Under the Dome Hardcover – 10 Nov 2009
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The achievement of Stephen King is unlike that of any writer. He has taken a genre which was somewhat moribund when he came to it -- the horror novel -- and transformed it into one of the most phenomenally successful areas for quality popular writing -- what's more, his unprecedented sales success has inspired hundreds of imitators, and while few can match his inspiration (or, for that matter, his jawdropping productivity), there is no question that he has rejuvenated the horror field. Not that King confined himself to the strict parameters one might associate with the genre; several of his books -- such as this latest one, The Dome, stray into science fiction territory). But King’s achievement doesn't end there -- such is his influence over other genres (notably the crime and thriller field) that writers in those genres have been obliged to up the ante in terms of gruesome compulsiveness (Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter books, for instance, owe much to the King transformation of the popular literature field). And as for that loaded world – ‘literature’ -- isn't Stephen King reputed to be the author who has brought quality writing into a field not noted for such things? (Not, that is, since the halcyon days of Edgar Allen Poe in a previous century). Is that claim true of the new book?
So... The Dome. This massive novel, 25 years in the writing (if Stephen King is to be believed), is quite his most ambitious project, and brings to mind earlier blockbuster novels which aficionados considered to be among the writer's best work. Something like the basic premise here may be found in a classic piece of British science fiction, John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos (filmed as Village of the Damned). In that book, a village is isolated by an invisible force field -- and in the King novel, the residents can no more get out than the outside world can enter. John Wyndham's narrative involved the insemination of the women in the town by unseen alien presences, but Stephen King in The Dome has chosen to work in a different area. When the small New England town of Chester's Mill is cut off from the outside world by a mysterious force, all the laws of physics seem to be up for grabs; cars leaving town come up against invisible barriers, and there is death and mutilation for whatever was caught in the boundaries of an invisible field. Inside the dome, the inhabitants of the town deal with the catastrophe in a surprising (and often alarming) variety of ways: ex-military hero Dale Barbara has already come up against the antisocial elements of the town, and has been trying to get out. But the self-styled boss of the town, the demagogue Big Jim Rennie, soon establishes a Machiavellian control (another echo of the books of John Wyndham, in which catastrophe always throw up vicious, fascist-style leaders who capitalise on the disaster).
As ever, King develops his massive dramatis personae with great assurance, and demonstrates once again that his imagination in terms of plotting is as strong as ever. Those, however, who have made a case for King as a quality writer rather than a great popular entertainer will not find much ammunition for their arguments here, but this great sprawling canvas affords many pleasures. --Barry Forshaw
'Spooky, mysterious, gripping and satisfyingly scary' (Daily Telegraph on JUST AFTER SUNSET)
'King has the ability to capture the reader's imagination from the first page' (Sun on JUST AFTER SUNSET)
His most accomplished work: 13 beautifully turned tales, no two of which are alike (Daily Express on JUST AFTER SUNSET)
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Top Customer Reviews
Although one can discuss how justified was this decision and whether this book should be published divided into two editions, in any case wrong is the way in which this book is advertised because it causes confusion in less informed reader.
`Under the Dome' is a very good novel by renowned author who once again skillfully on his pages mixed elements of horror, thriller and science fiction while telling a story about the mysterious dome that covered Chester's Mill in Maine, separating it in that way from remaining of the world.
The town where story takes place is typical King small town that is populated by all sorts of people, of both extremes, who are forced to work together to solve problems or instead even in such a situation exhaust themselves in mutual conflicts. Of course King in this novel used allegory to actually speak about America that often, especially at a time when the novel was written, seemed like it was surrounded by invisible, yet impenetrable dome.
The novel certainly deserves reader attention but this edition that requires the purchase of another deserves an extremely low score. Hence the average score is good - or get it only if you have already purchased the first part of the mass market edition.
The premise is great, well-written and spooky and there are some brilliant characters. Also for the first half of the book a kind of supernatural whodunnit is played out (Who made the dome, was it aliens, the army, something/someone else?) which I found really enjoyable. All in all I really do feel it does stand up to scrutiny when compared to his previous classics; like IT and the Tommyknockers which I feel it owes a lot. Then again (unlike some reviewers) I am not a hater of modern king, I really loved Duma Key for example.
I have but two qualms, one is the children. Now I really really feel that before Mr King next puts pen to paper (or finger to laptop) he should go out and have a talk to a real 12-18 year old of today. I say this because Kings writing of modern day children and teenagers in Under the Dome is sometimes stilted, occasionally cloying and once or twice plain bad. At it's worse King sounds similar to a middle-aged politician using 'catch-phrases' and 'hip anecdotes' and references 'things that young people like' in an embarrassing attempt to be 'down with the kids'. Maybe if King just tried less hard to use 'youth lingo' with his young characters they'd feel more natural. That aside... I did like the three main young characters even if I had to wince at their dialogue a couple of times.
Secondly, the payoff was a little disappointing. I think the idea was pretty good and the final sequence was actually pretty well written but I guess I was hoping for one final injection of fear...Read more ›
The books is nothing like the TV show, apart from the characters names. But I don't mean that it is a terrible book, on the contrary, I found it more enjoyable reading the book than I did watching the TV show. But yeah, I also loved the TV show.
In my opinion if you have seen the show and are going to read the book (Like I did), go in with a new mind and you will love it.
Under The Dome is brough to us by the amazing mind of Mr. Stephen King, and tells of Chester's Mill a town in Maine (Where almost all of his books are based in) how one day an invisible dome crashes around their town sealing them off from the rest of the world. The story takes place in a couple of days (In the tv shpw, it takes place in 2 or 3 weeks) So with the population of CM under the dome, and put under preassure of wanting to get out alive, people start to show their true colour.
I loved this book 100% and finishing it in under 5 days. My opinion, if you LOVE Stephen King as much as I do, then Under The Dome is a must read!
It was thus with some trepidation that I started to read Under the Dome. I'd desperately wanted to like the last 'old' novel that King had published, Blaze, but found that a terrible disappointment. And the early signs weren't good with Under the Dome. There's a very daunting list of 'dramatis personae' at the start of the book, and confusion reigned as seemingly hundreds of characters were introduced in the first fifty or so pages. Whereas King has handled large number of characters very successfully before, most notably in The Stand, that relied on reasonably long chapters to introduce each new group of people. In Under the Dome, there are seemingly dozens of new characters on every page at the start, and I can see readers being put off from carrying on unless they concentrate VERY hard on keeping track of who is who.
However, get through this, and the rewards are rich. When the dome comes down on Chester's Mill, Jim Rennie, the evil second selectman of the town, quickly seizes the reins of power, and the battle for power begins. On the one side is Rennie and his henchmen; on the other, a small group of townsfolk lead by Dale Barbara, a veteran of the Iraq war who, when the dome came down, was on the verge of leaving town. What follows demonstrates superbly the fact that the crimes of the few can bring suffering to the poor, as Rennie's tyranny takes root.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The condition of this book was NOT as described. The cover was crumpled & dirty, & its plastic outer covering was peeling off. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Amazon Customer
Brilliant book .. was looking forward to the series but as usual book was far betterPublished 3 months ago by churchy
This was such a great read I had not read anything by this author for a while and I must admit that I had forgotten how good his books are. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mrs. K. Pendrey
I watched the tv show before I read this book and was quite amazed how different it was in every way. The show is amazing in its own way and in love the book just as much. Read morePublished 3 months ago by abi vincent
Under the Dome opens with a signature Stephen King moment: a woodchuck, foraging for food, hides from a passing human—and is chopped in half as an impenetrable dome appears around... Read morePublished 3 months ago by jodie cook
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