Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

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Book Information  
AuthorStephen King
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Bret M. Funk - Author 
(Aug 30, 2002)

From alien abductions to telepathy to carnivorous intestinal parasites, Dreamcatcher is another fascinating voyage into the strange, and sometimes frightening, mind of Stephen King. Told mainly from the perspective of four lifelong friends, childhood residents of the ill-fated town of Derry,the story follows an attempted alien invasion and its aftermath.

The four main characters, Henry, Pete, Jonesy, and Beaver, returning to Maine for their annual hunting trip, find themselves caught in a medical quarantine. Trapped at their cabin, Jonesy and the Beav encounter a lost hunter, sick and disoriented, and offer him shelter. Not too far away, Pete and Henry are nearly killed when they come across a second hunter comatose in the road.

It is quickly discovered that the hunters are not sick; they are infected with an alien parasite, and a hungry one at that. This turn of events concerns even the aliens, who want to control humanity, not destroy it. But for some inexplicable reason, Earth's climate is inhospitable to them and its residents are highly resistant to their control. Jonesy is the first person they encounter immune to the destructive effects of their virus. Possessed by an alien intelligence, trapped within his own mind, Jonesy is forced to aid the aliens in their assault on Earth.

Henry leads the efforts to save Jonesy, and humanity, from destruction. Battling not only the aliens but a fanatical military commander, Henry must draw on the special bond the four friends share and on Duddits, the Down-syndrome boy who had been their childhood friend and the cause of their finest hour.

Though far from King's best work, Dreamcatcher holds the reader's interest. The story has all the King standards: bullies; people from (and drawn back to) that terrifyingly-tragic region of Maine; and children, reunited as adults and strengthened by their unity, forced to deal with unbelievable nightmares. It also contains a few delightful references to King's earlier works; some overt and some carefully hidden.

Dreamcatcher, soon to be adapted into a feature length film-and likely ruined in the process-does have a few flaws. The excessive cursing and stream-of-consciousness writing, which I found so cutting-edge in my youth, is far less intriguing to me now. As usual, uncensored descriptions of violence and references to various abuses are plentiful. So plentiful it can make a reader doubt that any of us had happy childhoods. And as a whole, the story lacked King's usual power, leaving me satisfied, but not necessarily wanting more.

Submitted by Anonymous
(May 15, 2001)

I have to respond to the "hype" (reviews) concerning "Dreamcatcher". Just finished reading it. It had its moments but it is mostly disappointing. And about 200 pages longer than it should be. Actually the plot is better suited to a comic book. Maybe that's why King's popularity is so great. He's really making comic books in long hand, without the drawings. Stephen King has often said that he writes 10 pages a day (forcing himself to write even when he doesn't want to) and it shows. Half the book is an accumulation of those lousy 10 pages a day when he should have gone to the local pub, had a beer and recharged his literary batteries. And the plot. King is obviously on auto-pilot. This is just a rip-off of his own Tommyknockers for the start. And then it degenerates into some kind of "chase" scenes in which the heroes (grown-up but still kids mostly, as usual) are going to save the world from the alien "shit-weasel". King likes to keep his main characters kids, as he then can have them say juvenile words, i.e., he (King) doesn't have to worry about writing grown-up half-way intelligent dialogue. A writer's trick. Maybe because, before reading "Dreamcatcher" I read a really good book (Saint Jack and Toad/Third Angel of the Apocalypse by Philip Carraher) I'm a little more disappointed in King than usual. How about this as an example of comparing the writing of King vs. Carraher: From Dreamcatcher: "Even his Perco don't help. His throat make sore and his body shakes and his belly make hurty kind of like when he has to go poopoo..." Good Lord! Is this writing? Or, also from Dreamcatcher: "Henry's heartbeat had doubled. By the time he stepped back from the window it had tripled. His eyes seemed to pulse from their sockets..." Is this the best King can do to put imagery into his books? Now some words from Carraher: From Saint Jack: "The wood floor of the saloon rippled like a moving tide at Jack's feet. A quick camera flash of bright light blinded him momentarily, then, sight returning, he saw something that took his breath away, a living quicksilver leaping up into sudden existence at his feet, a flaring wave of liquid light. Immediately it was on the move, spilling over itself...gleaming like a liquefied full moon as it rolled rapaciously toward the twisted and corrupted soul that was its destination." Or (again from Saint Jack): "Jack...had the sensation of standing again on a threshold separating two worlds, except this time the world beckoning to him from the other side of that threshold was offering him grinning terrors and grotesque horrors instead of the radiant glory of a sweet vision. The very pavement beneath his feet shuddered at the sights now passing him by." Two quick examples. As readers, can you "pick up on" the difference in quality of writing? The imagery is much superior in Carraher's book to that which appears in King's "Dreamcatcher". I'm not even sure I picked the best examples of Carraher's writing. Reading King's book is like taking a roller-coaster ride. Fun in parts but you end up getting off exactly where you got on. The ride hasn't taken you anywhere. I think I want books from which I can learn, books which make me think a little bit (or a lot). King's books just don't do it for me anymore. I think I've read my last Stephen King. I've been disappointed with his last four or five. Enough. Carraher's book made me think about the world, and the possibility that we (humankind) will destroy ourselves with our movement into genetic science. The "third angel" in the title is the angel in the bible that talks of the Apocalypse coming due to the "pollution of the waters of life". It's Carraher's viewpoint that DNA can be thought of as the true "waters of life" and that the current genetic science is its coming pollution. Is the Apocalypse coming? Will we create it ourselves? Maybe. Scary thought. By the way, although I'll be accused of "spamming", if you want to buy Carraher's book you can get it where I did, at a place called on the web. I don't think it's in any book stores. I guess it's not got the words "poopoo" and "booger" in it enough to be a best seller. Oh well.

Submitted by
(Apr 06, 2001)

Well this is another homerun by one of Americas best authors! One of my favorite things about this book is that Stephen King wrote a large part of it by hand (with a Waterman Fountain pen!) That to me just adds a bit of closeness to the author! But besides that I also feel that this is one of his best works in a long time! I really hope that some day they adapt this into a Motion Picture! I think this would turn out rather well! But anyways I know that I didn't talk much about the story matter of this book (i don't want to give away any details) Just know this.... Stephen King fans everywhere should flock out and buy this book, I rate it about a 9 out of a possible 10 C.P.Kinkaid

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