Saturday, January 23, 2010

"Under the Dome" by Stephen King

If "The Stand" and "Salem's Lot" mated and gave birth, they would've given birth...

"Under the Dome."

Although I've read in places people comparing his latest work with "Needful Things" (which I've not read), the constant switch between characters was reminiscent of "Salem's Lot" and "The Stand."

The narrative takes place over a week, and King takes his time to really drive home what would happen if some imaginary dome did appear over a small town.

Other reviews have pooh-poohed King's characters and how they weren't developed, or how he could've really made some characters shine (by having them start out as terrible, but become better people). I don't think his intention was to sit down and do character studies with this one. I think authors have an idea how focused they want to be on plot and characterization, etc. when they sit down and write a piece.

This book's main focus was plot.

The characters were secondary in the telling.

So, when the horrible people became REALLY horrible, and the "good guys" had to shine through -- sometimes, that's what we people want. We don't want the overcomplicated mix of human emotions and how someone might actually be good at heart, but make terrible decisions. We want the bad guys to be EVIL SUCK-FACES and we want the good guys to cheat death.

I enjoyed how the supernatural actually took a major backseat, too. I also enjoyed that he didn't over-explain the supernatural and just let it be. In "Duma Key," the gorgeous story and character development was slightly tarnished with the last 100 pages of weird supernatural explanations. Sometimes those things just don't need to be explained.