Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Just finished - Cellby Stephen King. When I was a kid, Stephen King put me off of reading horror for many years. I read parts of Night Shiftat a young age and had nightmares for years. It wasn't till after high school when I had some good friends who were big Stephen King fans that I went back and tried him again. Since then I've read most of what he's written, particularly his early works. At some point it is clear success went to his head and he started to ignore the advice of editors. He started producing bloated novels that didn't appeal to me. I'm not sure if it was getting off drugs or his near death experience (nicely documented in the excellent On Writing) that changed things but his books have slimmed down again. His stories started to get a little better but I don't think he has ever re-captured the full feel of his best works and Cell is a good example.
At first glance, many might compare it to The Standsince they are both post-apocalyptic in a way. But that would be a mistake. The Stand really is a post-apocalyptic tale of what happens after most of the population dies from super-flu while Cell is really just a variant on the classic zombie story. King still does a good job of creating characters and scenes through pop references and slangy dialogue but this isn't one of his best efforts. It would make a good page-turner for an airplane ride but not much else.

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