I'm making my way through the Stephen King bibliography and about to take on "Desperation" which was specifically timed to be released the same day as "The Regulators" written by (at the time of publication) his already exposed, superfluous pen name: Richard Bachman. If it's anything like the very mild duality of Gerald's Game and Dolores Claiborne then it won't matter much either way, but I'm curious to know what those who have read both would recommend.

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    Posting as comment because it's not very helpful: I don't remember the order mattering, but I liked the Bachman book better. Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 1:48
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    To me there didn't seem to be any specific order either. I read "Desperation" first, then "The Regulators". The books are typical to the style of the "author" in that "Desperation" is directly recognisable as a King novel. But you should read both back-to-back because you want to clearly remember the other book.
    – user45485
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 7:44

3 Answers 3


In the US, the books were published with a split cover, with "The Regulators" on on the left and "Desperation" on the right. The strong implication would be that you would read from left to right, e.g. starting with The Regulators first.

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I took on Desperation first for no other reason than it was readily available at the library by my office. I blazed through The Regulators as soon as I finished to get the freshest perspective. I don't want to ruin either by giving spoilers but I think I chose wisely (or rather, got lucky). My personal reasoning goes for the fact that The Regulators had a few extra main characters that did not exist or had very bit parts in Desperation. I feel it would have been a distraction, expecting any one of them to appear before the last few chapters of Desperation.

TL;DR - I recommend reading Desperation first.


I don’t think any order will make a difference but I like Steve’s logic so I’d say Desperation is probably best. As for Valorum’s reasoning, I’d say it’s flawed. Yes, these books are read left to right, but they are also read front to back. Desperation was the front. The strong implication would be that you would read from front to back, e.g. starting with Desperation first.

  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. In your last sentence, do you mean to say "right to left?"
    – DavidW
    Commented Jun 30, 2022 at 6:12

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