Thursday, January 21, 2010

Under the Dome

Before this 1074 page monster, the last things I read by Stephen King were those he wrote under the pseudonym Richard Bachman, The Regulators and Desperation. Oh, and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon right before I went on a three week hike on the Appalachian Trail. This was a monumentally bad idea because the girl who loved Tom Gordon gets horribly lost off the Appalachian Trail, and it’s Stephen King so bad things happened.

Anyway, I’ve been reading and hearing about how his last couple of big books, even his last short story anthology, all kind of sucked. Rumor had it that Stephen King had lost his mojo. After reading Under the Dome in under a week, I call bullshit. If you make the mistake of reading the first four page chapter, which is ominously titled “The Airplane and the Woodchuck,” you are screwed. You’re going to carry this ten pound tome around with you everywhere. Your arms, your back, your neck will hurt, and everyone will think you’re crazy as you continuously slam the book shut because he just killed yet another character that he’s so skillfully endeared you to.

Stephen King started his career as an amazing genre writer, and he’ll end it as a legend. You can knock him for being overrated, for a clunky metaphor here and there, or for killing too many of your favorite characters, but the guy is classic. “The Boogeyman,” a seven page short story from his first anthology Night Shift, is still the most terrifying thing I’ve ever read. His portrait of an unraveling alcoholic father who loses out to all that is his horrible in his nature at the Overlook Hotel makes The Shining one of the best books ever. And I still read The Talisman that he co-wrote with Peter Straub at least once a year because it was one of the best “young man goes on a quest and has painfully shed his childhood to grow up” books ever.

So check out Under the Dome. It will steal at least a week of your life, and it’s thirty to fifty percent off all over the internet and in all the stores, barely the price of a movie plus sour patch kids.

And if you're like me, stop procrastinating with your Fangirl Awards Ballot and voice your strong opinion already!