10 November 2009

Books: Under the Dome by Stephen King (2009)

While Stephen King’s Under the Dome is more thriller than a chiller, it can scar you. Mostly for its heft, clocking at 1072 pages. Then there’s the town of Chester Mill, it’s elaborate map and it’s large cast of characters that include most of King’s colorful archetypes.

But while the thickness may seeming daunting, the novel -surprisingly - moves fast.

When the town is suddenly surrounded by an invisible force field, the people inside must do almost anything to survive. But things go from bad to worse rather quickly, with the dome's ecological effects on the town and the maneuvering of one Big Jim Rennie, an deviling local politician and drug lord who quickly realizes he can now make Chester Mill’s his own little private kingdom, with himself as absolute ruler. Our heroes include Iraq veteran Dale “Barbie” Barbara, newspaper editor Julia Shumway, a group of skateboarders and many others.

One of King’s traits is he loves people, and he loves to see what happens when the nine circles of hell open up and see how it slowly unravels their worlds. While the story has been noodling around King’s head since 1976, Under the Dome (which, in the end, resembles the old Twilight Zone episode The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street) is rife with current day issues. He takes the old 1950's communist fears and opens a can of present day terrorist notions to create a nearly flawless novel.

At times funny, disturbing (especially how the people of Chester Mill easily let the fabric of their daily lives unravel), and even moving, Under the Dome is as close to a nonstop thrill ride you can get when a novel tops 1000 pages.

1 comment:

Sean said...

I can't believe that I have to wait until Dec 24 to read it on my Kindle. Any similarities to the Simpson's Movie?Thanks for the review.