King's newest is a gargantuan summer sausage, at 1144 pages his largest yet, and is made of the same spiceless grindings as ever: banal characters spewing sawdust dialogue as they blunder about his dark butcher shop. The horror this time out is from beyond the universe, a kind of impossible-to-define malevolence that has holed up in the sewers under the New England town of Derry. The It sustains itself by feeding on fear-charged human meat--mainly children. To achieve the maximum saturation of adrenalin in its victims, It presents itself sometimes as an adorable, balloon-bearing clown which then turns into the most horrible personal vision that the victims can fear. The novel's most lovingly drawn settings are the endless, lightless, muck-filled sewage tunnels into which it draws its victims. Can an entire city--like Derry--be haunted? King asks. Say, by some supergigantic, extragalactic, pregnant spider that now lives in the sewers under the waterworks and sends its evil mind up through the bathtub drain, or any drain, for its victims? In 1741, everyone in Derry township just disappeared--no bones, no bodies--and every 27 years since then something catastrophic has happened in Derry. In 1930, 170 children disappeared. The Horror behind the horrors, though, was first discovered some 27 years ago (in 1958, when Derry was in the grip of a murder spree) by a band of seven fear-ridden children known as the Losers, who entered the drains in search of It. And It they found, behind a tiny door like the one into Alice's garden. But what they found was so horrible that they soon began forgetting it. Now, in 1985, these children are a horror novelist, an accountant, a disc jockey, an architect, a dress designer, the owner of a Manhattan limousine service, and the unofficial Derry town historian. During their reunion, the Losers again face the cyclical rebirth of the town's haunting, which again launches them into the drains. This time they meet It's many projections (as an enormous, tentacled, throbbing eyeball, as a kind of pterodactyl, etc.) before going through the small door one last time to meet. . .Mama Spider! The King of the Pulps smiles and shuffles as he punches out his vulgarian allegory, but he too often sounds bored, as if whipping himself on with his favorite Kirin beer for zip.