Review: Dreamcatcher by Stephen King
Published October 4th 2007 by Hodder
Dreamcatcher is kind of an odd little ducky. At seven-hundred pages, it can hardly be called little, but in the oeuvre of Stephen King it hardly registers as a small blip. It’s not well loved, but as per my usual reaction with King’s books, I still found plenty of enjoyment in Dreamcatcher.
Five boys from Derry grow up to be four guys. They go on an annual hunting trip, but barely speak throughout the year. This year’s trip is different – they see moving lights, get stuck in a terrible snow-storm, and meet someone who is… not entirely right.
Dreamcatcher is a strange book. On one hand we have this motif we’ve seen before – children who do something important in their childhood which ties together with some happening in their adulthood. It is a prime example of such a story. Yet Dreamcatcher doesn’t feel the same as It – it’s much more concrete where It seemed whimsical. It’s threat is more direct, the execution more ruthless and realistic.
Something that doesn’t appeal to many people, is that Dreamcatcher is old-school science-fiction. It’s just not something you’d expect from the Stephen King stereotype – the archetypical horror writer. Dreamcatcher deals with an UFO that lands on American soil. The UFO holds extraterrestrial beings. The beings are not very friendly, and the US army makes an appearance. Imagine a 90s Hollywood movie with aliens – Dreamcatcher is exactly that, in book form.
The problem with this subject is that it seems so fake, so done, and so last century. No one is interested in aliens any more, at least not like this. The time of green men with big heads has passed, and the market of Dreamcatcher with it. It doesn’t help that, though quite an interesting concept, the procreation of the aliens is just icky. I’ve always appreciated that King calls a cow a cow, and if a story involves pee/poo/vomit/blood/brain goo, he will tell you so. In this book, aliens bury themselves in the digestive system of humans – and they come out again too. Out of your bottom. Giving them the nickname of shit-weasels. The way society works, we see books that deal with things like farts as immature. A focus on bodily functions is childish, and not suited for adults. This manifests itself in how in not a single apocalyptic story, anyone worries about toilet paper. Zombie brains, sure, but poo is a topic not discussed. Dreamcatcher pushes this boundary.
Although I didn’t always enjoy the direction of the story (US army themes are just not my cup of tea), I loved the journey these characters go through. Dreamcatcher is well written, engaging, and has a terrific nail-biter of an ending. A huge part of the plot revolves around mind-reading, which I always find a fascinating subject. All in all, I don’t regret reading the seven-hundred pages of Dreamcatcher.
In Derry, Maine, four young boys once stood together and did a brave thing. Something that changed them in ways they hardly understood.
A quarter of a century later, the boys are men who have gone their separate ways. Though they still get together once a year, to go hunting in the north woods of Maine. But this time is different. This time a man comes stumbling into their camp, lost, disoriented and muttering about lights in the sky.
Before long, these old friends will be plunged into the most remarkable events of their lives as they struggle with a terrible creature from another world. Their only chance of survival is locked in their shared past – and in the Dreamcatcher.
- Review: The Mysteries by Lisa Tuttle (4 Stars)
- Review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (3.5 Stars)
- Review: Insomnia by Stephen King (4 Stars)
- Review: Touched by an Alien by Gini Koch (3 Stars)