Not too much to say about this one - it's very straightforward:
There's a nice review here, with no real spoilers, and I will observe the same with this post. You should read it, if you haven't. Perfect way to pass some time in an airport, lounge-chair, train, etc. I don't mean to damn by faint praise; it's a damn-near perfect example of a story finely-tuned to those experiences (during which, for me anyway, reading a book is the only thing I want to do.) It's not too long, starts off with a bang, and takes some wild twists and turns.
|I like the paperback cover a bit better than the hardcover. The "911" and tagline are fun commentaries on the events within, as is one of the three inscriptions before the story begins: Can You Hear Me Now?|
It reminded me a lot of "The Mist."In both stories, a crisis-event happens and is not explained (ominous references to "The Arrowhead Project" in "The Mist," notwithstanding); survivors band together and hi-jinks ensue (among them, a religious-crazy-survivor who descends on the protagonists); the main character is preoccupied with the unknown fate of his loved ones back home; fact-finding missions are made into the lion's den; and both end ambiguously.
Of course, there are plenty of differences, too. In "The Mist," the m.c. has his kid with him, in Cell we get a glimpse of what the monsters/crazies are doing, and many more.
Frank Darabont added an ending to his film version of "The Mist," and I imagine a film version of Cell would do the same. (Why this hasn't been made, sequeled, and rebooted is beyond me.) I can sympathize with allegations of "cop-out" for the ending, but I for one was more disappointed with how the phone-crazy convention in Kashwakamak wrapped up. That was it? Not that I was exactly "disappointed," more surprised.
|A view from the actual Kashwakamak, in Canada, that is.|
|Pretty good boogeyman in the character of The Raggedy Man aka The President of Harvard|
Neither here nor there, but I liked the references to Dark Horse Comics, as well. I'll probably remove Dark Horse Presents from my pull-list in the months to come, but it's been something I've looked forward to for the past fourteen months.
Survival is like love; both are blind.
I couldn't help but think of the TV show Dollhouse, which also depicts an apocalypse triggered by a remote activation, a sudden and ubiquitous paving-over of the neural topography. Opinions are divided on the show...
|Full disclosure - I love it.|
but the central conceit of Cell (i.e. a pulse was generated over mobile networks and whomever answered the call went wack-a-doo) is pretty much said verbatim by Topher in "Epitaph One." I found a You-Tube clip of the particular dialogue, but it's a whole lot and not the isolated five-second clip that I was looking for. (Here it is, at 1:02, should you want a look)
I don't mean to suggest Dollhouse is derivative of Cell. Only that certain ideas suggest certain tributaries, independent of who observes them.
|I found your friend...|
I couldn't help but like the idea of old-timers who never quite embraced the change in societal customs and manners that the intrusion of cellphones demanded. I'll never forget the first few times someone answered a call in the middle of conversation and how exasperated I felt. And I still crease my eyebrows when a cashier (or even a cabbie) divides his or her attention between me and the phone, or I overhear the most personal/ ridiculous conversation on the train or bus.
|Par for the course, now.|
Considering the amount of dropped calls and the inability of Dawn and I to have a phone conversation when she's in her apartment, I remain as unconvinced of the superiority of the cellphone age to the one I grew up on as the author.
I get the same thing when I read F. Scott Fitzgerald and he speaks of how the world he grew up in would be/ is constantly offended by the world he died in. It's not unique to him, by any rate; it's an authorly observation passed down in every generation. But viewed through this perspective, this novel is a bit more of a gut-punch of a "get off my lawn" than others.
Great stuff - on the King recommendation/ readability scale, it's a Gjallarhorn.
I leave you with this, which I feel relates to all of the above, from Neil Gaiman's excellent interview with SK:
"I start to tell King my theory, that when people in the far future want to get an idea of how things felt between 1973 and today, they'll look to King. He's a master of reflecting the world that he sees, and recording it on the page. The rise and fall of the VCR, the arrival of Google and smartphones. It's all in there, behind the monsters and the night, making them more real."
His answer: "King is sanguine. “You know what you can’t tell what is going to last, what’s not going to last. There’s Kurt Vonnegut quote about John D. McDonald saying “200 years from now, when people want to know what the 20th century they ll go to John D. McDonald”, but I’m not sure that’s true – it seems like he’s almost been forgotten. But I try and reread a John D. McDonald novel whenever I come down here."