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3/5. "Dreamcatcher" by Stephen King

Dreamcatcher - Stephen King

Four friends on an annual hunting trip find themselves in the middle of an alien invasion…

King has said that “Dreamcatcher” is the least favourite of his novels. It was written when he was recovering from a car accident and doped up on painkillers. Some of the descriptions of the physical suffering of the characters are turned up a notch or two as a result. This is Stephen King, though, and it’s nothing I haven’t seen before.

He’s on familiar ground here. Four friends are defined by a childhood incident that still pulls them together as adults (as in IT). There’s more than a hint of extra-sensory abilities going on with them (as in IT) and they even visit Derry briefly, one of the best scenes of the story. There’s also a Down’s Syndrome man-child called Duddits (A name which becomes a drinking game with its repetition. Duddits, Duddits, Duddits).

If anything, this is a fifties B-movie sci-fi. Aliens invade, the humans defeat them (I’m sure that’s not a spoiler). Some folks live, some folks die.

Most of the book is a car chase; it’s a testament to King’s abilities as a story-teller that I wasn’t bored with it. It would have been easy to skip to the last few chapters and not felt like I’d missed anything.

King, as usual, has trouble with his ending. The alien being carried by a character in his mind may not be an alien after all…I was confused as to what was going on there. There are also some odd references to the Dreamcatcher of the title and its twin which seemed muddled and poorly developed.