7 Free Stephen King Stories: Presented in Text, Audio, Web Comic & a Graphic Novel Video

In Stephen King’s first televised interview from way back in 1982, the horror writer revealed that he sleeps with the lights on. He may have grown out of the habit by now, but it’s no wonder if he hasn’t. A macabre imagination like his probably sees all sorts of creepy things lurking in the dark. In any case, King has certainly learned a thing or two since then about making his fears more marketable. In the past several years he’s been promoting his work on the Internet to reach new audiences.

In 2000, his novella Riding the Bullet debuted exclusively online, and in 2008 he partnered with Marvel Comics to promote his first collection of short stories in six years, releasing one short graphic video episode at a time adapted from the 56-page novella “N.” See all 25 episodes above. It’s a story, writes Time, “about a psychologist whose obsessive-compulsive patient is entranced by a mysterious plot of land.” King calls the adaptation “kind of a video comic book,” and while the “point of the exercise,” says his editor Susan Moldow,” is to stimulate book sales,” I think you’ll agree it’s a pretty nifty bit of storytelling on its own.

King Comic

On King’s website, you’ll find links to all sorts of multimedia products, including a Lifetime original movie, Big Driver, a film titled A Good Marriage, now out on video-on-demand, and the latest from graphic novel series Dark Tower. You’ll also find a comic adaptation of the short story “Little Green God of Agony.” See the first panel above, and read the full story here.

Long before Youtube and online comics, there was the audiobook. King has narrated his own work for years, and it’s also been read by such big names as Kathy Bates, Sissy Spacek, Willem Defoe, Anne Heche, Eli Wallach, and many more. Just above, hear character actor John Glover—a name you may not know, but a face you’d recognize—read “One for the Road,” a story from King’s first, 1978, collection Night Shift. It’s a vampire story, but a particularly deft one, writes Noah Charney at New Haven Review, one that “deals in archetypes that are the heart of good horror fiction.” King’s stories, Charney asserts, are “beautifully-written, highly intelligent. They happen to feature monsters of all sorts, from natural to preternatural, but that is secondary to their core as great stories, well-told.”

King has long defended popular fiction to the literati—in his acceptance speech for the National Book Award, for example—and lashed out at “the keepers of the idea of serious literature,” whom he says “have a short list of authors who are going to be allowed inside.” It may have taken a few years, but King got in, eventually publishing in such august outlets as The Atlantic and The New Yorker. Read four stories from those publications at the links below. And if you’re still in need of a good scare in the days leading up to Halloween, make sure to check out “The Man in the Black Suit,” a short film adaptation of another story published in The New Yorker in 1994.

“A Death” (The New Yorker, March 2015)

Herman Wouk Is Still Alive” (The Atlantic, May 2011)

Premium Harmony” (The New Yorker, November, 2009)

Harvey’s Dream” (The New Yorker, June 2003)

Related Content:

Stephen King Reveals in His First TV Interview Whether He Sleeps With the Lights On (1982)

Stephen King’s Top 20 Rules for Writers

Stephen King Creates a List of 96 Books for Aspiring Writers to Read

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness.

by | Permalink | Comments (15) |

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s educational mission, please consider making a donation. We accept PayPal, Venmo (@openculture), Patreon and Crypto! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (15)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • dstead says:

    Is it just me or do others have trouble finding and downloading a link to the 6
    audio novels this posting talk about? I’d like a link that would allow
    me to select a few or all for later listening….
    Also the
    Openculture daily e-news has implemented an auto opening of my web
    browser which I find painfully troublesome. Has anyone got an idea of how to
    stop this from happening? Thanks in advance.

  • devans00 says:

    Can’t wait to hear the Stephen King audio books. Thanks for the links.

  • Dawn says:

    Wondering where is the other 4 of the 6 stories im new on the computer and ive read all of HP Lovecraft stuff want to listen to Stephen Kings

  • Cody Pruitt says:

    please add it

  • Sherryhall says:

    Can’t find the down load button

  • sasha ranae 15 says:

    Hello Stephen king i am writing a paper on you in school i was wondering if you could answer a couple of questions for me

    thanks for your great books

    love Sasha Maglione

  • sasha ranae 15 says:

    Once again Mr. kings i need to get info on you if that is possible…..

    thank you for your books

    love, sasha maglione

  • sasha ranae 15 says:

    Hey i need help are you willing?????? Do you know stephen king most recent book?

  • Some guy says:

    Try his Facebook page. Most recent book was “End Of Watch.”

  • Krys Thoene says:

    I have been a fan since I can remember. I am sure you hear this all the time but you were the inspiration for me to go back to school her a diploma and further my education by majoring in forensics. I have many novels in my 46 years of life and although a lot of them are very well written, none of them has, can, or will effect me like your novels. Of the incredible, riveting stories I have read penned by you, not once have I felt incomllete or disappointed. You’re writings truly touch me deep within, feel it literally in my bones and soul. It would be the utmost honor to meet you in person. I’m not one to get hung up on high hopes or anything out of the realm of possibility. I just felt you may like to know how you completely changed the entire life and future outlook on life of one mere individual. I would also like to say Thank you. You are truly a genuine, irreproachable author and human being.

  • just saying says:

    To everyone who is trying to reach Stephen King, I’m sure he isn’t browsing the comments of a site offering his books for free and probably doesnt know exists.

  • michael c schnelly says:

    As a child raised on Radio thrillers, I’ve always had trouble enjoying audio books that use only one voice to play all characters. I would love hearing famous novels read by a company of voice actors portraying each character. You would need only occasional mention of characters name to keep up with the narrative.

  • Spooky Boo's Scary Story Time says:

    It’s going to be difficult to find Stephen King material for free unless you go to your library. You probably can check out books using the library app that I cannot think of the name of.

    He did give permission to use this one story “Laurie” online. I read it to my subscribers legally right here:


  • Spooky Boo's Scary Story Time says:

    The NoSleep podcast I believes does this very thing minus the famous novels. Usually the stories are from NoSleep on Reddit.

  • Ron says:

    It’s not just you. I have the same problem!!

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.