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Cell: A Novel by Stephen King
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Cell: A Novel (edition 2006)

by Stephen King

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7,532215458 (3.45)1 / 146
Member:jamiesonwolf
Title:Cell: A Novel
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Pocket Star (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 480 pages
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Cell by Stephen King

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Showing 1-5 of 196 (next | show all)
At first glance, this book reminded me a lot of the movie, The Happening...which was a terrible movie. However, this book wasn't terrible. This leads me to believe that perhaps Happening could have been wayyyy better as a book.

The premise of the book is a great one. As a person who is attached to my cell phone, this book gave me the creeps. On October 1st, something goes wrong. Every cell phone on Earth begins sending out a signal, the 'Pulse', which essentially drives whoever is talking on the phone (or even near enough to a phone to hear the pulse...) BAM! You've got a one way ticket to Crazyville, Population: EVERYONE who has a cell phone.

There was some discussion in the book about this being a terrorist act (but in the end, this was never established). And on that count, creating something that makes every cell phone user insane is BRILLIANT. Just think about it, what would YOU do if you saw everyone going crazy, in the homicidal-kill-you-with-anything-I-have-including-my-teeth way? I don’t know about you, but I’d pick up my phone and call someone to ask, “WTF?” And then I’d be a crazy.

In this respect, I really love this book. There were times it was repetitive, and times when I didn’t necessarily agree with what the characters did/thought…but all in all it’s a great dystopia book—perhaps the first I have read by King.
( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
At first glance, this book reminded me a lot of the movie, The Happening...which was a terrible movie. However, this book wasn't terrible. This leads me to believe that perhaps Happening could have been wayyyy better as a book.

The premise of the book is a great one. As a person who is attached to my cell phone, this book gave me the creeps. On October 1st, something goes wrong. Every cell phone on Earth begins sending out a signal, the 'Pulse', which essentially drives whoever is talking on the phone (or even near enough to a phone to hear the pulse...) BAM! You've got a one way ticket to Crazyville, Population: EVERYONE who has a cell phone.

There was some discussion in the book about this being a terrorist act (but in the end, this was never established). And on that count, creating something that makes every cell phone user insane is BRILLIANT. Just think about it, what would YOU do if you saw everyone going crazy, in the homicidal-kill-you-with-anything-I-have-including-my-teeth way? I don’t know about you, but I’d pick up my phone and call someone to ask, “WTF?” And then I’d be a crazy.

In this respect, I really love this book. There were times it was repetitive, and times when I didn’t necessarily agree with what the characters did/thought…but all in all it’s a great dystopia book—perhaps the first I have read by King.
( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
This book starts out with a bang and gets really interesting really quickly. Unfortunately, it gets pretty boring about halfway through. ( )
  zophar53 | May 18, 2014 |
Much like "The Stand" and the "Dark Tower" cycle, "The Cell" takes what could have been just another of Kings' amusingly creepy horror stories and expanded it into what I prefer to interpret as a rather interesting bit of symbolism.

It has long been known that human brains operate on electrical signals, and functions much like an organic computer. Though it may not be possible at this time for some supposedly "terrorist" group to 'short out' human brains via cell phones and satellite "signals, it is certainly not out of scientific possiblility.

And who is to say it wasn't some branch of our own government, a'la the Tuskegee experiments, biological, chemical, and radiation experimentation on American citizens, all carried out by the American government, (or, of course, "The Stand") who, through monkeying around with a program they are neither intelligent enough, or responsible enough to control, inflicted the signal through sheer carelessness?

Further, it is far from impossible that, given a total 'disk wipe' of the human brain, humans would revert to the most base, vicious animal behavior. Humans began as the most vicious of animals, using the intellect they developed in lieu of teeth and claws in order to slaughter themselves to the top of the genetic heap. Civilization has laid a veneer of gentility over the basic nature of humanity, but the very fact that true sociopaths and psychopaths exist in society tend to prove the base nature of humans as displayed in "The Cell".

There has been scientific iniquiry into the psi capabilities of early humans, which gives weight to the book's concept of a wiped, reverted human mind being able to utilize strong psi capabilities. It is certainly not totally out of the question that the psi capability could be there - humans are pack animals, and any pack animal with psi communication capabilities would be well served by the ability to send signals among pack members, especially when surrounding herds of animals for hunting purposes or to communicate with other pack members over distance, especially before language was developed as a human communication tool.

Overall, I like to think that, though King excels in the horror genre, he has a much firmer grasp on the scientific literature, and of human development and politics, that he likes to admit. While "The Stand" was more deeply entrenched in pure religious symbolism, "The Cell" seems to me to explore the darker side of the human belief systems than even pure 'good and evil'. Instead, I interpret the 'mentality' of the Phone Crazies very much as I interpret the terrorist mentality. Pull out the cruelest, most base portion of a belief, wether it be religious or, in the Phone Crazies case, the basest portions of the humans brain, and use that as an excuse for 'justice' - degenerate the belief system to its base component and force every other person to believe in that component or die. Religious fanatics (terrorists), whatever their denomination, never seem to find the purest, kindest, most generous portions of their religions to put forward, but rather the darkest and most violent. Could this go back to the base, cruel nature of the human brain? Or is it simply that, by reverting humanity to cave dwellers, fearing the dark and the vengeful 'god' figure, that it gives a semblence of control to those who are so mindless and fearful themselves?

"The Cell" is a gripping read, with characters you care about. It does, in inimitable King style, refer to characters, and of course, locations, we came to know and love in previous King novels. Who can ever forget the loveable, and frightening, Charlie the Choo-Choo? Classic.

As for those who are so unhappy because the book wasn't "Finished", I must disagree most stringently with their complaints. No, the book isn't all wrapped up and tied with a big red bow of an ending. But novels, good novels, are designed to make you _think_. To go beyond the imagination of the author to expand the imagination of the reader. King pointed this out in the ending to "The Dark Tower", at least on the CD version. He didn't want to write a 'big red bow' ending to the book - and I would have been deeply disappointed if he had done so without warning me that it was coming. On the CD he gives the thoughtful reader a chance to stop the disk before you got to the bow - to use your own imagination to end the book. Bless him! For those without the wit or imagination to carry forward on their own, he wrote (at his publisher's insistence, I believe) a 'closure' for the book, which described what happened when Roland actually did "To the Dark Tower c(a)me". I never read it, and I never will. What is life without imagination?

The four stars instead of five? I would give it 4.5 if I could, it was indeed a good book. I liked The Dark Tower cycle better for its depth of characterizations and the heart that went into it. I do think that King could have done a deeper bit of work on The Cell, but given that it seems the whole thing started from a bout of frustration over the rudeness of cell phone users - well, I suppose he deserves a five for not simply biting out the offending cell user's throat.... ;-) ( )
  soireadthisbooktoday | May 4, 2014 |
Quite enjoyed this story about mobile phones infecting the people using them with some sort of plague that turned them into zombies - classic King! ( )
  claireh18 | Feb 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 196 (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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Rekiaro, IlkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
For Richard Matheson and George Romero
First words
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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Book description
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.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743292332, Hardcover)

Witness Stephen King's triumphant, blood-spattered return to the genre that made him famous. Cell, the king of horror's homage to zombie films (the book is dedicated in part to George A. Romero) is his goriest, most horrific novel in years, not to mention the most intensely paced. Casting aside his love of elaborate character and town histories and penchant for delayed gratification, King yanks readers off their feet within the first few pages; dragging them into the fray and offering no chance catch their breath until the very last page.

In Cell King taps into readers fears of technological warfare and terrorism. Mobile phones deliver the apocalypse to millions of unsuspecting humans by wiping their brains of any humanity, leaving only aggressive and destructive impulses behind. Those without cell phones, like illustrator Clayton Riddell and his small band of "normies," must fight for survival, and their journey to find Clayton's estranged wife and young son rockets the book toward resolution.

Fans that have followed King from the beginning will recognize and appreciate Cell as a departure--King's writing has not been so pure of heart and free of hang-ups in years (wrapping up his phenomenal Dark Tower series and receiving a medal from the National Book Foundation doesn't hurt either). "Retirement" clearly suits King, and lucky for us, having nothing left to prove frees him up to write frenzied, juiced-up horror-thrillers like Cell. --Daphne Durham

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:06:29 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

It may seem odd, but it's true--something as simple as one phone call can change the world forever. And that's exactly what happenes on October 1, when a single pulse is simultaneously transmitted through every cell phone on the planet. After the Pulse, an unspeakable transformation occurs. People everywhere begin devolving into inhuman killing machines--and civilization as we know it grinds to a halt in a terrifying riot of violence.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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