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Thread: Cell by Stephen King (to be released January 24)

  1. #21
    FORT Fogey PGM35's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dagwood View Post
    Love Stephen King. Will have to read this one. There are only a couple of his that I haven't finished...Buick 8 and Dark Tower series.

    The Stand was my first taste, and favorite, of Stephen (back when it first came out and was heavily edited). Bag of Bones is my second fave. Scared the crap out of me when I read it. Kept hearing things go bump in the night for weeks.

    PGM35, have you read Desperation? That book was released at the same time as The Regulators. It uses the exact same characters but in a very different situation. Great couple of books to read back to back.
    I liked the original Stand. I know it was edited and the "new" one had more to it but I didn't like the "updating" to make it more modern. I liked the "oldie" if that makes sense.

    Yes, I believe I did read Desperation and I think The Regulators as well. I just got them from the Library so I am going to reread them to refresh my memory.

  2. #22
    Livin' the life Dinahann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dagwood View Post
    eta:
    I forgot a story of his I read once and will never read again. It was Survivor Type, about a man who was stranded on a desert island. Creeps me out just thinking about it.
    I know, I know. I shiver every time I think about it. He was a drug addict, or drug dealer (it's be a loong time since I've read it) and he was stranded on a desert island with a leg injury. I won't give it away but it was so gross! I hated it but couldn't put it down.

    Quote Originally Posted by PGM35
    I liked the original Stand. I know it was edited and the "new" one had more to it but I didn't like the "updating" to make it more modern. I liked the "oldie" if that makes sense.
    I guess I'm just different. I liked the unedited version better. I've never minded King's wordiness and the unedited version had that strange charactor that ran with the wolves. He was a creepy guy, for sure.
    Well I was born in a small town
    And I can breathe in a small town
    Gonna die in this small town
    And that's prob'ly where they'll bury me

  3. #23
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dinahann View Post
    I know, I know. I shiver every time I think about it. He was a drug addict, or drug dealer (it's be a loong time since I've read it) and he was stranded on a desert island with a leg injury. I won't give it away but it was so gross! I hated it but couldn't put it down.
    Ayuh. That was certainly one of the more memorable King short stories. I also enjoyed "The Raft" and "The Jaunt." Those two and "Survivor Type" read like particularly effective Twilight Zone episodes.

    I have my copy of The Cell. I've only read a few pages, but I think it's off to a promising start. I've always liked King's apocalyptic visions--The Stand, "The End of the Whole Mess," et.al.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  4. #24
    Premium Member dagwood's Avatar
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    My mom lent me The Cell. I can't wait to read it.

  5. #25
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    So, has anyone finished it yet? I have, and would love to discuss it with my fellow horror devotees.

    Just a few non-spoilerish thoughts in the meantime: Overall, I thought it was a good book, by turns fun, gory and touching. The "George Romero meets The Stand" reviews I've come across seem pretty apt, although I probably don't have to tell you that Cell suffers in comparison to The Stand - but let's be realistic here, shall we? I, for one, never anticipated a new The Stand, especially not at less than 400 pages. Like phat, I'm a sucker for King's apocalyptic stores, and I LOVED the doomsday feeling of the brief opening chapter. However, I felt that the story progressed a bit too fast after that. Part of me appreciated the fast-paced, in-your-face old school horror feel of the novel; all that immediate action really throws you off and makes it impossible to put down the book. However, a little more character development would have been nice. It took me over 100 pages to truly connect with Clay, the main character, and as Constant Readers will know, Stephen King usually has a magical way to make you instantly sympathize with his characters - the good guys, that is.

    The ending will undoubtedly cause mixed feelings. I'll refrain from commenting on it until more people have finished the book. I haven't read The Dark Tower series, but several reviews I've come across talk about several subtle (and some not-so-subtle) references to the series in Cell. Those of you who have read the Dark Tower series: would you mind telling a dummy what those references were? I can't believe I have yet to read a sentence of such a huge, epic work that seems to resonate with so many other novels (all of which I have read, without picking up on the clues). I single-handedly blame my unfounded fear of anything fantasy - don't worry, though, I'm slowly but surely getting over it.

    Can't wait to hear your thoughts on this. Oh, and one more thing: I loved the excerpt (handwritten!) from Lisey's Story. Finding an excerpt from upcoming publications at the end of a book always cheers me up no end.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

  6. #26
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by geek the girl View Post
    So, has anyone finished it yet? I have, and would love to discuss it with my fellow horror devotees.
    I finished last night, and my first thought was:
    Click to see Spoiler:
    Oh, hell, no. This was King proving his critics right. The man can't finish a novel in a satisfactory fashion. The first rule of novel writing? You don't finish writing a novel on a cliffhanger. The second rule of novel writing? You don't finish writing a novel on a cliffhanger.


    The novel ended just as it began to be interesting, but I had the feeling King took it upon himself to respond to one of the other common criticisms about his writing and shortened it considerably, just to show that he can, rather than run off at the pen, which is his typical style.

    Just a few non-spoilerish thoughts in the meantime: Overall, I thought it was a good book, by turns fun, gory and touching. The "George Romero meets The Stand" reviews I've come across seem pretty apt, although I probably don't have to tell you that Cell suffers in comparison to The Stand - but let's be realistic here, shall we? I, for one, never anticipated a new The Stand, especially not at less than 400 pages.
    I can see the comparisons, especially the
    Click to see Spoiler:
    band of brave rebels travel into the heart of the enemies' den to face the Number One Bad Guy in a final, Western-like showdown.


    Like phat, I'm a sucker for King's apocalyptic stores, and I LOVED the doomsday feeling of the brief opening chapter.
    I did, too. Didn't feel like typical King, though. Maybe his style has progressed. Typical King would have had about 500 pages delving into the background of Clay, Tom and Alice before the first Phoner bit off anybody's nose.

    It took me over 100 pages to truly connect with Clay, the main character, and as Constant Readers will know, Stephen King usually has a magical way to make you instantly sympathize with his characters - the good guys, that is.
    Yep. I looked at Clay as a cardboard cutout. If they cast the film, any 30-ish, white actor could play Clay. Not exactly strong character development, in my opinion.

    I haven't read The Dark Tower series, but several reviews I've come across talk about several subtle (and some not-so-subtle) references to the series in Cell. Those of you who have read the Dark Tower series: would you mind telling a dummy what those references were?
    Click to see Spoiler:
    The Charlie the Choo-Choo at the No-Fo Expo Grounds! It's the one dangling plot thread from DT that I've always wondered about.
    And I know that makes absolutely no sense...unless you've read DT, which you must, Geek the Girl. Like, now. As in, on your lunchbreak, get thee to a bookstore and get the whole thing.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  7. #27
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by phat32 View Post
    I finished last night, and my first thought was:
    Click to see Spoiler:
    Oh, hell, no. This was King proving his critics right. The man can't finish a novel in a satisfactory fashion. The first rule of novel writing? You don't finish writing a novel on a cliffhanger. The second rule of novel writing? You don't finish writing a novel on a cliffhanger.
    Yep, I feel the exact same way.
    Click to see Spoiler:
    When he left us hanging like that, I was like "You've GOT to be kidding me! That's no way to end a story". At first, I thought (hoped) there was something wrong with my edition, that the last couple of pages were missing or something - the ending felt so incredibly rushed. I'd probably be more forgiving if it had been a short story, but this was a huge let-down. What do you reckon happened? I'm hoping that the reversed Pulse worked and did bring Johnny back to his normal self, but of course I'll never know for sure. Gah!


    The novel ended just as it began to be interesting, but I had the feeling King took it upon himself to respond to one of the other common criticisms about his writing and shortened it considerably, just to show that he can, rather than run off at the pen, which is his typical style.
    I think you nailed it. He needs to stop listening to his critics! Stylistically and structurally, Cell felt like an experiment of sorts, and not an altogether successful one. Maybe it's just me, but I wish King would get a new case of literary elephantiasis.

    Oh, and I hereby pledge to read the whole Dark Tower series. It seems like the kind of series that would benefit from being read back to back in a short amount of time, though, so I think I'll put all seven (eight?) volumes on the top of my summer reading list. That is, if I can wait that long, which I highly doubt. The geek in me (what other part is there?) can't wait to start seeing patterns and clues in King's body of work.

    By the way, did I dream this or did someone here at the FORT say that there's a possible connection between Lisey of Lisey's Story and an older story/novel of King's? I swear, I'm getting more forgetful each day.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

  8. #28
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    In response to Geek's question about
    Click to see Spoiler:
    Clay's son
    posted in her spoiler:

    The problem when a writer like King tries to write a character like Jordan is that he's inevitably going to get some of it wrong, especially if he's a self-professed Luddite. Ten years ago, maybe even five years ago, I think someone who boasted about not owning a cell phone, not having an email address and/or not owning a computer or even knowing how to turn one on, would have been looked upon by some as being charmingly grouchy and old-fashioned. Now, computers are the way of the world, whether they like it or not. To me, it's like someone in 1988 boasting about never having been to the movies and expressing her admiration for weekly radio programs. But I digress.

    I wouldn't ordinarily take a writer to task for all the "computer stuff" errors, but since King opened that can of worms with all the Pulse + human mind = computer worm + computer stuff, some of it was questionable at best and plain wrong at worst.

    Let's start with the language. Jordan referring to himself as a "McNerd"? What the hell is that? I hate it when writers try to up a character's esprit in the computer world by aping the language and getting it all wrong. Jordan would more likely refer to himself as, simply, a geek. (No offense, Geek. ) At the risk of sounding pedantic, let's tackle the Pulse itself.

    I have a rudimentary understanding of worms, viruses and Trojan horses, but
    Click to see Spoiler:
    my understanding is that they can mutate...once they've infected a system. So while flawed code (like the Pulse) could initially infect a human being and "wipe the brain" (:rolleyes), it would mutate after infection. In other words, the Pulse itself would not mutate once it begins transmitting. It would not be unlike your copy of Microsoft Office CD spontaneously becoming the National Geographic library. Having said that, granted, I don't know how the Pulse was designed or how it works, and since it's fictional, I suppose a little dramatic license is in order and it can do whatever the hell it pleases.

    But to answer your question about what happened to Clay's son: I think Pulsing him a second time wouldn't do a damn thing. It's like trying to return your computer to a former working state after it's been infected by a virus...by uploading a slightly modified version of the virus code.


    I'm glad, however, that King gave Neal Stephenson a nod in the course of the story. A computer virus designed to infect human beings was the cornerstone of Stephenson's most well-known novel, Snow Crash, a cyberpunk novel so daring and so broad in scope that most of the concepts Stephenson discusses fly over the heads of most self-professed geeks, including me. It's like A Brief History of Time to physicists.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  9. #29
    Culture slut geek the girl's Avatar
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    Wow, great post, phat! I must admit that while being a total geek when it comes to anything related to pop culture and literature, my computer skills are pretty much limited to how to log on to the FORT. Having said that, even a computer dummy like me found the technical premises of the novel far-fetched at best.
    Click to see Spoiler:
    My guess as to why he didn't give us a proper ending is that he didn't feel he had the knowledge to give us one without having computer geeks all across the world ganging up on him. In plain English, he chickened out on us. I can't claim to have King's experience in writing (who can?), but I've dabbled a bit in writing, and I personally tend to stay away from anything that involves massive research (at least within a field I know little or nothing about) since I'm bound to get some of it wrong. While I still in my heart hope that Clay was in fact able to revive his son (after all, I am a woman ), I agree with you that in all likelihood, nothing would happen. Which is why King left us hanging by that critical moment.
    "There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more" (Morrissey)

  10. #30
    Bloomin' FoRT Fanatic! ness's Avatar
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    Finished it.

    WTF is up with the ending?

    Oh, well.
    "In a world of pollution, profanity, adolescence, broccoli, zits, ozone depletion, racism, sexism, stupid guys and PMS, why the hell do people still tell me to have a nice day?" - Unknown

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