Book Review: Under the Dome
When one looks at the body of work of Stephen King, one can’t help but assume that he’s a busy man. Whether it involves writing a column, short stories, novels, novellas and even collaborations with other writers and authors, he seems to have done it all.
But his advice for budding writers, which is second to only the great Hemingway, is to read and write for at least four to six hours a day.
In fact, he goes on to say that if someone goes on to pay you for your writing, and you use the check to pay your bills, you are talented.
One can’t help but notice the pragmatism and grittiness with which King goes about his job or passion – call it what you will. And a style of writing that never really goes out of fashion…
Personally speaking, I’ve read a few of his short stories and novels that have been made into movies but the one novel that comes to mind is Firestarter – the story of a young girl who has this ability to control or create fire.
And while there has been debate over whether King is the new Edgar Allan Poe, it sure does feel like a given, doesn’t it?
We’re All ‘Under The Dome’, Or So King Says
When asked as to what the novel was all about, he described it as a kind of social comedy which deals with the situation where people who are cut off from society that they’ve always belonged to.
The location of this novel is no different from his others, a small town in his home state of Maine, Chester’s Mill. The problem that the town faces is that it is separated from the outside world by a semipermeable yet invisible barrier that causes a lot of injuries and fatalities when people try to leave the town.
It also prevents the novel’s main character, former Army Captain, Dale ‘Barbie’ Barbara, from leaving the town due to a local dispute he has with Big Jim, a power hungry yet influential used car salesman, and which worsens later on.
All hell breaks loose when the town’s Police Chief Howard ‘Duke’ Perkins dies when his pacemaker explodes as he gets too close to the barrier… and normal human beings are turned into animals within a cage, if you will.
With that said, it must be pointed out that King had written the first draft of this novel almost three decades ago but for some reason, wasn’t able to complete it until now.
He goes on to comment that despite being a science fiction novel, it does reflect American society today and the incompetence of George Bush when the Republicans were in power – an aspect that George Orwell, and in my opinion, Lewis Carroll among other authors used to great effect.
At another level altogether, he goes on to equate humanity as living ‘under the dome’ with this blue planet as our little town…
Considering the number of positive reviews that the book has received, it seems fair to recommend the book to either sci-fi or Stephen King fans. It’s worth a read with the added advantage of being able to buy the hardcover book for just below $9.