Thursday, 2 September 2010

Stephen King - The Dead Zone

Stephen King doesn't surprise us with The Dead Zone. The real and the fictive, the fantastical and the concrete interact again to signal the degradation and the defects of contemporary society; to present problems, phenomena, and tendencies, which attempt to turn the human brain into an arena of a new world war; to provoke the reader to analyze the complex events and intrigues, which shape the situation in the USA in the 1970s and 1980s. Hardly a masterpiece, The Dead Zone is still a powerful and enthralling novel, at moments slightly predictable, which moral is more or less obvious - the masses are being controlled by the selfish and inhumane actions of certain spheres, striving for power, money, and success.

John Smith is a regular high school teacher until he undergoes a terrible car accident, which leaves him in a coma for almost five years. A medical miracle, John wakes up with a strange ability - he is gifted with the supernatural power to predict the future and to read people's minds. The Dead Zone is that part of his brain, affected largely by the accident. Johnny sees things, but some of them remain in the dead zone - blurred, unclear, and difficult to analyze. Still, he solves a murder, saves teenagers from a fire, and predicts other people's accidents only to remain a loner and a stranger in society. His actions to prevent the spreading fascism in the USA political spheres shape his last months to live. Using his gift, John Smith takes a brave step to free society from a dangerous and selfish political leader. Stephen King's idea is pretty obvious as I already mentioned - the loss of morality and ethics in contemporary USA and the falseness and degradation of a society, driven by beastly motives.

Born in 1947, Stephen King is famous for his thriller novels, where the fantastical plays a major role in shaping the story. I understand many readers are attracted by the intriguing plots, the paranormal abilities, and the fantastical events, but I am hardly amazed, or thrilled. I am not a huge fan of fantasy novels and I wouldn't imagine that soon I will be reading anything else from Stephen King. One of the most popular American writers, King's style just doesn't do it for me. I had to push myself constantly in order to finish the book. I just couldn't dive into the story or feel the intrigue and the amazement. For me it was just another story about a paranormal gift that can be supposedly used for the benefit of the society. And of course, the hero is neglected, convicted, and criticized by society until his death. Predictable, Mr. King, very predictable.

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