Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Review: UR

UR, Stephen King

Storyville, LLC, Kindle edition, 2009
Unknown number of pages

How utterly prescient of me to find this piece of crap just a few days after I reviewed the Kindle! (See A Bibliophiliac and His Kindle if you give a rat’s patootie.) Hawked by Amazon.com as a novelette that will not be included in any print collection, I think it is a fine idea now that I have read it.

I fell for the hype because I am just as curious as any other idiot is, and I parted with $2.99 of Martha’s hard-earned money to download it—a perfectly good waste of 3 bucks, as it turns out.

I have been a fan of King since he published Carrie in 1974. The man who wrote The Stand (the original version) and the incredible Sci-Fi-fantasy-horror epic The Dark Tower has become, I am sorry to say, a story whore. He has long been a book cover blurb whore, but UR really takes the Kindle.

Which brings me to the story about a Kindle (nice segue, Charlie) and its owner, Wesley Smith. Wes is a Professor of English at a small college and, during a lecture, he spots a student fiddling around with a Pong game machine. When Wes confronts the student, the kid shows the Prof a Kindle! After class, the suck-up student extols all the features and virtues of his new e-reader.

Thus begins a “story” that is a blatant advertisement for the Kindle. I recognized much of the wording directly from Amazon’s hype shop: size, portability, wireless download-ing—even battery life, which, like, I could care less about, like, you know? What I do care about is I spent three dollars for an advertisement! According to P.T. Barnum, I am one of those suckers he was so fond of . . .

There is a Kingish-type story weaved through the hype when Wesley receives a pink Kindle from the UPS guy. Weird, man. Pink. Bad juju, pink. The books Wes downloads are from parallel universes (ala The Dark Tower) by authors like Shakespeare and Poe—except they are books unknown in our universe. Smith becomes addicted to these new books, especially an unknown Nancy Drew (I’m kidding), but then things take a turn for the worse in our own universe.

Suddenly, Pinkie is showing Wes newspapers from the future—or future newspapers—whatever. One is the local rag, dated two days hence. **SPOILERS** Wes is aghast at the headline because the college’s women’s basketball team and their coach, Wes’s girlfriend, are all killed when a drunken driver plows into the bus carrying the team home from a tournament. With two days notice, Wes vows to stop the event from happening, and he does!

Life is good for Wes—until the men in yellow raincoats (ala Hearts in Atlantis) show up and give him a mere tongue-lashing for changing the future. C’mon, Steve—every durn fool knows that past and future history cannot be fooked with. How many of those females will produce generations of people who are not in the Master Scheme of Stuff? What then? Huh? **END OF SPOILAGE**.

To the astute reader of this review, I am somewhat biased and non-objective. Where I differ from many book reviewers is I call ‘em as I see ‘em; a piece of advertising trash deserves a fair and honest trashing.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: For those who are Kindleless, UR will be available February 16, 2010 as a Simon & Schuster audio CD. For $10.11 US. Jeff Bezos, my friend, you must have a pair that you trip over when you are unclothed.


Fay's Too said...

YOU, Sir, are a hoot. I shant be Kindling that. Thanks.

Pat said...

The only book of his I've read was 'On Writing' which I found helpful.
I noticed a comment on a writer's blog who said she was his wife (the commenter) so as she had a blog I wrote and asked her permission to quote from the book.
Turned out she was a harmless stalker with a sense of humour. She was vastly amused and I wiped the eegg off my face.
I'm never sure if one can quote or not.

Wandering Coyote said...

OH MY GOD. Atrocious doesn't even begin to describe this! Can this in any way be a hoax? Do you really think SK wrote this?

Buzzard said...

I love it, Bad juju, Pink. My wife and I use the phrase often. We passed several cars going to town the other day, all disabled within a quarter mile of each other. We both looked at each and said "bad juju" then "jinx" then double "jinx"

Just an old Buzzard and his wife I guess!

Attila The Mom said...

At my first pass over your post, I thought I read "fiddling around with a PRONG game machine".

I gotta get new glasses.

laytonwoman3rd said...

Sorry you wasted Martha's money on that phoney nonsense. Even sorrier you wasted your reading time on it. Hope you've found something worthier now.

My word verification is "grounabl". Sounds like it ought to mean something, doesn't it? I'm going to try using in randomly in sentences today. See what kind of reaction I get.

Charlie said...

FAY: I am rather owlish, aren't I. Hoot. Hoot. It's one of the reasons why I get hungry at 2 a.m.

PAT: I'm pretty sure you can quote from any book as long as you give attribution to the author.

King's wife's name is Tabitha, and she's a long-time writer too.

WC: You know, I have doubts that King wrote this and I almost put it in my review. It just isn't his style, which indeed makes him a story whore: take the money and run to the bank (like he needs it).

BUZZ: It's either bad juju, a jinx, or a government conspiracy. I opt for numbah 3.

MOM: Your glasses are fine. What you need to do is wash your mind out with soap.

BTW, where do I get one of those Prong machines?

LINDA: You're right about wasting my reading time. I'm enjoying The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo right now.

As far as your secret word, I suspect you will get nods of zero understanding. Tell 'em it's an old Latvian or Hungarian word for shithead.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

That's just dirty pool, innit? The infomercial of the Kindle world. Bastards.

Charlie said...

BARB: I'll amend your comment to Dirty Bastards.