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New Release: Under the Dome

41+HQnGT-2L._SL160_By Stephen King
Scribner | 1088pgs
Release Date: November 10, 2009

Stephen King’s latest opus hit stores on Tuesday, and rabid fans can finally discover what’s Under the Dome. The novel centers on the small town of Chester’s Mill, Maine, as its tranquility is shattered by an all-encompassing invisible dome. When the force field materializes, planes and cars explode on impact, and a few unsuspecting limbs are severed. No one can get in or out, and the cause of the dome is a complete mystery. Could it be little green men? A military experiment gone horribly wrong? An act of God? Hefting in at nearly 1,100 pages, Under the Dome approaches the epic scale of The Stand. And like The Stand, at the core of this story is a battle between the forces of good and evil. This time around the Baddie is town Selectman “Big Jim” Rennie, who sees the imprisoning dome as an opportunity to take control of Chester’s Mill and run the town as his own police state. Fighting against Rennie’s murderous corruption is a small group of townspeople led by Dale Barbara, local fry cook and guilt ridden Iraq War vet. The factions clash in a bloody battle, with heavy casualties on both sides. But do the good guys win? It is a Stephen King novel after all, so a happy ending is never guaranteed.

King initially started work on this story in 1976, but shelved the manuscript after only writing 75 pages. He tried revisiting the idea several times in the following decades, but it wasn’t until 2007 that the story finally took hold. In an Entertainment Weekly exclusive, King explains that one of the challenges in this decades-long odyssey was keeping up with technology. “Every time I went back and picked it up again, science had changed,” says King. He eventually tapped close friend Russ Dorr to lead the book’s research on cutting edge technology for cell phones, portable generators, etc.

Anticipation for the new novel has been astronomical worldwide, and King’s UK publisher Hodder & Stoughton has stoked the fires by initiating a cyberspace game of “hide and seek”. The publishing house hid 5,000 short excerpts from Under the Dome in randomly chosen locations around the UK and on the net, then invited the public via fansites, to collect the snippets and re-hide them in very creative places. The winner was Mark Nelson, a photographer from Chester, England, who hid an excerpt in a photograph of St Paul’s Cathedral dome and posted it on Flickr. “I’ve got high hopes for Under the Dome,” says Nelson. “People get a bit snotty about genre fiction, but King is almost Dickensian in his character development and plots.” (Read Guardian article)

Watch Stephen King read a passage from Under the Dome

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