Carrie. ‘Salem’s Lot. The Shining. Misery. Pet Sematary. All absolute classics by the supposed “Master of Horror!”, Stephen King. Each one amazing in it’s own way.
Then came It. Tommyknockers. Dolores Claiborne. Needful Things. Okay, these were not horrible (okay, Tommyknockers sucked dead donkey balls), but later I learned that King was a drug-addled alcoholic when he wrote them, so, in retrospect, I gave him a pass. When he finally sobered up, I figured maybe his talent would return.
Then came Cell (evil cell phones cause the end of mankind, except to those who don’t use them! GASP!) The obviously rushed, immensely over-rated and pathetically dull Dark Tower books he slapped together to finish up the storyline. Lisey’s Story. Duma’s Key. Books that just plain did not need to be written. Long, horribly slow, over-wrought, filled with his idiotic, out-of-place political attacks on the right. With amazingly dumb concepts that basically proved that a) the talent was gone, b) the ideas have run dry c) he was simply phoning it in now for the paycheck. (The last two books, I started but never finished.)
(Sadly, I can’t find an English version of the above clip anywhere, but I still think it’s gets the point across. “Let’s see, what can I make scary…..Ooooh, how about a lamp that’s possessed by the evil soul of Dick Cheney?? Booga booga booga!!”)
King gave an interview when the last Dark Tower novel was released, stating that he was done and he was going to retire. At the time, I thought to myself “Well, that’s a shame. Now that he has gotten the Dark Tower stuff behind him, maybe he can concentrate on the type of books that he used to write. Good, fun, scary books that were just enjoyable to read. And maybe he would stop trying to be America’s Greatest and Most Importantist Writer EVAH!! by trying to make every single sentence he writes a brilliantly insightful commentary on modern-day society and how the Right is the one true evil in the world.”
I guess I should have know better. I guess the lure of the ego-stroking by the New York Times book reviewers and the pathetic cock-gobbling he receives from the morning talk-show hosts was too much to walk away from.
So here comes King’s latest waste of trees, Under the Dome. Almost 1100 pages filled with what I’m sure will be his usual drivel, and sure to include his stock “right-winger men are teh suck” characters (According to the review I read, his main bad guy refers to The President as “the one who has three names, including the terrorist one in the middle.” Ooooh, how delighfully droll and cutting, Stephen. Here, have a Nobel Prize.)
But what I find absolutely hilarious about this novel is the concept. Now, I don’t want to give too much away, but doesn’t this sound just a little familiar to anyone?
On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester’s Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener’s hand is severed as “the dome” comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when—or if—it will go away.
Now where have I seen this before?
As a subscriber to the Stephen King Library, I get his books sent to me as soon as they are released. I think I may save the money and send this one back. Seriously, do I need to slog through about 980 pages of “OMG, isn’t this scary, yet so true of the human condition??!??!?” stupidity to find out it’s something like aliens or some uber-rich right-wing cabal that’s behind this, for whatever sinister, yet moronic reason?
Maybe I’ll just stop by the local Barnes & Nobel and read the last chapter, just to have my curiosity satisfied. I doubt I will be shocked.
Stephen, retire. Please.
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