Word Processor of the Gods

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"Word Processor of the Gods"
Author Stephen King
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Short story
Published in Playboy (1st release),
Skeleton Crew
Publication type Magazine
Publisher Playboy Media Corp
Media type Print (Periodical)
Publication date January 1983

"Word Processor of the Gods" is a short story by Stephen King first published in the January 1983 issue of Playboy magazine under the title "The Word Processor", and collected in King's 1985 collection Skeleton Crew.

Plot summary[edit]

A middle-aged writer is disenchanted with his tyrannical wife, his disrespectful teenage son, and his life in general. He receives the gift of a custom-built word processor from his nephew, a teenage electronics genius. Unfortunately, the nephew suddenly dies in a car accident caused by the writer's abusive brother, who was driving drunk. The writer must figure out on his own how to use the gift. He discovers that this word processor enables him to write things into existence, delete things from existence, and alter the fabric of his reality – at least, as long as the rickety word processor still functions. He erases his wife and son, and seconds before the processor's demise replaces them with his nephew and the nephew's kind, gentle mother.


"Word Processor of the Gods" was adapted for an episode of the Tales from the Darkside TV series, first broadcast November 25, 1984.

Similar Plotlines[edit]

A 1940 serialized novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, Typewriter in the Sky features the protagonist finding himself inside the story of his friend's book.

A 1960 episode of The Twilight Zone, "A World of His Own", features a dictation machine that can bring things into existence. In another episode, "Printer's Devil", a devilish typist modifies a newspaper's linotype machine so that whatever is set in type subsequently happens.

Diana Wynne Jones' 1984 Archer's Goon features a corresponding typewriter.

A 1991 episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, "The Tale of the Dream Machine", features a typewriter that brings dreams into existence.

A 1991 romantic comedy/fantasy film, Delirious, starring John Candy, featured a TV soap opera writer who finds himself in the mythical town from the TV show, and uses a typewriter to change the characters and real-life story.

King himself revisited this theme in "Umney's Last Case," in which a hard-boiled private investigator discovers he is a fictional character whose creator plans to write him out of existence in order to take his place. The story ends with Umney exiled into the "real" world while desperately trying to write himself back into his fictional life. "Umney's Last Case" appeared in the 1994 collection Nightmares and Dreamscapes.

A 1997 book in R. L. Stines' Goosebumps series, The Blob that Ate Everyone, has a typewriter that writes things into existence.

A 2006 film, Stranger than Fiction, has the main character's life directed by the manuscript of a novel as it is typed up.

A 2010 game, Alan Wake, features a writer going on vacation, only to find out that the lake he lives near has the power to turn everything he writes into existence.

See also[edit]