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The Dead Zone by Stephen King
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The Dead Zone (original 1979; edition 1979)

by Stephen King

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6,08871675 (3.75)173
Member:sturlington
Title:The Dead Zone
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Viking Press (1979), First edition, Hardcover with dust jacket
Collections:Your library, Signed and Limited, Stephen King
Rating:****
Tags:Horror classics, 1970s, edition (signed)

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The Dead Zone by Stephen King (1979)

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English (65)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (70)
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
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 |
this felt to me like an old manuscript that stephen king pulled out of a drawer after the success of the stand, rushed off some minor edits, and didn't bother to really put himself into. i love him so i hate to say that, but this has none of the character development and pacing that is so much a part of his writing, not to mention that the main relationship we're supposed to believe is kept alive for each of them for years is based on their knowing each other less than 2 months. the ideas are there, the style is mostly there, it's just not put together in a way that is up to his caliber, at all. there is way too much missing, while there also is way too much extra. normally his books are so tight, even the long ones, that this really feels like a draft that he didn't rework enough (or almost at all) before publishing. because his ideas are good, and because he comes through in parts, this gets 2 stars, but i'm disappointed. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Oct 14, 2014 |
There are probably some faults with this book, but I easily love it the best out of all of my Stephen King favourites so I had to rate it as "amazing".

I still remember the first (of many, many, many) time that I read it and how it got me so emotionally worked up that I wanted to shake characters and shout in their faces "just believe him! Why don't you believe him?"

Frustrating, emotional, gripping, and overall a book that left me better off than it found me. ( )
  kathay | Sep 26, 2014 |
There is a lot of heartache and misery in this book. But pretty decent. ( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 65 (next | show all)
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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
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.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.
Haiku summary

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:31:39 -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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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