Horror Plum'd: An International Stephen King Bibliography and Guide (the title of which is derived from a passage in John Milton's Paradise Lost) is an amazing reference work best suited for those with a scholarly interest in the writings of the modern master of the macabre; it is also a work that the most fanatical of Stephen King fans will want to add to their collection. This book is not for casual fans because it is almost exclusively a bibliographic resource. After a short introductory essay, Collings gets right to work detailing the massive inventory of Stephen King items released all over the world in the years between 1960 and 2000. The bibliography is broken up into five sections, the first and largest of which is a rundown of all the books. Section A references novels, short story collections, nonfiction works, and multimedia adaptations of King's works (audiotapes, audio CDs, computer games, films, stage plays, teleplays and miniseries, and movies). It almost boggles the mind to see page after page detailing the publication history of Stephen King novels in countries throughout the world. Collings provides very short summaries and offers brief comments about the major works as he proceeds in a chronological fashion, and a limited number of images from different versions of King's books are included in these pages. Section B is devoted to short fiction including published excerpts from longer works and screenplays published in anthologies, and Collings provides short comments on many of the more interesting items found here. Section C is devoted to King's short nonfiction writings. I find this section to be particularly useful because it includes references to all the books by other authors and editors which feature introductions and forewords penned by Stephen King. Section D references the locations of King's limited poems, and Section E sweeps up what is left: audio and visual adaptations of original King materials not appearing in book form. This is followed by a title index of King's works.
Horror Plum'd is the culmination of over fifteen years of hard work on the part of Collings. Between 1985 and 1996, he published three less comprehensive Stephen King bibliographies (The Many Facets of Stephen King, The Annotated Guide to Stephen King: A Primary and Secondary Bibliography of the Works of America's Premier Horror Writer, and The Work of Stephen King: An Annotated Bibliography and Guide), but Horror Plum'd is the final, comprehensive edition of his work on this subject. Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind about this book is the fact that it includes only a select few references to articles and reviews of King's work. This 547 page text is by and large devoted only to the work of Stephen King himself and not the cottage industry of King pundits. Collings is working on a companion book to Horror Plum'd that will be exclusively devoted to scholarship, criticism, and reviews. One can hardly imagine just how large such a volume will turn out to be.