When Stephen King completed his Dark Tower series in 2004, fans rejoiced and worried. King had been saying for years that he was planning to retire after finishing the saga.
Review of Stephen King's CellI just finished the book and have to say that I really liked it. It was fast paced and a quick read that kept me hooked from beginning to the end.
It appears that Stephen King is using an old Sci Fi Formula for this story. He even dedicates it to Richard Matheson (author of I Am Legend along with some twilight zone episodes) and George Romero (director of Dawn of the Dead).
I’ve seen others stories that use this type of formula. Besides “I am Legend” there is also “Earth Abides” by George Stewart, and I’m sure there are many more, those are just the two I can think of at the moment.
The story formula is some catastrophic event that nearly wipes out humanity. The Characters usually speculate as to what could have happened but there is never really any direct explanation of what happened. The story is usually about the survivors and how they deal with things and usually has an inconclusive ending as well.
I think King did a very good job with the story and he used modern technology to deliver the bomb so to speak. I think the fact that Clay figured out that it was the cell phones causing the problem so fast was King wanting to get that part out of the way so the rest of the story could develop.
King put his dislike of cell phones to use in this story along with the rumored 90% of our brain we supposedly don’t use and incorporating the premise that our brains are like computers and can be wiped. And what would be left if our brains were wiped like a computer hard drive.
There were a couple other references to our modern society which I think King could have been making a point with. One is the mention of who owns cell phones and the other was the flock.
It was mentioned that most of the normal people were either the very young or the old. Most everyone else had a cell phone and was affected by the pulse with a few exceptions like Tom who had forgotten his cell phone and like Clay who didn’t own one or people who did own one but like Alice and Clay noticed that the cell phone was the problem.
The flock I think is a comment on how much people follow each other. In this story it is the culmination of owning a cell phone. My friend has a cell phone so eventually I get a cell phone and soon all my friends have cell phones. Another aspect is once the flock starts binding together they try to force their will on the normal people, making them avoid certain people or making them go specific places or in some instances kill themselves. In a way I think the zombie like state of the flock and the way they are described as doing everything the same and only turning on each other when their own personal selfishness is threatened is making fun of the types that just follow whatever may be the fad for the day. And as for the forcing their will on people, this could represent society’s intolerance at anyone who dares to be different and show individuality.
The thing I was upset about was the fact that Clay finally was going to get his artwork published and then Murphy’s Law kicks in and destroys the world.
King definitely knows how to tell a story. I really enjoyed it.