Although Castle Rock the show ended its first season back in September, the town is still alive and well for author Stephen King.

King’s latest book, Elevation, came out the day before Halloween and is set in the town of Castle Rock, as many of his other books and stories are. We thought we would carry on the “Curiosities and Connections” series because, like all of King’s works, this surprisingly poignant story does have a place in the vaster King universe.

First, there is no indication as to whether this takes place around the events of the show or what. The main event in this book is supernatural–a man retains his size and shape as his weight decreases to near weightlessness–but most of the surrounding events are perfectly normal. You’d be hard-pressed to blame it on sour land more than sour people.

It’s tempting–and deceptively easy–to compare ‘Elevation’ to King’s earlier book on supernatural weight loss, ‘Thinner.’ (‘Thinner,’ 1996)

As for the weight-loss premise, Stephen King did write a book on the topic in the eighties under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. The book is Thinner and is considerably darker. In Thinner, the main character begins extreme weight loss thanks to a gypsy curse and the situation is considerably more grim. Thinner also features a more open ending, but again, things are considerably grimmer.

When main character Scott Carey first tells a close friend about his mysterious condition, he also refuses any kind of treatment. He says he doesn’t want to appear in Inside View with Slender Man and the Night Flier. The Night Flier is a serial killer from a 1988 King story of the same name, which can be found in Nightmares & Dreamscapes. 

A couple dozen pages later, Castle Rock’s Tin Bridge is referenced. This isn’t too unusual: it’s an established location in the town going back to at least Needful Things. But in Castle Rock, an old bridge in town was going to be rededicated in former sheriff Alan Pangborn’s honor. I can’t help but wonder if that’s the bridge. And if that’s the case, that may indicate that the story takes place either before the events of Castle Rock (which seems unlikely, as there are references to Donald Trump as president) or in a mirror universe to the Castle Rock of the show.

There’s a joke in here somewhere about a band named after Pennywise and Pennywise’s moniker including ‘The Dancing Clown,’ but I’m just not coming up with anything very good.

During a Halloween dance, a “local garage band” plays. Normally the group goes by Big Top, for the holiday they temporarily have switched things to Pennywise and the Clowns. This one is a conundrum, since it seems like no one who remembers Pennywise live to tell the tale, or, at the very least, stay sane enough to tell the tale. Adults’ eyes simply slide over the clown-creature, or they see him and don’t really register him. Then again, we know Pennywise has some kind of presence in the locality still: in Dreamcatcher, there is graffiti on a cap leading to the waterways proclaiming that Pennywise lives.

On one hand, it’s easy to see Pennywise getting picked up and treated as a local cryptid, on the other, there’s that whole going-insane-or-dying thing that you’d think would stop the spread of information dead in its tracks.

During a 12K turkey trot, Scott Carey mentions that one route leads into Bannerman Road, named after the town’s unlucky and longest-serving sheriff. He came to a “bad end” on a back road in the area. George Bannerman has appeared in a few stories in a few different law enforcement roles, such as The Dead Zone, “The Body” (better known by its film adaptation, Stand By Me), The Dark Half, and a handful more. But the book he met his bad end in was (spoiler alert!) Cujo. In a book about a formerly sweet Saint Bernard afflicted by rabies, you can probably guess how Bannerman’s tenure with the force ended.

Believe it or not, that’s all Elevation really has for curiosities and connections. The book is quick one for King at a grand total of 146 pocket-sized pages. However, there is a huge library of previously published King works available if you need your Castle Rock locale fix, and when the show’s second season premiers, you can bet we’ll be on it with more “Curiosities and Connections” features.

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