June 11, 2013
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Under the Dome based on Stephen King's novel of the same name, premiered last night. While it's still too early to be sure just how different the series and the novel will be, based on the first episode, it seems a bit.
In Under the Dome the town of the Chester's Mill, Maine is suddenly and inexplicably surrounded by an invisible and impermeable dome. (In Under the Dome it's also sound proof.) No one knows how -- or why -- the small town has been sealed off from the rest of the world, leaving the residents inside to fend for themselves.
No one knows how long it will last, either.
In the novel, it's a calm and beautiful Saturday October morning. Some residents are in neighboring towns, some preparing to leave town . . . possibly for good, someone's reaching reaching across the town line, two are in a plane during a flying lesson.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.In a small town where everyone knows everyone -- or knows someone who knows them -- the dome changes things more than anyone thought possible, faster than they thought possible.
In just hours, the dome and its unbelievable uncertainty has brought out the worst in some . . . possibly the best in others.
With most lost and unsure of what the future holds, a select few seem ready to grab the unknown future and take hold, whether it means 'good' for anyone but them or not. Soon the town looks ready to descend into chaos if it's not careful.
A line from the premiere episode of the series probably sets this up best. When Barbie is talking to Angie about the dome being 'stuck in a giant fishbowl,' she replies:
“I used to have goldfish, but then one died, and the other one ... ate him. Did you know they did that? Goldfish?”If you keep that in mind, have maybe read Lord of the Flies, and remember that this is Stephen King (and he does give you some hints about the characters in the beginning), it's a good idea about where the novel will go. Not all of where it will go, but a good start.
The characters look like they're going to be different in the television version of the story -- with some seeming to be more a part of the story and some less/not at all. (The adult characters are almost all a also younger than I pictured them while reading the book, too.) I'm not sure how that will effect the story, but we'll see.
Under the Dome was creepy but it was, definitely, very much a character story so I am a bit disheartened to see that character differences.
It is absolutely a long book -- with a lot of characters that are, at times, hard to keep straight -- but it does not feel as long as it is and things play out as they need to. There aren't extraneous events or rushed occurrences, either. King connects you to his characters (though after this and Salem's Lot, I take issue with him on something that I can't say for spoilers!) and weaves their lives together incredibly well. The tension arising from both the dome and the characters' actions is fantastic.
The ending was not one of my favorite endings, nor was it a letdown and the novel does give readers something, or somethings, to think about.