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KcMizzou
07-11-2010, 06:36 PM
Anyone pick this up? I'm only about 170 pages in (out of 1100 plus), but it's pretty cool so far. Here's a review...

First, about that dome. We'll be stuck under it with the residents of Chester's Mill, Maine, for most of the thousand-plus pages of Stephen King's impressive new novel, so a few facts may be handy.

For starters, it is invisible and impenetrable -- a force field, really, sci-fi flick allusions included. So its sudden manifestation one autumn day causes many bad things to happen. A plane crashes into the dome, some cars and a truck crash into it, flocks of birds crash into it and die. People die too.

And King handles these initial catastrophes as he will handle much of the mayhem ahead: with a grim yet almost jocular kind of matter-of-factness.

The most significant thing about the dome is that it prevents anyone from entering or leaving a small town that feels suddenly much smaller. Forget that some kids' parents are out of town, or that most of the fire department happens to be away. The big problems stem not from what's stuck outside, but from what's stuck inside.

Is this your average New England village? The hometown pride, neighborly generosity and petty rivalries are unmistakably genuine. But Chester's Mill seems to have extra room in its budget for dark secrets, religious and moral hypocrisy, and latent but powerful human malevolence. In other words, it's a Stephen King kind of town (just up Route 117 from Castle Rock, for those keeping track). So the stage is set for an old-fashioned battle between good and evil, of the scope and intricacy King first achieved with 1978's "The Stand."

The good guys include Dale Barbara, a drifter who served in the Iraq War and is haunted by memories of something that went terribly wrong in a gymnasium in Fallujah. On his side are a physician's assistant, the editor of the local paper and a computer-savvy kid and his skateboarding pals.

As for the bad guys? Nowhere in sight is King's perennial antagonist, Randall Flagg, who apparently couldn't bust through that dome either. But who needs the embodiment of evil when you have folks like Big Jim Rennie, owner of the local used-car lot and the town's second selectman? Born-again Big Jim never utters a curse word ("clustermug," "cotton-picking" and "rhymes-with-witch" are among his favorite turns of phrase), but he has the darkest of secrets to protect, as well as an insatiable hunger for power and control that needs only a nudge -- or in this case, the isolation afforded by an inexplicable force field -- to be kicked into high gear.

When that happens, and when a resistance rises up in opposition to his power grab, the result is a vivid and harrowing tale, expertly constructed, intensely moral and often thrilling, related with the masterful ease we have come to expect from its author.

That Rennie is the real star of the show says a good deal about King's intentions. Rennie's command comes from his ability to manipulate and his willingness to capitalize on the fear of others. "Fearful people need strong leaders," he reflects, and the dome, he wants them to believe, is the result of a terrorist plot. Naturally, anyone opposing him must be in league with the plotters.

The atrocities pile up fast as King describes with lucid prose and chilling precision the genesis of a fascist regime. It's rendered on a miniature scale but is all the more terrifying for the claustrophobia induced by the setting.

There are ecological problems to be reckoned with and questions of food and propane supplies. The story is overtly informed by certain contemporary horrors -- flashbacks to that gymnasium in Fallujah are especially fraught.

But let's not call this political allegory. Let's say instead that King is interested in portraying the everyday outrages that result when reason is abandoned for fear and panic, and that he knows where to look for examples.

Little wonder that the crime most consistently highlighted in "Under the Dome" is that of complicity. When you're in the grips of a good book, King seems to say, it's OK to sink in and enjoy the story. But when real human evil takes hold and the powers that be are transformed into the powers that shouldn't, it is not all right to sit back and watch.

There is a tipping point in this novel. When things get so bad that the struggle between Rennie and his foes ceases to matter, the focus shifts, perhaps necessarily, back to the dome itself. Which is unfortunate, because the dome is significantly less interesting than what it inspires its captives to do.

By this point, however, King already has us.

"Under the Dome" is the work of a master storyteller having a whole lot of fun, and he makes it hard not to join in.

http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/09/entertainment/et-book9

KcMizzou
07-11-2010, 06:47 PM
It reminds me a lot of "The Mist". Random group of people isolated by an unexplainable event. (in that case a grocery store) The people themselves provide most of the "horror".

notorious
07-11-2010, 07:38 PM
Wife read it. She said it was OK, but didn't like the ending.

Ebolapox
07-11-2010, 07:41 PM
lemme guess; aliens?

KcMizzou
07-11-2010, 07:44 PM
Wife read it. She said it was OK, but didn't like the ending.Seems typical for King. I didn't care much for the ending of It, or The Stand, either... but the "journey" was pretty badass. He's always had a problem with the endings.

I think "The Long Walk" is still my favorite King story.

Nzoner
07-11-2010, 07:49 PM
I'm closing in on page 800 and loving it,not since The Stand has a King book kept me this engrossed.

notorious
07-11-2010, 07:50 PM
Seems typical for King. I didn't care much for the ending of It, or The Stand, either... but the "journey" was pretty badass. He's always had a problem with the endings.

I think "The Long Walk" is still my favorite King story.




"The Long Walk" is great. It comes in a close 2nd behind both versions of "The Stand" IMO.


I am amazed that Sci-Fi hasn't made a movie based on "The Long Walk". They would probably take a steaming crap on it,though.

JASONSAUTO
07-11-2010, 07:50 PM
i think ill give it a shot.


sounds like life. its not about the situation, its about the people in the situation. thats what makes it. people handle shit differently.
Posted via Mobile Device

KcMizzou
07-11-2010, 07:54 PM
I'm closing in on page 800 and loving it,not since The Stand has a King book kept me this engrossed.Awesome. I'm loving it so far... good to hear.

irishjayhawk
07-11-2010, 08:07 PM
I wanted to read it when it first came out after having read Duma Key. I ended up buying it on ebook - my first - for the nook but funnily enough, never started it. Got engrossed in others. Perhaps I'll give it a shot, though August is a packed month for me book wise.

keg in kc
07-11-2010, 11:45 PM
Read it when it came out. I'm not going to spoil anything, but the first 850 pages or so are the best work King's done in years. And then, unfortunately, it completely falls flat, and the last 200 pages...not real good.

Fairplay
07-12-2010, 03:21 AM
I liked the book. It felt like the Stephan King of old.
A lot of people dying, dead, or going to die. Good verces evil.

Pictureing the scenes when the Invisable dome comes down on the city and the intial chaos was cool.

Frosty
07-12-2010, 06:43 AM
I couldn't finish it. It was basically just a thinly veiled political rant by King.

Hydrae
07-12-2010, 06:54 AM
My wife is reading this currently, I look forward to her finishing so I can have a shot at it before it is due back to the library.

Otter
07-12-2010, 07:11 AM
Wife read it. She said it was OK, but didn't like the ending.

That's a prerequisite for every Steven King story, I stopped reading his McBooks back in high school.

blaise
07-12-2010, 07:20 AM
I couldn't finish it. It was basically just a thinly veiled political rant by King.

I haven't read it, what would you say is political about it? I haven't read a King book in probably 15 years, but a friend of mine told me this one is good. I was considering reading it, but I don't want some message.

Frosty
07-12-2010, 07:28 AM
I haven't read it, what would you say is political about it? I haven't read a King book in probably 15 years, but a friend of mine told me this one is good. I was considering reading it, but I don't want some message.

I don't want to say too much here as some are still reading it but this sums it up:

http://www.lmtribune.com/blogs/2009/11/20/arts-entertainment/under-the-dome-a-political-metaphor/

I don't mind a "message"; I just thought it was too heavy-handed and obvious and got bored.

Baby Lee
07-12-2010, 07:33 AM
I haven't read it, what would you say is political about it? I haven't read a King book in probably 15 years, but a friend of mine told me this one is good. I was considering reading it, but I don't want some message.

If reading the topic header doesn't at least give you an inkling . . .

blaise
07-12-2010, 07:37 AM
Wife read it. She said it was OK, but didn't like the ending.

Yeah, so many had that problem. I didn't like the ending of It, The Stand, The Talisman and others. Some have good endings- Carrie, The Shining, the Dead Zone. It's just that when you read 500+ pages in a book like It and then it just turns into some nonsense giant spider and the kids just say "I'm not afraid of you!" it makes you not want to do it again.

blaise
07-12-2010, 07:44 AM
I don't want to say too much here as some are still reading it but this sums it up:

http://www.lmtribune.com/blogs/2009/11/20/arts-entertainment/under-the-dome-a-political-metaphor/

I don't mind a "message"; I just thought it was too heavy-handed and obvious and got bored.

Yeah, I'll pass. I don't mind a message, I guess, but it has to be well done and I don't want to invest time reading it for 1,000 pages.

Frosty
07-12-2010, 07:48 AM
Yeah, so many had that problem. I didn't like the ending of It, The Stand, The Talisman and others. Some have good endings- Carrie, The Shining, the Dead Zone. It's just that when you read 500+ pages in a book like It and then it just turns into some nonsense giant spider and the kids just say "I'm not afraid of you!" it makes you not want to do it again.

King has had a problem with ending his books for a while now. It's like he gets bored and comes up with some trite ending just to get it over with.

Red Brooklyn
07-12-2010, 07:54 AM
Seems typical for King. I didn't care much for the ending of It, or The Stand, either... but the "journey" was pretty badass. He's always had a problem with the endings.

I think "The Long Walk" is still my favorite King story.

I LOVE The Long Walk!

Red Brooklyn
07-12-2010, 07:58 AM
Have any of you read The Dark Tower series? And if so, what did you think of the ending(s)?

mikeyis4dcats.
07-12-2010, 08:53 AM
I couldn't finish it. It was basically just a thinly veiled political rant by King.

LOL....dumbass.

it's social commentary, but it's not some left wing attack on the Bush administration.

mikeyis4dcats.
07-12-2010, 08:54 AM
"The Long Walk" is great. It comes in a close 2nd behind both versions of "The Stand" IMO.


I am amazed that Sci-Fi hasn't made a movie based on "The Long Walk". They would probably take a steaming crap on it,though.

now it would probably just be called a rip-off of The Road by morons.

Frosty
07-12-2010, 09:12 AM
LOL....dumbass.

it's social commentary, but it's not some left wing attack on the Bush administration.

Sure thing, Sparky. King himself says:

Speaking to Time magazine and The New York Times Book Review regarding the novel's politics, King said [28][29]:

I was angry about incompetency. Obviously I'm on the left of center. I didn't believe there was justification for going into the war in Iraq. And it just seemed at the time, that in the wake of 9/11, the Bush Administration was like this angry kid walking down the street who couldn't find whoever sucker punched him, and so turned around and punched the first likely suspect. Sometimes the sublimely wrong people can be in power at a time when you really need the right people. I put a lot of that into the book. But when I started I said, "I want to use the Bush-Cheney dynamic for the people who are the leaders of this town." As a result, you have Big Jim Rennie, the villain of the piece. I got to like the other guy, Andy Sanders. He wasn't actively evil, he was just incompetent—which is how I always felt about George W. Bush. I enjoyed taking the Bush-Cheney dynamic and shrinking it to the small-town level. The last administration interested me because of the aura of fundamentalist religion that surrounded it and the rather amazing incompetency of those two top guys. I thought there is something blackly humorous in it. So in a sense, Under the Dome is an apocalyptic version of The Peter Principle.

I don't care about the politics (and I didn't like W myself) but I do care that it is clumsy and heavy handed.

oldandslow
07-12-2010, 10:22 AM
I thought it was a pretty good display of Machivellian politics. Much more Huey Long than Jr. Bush.

Think Lord of the Flies for grown ups.

I didn't have much of a problem with the ending as it pertained to the town - (obviously King's view of self interested politics), but I did have a problem with the vehicle with which it was delivered and the explaination of the " dome."

L.A. Chieffan
07-12-2010, 10:26 AM
dude, all he did was rip off the simpsons

Ebolapox
07-12-2010, 10:55 PM
so tell me; aliens?

Ebolapox
07-12-2010, 10:56 PM
it's gotta be aliens.

Nzoner
07-20-2010, 12:48 AM
Finished it just a bit ago,definitely not as strong an ending as some of his work but I'll take it over the likes of IT and Duma Key anytime.I'd recommend it for a read with no problem.

Red Brooklyn
07-21-2010, 12:33 PM
Finished it just a bit ago,definitely not as strong an ending as some of his work but I'll take it over the likes of IT and Duma Key anytime.I'd recommend it for a read with no problem.

I accept your recommendation.

Thankee, sai.

siberian khatru
07-21-2010, 12:48 PM
dude, all he did was rip off the simpsons

That's exactly the first thing that came to my mind, and I can't get that comparison out of my head.

I read lots of King in the 80s, but haven't picked him up in 15-20 years. The one thing I do want to read from him, though, is his book on writing. Just haven't got around to buying it yet.

InChiefsHell
07-21-2010, 12:56 PM
I read a ton of King back in the 80's too, when I was in HS and into my mid 20's. Picked up Rose Madder, Desperation (which I really liked), From and Buick 8, all entertaining. I might have to look into this one, though I'm usually hyper-sensitive to leftist attacks disguised as "just stories".

And yeah, King has a hard time with endings. Needful Things, Tommyknockers, and a host of others already mentioned here had sucky endings...but the stories were so good, I guess I just give him a pass...

Red Brooklyn
07-21-2010, 01:06 PM
dude, all he did was rip off the simpsons

LMAO

But to be fair... King started working on this book a long while back (70s, IIRC). He just recently got around to finishing the thing.

Nzoner
07-21-2010, 02:49 PM
I read a ton of King back in the 80's too, when I was in HS and into my mid 20's. Picked up Rose Madder, Desperation (which I really liked), From and Buick 8, all entertaining. I might have to look into this one, though I'm usually hyper-sensitive to leftist attacks disguised as "just stories".

And yeah, King has a hard time with endings. Needful Things, Tommyknockers, and a host of others already mentioned here had sucky endings...but the stories were so good, I guess I just give him a pass...

I started with King in the 70's,my first reads were Salems' Lot and Carrie and to this day out of everything I've read by him I'll still take Salems' Lot out of any of them.I love vampire(real vampire not Twilight shit) novels and King nailed it on Salems' Lot.

InChiefsHell
07-21-2010, 03:11 PM
I started with King in the 70's,my first reads were Salems' Lot and Carrie and to this day out of everything I've read by him I'll still take Salems' Lot out of any of them.I love vampire(real vampire not Twilight shit) novels and King nailed it on Salems' Lot.

I remember that book freaking me out. I kept looking out my window, expecting to see that face... *shudder*

Nzoner
07-21-2010, 03:15 PM
I remember that book freaking me out. I kept looking out my window, expecting to see that face... *shudder*

The part that got me and still does is when Mike Reyerson(the cemetery worker)is filling in the grave of the Glick kid and feels like he's being stared at though the coffin.That whole scene by King is some of the scariest writing I've ever read.

Red Brooklyn
07-21-2010, 03:26 PM
The part that got me and still does is when Mike Reyerson(the cemetery worker)is filling in the grave of the Glick kid and feels like he's being stared at though the coffin.That whole scene by King is some of the scariest writing I've ever read.

Absolutely.