It’s way too long. King has said it was an idea he started when he was much younger and just didn’t have the skills to put together but it stuck with him and he finally finished it. He also said that one of the later ideas was that he added some political commentary re George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, waterboarding and a lot more in it. Another comment from King was that the town could be taken to be a metaphor for the world as a whole in these days of climate change and general anarchy – who rules the world?
Basically what’s happens when the fictional town of Chester’s Mill in western Maine is suddenly cut off from the world after an unexplainable clear and apparently indestructible dome covers it is that the corruption which was always there surfaces and takes over. In the first hours several people die as a plane and cars or trucks crash into the dome. Unfortunately, the police chief is one of the first to die.
Under the Dome
by Stephen King
2009 / 1074 pages
read by Raul Esparza 34h 29m
rating – A / sci-fi
Then the existence of the phenomenon becomes known and new law enforcement is necessary. Big Jim, used car salesman and city selectman, becomes the leader and deputizes a new group of policemen some of whom should not be holding guns in the most peaceful of situations. The Pentagon and Homeland Security become involved trying to break through the dome and they promote an old military man, Dale Barbara (Barbie) to corporal. Colonel Cox at the Pentagon is the contact.
Except for one or two people telephone communication with the outside world are cut off. Television can be viewed but most signals are interrupted by the dome. Then things get worse in part because food and power are limited but also because the “bad guys” are in charge and they seem to almost be on a rampage – but Big Jim has his drug operation to protect.
There are many, many minor characters who weave in and out of the chapters, but only maybe a half-dozen or so major ones.
Big Jim, the new leader, deputizes his son,” Junior” and several others of like mind to the police force. Jimmy has a propensity to serious violence and experiences migraine headaches – they’re all druggies and Big Jim owns the lab.
Julia Shumway is a reporter for the local newspaper who becomes friends with Barbie.
Scarecrow McClatchey is a junior high student who is curious about the power source of the dome and seeks answers. He ends up helping Barbie.
Rusty Everett is a physician’s assistant who works with the injured and helps some prisoners of Big Jim escape.
See the Wiki for more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Under_the_Dome_(novel)#Characters
The theme is typical King, how does man behave under extreme survival circumstances and the answer is pretty badly except for a few good people. I remember that much from The Stand.
But there’s more to it than that if you think of our planet as the town of Chester’s Mill. We’re under a little dome of our own atmosphere and it’s going fast – what is it we think we’ll do? More specifically, King made a comparison between G.W. Bush/Cheney and his own bad guys, Big Jim and Andy Sanders.