Stephen King

Cell, an ominously effective page turner, illustrates that Stephen King still relies on the familiar motifs and personal tropes that he built his career on. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, in that comfortable familiarity can be reassuring. Starting off on a bright and sunshiny spring day, the ring tones of all the cell phones in the world go off simultaneously, a collect call from Hell that emits an electromagnetic pulse that essentially wipes clean the recipient’s hard drive, reducing them to nothing more than ambulatory IDs. No optimist he, King posits that the basest drive of the human is of a murderous, not sexual, nature … and so we have the print form of 28 Days Later. The novel also bears an uncanny thematic parallel to Brian Keane’s zombie opus, The Rising (even down to the ominously ambiguous reunion between father and son). Good, gory stuff, though … and pure denatured shaudenfreude for Luddites annoyed by the ever-present litanies of “Can you hear me now?”