Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Audiobook Evaluation: "Ur" (2009) by Stephen King
"Ur" is a novella of note. It shows how Stephen King has gotten so incredibly good at creating great stories out of almost nothing. And it's almost unbelievable how good he can be at writing horror even when the ideas aren't quite as unique or as interesting as they once might have been. Regardless, he writes something here that is both incredibly good, really creepy, and very compelling. His skills as an author have increased as time has gone by, and I have to say that I'm really impressed by how good so much of his short fiction has been. This novella doesn't disappoint, even starting with a simplistic premise, it really does bring on everything Stephen King is known for- and much more besides.
This could be called a love story, although I'd be reticent to really indulge in that line of thought. It has elements of a disintegrating (or reinvigorating) relationship, as well as a bunch of very well thought out elements of both horror and philosophic thought. I am going to spoil most of the plot in this analysis, so go away if you don't want it spoiled for you.
"Ur" involves an English professor coming in contact with a pink Amazon Kindle that gives him links to other realities. King seems to love the idea of multiple worlds, and this novella really fleshes some thoughts out about it. Clearly it also follows the Stephen King Dark Tower mythos as well. How couldn't it with the multiple worlds and the low men in yellow coats?
I love this story, It works in so many ways while being both intelligent and very simple. There isn't a whole lot here to really look at or think about, but the story works so well. It really made me think, and it really brought me to a level of excitement that only Stephen King novellas can. I can't think of a single novella by King that hasn't impressed me in some way. And this follows that tradition, heavily reminding me of "N." and the narrative powerhouse that that novella brought to the table.
"Ur" isn't quite as complex or rabidly interesting as "N." was, but the multiple worlds and multiple realities thing really intrigues me. I love when that comes up in fiction, and I can't think of a better author to bring those ideas to the forefront than King. He has both a passion for it and really good stories that surround those ideas.
The Ur Amazon Kindle is basically an SCP. Yeah, I bringing SCPs up again, sorry about that. But this is the classic story of an object with unnatural talents it seriously can't and should never have. It's not truly supernatural... but then again, shouldn't it be just a little supernatural if it takes stuff from all these different worlds? I don't know. I just know that the writing, the characters, and the plot all work for me. They all hit that right feeling between realistic and slightly terrifying that I absolutely love.
I can't really say anything but good things about this. I listened to it in audiobook format, just like I did with "In the Tall Grass." I would say that that audiobook was slightly better read than this one was, but this one was just fine in terms of how it was presented. I think I liked this story slightly better though, simply because it appeals to my specific likes in the horror genre just a little more than forever tall grass with ancient stones that won't let you leave. Something about this whole story has an intellectual feel to it that I simply can't stop loving.
So, beyond that, there's not much to say. The story is all there, really simple with some great twists and turns, specifically when the main characters realize exactly what they have in front of them, what power it holds, and what they can (and will) do with it. And the connections to The Dark Tower will always intrigue me. The more Dark Tower connections King does, the happier I'll be. That's just my opinion, sure, but I certainly do like that series quite a bit despite most people simply not caring about it (from my experience at least).
I don't have anything else. Check the novella out. It's really worth it, especially if you listen to audiobooks often, like short fiction, or simply like Stephen King and/or his Dark Tower books.