Tomorrow, November 10th, Stephen King’s newest novel Under the Dome is being released. If you haven’t realized it yet, I’m a huge fan of King’s, and I hold his newer novels (anything since Cell) in very high regard. Even with the somewhat lackluster Just After Sunset, I think King’s most recent books rival his classics in terms of quality horror and storytelling.
That being said, I have even higher hopes for Under the Dome than I have held for any of his other recent books. Maybe it’s because King himself said it would be stylistically and thematically similar to The Stand that makes me eager to dig in. Or maybe it’s because I haven’t been able to sit down and actually read a book since May that makes me want to pop open an new hardcover. Who knows? I just know I’m really looking forward to it.
When I heard that Under the Dome was going to be an epic similar to The Stand, I began eagerly awaiting its release while trying to avoid spoilers and overhype. The Stand, after all, is one of my favorite King novels because of how it centers on the characters and their relationships. The horror in The Stand is entirely based around the darkness inherent in humanity rather than a creepy, crawly night-bumper.
For Under the Dome to have that kind of pre-release power backing it, I cannot help but think that the novel will be one of his best in years. King works best, I think, when he’s not experimenting too hard and sticking to what he knows. He’s not a formula writer or a hack, but he—like any writer—has elements that seem effortless. And his strongest suit is bringing out the best/worst in his characters; he makes them human.
I don’t actually want a lot of narrative movement in Under the Dome. I want very little to actually happen because of the story dealing more with intrigue and interpersonal drama than an action packed series of events. I hope that the novel is like It in that respect: to be ridiculously intense based entirely on the psychological ramifications of a situation, not because someone is about to be gutted.
Being based on a short story titled “The Cannibals” helps assuage my fears that it won’t be psychological horror. Yes, cannibals are scary, but being eaten by another human is most definitely a psychological/terror fear rather than a “gross out” or “shock/surprise” fear.
In short: I expect Under the Dome to be high quality, character driven horror where I care more about what happens to the characters than just what happens. And with it pushing 1100 pages, there is certainly enough room for that.
Once I finish the novel, I’m sure I will post a review and see if my non-interview/promotional reading expectations are anywhere close to the mark.
What do you all expect out of King’s newest work?
Buying Under the Dome online is cheap and preordering ends today.
Most online retailers are selling preorder copies of Under the Dome for a paltry $9. A brand new hardcover for nine bucks! I ordered mine from Walmart.com, personally, before I knew that Amazon.com had the same deal or I would have bought it there (I love Amazon’s preorder release date delivery guarantee).
Below, I have provided my Amazon.com affiliate link to Under the Dome for those of you who have not yet shelled out your nine dollars for the novel for whatever reason. If you feel so inclined, click through and get your hands on the book. I have no idea if the preorder price will stick around once the book is released, so today is the last day to preorder it and guarantee it at that price.
Either way, I’m not taking my chances. And neither should you.
Update: The price is now $17.50 on Amazon.com, proving that the fantastic $9 hardcover price was only a preorder gimmick. Sorry to those who missed out.