Derry (Stephen King)
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Derry 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, but King has acknowledged that Derry is actually his portrayal of Bangor. A map on King's official website, though, places Derry in the vicinity of the town of Etna.
King, a native of Portland, 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.
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 It's 1985 killing spree, the body of one of the creature's victims is found directly across the street from the house.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- It (1986)
- Insomnia (1994)
- Bag of Bones (1998)
- Dreamcatcher (2001)
- Fair Extension (2010)
- 11/22/63 (partially) (2011)
Works referring to Derry
- The Body (1982)
- The Running Man (1982)
- Pet Sematary (1983)
- "Uncle Otto's Truck" (1983) (short story which appears in Skeleton Crew)
- "Mrs. Todd's Shortcut" (1984) (short story which appears in Skeleton Crew)
- The Tommyknockers (1987)
- "The Night Flier" (1988)
- Secret Window, Secret Garden (1990) (novella published in the collection Four past Midnight)
- Needful Things (1991)
- Insomnia (1994)
- "Autopsy Room Four" (1997)
- "The Road Virus Heads North" (1999)
- Hearts in Atlantis (1999)
- The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower (2004)
- Lisey's Story (2006)
- "Mute" (2007)
- Under the Dome (2009)
- Full Dark, No Stars (2010)
Use by third parties
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.
In "Mr. Scratch", the April 22, 2015 episode of Criminal Minds, Derry, Maine is mentioned as the scene of a previous crime.
In "Love Boat", the 4th episode of season 14, that aired on October 11, 2016 of NCIS, Derry, Maine is mentioned as the hometown of one of the non-regular characters.
Other Maine creations in King's work
Besides the oft-used trinity of Derry, Castle Rock, and Jerusalem's Lot, King has created other fictional Maine towns, including Chamberlain in Carrie, Haven in The Tommyknockers, Little Tall Island in Dolores Claiborne and Storm of the Century, and Chester's Mill in Under the Dome.
- As stated in The Dark Tower
- Stephen King's Map of Maine
- Wohleber, Curt (December 1995). "The Man Who Can Scare Stephen King". American Heritage. 46 (8). Retrieved September 10, 2013.
- The Best of H. P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre, Del Rey Books, 1982, front cover.
- King, Stephen (February 1987). Danse Macabre. Berkley. p. 63. ISBN 978-0-425-10433-0. Retrieved September 17, 2013.