I think I may have to give up on Under The Dome, 350 pages in. I liked the first 100 pages well enough. I thought the set-up, and the snapshots of all the people at the time of the dome's arrival, were great. But then the "plot" started. And suddenly the short-order cook isn't just aligned against the bad guys, but he's a war hero, with many medals to his name. And suddenly the bad guys aren't just incompetent leaders, but meth-dealers who murder at the slightest provocation. But I should also point out that I've never read The Stand - I just watched the miniseries, and I decided I'd never pick it up because it was too Good vs. Evil - so maybe I'm just not into this kind of thing.
And now? Now there was just a paragraph of discussion comparing the book's villains to various figures in Nazism (and when the good guys assess the bad guys, they're always right). This is kind of a dealbreaker for me. Especially when there is clearly NO understanding of Nazism (it's one of those, oh-it's-bad-so-it's-a-Nazi type things). I'm not sure I can take another 650 pages of this patting-each-other-on-the-back bullshit. The liberal sensibilities of this book remind me of a book I once wrote... at age fifteen
. You know, pre-college. I can't decide what I'd think about this book as a conservative American - would I respond with fury, or with laughter? It's Left Behind for leftists.
The dialogue is okay for most of the characters, but then we'll have random things like a 14-year-old "riot grrl" dramatically saying "What are you saying?" or a block paragraph written in Stephen King's explanatory voice that, I promise, is actually the voice of a mourning housewife. No, no no. Then there's the obsession with dogs, because you know dogs are only owned by angelic people, because dogs, especially Golden Retrievers, are themselves Angels. Note to Stephen King: your beloved Dean Koontz got dibs on this one long ago, bb.
OTOH, I can thank Under The Dome for making me very aware of the problems that can arise when you're writing a ginormous cast confined to a small area. Part of the reason I was excited to read the book was that The Novel is set in similar circumstances (no dome, but a confined small town). I now see how quickly this can all go wrong.
My mother - who is very lib'ral, read an early proof of The Novel and commented on how much she hated my Reverend character. I was surprised by this, because I like my Reverend - he's "strong-minded," yes, and a pessimist, but he tries relentlessly to save everybody in town, and never gives up, and he's also one of the smartest, sharpest crayons in the town box. Or at least, that's how I envisioned him. What she said made me think that I had not let enough of this come across.
So now I'm frantically trying to spot Big Jim Rennies lurking in The Novel.
Of all the horror movies I saw this weekend, pretty sure Inland Empire fucked me up the most. I kept waking up in the middle of the night afraid that I would see the horrible distorted face of Laura Dern. Jesus Christ, man. I read some reviewer saying that it's one of the most flat-out disturbing visual experiences they've ever had, seeing this face, and I would have to agree. And I've watched J-Horror, you know!