon, Poplar Street begins to change shape, transforming from a quiet suburb into a wild west caricature based on what Seth has seen on his television. Meanwhile, the other residents of the street are being attacked by the many beings that Seth's imagination is creating, due to Tak's control over them. These residents are forced to work together to stop Seth and Tak from completely transforming the world around them and stop Tak before he kills anyone else.
Seth's imagination is heavily influenced by a western called The Regulators and a cartoon called MotoKops 2200. The novel contains excerpts from scripts for both.
- Seth Garin- Main character of the book. He is an eight-year-old boy with autism. His entire family is murdered in a reported drive-by shooting while on a vacation trip to the home of his father's old college buddy.
- William Garin- Seth's father.
- June Garin- Seth's mother.
- John Garin- Seth's brother.
- Mary Lou Garin- Seth's sister.
- Audrey Wyler- Seth's aunt. She takes custody of Seth after his family's unsolved murder. Lives at 247 Poplar Street.
- Herb Wyler- Seth's uncle. Commits suicide after Seth moves into his home.
- Brad and Belinda Josephson- The only black couple living on Poplar Street. Lives at 251 Poplar Street, corner of Poplar and Bear.
- Cynthia Smith- Clerk at the EZ Stop 24. She has been on the job one week.
- Steve Ames- Truck driver that stops outside EZ Stop 24. He is the only character not from Poplar Street.
- Ellen Carver- Eleven year old daughter of David and Kirsten Carver. Prefers to be called "Ellie".
- Ralph Carver- 6 year old brother of Ellie. Very spoiled and obnoxious, calls Ellie "Margret" to make her angry.
- Kirsten Carver- Mother of Ellie and Ralph, wife to David. David calls her "Pie".
- David Carver- Father to Ellie and Ralph, husband to Kirsten. Works for the post office. The Carvers live at 248 Poplar Street.
- Gary and Marielle Soderson- Gary is an alcoholic. Marielle is not well-liked by her neighbors. The Sodersons live at 249 Poplar Street.
- Cammie Reed- Mother to the twins, Jim and Dave.
- Jim and Dave Reed- Fraternal teen-aged twins.
- Tom Billingsley- Retired veterinarian. Lives at 246 Poplar Street.
- Peter Jackson- Professor at Ohio State. Lives at 244 Poplar Street.
- Mary Jackson- Wife of Peter. Works at an accounting firm. Is having an affair.
- Collie Entragian- Former police officer kicked off the force for alleged misconduct. Lives at 240 Poplar Street.
- Cary Ripton- Delivery boy for the Wentworth Shopper. Plays back up shortstop for the Wentworth American Legion Team.
- Kim Gellar- Lives at 243 Poplar Street with her teen-aged daughter Susie.
- Susie Gellar- Lives at 243 Poplar Street.
- Debbie Ross- Friend of Susie; is visiting for the day.
- Johnny Marinville- Author of the popular Pat the Kitty Kat children's books. Lives at 250 Poplar Street.
- Tak- Evil entity that possesses Seth Garin.
References to other King works
In the novel's epilogue, a letter written by a woman on her honeymoon to her friend mentions one of Stephen King's earlier works, The Shining. "You're the only person I know who's read not just one copy of The Shining to tatters, but two!" "...although I don't suppose it's much like Stephen King's Overlook..."
The Regulators is also mentioned in The Wolves of Calla.