The literary companion section of this book is much more detailed and interesting than the introductory essays, and it’s clear how much work Wood has put into his research. Every King work, no matter how minor, is summarized, along with fascinating details about the origins of story ideas, publication histories, and locations of rare manuscripts. This book is a boon for the serious King collector trying to suss out the truly rare and valuable in King’s prolific oeuvre. There is even a bibliography of all King’s works with original publication dates, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen gathered into one index before. Wood also notes all films, TV shows, websites, video games, music, and e-books derived from King’s stories or original material. I don’t think you’d find a more complete index of all things Stephen King.
In addition to the story summaries, each major character and setting has a place in the encyclopedia. (I fail to understand why characters aren’t alphabetized by last name, but that’s a minor quibble.) Wood traces characters through all works in which they appear and provides detailed descriptions of King’s most important settings. He even notes who played a particular character in the TV or film version, if there was one. There is so much fascinating trivia to pore over in these entries. The listings reveal all of the interesting connections between the stories, a reference I’ve been wanting for a while. It was obviously an immense project, and I’m glad Wood undertook it.
Stephen King: A Literary Companion will be of interest to any serious King fan or collector. Clearly, Wood is a great fan himself and has made a respectful homage to his favorite author, and mine, in this well-researched work.