In the subgenre of “community trapped—possibly by aliens,” Robert Charles Wilson has at least two entries to his credit that I know of, and his bibliography suggests more. I’ve speculated before that Stephen King’s 2009 TV-deal-bait book Under the Dome might have been inspired by Wilson’s work, perhaps to exercise some leftover ideas from The Stand (1978). It’s not surprising that science fiction authors find this premise attractive with its promise of a literal microcosm, an ideal setting for a large cast full of character tensions ready to boil over.
In Spin (2005), Wilson expands the claustrophobic microcosm idea, cloistering the entire Earth into his fictional bubble, while keeping the cast minimal. Spin is a reread for me, though it was so long ago, all I remember thinking afterwards is that maybe spacey science fiction isn’t all that bad and perhaps I should try reading more. Continue reading
Back in the days before this blog, and before I had an eReader, I read Stephen King’s 2009 release Under the Dome, a story about a small, unassuming town that is mysteriously trapped within its borders. The small town setting provided for multi-character story arcs and formulaic drama. Underwhelmed, but without a blog to convey my thoughts, I left the book on a table at my local university with a post-it note that said, “Free book! It’s kind of an okay story!” (By the way, have you heard of bookcrossing.com? It’s a great way to NOT HOARD BOOKS.)
Now that I’ve read Robert Charles Wilson’s Blind Lake (2003), I realize it might have inspired King’s socially claustrophobic story, as both books share a similar premise with that made-for-TV flavor. And now that King’s novel is headed for TV (or already on TV, I never know), Wilson is probably kicking himself for not including a meth lab explosion and gang rape by law enforcement officials.