World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

The Ten O'Clock People

Article Id: WHEBN0000622990
Reproduction Date:

Title: The Ten O'Clock People  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Nightmares & Dreamscapes, The Moving Finger (short story), It Grows on You, My Pretty Pony, Rainy Season (short story)
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The Ten O'Clock People

"The Ten O'Clock People"
Author Stephen King
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Short story
Published in Nightmares & Dreamscapes
Publication type Anthology
Publisher Viking Adult
Media type Print (Hardcover)
Publication date 1993

"The Ten O'Clock People" is a short story by American author Stephen King, published in the Nightmares & Dreamscapes collection. Unlike many of King's stories which take place in fictional places like Castle Rock, Maine, "Ten O'Clock People" takes place in the distinctly recognizable Boston, Massachusetts.


  • Plot 1
  • Connections to other works 2
  • Adaptations 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


The main character, Pearson, is a smoker trying hard to quit for health reasons. He discovers a horrible aspect of reality that only those attempting to quit like him are capable of seeing—that many of the people living among us in positions of power, including many police officers and political figures and even the Vice President of the United States, are in fact inhuman monsters disguised as people. A unique chemical imbalance, caused by his smoking only on his morning break (thus the reference to Ten O' Clock in the title) makes him able to see the true nature of these creatures through their disguises. When Pearson first notices one of them, a young black man named Dudley "Duke" Rhinemann stops him from screaming and calms him down.

Dudley later explains that if Pearson wants to live, he must go about his day as usual and meet him at 3 o'clock after work. Pearson does as he is told and discovers that his boss is also one of the "batmen". He leaves work a bit shaken, meets Dudley and goes to a bar with him. After explaining that smokers trying to quit are the only ones who see them, Dudley invites Pearson to a meeting of those who can see the "batmen".

Shortly after arriving, the leader of the group says he has "big news" for them all. Pearson, who already had some suspicion about the idolized leader, realizes the man is stalling for time, and gives warning. The treacherous leader then says the batmen have granted them amnesty, but soon after a horde of them attack those in the meeting. Many die. Pearson, along with two others, manage to escape the meeting. The trio flee to Omaha and form a new resistance group of 'Ten O'Clock People'. This group successfully kills many 'batmen', and Pearson notes that their war against the batmen was a lot like quitting smoking: " have to start somewhere."

Connections to other works

Several of King's other stories, most notably Low Men in Yellow Coats and The Dark Tower, feature malevolent creatures called Can-toi, which bear a strong resemblance to the 'batmen' of 'The Ten O'Clock People'. Servants of the Crimson King, the Can-toi are vaguely humanoid beings with large rodent heads, which they hide beneath masks in order to infiltrate human society. King references Raymond Chandler in the story, as to disguise the real reason of the meeting, they claim to be Raymond Chandler enthusiasts '(Hardboiled Yegs)'.

In the book's ending notes, King relates that this story had one of the shortest gestation periods of any of his pieces—he conceived and wrote it feverishly over a mere three days.

It has been noted that the plot of King's story also resembles the premise of John Carpenter's movie They Live, made in 1988, which itself was based on the story "Eight O'Clock in the Morning" by Ray Nelson.[1]


In May 2011 Making Ten O'clock Productions acquired the rights to adapt "The Ten O'Clock People" into a feature film, which is scheduled to be released in 2015 and will star Jay Baruchel ("This Is the End"). The film's plot is a modernization of King's original story and will be directed by Tom Holland (who had previously adapted "The Langoliers" into a 2-part miniseries), produced by Making Ten O’clock Productions and Holland’s Dead Rabbit Films with Don Carmody producing and Pascal Borno, Scott Karol, Nathaniel Kramer and E.J. Meyers executive producing. It was announced in July 2015 that the new title of the film is Cessation.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Wiater, Stanley; Golden, Christopher; Wagner, Hank (May 30, 2006). The Complete Stephen King Universe: A Guide to the Worlds of Stephen King. MacMillan. p. 375. 
  2. ^
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.