Under the Dome – Stephen King
One beautiful autumn morning, a small town in Maine becomes inexplicably surrounded with an impenetrable force-field. Cut off from the rest of the world, the town falls prey to the machinations of its morally-challenged Second Selectman and his deputized army of thugs.
Things I learned, Part 1 – “Clustermug.” – Stephen King is a master of dialogue. The main villain pretends to be religious and never swears, instead cloaking all his horrible thoughts in beautifully constructed euphemisms like ‘clustermug.’ Just that one word tells you so much about the character.
Things I learned, Part 2 – Prophetic dreams work wonders if they’re justified in source. Very early on in the book the children of the town begin having seizures and seeing visions of an awful event happening on Halloween. This gives the reader a climax we are waiting for, and hangs an air of desperation over the actions of the heroes who don’t know what might be coming. Because of the mysterious nature of the force-field the dreams come across as plausible and not a narrative cheat.
Things I learned, Part 3 – Ideas aren’t as important as execution. I avoided reading this book for a few years because it reminded me of the plot of The Simpsons movie and I thought I wouldn’t be able to take it seriously. But then my wife bought the books and within the first page I stopped humming “Spider-pig.” I think the takeaway is not to limit yourself if you have an idea that seems similar to something that already exists. If you love the concept and work hard to put your own stamp on it you should be fine.