by Stephen King
Overview (from Goodreads): Reeling from a painful break-up, English instructor and avid book lover Wesley Smith is haunted by his ex-girlfriend’s parting shot: Why can’t you just read off the computer like everyone else? He buys an e-book reader out of spite, but soon finds he can use the device to glimpse realities he had never before imagined, discovering literary riches beyond his wildest dreams … and all-too-human tragedies that surpass his most terrible nightmares.
Vintage cars (Christine and From a Buick 8) to household appliances (Maximum Overdrive) to exercise equipment (Stationary Bike), Stephen King has mesmerized us with tales of apparently ordinary machines that take on lives of their own. UR gives this classic theme an up-to-the-minute spin, resulting in a horror masterpiece for our time and for the ages.
My Thoughts: Stephen King is a master at playing on fears you may not even realize you have. The ultimate example for me was the book Cell. Cell phones as the reason people turn into “zombies” is a terrifying concept. Now he’s taken on Kindles in UR.
I have a confession to make: I didn’t fully read the synopsis before picking UR up. It was right after I read and loved Cell, so I was randomly picking up Stephen King novels (most of which I still need to read). I was a little surprised and confused while reading UR because I thought (through no one’s fault but my own) that it was about e-readers coming to life a la Transformers and killing people. Now I feel like an idiot for admitting that, but it’s relevant.
UR may be a short story, but it is definitely not short on content. It had more of a sci-fi vibe than I expected from King and I have to admit that once my brain caught up to this fact, I loved it. I was a little lost at first when the characters started discussing different realities, but once I readjusted my thought process it was easier to follow. It was pretty in-depth for a short story and I feel like my short story expectations have forever been altered.
The characters were pretty interesting. The main character Wesley Smith is average, for the most part. He has his moments to impress and I kind of loved that he kept exploring even though he was scared shitless. I didn’t like his girlfriend from the beginning. She seemed a bit useless and like more of a periphery character. Then she threw a book and I hated her for the rest of the story.
All in all, I enjoyed UR. It was definitely weird and like nothing else I’ve read by King, but my experience there is still pretty minimal. I would recommend giving UR a try, especially if you’re into science fiction. It might even be a great place to start if you’re still new to King’s work.
3.5 out of 5 Bookmarks = Weird, but I still really liked it.