THERE'S A REASON CELL RHYMES WITH HELL.
On October 1, God is in His heaven, the stock market stands at 10,140, most of the planes are on time, and Clayton Riddell, an artist from Maine, is almost bouncing up Boylston Street in Boston. He's just landed a comic book deal that might finally enable him to support his family by making art instead of teaching it. He's already picked up a small (but expensive!) gift for his long-suffering wife, and he knows just what he'll get for his boy Johnny. Why not a little treat for himself? Clay's feeling good about the future.
That changes in a hurry. The cause of the devastation is a phenomenon that will come to be known as The Pulse, and the delivery method is a cell phone. Everyone's cell phone. Clay and the few desperate survivors who join him suddenly find themselves in the pitch-black night of civilization's darkest age, surrounded by chaos, carnage, and a human horde that has been reduced to its basest nature. . .and then begins to evolve.
There's really no escaping this nightmare. But for Clay, an arrow points home to Maine, and as he and his fellow refugees make their harrowing journey north they begin to see crude signs confirming their direction: KASHWAK=NO-FO. A promise, perhaps. Or a threat . . .
There are one hundred and ninety-three million cell phones in the United States alone. Who doesn't have one? Stephen King's utterly gripping, gory, and fascinating novel doesn't just ask the question "Can you hear me now?" It answers it with a vengeance.
About the Author
Few authors have tapped into our secret fears as adeptly as Stephen King, Master of the Macabre and one of the most widely read novelists writing today. With his trademark blend of fantasy, horror, and psychological suspense, this prolific and immensely popular contemporary writer continues to remind us that evil is still a potent force in the world.
The New York Times - Janet Maslin
When the book's overview begins to emerge, though, it justifies the dawdling. The zombies evolve in interesting ways. Midway through the book, Mr. King takes the story to a private school that has become a post-Pulse campground and reveals the telepathic patterns that have begun to shape collective behavior. It is the author's little joke that these messages are delivered via the worst easy-listening songs he can name, to the point where Lawrence Welk and "You Light Up My Life" become part of the apocalypse.
The New York Times Book Review - Dave Itzkoff
As you may recall from Aristotle's discussion of the form in the Poetics, an effective zombie apocalypse story should satisfy two conditions. First, it should fulfill an audience's desire to see aberrant acts of violence triggered by civilization's collapse, and in this respect Cell does not disappoint: there's still no other writer who takes as much delight as King does in rendering the sight of a soccer field's worth of zombies being charbroiled out of existence, or a poodle getting run over by a car…Second, a good zombie tale should offer some fresh insights about basic human nature, if only to pass the time between episodes of cannibalism, and it's in this capacity that Cell turns out to be a bit brain-dead.
The Washington Post - George R. R. Martin
Cell is hard to put down once you've picked it up. There is no shortage of harrowing scenes…and ascends to the level of horror more than once, but it never reaches true terror, let alone the heights achieved by King's best work. While it is a solid, entertaining read, I'm afraid we will need to wait a bit longer for that Great American Zombie Novel.
It's probably a good idea not to use your cell phone while you listen to Scott's beautifully understated reading of terrormeister King's latest take on technology run amok: you might just toss it down the nearest storm drain. The excellent film actor (who catches the power of his late father George C. Scott's voice but smooths off the rough edges) adds an important element-quiet believability-to King's bloody, occasionally over-the-top story of a short but lethal electronic signal that seriously damages everyone in the world using a cell phone at that moment. The Pulse, as it comes to be known, turns idle chatterers into weirdly rewired killing machines. Scott makes the lead character-a comic book artist from Maine (where else?) named Clayton Riddell, who is in Boston with his phone off and in his pocket-a touching and surprisingly tough survivor, much like the nonpods in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. He also resists the temptation to make the "phoners" (those affected by the Pulse) sound unusually strange or dangerous-until their real motives become obvious. Simultaneous release with the Scribner hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 2). (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
King (The Colorado Kid) has an ax to grind and he employs the tools of his trade to accomplish the task. Clayton Riddell is in Boston to meet with publishers in hopes of selling his graphic novel series. Portfolio in hand, success within reach, Clay stops to watch the people flocking around a Mister Softee truck. Within moments the world is changed as a mysterious signal reaches cell phone users, turning them into zombies. Clay, who is cell-less (like King himself), soon teams up with others who have eluded the evil transmission. They embark on a quest to save themselves from the violence and destruction wrought by the changed beings who once owned cell phones. Using the familiar streets of Boston and introducing Riddell minutes before the catastrophe occurs circumvents the need for the strong setting and character development found in the bulk of King's work. Though the lack of these elements weakens the less-than-subtle message woven into the tale, King fans will, no doubt, want to read for themselves.-Nancy McNicol, Ora Mason Branch Lib., West Haven, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
King's apocalyptic cautionary tale suggests that cellular communication could be as pernicious as it is pervasive. Artist Clay Riddell has just traveled from his native Maine to Boston to sell his first graphic novel when all hell breaks loose. Vehicles crash at random. Language turns to gibberish. Bystanders devour the flesh of strangers. As King (From a Buick 8, 2002, etc.) describes this urban meltdown in gory, graphic detail, it becomes increasingly obvious to Riddell that all who have suddenly become crazy were talking on their cell phones. Some sort of simultaneous transmission has transformed the city's citizenry into mindless zombies. The author taps into the collective dread of a society battered by 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina as he depicts a battle for survival that pits "normies" such as Clay, the few who didn't have cellular access, against hordes of "phoners," who quickly develop a flocking instinct and telepathic communication. The plot can't sustain the sizzle of its sensational opening: More concerned with the effects of this cell-phone terrorism than its cause, the author never indicates what's happening beyond Clay's immediate vicinity. Yet the hero's odyssey remains compelling as he attempts to return home to estranged wife Sharon and beloved son Johnny, and the surrogate family of refugees he attracts along the way adds a human dimension. Clay doesn't have a cell phone, but his son does, and he has no idea in what form he might find Johnny if he manages to find the boy at all. As King acknowledges in his dedication, he owes a debt to zombie-flick director George Romero and horror/fantasy author Richard Matheson. The revenge of a cellphone-hater.
"Stephen King has your number...."
-- "USA Today"
Audience: Teenager / Young Adult
Number Of Pages: 449
Published: 21st November 2006
Dimensions (cm): 18.9 x 10.8 x 2.6
Weight (kg): 0.304