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Dreamcatcher by Stephen King

Dreamcatcher (original 2001; edition 2001)

by Stephen King (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,81793797 (3.33)1 / 82
Four men who reunite every year during hunting season in the woods of Maine, encounter a disoriented, incoherent stranger who drags the men into a terrifying struggle with a creature from another world, and their only chance for survival lies in their shared past.
Authors:Stephen King (Author)
Info:Scribner (2001), Edition: First Edition, 624 pages
Collections:Your library

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Dreamcatcher by Stephen King (2001)


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» See also 82 mentions

English (86)  French (2)  Italian (1)  Spanish (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (93)
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)

This book is somewhat notorious among King's work for being two things: weirder than normal and way too long. Even though I enjoyed it, both of these assumptions are almost completely correct.

It's a book about an alien invasion, an unusual group of friends and... disregard of human rights by the US military? Yeah, that's about it. The first two are the best parts of the book: King is good at writing the supernatural, even if we're talking about aliens, and the same goes for weird friend groups in shitty situations. The problem comes from... the rest.

More than half of the book is taken up by a chase that just goes on and on and on and on... It makes the book feel much much longer than it actually is. Not to mention the quite polemic portrayal of Down Syndrome being a major plot point in the book. Overall, these things combine to make a great example of the problems in King's works. Which is ironic, because the positive aspects of his writing are what hold this book together.

It's an interesting book, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone that isn't extremely familiar with King's other works, specially because there are a lot of other, better, books that could fit that space. ( )
  tuskactfour | Jun 26, 2024 |
Rated "Good" in our old book database. ( )
  villemezbrown | May 17, 2024 |
This novel is just a hot freaking mess. It's hot garbage. It's a dumpster fire.

The first time I read this, I remember being not overly impressed, but I didn't actually hate the thing.

This time around, I was ready to just stop at least five times...in five days. Through the entire miserable experience, I kept wondering if this was a trunk novel he'd had kicking around during his drug-addled days. After I finished I found out he wrote it longhand while recovering from the accident.

My problems are many with this novel, but there's a couple of overriding elements that just ruined this experience for me.

The first is, King can't really write SF. He obviously loves the genre, and it's obvious that he tries to bring a human element into it. He tried it with TOMMYKNOCKERS and he'll give passing nods to it down the road in UNDER THE DOME and a little less in THE INSTITUTE. But, at least for me, while it always starts out really promising, it never works out.

The second reason—again, just for me—that it doesn't work out, and why this book is so much of a dumpster fire is because of all the "in the head" stuff that King slathers into this novel. We're in Henry's head. We're in Jonesy's head. We're in Mr. Gray's head. There's rooms in there. And boxes. And fax machines.

And it, to me, comes across as really amateurish and boring.

There's other stuff. The chase scene that runs about a third of the novel. Even the set up that runs a third of the novel before the military shows up. Kurtz is easily one of the worst characters King's ever dreamed up.

And yet...

There's smaller, far less important (and often completely unneeded) scenes, mostly centred around the four guys and Duddits when they were young that hinted at the incredible writer King can be.

This, at times, felt like a twisted IT pastiche, and I also (once again, personal opinion) feel that, had King done alternating young group/older group chapters, it would have been a better paced novel.

It's absolutely not the worst book that has Stephen King's name on it (that is, and always will be the toilet paper replacement GWENDY'S FINAL TASK) however, I'd always considered King's other SF travesty TOMMYKNOCKERS as his worst solo novel. I've reconsidered that. It's now only second worst.

This one now sits comfortably in that spot. ( )
  TobinElliott | May 2, 2024 |
This is my second time reading this novel. I read this right after I read IT when I was a sophmore in highschool and I liked this so much more in my 30s..
This novel starts out slow, and at first is written in present tense making it difficult to read and follow. However, after the first chapter it really picks up and becomes an entertaining story that kept me reading to the very end. I love Stephen King I have made it my mission to read more of his books this year and I am really glad I decided to reread this again this year. I am always drawn to his stories that have that friendship connection, it makes it more readable and I tend to finish them much quicker.
( )
  b00kdarling87 | Jan 7, 2024 |
I've embarked on a Stephen King reading fest and moved straight from a re-read of 'Pet Sematary' to one never read before. From clues in the afterword it seems this was written in the aftermath of King's own serious accident when he was run down by a careless driver, an experience that makes its way into the book in the shape of the character Jones aka Jonesy. Perhaps also, given that he was on strong painkillers, it influenced the writing in certain aspects. It was clear from the newspaper headlines at the start that it was going to be about extra-terrestrial landings/invasion and alien abduction. This did make me a little trepidatious as 'The Tommyknockers' was the first of King's books that I found a real disappointment.

**I should mention for people who don't like books in which animals are mistreated, there is quite a lot of serious harm to animals and one dog in particular.***

Four men are introduced at various dates, who were childhood friends and are troubled adults: Pete is an alcoholic, Beaver, always known for his happy-go-lucky outlook on life, seems dissatisfied and even depressed, Jonesy is about to be run down by a driver with dementia and Henry is suicidal. The story then moves forward to a period several months after Jones' accident, when the four are on their annual November hunting expedition.

Dropped into the narrative along the way are mentions of another friend, Duddits, and it gradually becomes clear that he is a man with Downs Syndrome whom they befriended when they were young teenagers and saved from being seriously bullied by thuggish older boys. Duddits has telepathic ability and the boys developed weaker versions of it themselves, some in one speciality, e.g. Pete can 'follow the line', able to track someone or backtrack where they have been. Others have a direct telepathy and they are all able to pick up on cues from each other without speaking. But over the years they have drifted apart from Duddits, unaware that he is now very ill, and are also hiding their various issues from each other.

Into this situation comes a crashed alien spaceship, with a strange vegetation that colonises surfaces, animals and people, endowing humans with telepathy. Another accompaniment is a creature reminiscent of Alien, and in fact the military later nickname the alien contamination as Ripley. (Interestingly, of course, the character of Jones is named after the Nostromo's cat in the first film.) Soon, the four friends are devastatingly impacted by the threat posed by the aliens.

I won't say more about the actual plotline to avoid spoilers but had some issues with the book. It started off well and I was enjoying it, despite the excessive amount of flatulence and associated descriptions of abdominal symptoms. But this changed some way into the book where a mad military man is introduced, similar to a character in 'Apocalypse Now' even to the point of having the same name. (Which was probably taken originally from Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'). After that, it morphs into a car chase which goes on far too long.

I did wonder how something which, it is stated at various points, is really an instinctual fungus/form of vegetation could possibly develop technology to build space ships etc, but that is sort of explained if you don't look too closely at it. In reality, I'm not convinced that it could learn to perform interstellar navigation and pilot the vessels.

As per King's more recent books, this name checks quite a few others with direct references to 'IT' and various others, with the central motif of childhood friends who did something good together and then come together as adults being a direct homage to 'IT'. Though King was doing this as long ago as 'Pet Sematary' which has Rachel driving past a turnoff marked 'Jerusalem's Lot', here it seems drummed in a little unnecessarily, for example, I wasn't sure the sequence with the vanished water tower was really needed unless it was meant to be a sort-of-echo of 'The Dark Tower' series. The vegetation on the other hand seems to be a descendant of the red weed in H G Well's 'War of the Worlds'.

The extended flashbacks which occur during the car chase - when the person being shown the earlier lives of the Dreamcatcher Five is driving a vehicle in snow at speed - are not only too long but overstretch disbelief. I kept thinking he would crash the car - and there are a lot of car crashes in this book. And the statement that the character who is hijacked by an alien force is the only man in the world who really understood what it felt to be raped is problematic: quite apart from real life experiences, in the book's own world many other men have their bodies and even minds taken over by the alien organisms.

The ending also begged a lot of questions in the explanation for his plight. I can't actually believe he did it to himself with or without the connection with Duddits. For a start, there is at least one viewpoint scene in this 'fictitous' character's persona. Also, if he really had committed such awful crimes - including a horrific scene of what he does to one of his friends - then it's beyond belief that he's untroubled by guilt in the Epilogue. So after its initial promise this dropped down to an OK 2 stars. ( )
  kitsune_reader | Nov 23, 2023 |
Showing 1-5 of 86 (next | show all)
Der Fluss der Zeit geht durch diese Bücher, und man spürt, wie seine Strömung die einzelnen Identitäten auflösen muss. Der Roman ist mit dem Waterman-Patronen-Füller geschrieben, schon dadurch hat er eine starke Beziehung zum Flüssigen - "das hat mich der Sprache so nahe gebracht, wie ich es seit Jahren nicht mehr war. Eines Nachts, während eines Stromausfalls, habe ich sogar bei Kerzenlicht geschrieben." King leiht allen andern seine Stimme, so radikal, dass er als Autor fast verschwindet, wie Joyce und Proust, Céline und Faulkner. Bei keinem anderen modernen Autor hat man so intensiv das Gefühl, dass Amerika ein Land der Transzendenz ist: Wir sind die andern, die andern sind wir. Das ganze Land spricht in diesem Buch, ein unaufhörlicher, überpersönlicher "stream of consciousness". Wir sind "an eine Stromleitung angeschlossen, die statt Elektrizität Stimmen führt."

» Add other authors (14 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rekiaro, IlkkaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Publisher Series

Ullstein (25415)
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This is for Susan Moldow and Nan Graham
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It became their motto, and Jonesy couldn't for the life of him remember which of them started saying it first.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Four men who reunite every year during hunting season in the woods of Maine, encounter a disoriented, incoherent stranger who drags the men into a terrifying struggle with a creature from another world, and their only chance for survival lies in their shared past.

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Book description
Set near the fictional town of Derry, Maine, Dreamcatcher is the story of four friends whose lives are altered when they save Douglas "Duddits" Cavell, a child with Down syndrome, from being bullied. The four friends have grown up and live separate, but equally problematic, lives. When they meet for an annual hunting trip, they are faced with an alien invasion and a near psychotic army Colonel Abraham Kurtz, who has patterned himself after Marlon Brando's character in Apocalypse Now, Walter Kurtz.
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