brian 's Reviews > Under the Dome

Under the Dome by Stephen King
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Nov 27, 14


in the 2008 film max payne, there's a point in which the gloomy hero is, of course, offered casual sex by this ridiculously beautiful woman:



aware that payne is mourning the murder of his wife she says something to the effect that he can call out his wife's name as he fucks her. ok. this is kinda interesting. if i was directing i'd smash cut to payne pounding away and, yes, squealing his dead wife's name. play it straight. sad and tragic but also kinda funny and very human. offer up a complexity and darkness mainstream movies tend to shy away from.

of course, payne tosses this preposterously impossibly wildly beautiful woman out, offended at the very idea: in movies like this you can't have your hero banging away strange woman or engaging in any kinda deviancy. too much complexity there, folks.

well, there's a whole lot of that shit going on in under the dome, in which the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad (i mean reeeeaaaaal bad. like gang-rape bad, kill-your-own-son bad, mass-murderer bad). and it's a shame b/c there's much to love about this novel.

but it's not just the 'max payne' moments, it's the whole picture. check it: the book's populated with tons of characters and just about all of 'em are all-american folksy types. all have backstories and personal tics and behavioral distinctions, but ultimately... king's view of human beings and human behavior is kinda narrow and uninteresting. strange from a guy with such a fertile imagination for the fantastic.

but here's what's most frustrating: if you're dealing with common folk, it's fun to throw 'em in extreme situations and watch 'em crack. we've seen it all over Apocalit*: lord of the flies, blindness, the road, etc… and this is the part i don't get: the characters that crack when the dome comes down ARE ALREADY ASSHOLES! it's bizarre. what's fun about this shit is watching the slow burn of a decent or sane character as they descend into evil or lunacy. it's kinda obvious what's gonna happen when dick cheney is tossed into No Exit, ain't it? king's bad guys were bad before the dome and once the shit comes down they kill and gang-rape with no fore or afterthought. how the shit is this interesting? has king been too long in the horror genre that he's come to see murder and rape as something akin to jogging around the block or swatting a fly? what's great about murder in serious works of art (and make no mistake: this novel means to be a serious work of art) is not the murder itself but all which surrounds it.

i happen to believe that human existence is kaleidoscopically demented and deranged and far weirder than it appears on the surface. the most 'normal' of us are revealed to be sucking cock in airport bathrooms, talking to snakes or burning bushes or interplanetary beneficiaries, etc… in short, i appreciate people like david lynch not in that he offers an alternative to the humdrum of daily existence but that he throws to the forefront what is actually happening behind closed doors. i reject king's view of the world in that it lacks moral complexity, it lacks the true stink of human existence. blue velvet is heightened for sure, but it reveals what small town americana feels like. it is edward hopper to stephen king's norman rockwell.

and really. what's with all the banter? king has nearly every single character speak as if they were a precocious 13 year old. people say shit like "i'd tell you but then i'd have to kill you' or 'that's why they pay me the big bucks' as if this was the height of cleverness. and when a man and woman dialogue? king's lucky he's a megarich megafamous megastoryteller b/c my man has NO GAME. i mean… check the narrator's description of when our hero finally gets laid.

"Want to?" he asked.
"Yes. Do you?"
He took her hand and put it on his jeans, where how much he wanted to was immediately evident.
A minute later he was poised above her, resting on his elbows. She took him in hand to guide him in. "Take it easy on me, Colonel Barbara. I've kind of forgotten how this thing goes."
"It's like riding a bicycle," Barbie said.
Turned out he was right.


anyway...

the good? gobs of it. what king might lack in his basic presentation of human behavior he almost makes up for in his evocation of a kind of horrible and ineffable beauty. amidst this mash-up of sci-fi & political allegory there are scenes of true beauty and a kind of gritty poetry as the town descends into a Hobbesian nightmare. one that sticks out: as pollutants and dust and pollen collect on the roof of the invisible dome, the townspeoples' view of the sky is skewed, the sky itself appears... different. sunsets seem as when a volcano explodes, a deep rich burning red. and the night sky? a meteor shower appears as streams of pink and red slashing the sky to bits. and minus the 'leatherhead' parts, the final 'fireball and survivor' sequence haunted the hell outta me. some seriously horrifying stuff.

so, yeah. my first foray into stephen king.
badass bestseller horror iconic motherfucker and inspiration behind this terrific terrific terrific song:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3J0i...


i read 1072 pages in just under a week and that's no small feat.
i'd like to share a beer, mr. king, get to know you.
do i wanna tear through your oeuvre? we'll see...


*that my own 'apocalyptic literature' portmanteau, thank you very much
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Reading Progress

11/12/2009 page 101
9.4% "my first king novel. so far, so good."
11/17/2009 page 401
37.34% "banter Banter BAnter BANter BANTer BANTEr BANTER BANTER! BANTER!! BANTER!!!" 7 comments
11/20/2009 page 701
65.27% "sooooo many missed opportunities. too many." 11 comments
11/22/2009 page 1001
93.2% "wow. what just happened was pret-tay pret-tay pret-tay fucked up." 1 comment

Comments (showing 1-50 of 223) (223 new)


message 1: by Stephen (new)

Stephen So, how did you really feel about it, Brian?


message 2: by Kris (new)

Kris That review nails what I'd always loved about King and the various elements (especially the banter*) I'd grown very, very frustrated with these last few years.

I still say: check out Pet Sematary. I think it's, in my memory at least, the most interested in paring away the ticcy chatter and unwrapping some of the bleaker, more brutal bits inside grief.

I read that King loved Frank Darabont's adaptation of The Mist, not least because Darabont adds a nastier, vicious conclusion that King says he didn't really have the guts for. I think, push come to shove, he empathizes with his "good guys" and--however freely he lets his id loose on them--he has trouble with the id in them. Again, I think you nail it.


*sweet jesus the banter. I had to put Duma Key away, couldn't even take it after a while.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

This is a Top 5 gottiboy review.


message 4: by Natalie (new) - added it

Natalie Ugh... I was just discussing the other day how King writes sex scenes like a middle-school kid who's never seen an approximation of a naked female in his life. Take a cue from Steve Almond, Kingy.


message 5: by Chris (new) - added it

Chris Great review, brian! (You had me at the hot chick.)


Nick Black Natalie wrote: "Ugh... I was just discussing the other day how King writes sex scenes like a middle-school kid who's never seen an approximation of a naked female in his life. Take a cue from Steve Almond, Kingy. "

[blink:] you know what? i don't think i've ever read a sex scene which improved the book, or needed to be there. weird. there's gotta be one. think, nick, think!


message 7: by Chris (last edited Nov 24, 2009 05:46AM) (new) - added it

Chris I'm currently reading Updike's Rabbit books, Nick, and I would say these books wouldn't be the same if Updike had refrained from the sex scenes. I'm not saying that they are beautiful or anything, just necessary. Let's face it: sex, for the most part, is not a beautiful thing. The slurping and sucking sounds, the smells, the bodily fluids, the horrific facial expressions, the grunts, the hair everywhere, the incompetence, the insecurities, the selfishness...oh wait, maybe that's just my sex life.


message 8: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 24, 2009 06:16AM) (new)

Yeah, Stephen King just sticks in (heh) sex scenes that don't serve any real narrative purpose. I think he believes he needs to have them -- as though books are written by recipe, and every good book recipe includes a weird, clunky, unnatural, and gratuitous sex scene. (The same way that most mainstream films with two attractive leads need to have a scene of them bumpin' and grindin'.)

The (not really) odd thing about books, television, and films is that no one ever includes unnecessary scenes of people urinating or taking dumps (that I'm aware of). The counterargument might be that scenes of elimination are inherently less appealing than sex scenes. To which I'd respond: Not when Stephen King writes them.


Nick Black Chris wrote: "I'm currently reading Updike's Rabbit books, Nick, and I would say these books wouldn't be the same if Updike had refrained from the sex scenes. I'm not saying that they are beautiful or anything,..."

there we go. i shouldn't post so early?


message 10: by D. (last edited Nov 24, 2009 06:22AM) (new)

D. Pow great great review. I've read a lot of king and been exasperated and exhilarated in equal measures over the years, but you are absolutely spot on about what doesn't work in his later fiction. Your point about only the assholes cracking under pressure is a good one; this doesn't happen in real life or in works of great literature. and we are all Kalidioscopes-that's good too. I think it was Picasso(an asshole who never cracked under pressure) who said we all have 'entire provinces within'. I just can't read stuff any more that doesn't show this interior idiosyncrasy, this melange of conflicting influences and drives.

One suggestion: if you do spend more time with King, read something from his early years. He was much more savage and succinct then.


message 11: by brian (last edited Nov 24, 2009 06:53AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

brian   mike and don: thanks, guys. and yes! i plan to pick up pet sematary and the stand sometime this month. i liked what don wrote about 'interior idiosyncrasy' and 'this melange'...

and chris is right, nick. updike's sex scenes serve a narrative purpose and work to understand (some of the seedier aspects of) human behavior, and this is what makes 'em interesting. it adds depth to said scenes as well to the overall piece... if one were able to marry the narrative gung-ho and wild imagination of a stephen king with the rigor and love of character of an (early) updike... the end result would be pretty phenomenal, huh?


message 12: by Natalie (new) - added it

Natalie The slurping and sucking sounds, the smells, the bodily fluids, the horrific facial expressions, the grunts, the hair everywhere, the incompetence, the insecurities, the selfishness...

Well, I just took MY vow of celibacy.

;)


Books Ring Mah Bell This review is good, but I'm really just voting for that hot ass.

:)


message 14: by D. (new)

D. Pow BRMB! playing the lesbo card. this is what I come to good reads for.


Books Ring Mah Bell I'm sorry, but she's hot! I have no idea who it is, but that is a perfect dupa!!!


message 16: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! brian wrote: "He took her hand and put it on his jeans, where how much he wanted to was immediately evident."

I bet he put her hand on his jean-covered knee. That's where I can tell when he's wanting and evident. :o)


message 17: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 24, 2009 09:56AM) (new)

Eh! wrote: "brian wrote: "He took her hand and put it on his jeans, where how much he wanted to was immediately evident."

I bet he put her hand on his jean-covered knee. That's where I can tell when he's wan..."



I am actually pleasantly surprised that King didn't feel the need to completely spell it out.

Like:

'He took her hand and put it on his jeans, where how much he wanted to was immediately evident from his six-and-a-half-inch phallus, engorged with blood and desirous of intercourse, which could be felt under the stone-washed* layer of denim, slightly pilled from having been washed too often.**'


* You just know they're (still) stone-washed. This is Stephen King, after all.

** The denim is pilled, not the phallus.



message 18: by Joshua Nomen-Mutatio (last edited Nov 24, 2009 09:30AM) (new)

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Books Ring My Bell wrote: "I'm sorry, but she's hot! I have no idea who it is, but that is a perfect dupa!!!"

Olga Kurylenko

If you use Mozilla Firefox you can right click on the image, hit "View Image" and it'll take you to the original site that the image was taken from. This allowed me to discover her name and Google Image search it (with the content filters turned to Off, naturally). She's ridiculously attractive, the kind of attractive that's quasi-painful.


message 19: by D. (new)

D. Pow I think D. Kowalski is a great writer, might even be doing the best reviews on this site currently. He, however, can't write sex, even in parody. I think it might be because of his disdain of blues-based art. He writes porn like he grew up listening to Falco and Men Without Hats. Which he probably did. It might be an experience thing. I'm sure he'd probably write the best masturbation scene ever.


message 20: by [deleted user] (new)

Admittedly I can't write Middle Earth elfin coitus with your panache, Donald.


message 21: by Eh?Eh! (new)

Eh?Eh! A challenge! I think the proper response would be in the form of a parody or the best self-lovin' scene ever.


message 22: by Krok Zero (new)

Krok Zero Nice review--I just read Cell, another recent King novel, and I had the same problems: dude seemed to have a really weirdly skewed perception of basic human behavior, and not skewed in a good way. More like a "how did this guy become a professional fiction writer, much less the most successful fiction writer in the goddamn country" kind of skewed. Unforgivably bland characters, unforgivably tin-eared dialogue. And yet there was stuff to like in the book, and it commanded my attention in a way that few novels I've read recently have done. I even liked the ambiguous ending, which apparently everyone hated. So I'm willing to believe that there's more to this guy than immediately meets the eye.


message 23: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 24, 2009 10:21AM) (new)

I did write some erotica when I went undercover in one of those Post-Menopausal Erotica Groups here on GR. (Gottiboy can confirm. He was there too.)

Lemme see if I can find it -- so I can stick it right up Donnie Boy's Sarlaac Pit.


message 24: by D. (new)

D. Pow DK, you make me chuckle sir. Sarlaac pit? Geez, that is rich.




message 25: by D. (new)

D. Pow I do think it is funny that I call DK the best writer on good reads and he gets slightly miffed over me questioning his capacity to write porn. Praise is always quieter to our ears than criticism.


message 26: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 24, 2009 11:12AM) (new)

All right, that does it, bastard. I'm posting my erotica on your profile page. Lick it up, Powell. Lick. It. Up.


message 27: by D. (new)

D. Pow Dude! I am honored!


message 28: by Chris (last edited Nov 24, 2009 11:36AM) (new) - added it

Chris dk® wrote: "I did write some erotica when I went undercover in one of those Post-Menopausal Erotica Groups here on GR."

The line below and the one about her kissing your working class balls like long lost friends had to give you away.

My hard cock bobs out and waves in her face like a metronome.




Books Ring Mah Bell OH! Glory be! I forgot about that!

David is one of the most talented writers on this site, and the metronome cock only proves it!


message 30: by Malbadeen (new)

Malbadeen um, because I just found I posted this comment in the wrong place and because I feel it needs to be said, I'm re-posting it here:

Can people stop voting for this review? I don't like that skinny, beautiful woman looking over her shoulder and whispering "you're not me" over and over and over again (you guys hear that too, right?).


Books Ring Mah Bell Oh, I hear it, Marie. I've already hung the rope in the garage.


message 32: by D. (last edited Nov 24, 2009 12:21PM) (new)

D. Pow What can I say? I was wrong! The Indiana Kid can write porn. Must be all that Roth he's been reading has rubbed off. And I mean rubbed off.


message 33: by Bram (new)

Bram I want to see some metronome-bobbing cock. I mean, read about it. Point me!


message 34: by Chris (last edited Nov 24, 2009 02:23PM) (new) - added it

Chris Bram -- DK posted a lengthy erotica passage on Donald's profile and then deleted it within a few minutes. I only copied-and-pasted the metronome sentence.


message 35: by Kimley (new)

Kimley Donald, it's a shame that GR no longer tracks how many views a profile gets because I'm guessing David's tease of erotica on your profile made you a very popular boy today.


message 36: by [deleted user] (last edited Nov 24, 2009 02:35PM) (new)

Okay. I posted it here in 'my writing.' (This was my only attempt to work blue.)

http://www.goodreads.com/story/show/5...



message 37: by D. (new)

D. Pow I agree, Kimley. I thought David posting erotica on my profile would bring me fame & glory but alas he pulled it too quickly.


message 38: by Joshua Nomen-Mutatio (last edited Nov 24, 2009 02:44PM) (new)

Joshua Nomen-Mutatio D. wrote: "but alas he pulled it too quickly."

Welcome to Euphemism City!


message 39: by Bram (new)

Bram I am oozing a thin trickle of pre-cum that vines down the shaft, giving way for veins and other engorged topographies.

This is fucking great.



message 40: by [deleted user] (new)

26.


message 41: by D. (last edited Nov 24, 2009 06:54PM) (new)

D. Pow 26?

DK, what's your bag, man?


message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

M.b.=/=y.b.
Mr.P.p.

Nxt /\ mi...al...

g.redD.b'ez


message 43: by D. (last edited Nov 24, 2009 07:04PM) (new)

D. Pow Dude, I almost got it but not quite. I think it's funny + offensive?

Your bag is bigger than my bag?


Joshua Nomen-Mutatio I absolutely do not get it.


message 45: by D. (new)

D. Pow and Flesh, your like ten times smarter than me, so now I know our boy is being willfully obtuse.


Joshua Nomen-Mutatio I figured it was an inside joke between you two...?

Maybe it's formal logic erotica...?


message 47: by D. (new)

D. Pow well, I do use the phrase `What's your bag?' meaning something like 'What's going on' or 'What do you mean by that' but there is nothing inside about it. I inflict the stupid phrase on many people.

Wittgenstein porn? Eh?

Flesh, is that your bag?


Joshua Nomen-Mutatio Hahaha! Nah, I like the ones with the moving pictures.


message 49: by Jen (new)

Jen Brian,

I remember liking some short stories from King. One in particular was about boys in a long distance race where if they stop to sleep or anything they are eliminated for good.


message 50: by [deleted user] (new)

brian, go with 'The Stand' first. The expanded version. You're going for what you're looking for with early King. I second Mr. Reynolds; King's far better at that stage.

I didn't really direct you too wrong on SOS, did I? trust me, already.


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