Friday, 19 February 2010

Under the Dome

A new Stephen King novel always fills me with excitement, especially so of his latest novel, the apocalyptic Under The Dome, a one thousand page epic which promised to rival The Stand. I read the novel over Christmas and January, and I must say it was disappointing. The story concerns a small US town that becomes encased within a gigantic transparent dome, and the struggle for power that ensues within the isolated town. The problem with Under The Dome is that the book is flat. Not dull - King can still spin a yarn, but the story is so lite on horror and sci-fi, when I finished the book I felt I had waded thru a very long Twilight Zone sketch that Rod Serling could have knocked out in the early 60's (think The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street). Even a bit of necrophilia thrown in early in the novel feels a little desperate.

I've heard rumblings that the plot is close to the Simpsons Movie but I haven't seen it so I don't know. Apparently King was working on the book in the 80's under the title The Cannibals and it does feel like every bit a Stephen King novel, with a small town coming under attack by mysterious forces, and the town folk with their own dark secrets coming to the surface. Irish readers like me will get a kick out of one sequence in the book where an Aer Lingus jet (or Air Ireland, as its known in the novel) smashes right into the impenetrable wall of the dome. Finally, and I say this as a lifelong Stephen King fan, his dialogue is absolutely awful. I mean I don't know anyone from Maine, but does anyone actually talk like a character from a Stephen King novel ?


  1. I enjoyed this one - and it came to a better conclusion to me than many of his novels. Of course, now we have the TV series - which veered away from the book in the opening five minutes. The first season was okay - but it was meant to end with the season and the ratings were good enough to cause CBS to order a second season. Consequently the ending they were heading to changed, and the show seemed completely out of control in the first three episodes of the second season. Consequently the show is on hiatus in my household - still piling up in the DVR but not being watched at the moment.

    And this is a case where I think this book and the Simpsons Movie (which I would heartily recommend if you liked comedies) were a true confluence of ideas.

  2. I'm still watching it and enjoying it must be said, but it feels less like the novel and more like Lost, especially since the writers on the show have introduced a framework where anything can happen - so when key cast members are killed off it carries little weight as I expect them to be resurrected at some point such is the power the writers have invested in the dome...