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 Under the Dome by Stephen King

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PostSubject: Under the Dome by Stephen King   Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:41 pm

A friend of mine lent me this book. I am an occasional fan of Stephen King. Over the years, he has come out with some truly great material, such as "The Shining", "The Stand", and "Dead Zone". I also feel that some of his best work comes out in his short stories. But, he has also come out with some astounding dogs, such as "Needful Things" and "The Tommyknockers".

Most of his work falls somewhere in between these two points. "Under the Dome" falls here, leaning slightly toward "Tommyknockers" territory.

Stephen King has stated before that he does not believe in plot-driven stories. Basically he takes a situation and runs with it, throwing in characters along the way and seeing how they react to events as King throws them forward. This is very true with "Under the Dome". There really is no plot here at all. Basically, a small town in Maine is suddenly encased in an invisible, impenetrable force field, shooting up forty thousand feet in the air and, presumably, just as much going down into the earth. Airplanes both within and without the Dome crash and burn as they encounter this field. Birds on both sides break their necks as they fly into it. Trucks and cars crash, killing all on board. A woman loses her hand as she reaches over the town line as the Dome comes down. And a poor woodchuck gets chopped in half, and a deer gets decapitated.

Of course this town, like all of King's towns, has its share of dirty secrets, and he populates it with characters that King fans will recognize immediately. It does not take long for the town to divide into two camps: one that follows the "good" drifter who is also ex-Army, and the other that follows the "evil" town selectman who decides to turn himself into a dictator. The town, according to King, has plenty of resources despite being cut off from the rest of the world, but within a week it falls into bloodshed and anarchy as it seems everyone in the town completely loses it.

Without giving too much away, the "Dome" has been created by forces outside of this world. Exactly what that is I won't say, but I will say I was a bit disappointed when I found out exactly what it was, and how the situation was resolved.

I have read enough King works to instantly recognize his characters when I see them, and I have a very good idea as to what they are going to do, taking away most of the "surprise" of his books. On the plus side this book has an easy narrative flow. I got through the 1000-plus pages in a fairly short period of time. But I could not help but feel that I was reading the same material King has come out with before, over and over again.

At least I didn't have to pay for this book.

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