Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Cell, by Stephen King

I just looove zombies. Can you tell there is a lot of sarcasm here? Yes, there is if you were in doubt. Zombies give me the creeps. I don't watch zombie movies, I don't listen to Rob Zombie, and if I have my druthers you can all go watch the zombie movie and I will stay home and knit or crochet or play video games. AND I do not play zombie killing video games either (unless it is in Champions of Norath or something of that nature). Despite detesting zombies (*shudder*) I dearly love Stephen King and, because Stephen King wrote it I will read it. And, last night, I finished reading Cell. Cell is Stephen King's zombie story.

There wasn't any doubt from the very beginning this was a zombie novel. Mr. King is quite a polite soul and lets you know right away it is about zombies because he dedicates his book "For Richard Matheson and George Romero." If you ever see the name "George Romero" in something you can just bet it is about zombies.

The premise in the novel is that someone from somewhere sends a pulse out via satellite and everyone who has a cell phone and is on it at that time, or after, well, they become zombies. Our hero, Clay Riddell, is a comic artist on his way back from the most wondrous of meetings. It was a meeting where he sold his first graphic novel. All is right with his world. Then it isn't. This point was most poignant for me because, well, I could see this being me. My first novel being sold! I am officially an established writer (almost). My career has begun, and then zombies have to screw it all up.

Even though we never know who the someone was who sent out the pulse, it doesn't matter by the end of the first day. People, normal, happy, kind people are ripping ears off of dogs, killing people, and just angry beyond belief and killing. They are killing everyone that is not like them. Soon the world becomes boiled down to Phoners (the zombies) and "normies", those not zombies.

The characters are alive and vivid. I know these people, these "normies." I can spot these people on the street even if don't know them. It is every day real life that gets turned upside down. In many of King's novels, there is always a small group of people who must fight the bad things that go bump in the night, and except for The Stand I can't remember a Stephen King novel where the world was brought to its knees. This isn't The Stand. This is something that frightened me on a deep level, that level I don't want to think about because...I have a cell phone and I use it daily. It frightened me because I don't want to see my neighbors turning on their children and knowing that if the children can't run away they are going to die. It frightened me because, even though it is far fetched, it is possible. Or, at least my brain says it is possible.

Clay Riddell and his friends are just surviving. They are making it through one day at a time. They are alive. They are normal, and they decide to fight back. Fighting back gets them in trouble because you then see the zombies aren't like the zombies of the novels and movies. They are scary, telepathic and, crazy.

I don't want to give away too much about this book, but if there is a Stephen King fan on your Christmas list, you can't go wrong by getting them this book for Christmas.

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