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The Dead Zone by Stephen King

The Dead Zone (1979)

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (90)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (96)
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
It's been awhile Mr. King. But you have to admit, you haven't exactly been treating me good.

Your last two new books that I read, 'Cell' and 'Under the Dome', frankly, stunk, and I haven't heard great things about how you ended that business with the 'Dark Tower'. Oh? You're writing another one. Well, good for you.

I would just like to say how much I enjoyed this one. I never watched the show with that nice Anthony Michael Hall, but I knew the basics of what this book was about. But, you and I both know it takes more than the basic plot element to make a book.

You do remember right? That you can't just have something odd happen to people and go hog-wild?

'The Dead Zone' is tightly plotted, no longer than it needs to be, and, most importantly, a story of a tragic accident happening to an ordinary person and what follows. It is well into the book before anything truly supernatural happens and, when it does, it has real-life consequences. We also get a good overview of the political climate of the 1970s and without unneeded references to popular culture! I suspect, Mr. King, that if you wrote this today you'd have inserted Shrinky Dinks into this somehow.

Because that's what kids like.

Popular versus literary, I don't often care about the distinction. What I like is good storytelling. And good stories are what you can deliver. You just have to get over yourself and be willing to write off vanity projects if they don't seem to be working out.

Johnny Smith as our hero is a regular guy faced with awful decisions, and your villains are grounded in reality, especially the 'earthy' everyman politician Greg Stillson, whose approach resembles a certain 'populist' movement today.

Drop the gimmicks. Keep it simple! ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
At its heart, The Dead Zone isn't a horror novel at all. It's a love story, a bitter-sweet tale of a love that might have been. Johnny's relationship with Sarah runs through the middle of the story, the glue that holds Johnny together when everything else seems bleak and hopeless.

I think everybody knows the plot - Johnny wakes from a long coma with the ability to see the future - and what he sees is bleak - unless a single man can be taken out of the equation early. The moral implications, the 'would you go back and kill Hitler if you could' argument drives the story along.

Several themes that would recur in later King novels turn up here - the roads not traveled, a good man trying to do the right thing against seemingly impossible odds, and the corruption of the soul that comes with power. But it is Johnny, the broken man, that gets our whole attention. He's a fully realised individual, one of King's great strengths, and we feel his pain and confusion, firstly after the accident, and then, with increasing hopelessness and horror as his 'gift' demands its price.

I first read this on its initial publication, more than 35 years ago now, and I wasn't sure about going back to it. I was worried that my feelings for it might have been colored by repeat viewings of the Cronenberg movie, and also by the somewhat lacklustre TV series from a few years back. I needn't have worried. As ever, King pulled me in, and I got through it in two sittings with just a coffee break in the middle.

I believe I enjoy it more now than I did then - back in '79 I was only a lad of 21 and I didn't really identify with Johnny's lost years, lost love or fear for the future. An older, more cynical me saw much more of myself in Johnny than I did then, and I do believe it's risen up the ranks in my list of favorite King novels to somewhere near the top five.

Stilton is a great, slimy, villain in counterpoint to Johnny's inate goodness, Sarah is as sweet as I remembered her, Johnny's sacrifices tugged at the heartstrings, and the grace note at the end at the graveside did something it hadn't managed before - this old cynical fart had a wee tear in his eye as he put the book down.

Five out of five stars, and I definitely won't wait another 35 years before reading it again.

(This review originally appeared in the KING FOR A YEAR review project hosted by Mark West ( http://kingreviews2015.blogspot.ca/ )
( )
  williemeikle | Dec 22, 2018 |
The one thing I hear more often than any other when people tell me why they've never read a King novel is "oh, I don't like scary books. Horror is just not my thing."
No matter what I say, they refuse to believe that a great deal of King's work only seems to be labelled as "horror" for convenience, and actually has very little to do with the genre. King writes books about people in unusual situations, and yes, there's often a supernatural or strange quality to at least one of the characters, but the stories are often no scarier than your average detective thriller (which King has also written a few of, by the way).
There are exceptions of course, but for the most part, there are books like The Dead Zone, which I would personally have much rather put in the "sci-fi" category, if the unusual element was in fact due to science or somesuch.

Don't be fooled by the title. The Dead Zone contains no zombies, animated skeletons or any other monsters, except those of the purely human variety. Instead it's a gripping tale of what happens when an ordinary man is given an extraordinary ability.

If you're on the fence about trying King because you don't like killer clowns, then leave It on the shelf, and pick up a book like The Dead Zone instead.

Uncle Stevie really isn't as scary as he seems... ( )
  Sammystarbuck | Nov 19, 2018 |
3.5 stars ( )
  mitabird | Jun 10, 2018 |
Sometimes drawn out, and some of the characters were more evil than necessary, but I enjoyed it overall. ( )
  TromboneAl | May 4, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bauman, JillIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, ChristopherCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dunkel, AlfredÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Matas, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Siddons, Anne RiversIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This is for Owen. I love you, old bear.
Esto es para Owen, Te quiero, viejo oso
First words
By the time he graduated from college, John Smith had forgotten all about the bad fall he took on the ice that January day in 1953.
Cuando terminó sus estudios universitarios, John Smith habia olvidado por completo la fea caída que había sufrido en el hielo en aquel día de enro de 1953.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Awake in the dead zone and awake to a nightmare. Recoil in horror as you are touched by a young man cursed with the power to perceive the evil in men’s souls. And whose ability to see into the future forces him into a terrifying confrontation with a charismatic, power-hungry and infinitely dangerous man.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451155750, Mass Market Paperback)

In the St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost & Gothic Writers, Gary Westfahl predicts that "King has already earned himself a place in the history of literature.... At the very least, he will enjoy the status of a latter-day Anthony Trollope, an author respected for his popularity and social commentary.... More likely, he will be enshrined as the Charles Dickens of the late 20th century, the writer who perfectly reflected, encapsulated, and expressed the characteristic concerns of his era."

If any of King's novels exemplifies his skill at portraying the concerns of his generation, it's The Dead Zone (1979). Although it contains a horrific subplot about a serial killer, it isn't strictly a horror novel. It's the story of an unassuming high school teacher, an Everyman, who suffers a gap in time--like a Rip Van Winkle who blacks out during the years 1970-75--and thus becomes acutely conscious of the way that American society is rapidly changing. He wakes up as well with a gap in his brain, the "dead zone" of the title. The zone gives him crippling headaches, but also grants him second sight, a talent he doesn't want and is reluctant to use. The crux of the novel concerns whether he will use that talent to alter the course of history.

The Dead Zone is a tight, well-crafted book. When asked in 1983 which of his novels so far was "the best," Stephen King answered, "The one that I think works the best is Dead Zone. It's the one that [has] the most story." --Fiona Webster

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:43 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

In his unequalled career, Stephen King has forged a place in publishing history as the most popular and recognized author of all time. Now, Signet is proud to reissue his most startling psychological thriller! After awakening from a four and a half year-long coma, a simple teacher finds himself irreparably altered -- both blessed ... and cursed -- with precognative visions of the future. Driven by his altruistic nature, he decides to use his newfound powers to prevent tragic events yet to happen. But as word of his unique ability leads to unwanted fame, the gift he hoped to share with humanity inevitably separates him from it.… (more)

» see all 11 descriptions

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