Under the Dome

By Stephen King
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Under the Dome is a novel by Stephen King, published in November 2009. Under the Dome is a partial rewrite of a novel Stephen King attempted writing twice in the late 1970s and early 1980s, under the titles The Cannibals and Under the Dome. As Stephen King stated on his official site, these two unfinished works “were two very different attempts to utilize the same idea, which concerns itself with how people behave when they are cut off from the society they’ve always belonged to. Also, my memory of The Cannibals is that it, like Needful Things, was a kind of social comedy. The new Under the Dome is played dead straight.” From the material originally written, only the first chapter is included in the new Under the Dome:
Shortly before noon on October 21 of an unspecified year after 2012 (evidenced by mention of a faded bumper sticker for Barack Obama’s successful 2012 re-election campaign), the small Maine town of Chester’s Mill is abruptly and gruesomely separated from the outside world by an invisible, semipermeable barrier of unknown origin. The immediate appearance of the barrier causes a number of injuries and fatalities, and traps former Army Captain Dale “Barbie” Barbara—who is trying to leave Chester’s Mill—inside the town…

Under the Dome by Stephen King: Police Chief Howard “Duke” Perkins is soon killed when his pacemaker explodes after getting too close to the barrier. This removes the last significant opposition to James “Big Jim” Rennie, used car salesman and the town’s Second Selectman. Big Jim exerts significant influence within Chester’s Mill, and seizes the opportunity to use the barrier as part of a power play to take over the town.
Big Jim appoints one of his cronies, the incompetent Peter Randolph as the new Police Chief. He also begins expanding the ranks of the Chester’s Mill Police with questionable candidates, including his son, Junior Rennie, and his friends. Junior has frequent migraines caused by an as-yet undiscovered brain tumor which has also begun affecting his mental state; unbeknownst to Big Jim, Junior was in the process of beating and strangling a girl to death when the barrier appeared, and has killed another girl by the time Rennie places him on the police force.
Elsewhere in Chester’s Mill, Julia Shumway, the editor of the local newspaper and apparently a Republican, is phoned by Colonel James O. Cox, who has her carry a message to Barbie to contact him. When he does, Cox requests that Barbie act as the government’s liaison in an effort to bring down the Dome, as it has come to be known. Because of Barbie’s talents as a former bomb factory hunter, Cox gives him the task of locating the source, which is believed to be inside the Dome…

As Big Jim covertly encourages and orchestrates unease and panic among the town to build up his grab for power, Barbie, Julia and a number of other townspeople attempt to stop things from spiraling out of control. After crossing Rennie’s path on several occasions, Barbie is framed and arrested for Junior’s murders. He is also accused of killing Reverend Lester Coggins, who laundered money for Rennie’s large-scale methamphetamine operation, and Duke’s widow Brenda Perkins, who were both murdered by Big Jim. While Barbie is in jail other residents track the source of the Dome to an abandoned farm, and the device is strongly indicated to be extraterrestrial in origin. The restrictions issued by Rennie become more severe and the police force grows more abusive, galvanizing the town and eventually leading some residents to break Barbie out of jail, killing Junior seconds before he can murder Barbie.
The semi-organized resistance flees to the abandoned farm, where multiple people touch the strange object and experience visions. They not only conclude that the device was put in place by extraterrestrial “leatherheads” (so named for their appearance), but that specifically they are juveniles who have set up the Dome as a cruel form of entertainment, a sort of ant farm used to capture sentient beings and allow their captors to view everything that happens inside… (Summary by Wikipedia)

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