Saturday, November 6, 2010

Stephen King: Tryin to end it.

For those of you who don't know, i'm an avid reader/writer. There's nothing better than finding a book that really draws you in to the point where you can't wait to sit down and get back into the fictional world your discovering. We're talking something that fully envelopes your mind and you discover new things of which you've never even dreamed! A good book is more than a reading experience, it's a transport which takes you away from the world, and you completely forget that you're laying in bed, or sitting on the toilet.

One writer in particular who lures me into books like this again and again is Stephen King. There something simply sublime about his writing style that really appeals to me. He's able to make the mundane seem enthralling. Take the book Misery: it's about a crippled writer laying in bed for about 500 pages. That's it. And you can not put the book down. You want to know what happens from day to day even though he hardly leaves the 8x8 bedroom where he's laying.

But for all the merits and great things I can say about Stephen King, there's one glaring thing which annoys me more than anything else. Yes, he traps you in these books because his writing is seamless, but he can not finish a story and leave you fulfilled. It's very rare at best when you walk away from one of his books thinking, "Man, what an amazing finish to a great book!"

Your typical Stephen King book contains a handfull of things. For starters it usually is set in a small town in New England, usually Maine, but not always. Also, one of the main characters is an artist of some type, usually a writer like Stephen King. And finally, within the last 75 pages or so, the bad guy(s) end up being magic, aliens, or monsters. This final point completely crashes the book and you feel cheated. Here's a handful of examples, and some humorous synopsis as well...

(I appologize in advance if you haven't read some of these and were planning on it. Sucks.)

Pet Cemetary - Dad and the creepy neighbor go on a hike through a haunted swamp so they can bury their pets in an indian burial ground. The first two trips through the swamp are pretty eerie. They hear sounds, and see things which aren't there. It seems the spirits from the burial ground are fucking with the travelers, and as a reader it begins to get to ya. However, in the end when dad goes up there by himself to bury his dead wife, it's revealed that the swamp's not haunted, it's filled with monsters!

Cujo - The dog dies after a whole lot of build up. Dad shows up a couple hours after mom and the kid die in the car. Sucks.

Cell - A signal is being transmitted through cell phones which makes people become primal and they tear each other appart. In the end it's telekenetic zombies who congregate in stadiums and share a hive mind!!

Christine - The car's demonic and it traps people's souls!

Dreamcatcher - The retarded kid's an alien who gives his childhood friends psychic powers so they can fight a different alien.

I could go on, but those are just the examples which come to mind, and I hope you begin to grasp my point.
Earlier this week, I finished an 1100 page monster of a book called Under The Dome by Stephen King. It's set in a small town in New England (go figure), and one day a force field shows up around the town. Nothing gets in, nothing gets out. They launch missles at it, nuke it, pour an experimental acid on it, and not even a scratch. Small town politics rule the scene within the trapped town, and in a matter of days it becomes Lord of the Flies.

There's hoarding of supplies, blackmailing, murders, coverups, framings, desperate bids for power, drugs, delusions of granduer, suicide, fire, and several other things within an extremely short amount of time. And it pulls you into the town. Under The Dome is the first book I've read in a while that I couldn't put down. But I should have known it'd be too good to be true.

A bomb goes off which takes the population from about 2000 people to 30 people, and it makes the air unbreathable. Ends up aliens put up the force field and they're watching the people within the Dome. In the end, after all this, what do they do? How do they bring the force field down? Two of them go out and beg the aliens to let them go. And the aliens do. Just like that. Tada!!

This would have almost passed for the ending..
"Hey, how do we get the dome down? This sucks!"
"I dunno. Did anybody ask the aliens to turn it off?"
"Oh shit, good call!"
"Hey look it's down! Let's go get some Popeye's Chicken!"

1000 solid pages and a good month and a half of my life came down to 100 pages of nearly dead goldfish gasping for air. And in the end they begged to get out, and they did... It was one of the weakest endings i've read in a long while.