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by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,749244520 (3.45)1 / 167
Civilization doesn't end with a bang or a whimper. It ends with a call on your cell phone. What happens on the afternoon of October 1 came to be known as the Pulse, a signal sent though every operating cell phone that turns its user into something...well, something less than human. Savage, murderous, unthinking-and on a wanton rampage. Terrorist act? Cyber prank gone haywire? It really doesn't matter, not to the people who avoided the technological attack. What matters to them is surviving the aftermath. Before long a band of them-"normies" is how they think of themselves-have gathered on the grounds of Gaiten Academy, where the headmaster and one remaining student have something awesome and terrifying to show them on the school's moonlit soccer field. Clearly there can be no escape. The only option is to take them on.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 221 (next | show all)
Stephen King was my favourite author as a teenager and he's been the biggest influence on my own writing because of that. I've not read anything new of his in a long, long time, though. I stopped around the time where he stopped writing brilliant horror and started writing not-so-horror. And then I kind of never got started again. I'm trying to write horror at the moment, and feeling nostalgic about It and other King novels due to the content of what I'm trying to write, so when I saw this in the library I picked it up.

You know, I hadn't realised how much I'd missed King until I started reading him again.

This is good solid post-apocalyptic fare. I do love apocalyptic horror, so I was never really going to hate this. The beginning actually reminded me of Laymon a lot, so I spent a while expecting the teenage girl to get raped, because she probably would've if Laymon had written this. As it went on, it became more reminiscent of The Stand, which is one of my favourite King books.

The best thing about this, though, is that it has an excellent gay character in it. I shouldn't have to be so excited to find that in this genre, but let's face it. We all know what the genre's like. The greatest thing about it, is that Tom's sexuality is just there. And that's how it should be. There are a couple of hints, it's mentioned outright at one point, and that's it. And guess what? He doesn't even die! I know, right? ( )
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
this was pretty meh for me. in the end it's more or less a zombie story, which really doesn't appeal to me at all. and as far as the post-apocalyptic groups coming together, walking north, and surviving thing goes, i just recently read parable of the sower and that is better in every conceivable way. (even being situated on the west coast instead of the east, hahaha.)

this story isn't actually all bad, it's just not that interesting, and he forgets what makes his books so good - there is very little true character development here. so i don't care about these people the way i should. or the way i know he could make me. it's unlike him to write this way, and as such, it isn't one of his better efforts. although i do appreciate that at the very end, we don't know if clay will be able to "reboot" his son and bring him back, and then if he'll be able to regroup with his friends. we don't even really know if his band was even able to truly kill the "phone people" or not. it's strangely left pretty open, and while i like that in the case of clay's son, i don't like it with the phone people, since that's kind of the whole point of the book.

i do like what he might be saying about technology, gun control, and humans' base instincts. (i don't always agree with it, but it's an interesting conversation to have, anyway. ...and depending on my mood and the world around me, i might agree with it some days.) but in the end, the book doesn't really focus on those questions, but instead on the less interesting stuff. (stuff that could have been more interesting if he'd developed the characters better.)

although this was a remarkably fast read for my not feeling too interested in it. still, i think a lot of it could have been left out and replaced with character depth, and it would be much improved, and more like stephen king.

"At bottom, you see, we are not Homo sapiens at all. Our core is madness. The prime directive is murder. What Darwin was too polite to say, my friends, is that we came to rule the earth not because we were the smartest, or even the meanest, but because we have always been the craziest, most murderous motherfuckers in the jungle." ( )
  overlycriticalelisa | May 14, 2020 |
Literary critics can moan all they want about Stephen King's "penny dreadful" oeuvre, but his mastery at the craft of storytelling is indisputable. King writes his novels like a seduction, the story unfolding delicately and deliberately. As any Stephen King fan knows, his coy expository chapters often take up the first hundred pages or more. In Cell, however, the reader is brutally dragged into the main action--unspeakable, senseless violence--within the first seven pages. Cell is by far King's most brutal, transgressive work to date.

Many have compared Cell to his earlier epic, The Stand. On the surface, the novels are quite similar: an apocolyptic event threatens the very existence of the human race as a band of survivors struggle to come to terms with the carnage and avert further catastrophe. Cell, however, is the far more mature novel of the pair. The Stand was, in many ways, a novel by an idealistic youth, whereas Cell is filled with the trenchant and world-weary observations of an adult. The subtext is laden with so much chillingly apt futurist rhetoric that it is as though the author had Marshall McLuhan whispering plot devices and metaphors into his ear as he labored over his typewriter. King manages to explore several of the major sociocultural conflicts of our time, most persuasively the end of the era of individualism and the rise of collectivism, here symptomatic of heavy reliance on technology. Whereas many dystopian novels are almost comically blunt when expounding upon the dangers of collectivism, King's horrific plot and action give his metaphors a sort of subtlety that renders his subtext much more graceful and easier to stomach than the work of Ayn Rand.

As the epigraphs indicate, it is also a meditation on the intrinsic violence of the human race. King clearly feels as though the world is out of control and wants to find out why. His preferred genre, horror, is an excellent one with which to consider the depravaties of modern life. The Stand was a novel that, if not upbeat, was at least optimistic--a reflection of the times in which it was written. There was also violence, but it had its own biblical logic, if violence can ever be called logical. In Cell, the violence is senseless, oppressive, and omnipresent. There seems to be little promise for a better world... at least not one inhabited by human beings.

Many reviewers took issue with the unresolved ending. Considering the subtext of the novel, however, the reader will find that the ending's abruptness actually informs the sense that Cell, besides being an excellent horror yarn, is a meticulously painted portrait of the horrors of global culture. The many crises of our time are still developing and mutating. The end is not yet, it seems, in sight.
( )
  pollytropic | Feb 20, 2020 |
The concept is similar to many other King novels. This one, however, is not quite as elaborate. Although good and consistent, it seems a bit like an interim production to satisfy his editors.
  Kindlegohome | Oct 18, 2019 |
This book is not worth your time.
I enjoyed other Stephen King books such as The Long Walk, but this book is far from that level. One of the main issues is that it should be exciting, or at least more interesting, instead of legitimately hard to read. This is a book about a "Pulse" coming from cell phones turning people into essentially zombies, but while books such as World War Z make an action packed, interesting, fun, and dark world, all interconnected by stories of soldiers and heroes around the globe, this book is just about a small group of people walking back and forth across three states, trying to find one man's child and not get killed.
The plot is shallow. There is no explanation for the Pulse, and the only real information driving the plot is that Clay wants to find his child, who is in Maine.
Also, after the first few chapters, the "Phone Crazies" are rarely shown to be aggressive.
The characters are all generic and unlifelike, and static except one, Clay, and even so, while you knew that he was supposed to have changed, it was never conveyed properly and thus the characters were all pretty boring.
In conclusion, the book has neither the typical Stephen King quality of characterization, or an in depth plot, or even really any exciting or tense chapters, besides maybe the first one. ( )
  BenD. | Sep 20, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 221 (next | show all)
If you have ever worried that using mobile phones might scramble your brain, Stephen King suggests you may just be right. It all happens at 3.02pm one afternoon, when everyone in the world using a cellphone suddenly becomes a violent maniac.
added by stephmo | editThe Guardian, Matthew Lewin (Feb 25, 2006)
Stephen King is supposed to have retired. A year ago, he published the final part of his seven-book Dark Tower saga with the book of the same name - a novel so crushingly disappointing that, reluctantly, all but King's most ardent fans were forced to agree with the author himself that it was probably time for him to stop and enjoy the royalties from his 40 or so bestsellers.
Cell is Stephen King's first full-length novel since his threatened retirement in 2003. Of course, this most prolific of authors has not been idle during this period, penning a collaborative non-fiction book about baseball, a regular column for the popular US magazine Entertainment Weekly, several short stories, and even a short (and slightly puzzling) noir novel, The Colorado Kid, for small publisher Hard Case Crime. This is the first of two new novels to be published this year, with Lisey's Story to follow in October.
added by stephmo | editThe Independent, Matt Thorne (Feb 12, 2006)
This is the way the world ends... not with a bang, but a whimper.
— T. S. Elliot

Actually, it ends with a "pulse" -- an errant cell phone signal that wipes away the user's humanity, 'rebooting' their brain back to something basic... primordial... and evil. Even those within earshot of the gray matter draining signal suffer a kind of evolutionary epilepsy, reverting to a state of pure impulse and mental confusion. As the feeling consumes its host, madness takes over, and there is only one way to satisfy this cruel craving. The insanity must be met with violence, quelling the instinctual bloodlust that lay dormant inside every person's DNA. Thus the world ends, and it's the very people who protected and prospered upon it who are now intent on taking it down.
added by stephmo | editPop Matters, Bill Gibron (Feb 9, 2006)
If the stretch of years between Sept. 11 and last fall's Kashmir earthquake has reminded us of anything, it's that history can take a drastic turn in one day. Stephen King jumps into the middle of one such day on the opening pages of Cell, his first full-length novel since he came off what has to be the shortest-ever retirement not involving professional boxing. Happily wandering Boston after selling a comic-book pitch, artist Clay Riddell watches as the world goes mad when a mind-wiping electronic pulse turns everyone using a cell phone into a violent zombie.

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King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rekiaro, IlkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott, CampbellNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Cell (2016IMDb)
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The id will not stand for a delay in gratification. It always feels the tension of the unfulfilled urge. - Sigmund Freud
Human aggression is instinctual. Humans have not evolved any ritualized aggression-inhibiting mechanisms to ensure the survival of the species. For this reason man is considered a very dangerous animal. - Konrad Lorenz
Can you hear me now? - Verizon
For Richard Matheson and George Romero
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The event that came to be known as The Pulse began at 3:03 p.m., eastern standard time, on the afternoon of October 1.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Cell is an apocalyptic horror novel concerning a New England artist struggling to reunite with his young son after a mysterious signal broadcast over the global cell-phone network turns masses of his fellow humans into zombies.
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