SF, fantasy & horror
Once upon a time, in the haunted city of Derry
(site of the classics It and Insomnia), four boys
stood together and did a brave thing. Certainly
a good thing; perhaps even a great thing. Something
that changed them in ways they could never begin
Twenty-five years later, the boys are now men
with separate lives and separate troubles. But
the ties endure. Each hunting season the foursome
reunites in the woods of Maine. This year, a stranger
stumbles into their camp, disoriented, mumbling
something about lights in the sky. His incoherent
ravings prove to be disturbingly prescient. Before
long, these men will be plunged into a horrifying
struggle with a creature form another world. Their
only chance of survival is locked in their shared
past and in the Dreamcatcher.
finished "Dreamcatcher". It had its moments
but it is mostly disappointing. And about 200 pages
longer than it should be. Actually the plot is better
suited to a comic book. Maybe that's why King's popularity
is so great. He's really making comic books in long
hand, without the drawings. Stephen King has often said
that he writes 10 pages a day (forcing himself to write
even when he doesn't want to) and it shows. Half the
book is an accumulation of those lousy 10 pages a day
when he should have gone to the local pub, had a beer
and recharged his literary batteries.
And the plot. King is obviously on
autopilot. This is just a rip-off of his own Tommyknockers
for the start. And then it degenerates into some kind
of "chase" scenes in which the heroes (grown-up
but still kids mostly, as usual) are going to save the
world from the alien "shit-weasel". King likes
to keep his main characters kids, as he then can have
them say juvenile words, i.e., he (King) doesn't have
to worry about writing grown-up halfway intelligent
dialogue. A writer's trick. Maybe because, before reading
"Dreamcatcher" I read a really good book (Saint
Jack and Toad/Third Angel of the Apocalypse by Philip
Carraher) I'm a little more disappointed in King than
How about this as an example of comparing
the writing of King vs. Carraher:
From Dreamcatcher: "Even his Perco don't help.
His throat make sore and his body shakes and his belly
make hurty kind of like when he has to go poopoo..."
Good Lord! What crap.
Or, also from Dreamcatcher: "Henry's heartbeat
had doubled. By the time he stepped back from the window
it had tripled. His eyes seemed to pulse from their
Is this the best King can do to put imagery into his
Now some words from Carraher:
From Saint Jack: "The wood floor of the saloon
rippled like a moving tide at Jack's feet. A quick camera
flash of bright light blinded him momentarily, then,
sight returning, he saw something that took his breath
away, a living quicksilver leaping up into sudden existence
at his feet, a flaring wave of liquid light. Immediately
it was on the move, spilling over itself...gleaming
like a liquefied full moon as it rolled rapaciously
toward the twisted and corrupted soul that was its destination."
Or (again from Saint Jack): "Jack...had
the sensation of standing again on a threshold separating
two worlds, except this time the world beckoning to
him from the other side of that threshold was offering
him grinning terrors and grotesque horrors instead of
the radiant glory of a sweet vision. The very pavement
beneath his feet shuddered at the sights now passing
Two quick examples. As readers, can
you "pick up on" the difference in quality
of writing? The imagery is much superior in Carraher's
book to that which appears in King's "Dreamcatcher".
I'm not even sure I picked the best examples of Carraher's
Reading King's book is like taking
a roller-coaster ride. Fun in parts but you end up getting
off exactly where you got on. The ride hasn't taken
you anywhere. I think I want books from which I can
learn, books which make me think a little bit (or a
lot). King's books just don't do it for me anymore.
I think I've read my last Stephen King. I've been disappointed
with his last four or five. Enough.
Carraher's book made me think about
the world, and the possibility that we (humankind) will
destroy ourselves with our movement into genetic science.
The "third angel" in the title is the angel
in the bible that talks of the Apocalypse coming due
to the "pollution of the waters of life".
It's Carraher's viewpoint that DNA can be thought of
as the true "waters of life" and that the
current genetic science is its coming pollution. Is
the Apocalypse coming? Will we create it ourselves?
Maybe. Scary thought.