Monday, November 16, 2009

Under the Dome

Under the Dome by Stephen King
Hardcover, 1074 pages
Simon & Schuster, November 2009
ISBN-13: 9781439148501
thriller/action/science fiction
very highly recommended

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.
My thoughts:

Don't allow the size of King's latest novel deter you from reading it. Find a few comfortable positions (I found using the arm of the sofa or pillows on my lap for book-support to be very beneficial) and you'll be good to go. Under the Dome is fast paced and very compelling. Once you start reading, you will be obsessively finding time to read it and whip through it quickly. I don't care what the nay-sayers and literary people say/imply, King is one heck of a good writer who knows how to tell a story, hold his reader's interest, and keep you reading
like you're just holding a wee little 150 page paperback. (But trust me on finding some book-support system that will work for you.)

Under the Dome is not only a story about a town that mysteriously finds itself under a dome - ordinary people under extraordinary circumstances - additionally, King has several themes going on in his well populated small town. Small towns have a grapevine and it may appear that you know everyone, but small towns also harbor dark secrets. We see the consequences of poorly chosen elected officials, their hasty decisions, and the inability of most citizens to rationally examine or question the actions of or statements by those officials. (And despite what some reviewers are saying, in real life and in the book this swings both ways, folks; elected Republican and Democratic officials have things to answer for.) We see our capacity for evil, and, to a lesser extent, good. Environmental issues are raised. Organized religion is suspect. (This is the one aspect that saddened me because the hypocrites and crazies don't represent true Christianity; however I admittedly also see these same characters in real life.) The adage "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts
absolutely" is clearly demonstrated. The real horror is not the dome, although it's presence obviously causes environmental issues to be raised, it's the actions of the people under that dome.
Fans will love this book. Very Highly Recommended

About the
"The jacket concept for Under the Dome originated as an ambitious idea from the mind of Stephen King. The artwork is a combination of photographs, illustration and 3-D rendering." It really is a work of art.


From two thousand feet, where Claudette Sanders was taking a flying lesson, the town of Chester’s Mill gleamed in the morning light like something freshly made and just set down. opening

The man stopped. The chuck realized he had been spotted. To his right and just ahead was a fallen birch. He would hide under there, wait for the man to go by, then investigate for any tasty—
The chuck got that far in his thoughts—and another three waddling steps—although he had been cut in two. Then he fell apart on the edge of the road. Blood squirted and pumped; guts tumbled into the dirt; his rear legs kicked rapidly twice, then stopped.
His last thought before the darkness that comes to us all, chucks and humans alike: What happened? pg. 4

There was no time to see more. No time for anything. The Seneca exploded over Route 119 and rained fire on the countryside. It also rained body parts. A smoking forearm—Claudette’s—landed with a thump beside the neatly divided woodchuck.
It was October twenty-first. pg 3

She must have crossed over the Chester's Mill town line minutes (or even seconds) before the border slammed shut. If he'd been with her, he would have been out and safe. pg. 10

Then two things happened almost simultaneously.
The first was the woodchuck. It was whole, then it was in two pieces. Both were twitching and bleeding. Barbie stopped, mouth hanging open on the sudden lax hinge of his lower jaw. It was as if an invisible guillotine blade had dropped. And that was when, directly above the severed woodchuck, the little plane exploded. pg. 12

He ran toward the side of the road, meaning to skirt the main firefall.
"What happened?" he cried. "What in the blue fu--"
Then he struck something. Hard. There was nothing there, but Barbie saw the guys nose snap to the side as it broke. The man rebounded from the nothing, bleeding from the mouth, nose, and forehead. pg. 15

A perfect little mushroom cloud would shoot out of each ear just before everything exploded above the neck, and Junior Rennie (who didn't know he had a brain tumor....) went crazy. It wasn't a lucky morning for Claudette Sanders or Chuck Thompson; in point of fact, it wasn't a lucky morning for anyone in Chester's Mill. pg. 22

On most of these roads, there was nothing so spectacular as the explosion of the Seneca V and the ensuing pulp-truck disaster, but there was trouble. Of course there was. If the equivalent of an invisible stone wall suddenly goes up around an entire town, there is bound to be trouble. pg. 33

"It's some kind of force field, like in a Star Trick movie."
"Trek," Barbie said.
"Huh?" pg. 39

"But first, I think you better call the Air National Guard, up in Bangor."
Ernie gasped at him. "The Guard?"
"They're the only ones who can institute a no-fly zone over Chester's Mill," Barbie said. "And I think they better do it right away." pg. 43

"Also, I understand that sometimes the greater good is more important than a great story. 'Unlike the New York Times"
"Zing," Barbie said. pg. 154

"Sometimes when people are on their own, they do things they regret later," Julia replied. "Usually when the investigations start." pg. 191

He was in that mostly empty-headed state of grace which is sometimes such fertile soil; it's the ground from which our brightest dreams and biggest ideas (both the good and the spectacularly bad) suddenly burst forth, often full blown. Yet there is always a chain of association. pg. 207

"Because a man without a sense of purpose, even one whose bank accounts are stuffed with money, is always a small man. pg. 404

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