Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Dead Zone by Stephen King - the master of horror makes even politics sound interesting

(Sorry about the bad picture. It was the best I could take.)

My Rate: ☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠☠ (10/10 Skulls)

Original Title: The Dead Zone
Norwegian Title: Mørke Krefter
Written by: Stephen King
Genre: horror/crime
Written for: Adult
Pages: 336
Viking (Penguin Books)
Published: 1979
Published in Norway: 1980
My copy: 1995 (Paperback)
Norwegian Publisher:
Egmont spenning
I read it: June 3 - June 10, 2011
From my own personal "library"


If any of King's novels exemplifies his skill at portraying the concerns of his generation, it's The Dead Zone (1979). Although it contains a horrific subplot about a serial killer, it isn't strictly a horror novel. It's the story of an unassuming high school teacher, an Everyman, who suffers a gap in time--like a Rip Van Winkle who blacks out during the years 1970-75--and thus becomes acutely conscious of the way that American society is rapidly changing. He wakes up as well with a gap in his brain, the "dead zone" of the title. The zone gives him crippling headaches, but also grants him second sight, a talent he doesn't want and is reluctant to use. The crux of the novel concerns whether he will use that talent to alter the course of history.

The sixth sense; A gift or is it a curse?

Johnny Smith got everything. He is young, has a great job that he loves and is about to fall in love with a lovely woman. After a night at the carnival together, his lovely gal, Sarah, gets sick and he brings her home. He offers himself to stay but she promise she’ll be alright and Johnny takes a taxi home when the tragedy happens. He gets involved in a bad car accident which brings him in coma in four and a half year. When he finally wakes up, he notice a lot of things in the world has changed – including himself. He discovers when he touch somebody, especially by a handshake or a hug, Johnny sees pictures, pictures about that says something about the person he touches. Some of these pictures can be very creepy and frightening.

This sudden gift is something Johnny must live with. He has never had this kind of gift before the accident happened. The gift scares him and others. Still he tries to live a normal life as possible – even though it’s not that easy since rumors spreads about his gift. It takes time to live in the world with a lot of changes. A lot of things have happened in the years he has been sleeping – especially in the political world. Even the president is not the same one as before the accident happened. And there is already a new round with new president candidates going on after Johnny has started his own life again. He reads a lot of newspapers to read about the changes and watches TV. He is particularly interested in one of the president candidates. He gets bad vibes from him even through the TV – screen. Johnny gets very interested in this new president candidate that he even shows up on one of the live shows this president candidate is having. And Johnny hopes to greet him when the candidate is on his way to the stage through the crowd. Johnny is one of those who gets to greet this guy with a handshake. But during the handshake, Johnny gets a vision. A vision that makes Johnny to think that this president candidate must be stopped before it’s too late.

I’ve seen many Stephen King movies before I started reading his books – even though I prefer the other way around, to read a book before I see the movie itself. But I grew up with watching a lot of SK movies before I read his books. Even though it’s years since I saw the movie The Dead Zone I still remember it very well. Wonderful Christoper Walken was great as Johnny Smith! Many of his visions and happenings are a bit different in the movie ‘cause movies usual don’t follow the book it’s based on 100%. But even though the movie had some changes from the book, I didn’t feel like it ruined the joy of reading the book.
Even though I like the movie a lot, I must admit that I liked the book even better and it was a pleasure to really get to know Johnny Smith. I liked him very much. He is charming, had tons of black sense of humor (which I love) and all in all: He just seemed to be an exciting guy! I just wanted and wished him well no matter what situation he ended up in. I really want to read more about characters like him.

I’m not a fan of politics. But I did actually stay up all night to see if Obama won or not even though I had to leave my home around 9:00 am to go to school. But I stayed all night to see if Obama would win or not (I’m a fan of him. He seems like a good fella.) And at 6:00 am Obama finally won the title: President of United States of America. I don’t even live in that country but still I found the election very interesting since I was hoping he would win – and he did. But other than that I find politic stuff very boring.

 Even though the second half of the book is a lot of talk about politics, I did not bore myself to death; I was very surprised by that. I read hours and hours every night I read this book ‘cause I had a very hard time to let go of the book. I just had to find out how this would end (even though I had seen the movie). The Dead Zone must be the shortest time I must’ve spent with in a King book. I read it so fast. 

Pet Sematary is still my all time favorite book by King, but The Dead Zone is definitely now on my Top 5 list. That’s for sure. And I finally got to read The Dead Zone after seeing the movie several times. The book gives so much more and I got very sad when I came to the last page. It’s one of these books I’ll never forget!

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