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The Dead Zone by Stephen King

The Dead Zone (original 1979; edition 1979)

by Stephen King

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6,25172646 (3.76)177
Title:The Dead Zone
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Viking Press (1979), First edition, Hardcover with dust jacket
Collections:Your library, Key books, Signed and limited, Stephen King
Tags:SFF, 1970s, American, Northeast, horror, supernatural, read in 1980s

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The Dead Zone by Stephen King (1979)

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English (66)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (71)
Showing 1-5 of 66 (next | show all)
"The Wheel of Fortune", Part I, of this book is excellent, five star all the way! Part II, "The Laughing Tiger", not so much. Johnny's pursuit of a killer is a much better read than his pursuit of a politician. Still, it makes for an overall good book, and an enjoyable read. Also, it's a little snapshot of the U.S. political climate back in the late '70's, early '80's. ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Aug 8, 2015 |
The worst Stephen King book I've ever read.

This was very surprising to me because I absolutely loved the first half of this book and thought that maybe it would be one that I would actually enjoy reading.

However, the latter half of the book left me extremely disappointed. It started to drag on and on and it went in an entirely different direction than I expected. It's almost like a different person wrote the second half of the book because it was so utterly and completely boring.

Here's hoping the next King book that I read doesn't turn out to be this horrendous. ( )
1 vote Wonderland_Books | May 2, 2015 |
For Goodreads: 2.5 stars.

I think I dislike this book a little more every time I read it. The Dead Zone is, for the most part, boring setups that lead to lackluster climaxes, if they can be called climaxes at all. Maybe "payoffs" would be a better word... But I think what I dislike the most about this book is all the political mumbo jumbo. I simply don't give a shit about politics, and this book is full of it. If Johnny Smith isn't thinking about how shitty he has it, he's ruminating on the political climate. This is purely subjective, of course, because if you dig your stories dredged in government, battered in legislature, and fried in policy then this book is definitely for you.

Honestly, The Dead Zone never had a chance. Not this time around at least. Especially coming off my reread of King's exceptional third outing, The Shining. (In case you're wondering, I skipped The Stand because I just reread it last year.) I suppose The Dead Zone is a perfect example of that old saying: They can't all be winners. King came out the gate with five fantastic novels. He was bound to lay a stinker on the world eventually.

I do enjoy the first 140 or so pages of this book, but everything's downhill from there. King had some terrific characters, but it seems as if he didn't really know what do with them once they were established. It's funny, because the book feels more like a collection of interconnected short stories than it does a novel.

Notes on the film and television adaptations: I love Christopher Walken. He's one of my favorite actors. But I've never been able to finish the film adaptation of this book. It bores me to sleep every time. Shit's better than L-tryptophan, son! And the TV series with that dude from Weird Science? All I saw of that were the commercials. I suppose this story just doesn't pique my interest. I do believe this is the final time I'm reading this one. Maybe...

Notable names:
Jerusalem's Lot (Obvious)
Gendron (used throughout the King-verse)
Richard Dees (the despicable main character of King's short story "The Night Flier")
Inside View (a gossip rag like The Enquirer that shows up quite bit inside the King-verse. The aforementioned Richard Dees is a headhunter for said magazine.)
Carrie (mentioned as a book instead of a person)
And, of course, Castle Rock (No-brainer)

In summation: One of my bottom five when it comes to King's books, right down there with Wizard and Glass and the absolutely terrible From a Buick 8. I'm definitely not looking forward to my reread of the latter.

On to Firestarter, which I don't remember at all. I read this one in my teens and haven't read it since. I'm looking forward to it because I don't remember hating it and I dig the movie adaptation very much.
( )
1 vote Edward.Lorn | Feb 13, 2015 |
Yeah...Stephen King is a good writer. Amazing, actually. I was disappointed by the ending of this book. Don't get me wrong. I had a better time reading this than trying to look for something to watch on TV. The ending just didn't sit right with me. ( )
  theoriginalbree | Dec 1, 2014 |
Stephen King is an author I like, but a wildly uneven one – some of his books are awful, while some of his books are among the best I’ve ever read. He’s not really high on my priority list, but I’m not averse to reading his stuff when it comes up, and I picked up an old paperback of The Dead Zone for 50p at a library sale.

One of his earlier books (always a good sign with King), The Dead Zone is enlivened by how much it doesn’t stick to a predictable formula, and it’s really one of those books you want to read knowing nothing about it. Although apparently it was adapted into a Cronenberg film starring Christopher Walken in the 1980s, and a relatively long-running TV series in the 2000s, so maybe it’s more well-known than I thought. I’d only heard of it (and knew the ultimate direction it went in) because I’ve been keeping up with James Smythe’s long-running Re-reading Stephen King series at the Guardian, but I think I would have liked it better if I went in blind, knowing nothing about what happened – not even the first act. So if you haven’t heard of The Dead Zone and you’ve enjoyed anything else King has ever written, stop reading this now and keep an eye out for it. It’s one of his better books and well worth your time.

If you still want to know more, suffice to say that it follows the life of Johnny Smith, a young man with a latent psychic sense and an ability to predict what lies in the past, present and future of certain people. A life-altering accident heightens this ability like never before, and Johnny must suddenly decide what to do with it – and how to cope with the way people now treat him. Some of the best parts of The Dead Zone are in the unexpected flashes Johnny gets of other people’s lives when he touches their belongings; as he pushes coats aside on a rack at a restaurant and knows that a man there is slowly going mad, or when he handles a 100-year-old photograph and learns that its subject, a man long dead, poisoned his wife. Johnny’s psychic ability is a curse as much as a gift, but King does a good job of making Johnny an affable character and never letting his misgivings and misery seem too self-pitying.

Stephen King is noted as a horror novelist, but I’ve never personally found that to be a good description of his work, which ranges across the whole gamut of speculative fiction: he has time travel novels, apocalyptic novels, fantasy novels and more. The Dead Zone feels more like a suspense thriller than anything, combining the fantasy aspect of Johnny’s sixth sense with a story of serial killers, FBI agents and something much darker. It’s a little slow to get going, but it ends up being a great read – not as good as something like The Stand, The Mist or The Long Walk, but definitely one of King’s better novels. ( )
  edgeworth | Nov 9, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (23 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bauman, JillIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brown, ChristopherCover artistsecondary 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
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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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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)

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