Saturday, January 28, 2012
Constant Reading Project: The Dead Zone
Released in August 1979
Screen adaptations: 1983, directed by David Cronenberg; TV series, six seasons beginning in 2002.
Connections to other works: This is the first Castle Rock novel.
The Dead Zone came out a couple months before I did, which means King's first hardcover bestseller is more than 32 years old. Following the epic of The Stand and its ginormous cast, King chooses to focus on two polarizing characters: Johnny Smith and Greg Stillson. One is a very good man that has to do a bad thing. One is a very bad man who is perceived to be doing good. King handles the paradox with a keen touch.
This is another one of those books that has been overshadowed in popular culture by a successful film adaptation. Don't get me wrong; I love the Cronenberg film. It's one of the best King movies made. For the sake of film, Stillson gets cut out until Smith meets him later in the film. In the novel, Stillson is there from the prologue, showing us why he's such a compelling villain. I understand the decision but I want you to pick up the book and find out what you're missing.
I will be reading a Signet first printing paperback which clocks in at 402 pages. And when I'm done, I'll give the book away. Comment on this post or the follow up in a couple days for your chance to win it.