Cell by Stephen King


Cell by Stephen King

Published: 2006



Cell by Stephen King is a horror novel based in an apocalyptic event.  Enter zombies/phone crazies.

Okay, I actually enjoyed reading this more the second time around than when it first came out over 10 years ago.   Not sure if the television series The Walking Dead has anything to do with that….

Basically, the premise of the book is that a “pulse” is sent through cell phones, and anyone that was on (or near) their phone goes nuts.  Apparently even in 2006, most people were glued to their phones.  Those that don’t get zapped, are often killed (in graphic detail) by the ones who did go nuts.  They don’t actually become zombies though.  The “phone crazies” develop telepathy, flock together, and usually share common goals.  They sleep at night, which gives the “normies” (those without cell phone access)  a chance to travel/run.

So the book tells the story of a few survivors, but mainly Clay Riddell, a comic book artist who is in Boston to seal the deal on his new illustrations.  He doesn’t own a cell phone. However, his son does, and he is back in Maine with Clay’s estranged wife.  The story is about Clay’s journey to get back to 12-year old Johnny, as well as his hopes/fears of what he will find.  Almost immediately after the disaster,  Clay meets up with Tom, a middle-aged gay man, and 15-year old Alice.  When they come to a place called Gaitan Academy, the Head Master of the school and 12-year old whiz kid Jordan show them where a “flock” is sleeping.  Their decision to try to kill the flock will have dire consequences.

As always, King creates great characters. Clay is a desperate father doing everything he can to find his son.  Tom, Alice and Jordan, as well as the others he meets along his journey become his new family.  Even the “Raggedy Man” has personality!

A lot of people are critical of the ending, but I am not.  I have an imagination.  Don’t you?


Favorite Quotes from Cell:

“What Darwin was too polite to say, my friends, is that we came to rule the earth not because we were the smartest, or even the meanest, but because we have always been the craziest, most murderous motherfuckers in the jungle.”

“Here was something he would have to remember: give a nice little gay guy from Malden a roomful of guns to play with, he starts to say ‘yo’ just like Sylvester Stallone.”

“He said the mind can calculate, but the spirit yearns, and the heart knows what the heart knows.”

“Tony, Tony, come around, something’s lost that can’t be found.”


Re-Read: January 2017


About the Author:  Stephen Edwin King published his first short story  in 1967.  He is still writing today. One of the most prolific writers of our time, he has published over 50 novels, 6 non-fiction, and 200+ short stories.   He is fond of baseball (Boston Red Sox), and Corgis.  

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