|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.