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Stephen King sends a message to miffed Under the Dome fans

Jun. 28, 2013by: Eric Walkuski

If you've read Stephen King's massive tome UNDER THE DOME, you most likely tuned in to the premiere of the CBS mini-series last Monday... and found yourself a bit confused. Without going into too much detail, it's already obvious that the show has made some significant changes to the book's characters, their backstories and a handful of subplots. There's no doubt that the show resembles the book in broad strokes, and there is still plenty of time for things to level out, but the first episode of "Under the Dome" contained alterations that did not go over well with the Stephen King faithful.

King, who is an executive producer on the show, has clearly already felt some of the backlash (for lack of a better word). He's taken to his official site in an effort to appease his Constant Readers and give them a little insight into why the changes were put into effect. Also, to tell everyone to just chill the f*ck out.

Here is the entirety of his message:

For those of you out there in Constant Reader Land who are feeling miffed because the TV version ofUnder the Domevaries considerably from the book version, heres a little story.

Near the end of his life, and long after his greatest novels were written, James M. Cain agreed to be interviewed by a student reporter who covered culture and the arts for his college newspaper. This young man began his time with Cain by bemoaning how Hollywood had changed books such asThe Postman Always Rings TwiceandDouble Indemnity. Before he could properly get into his rant, the old man interrupted him by pointing to a shelf of books behind his desk. The movies didnt change them a bit, son, he said. Theyre all right up there. Every word is the same as when I wrote them.

I feel the same way aboutUnder the Dome. If you loved the book when you first read it, its still there for your perusal. But that doesnt mean the TV series is bad, because its not. In fact, its very good. And, if you look closely, youll see that most of my characters are still there, although some have been combined and others have changed jobs. Thats also true of the big stuff, like the supermarket riot, the reason for all that propane storage, and the books thematic concerns with diminishing resources.

Many of the changes wrought by Brian K. Vaughan and his team of writers have been of necessity, and I approved of them wholeheartedly. Some have been occasioned by their plan to keep the Dome in place over Chesters Mill for months instead of little more than a week, as is the case in the book. Other story modifications are slotting into place because the writers have completely re-imagined thesourceof the Dome.

That such a re-imagining had to take place was my only serious concern when the series was still in the planning stages, and that concern was purely practical. If the solution to the mystery were the same on TV as in the book, everyone would know it in short order, which would spoil a lot of the fun (besides, plenty of readers didnt likemysolution, anyway). By the same token, it would spoil things if you guys knew the arcs of the characters in advance. Some who die in the bookAngie, for instancelive in the TV version of Chesters Millat least fora while. And some who live in the book may not be as lucky during the run of the show. Just sayin.

Listen, Ive always been a situational writer. My idea of what to do with a plot is to shoot it before it can breed. Its true that when I start a story, I usually have a general idea of where its going to finish up, but in many cases I end up in a different place entirely (for instance, I fully expected Ben Mears to die at the end ofSalems Lot, and Susannah Dean was supposed to pop off at the end ofSong of Susannah). The book is the boss, Alfred Bester used to say, and what that means to me is thesituationis the boss. If you play fair with the charactersand let them play their parts according to their strengths and weaknessesyou can never go wrong. Its impossible.

Theres only one element of my novel that absolutelyhadto be the same in the novel and the show, and thats the Dome itself. Its best to think of that novel and what youre seeing week-to-week on CBS as a case of fraternal twins. Both started in the same creative womb, but youwillbe able to tell them apart. Or, if youre of a sci-fi bent, think of them as alternate versions of the same reality.

As for me, Im enjoying the chance to watch that alternate reality play out; I still think theres no place like Dome.

As foryou, Constant Reader, feel free to take the original down from your bookshelf anytime you want. Nothing between the covers has changed a bit.

Stephen King
June 27th, 2013

The King has spoken... What do you think?


"Under the Dome" hottie Natalie Martinez

Extra Tidbit: It's early yet (only one episode in), but what are your opinions so far on "Under the Dome"?
Source: StephenKing.com

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5:07AM on 07/10/2013

hmm...

So the author of the book is fine with the changes being made, but a bunch of self-entitled "fans" (not sure if you guys are or not) want to bitch and moan about the fact that he's okay with it...? What? If you want to be pissed about something, be pissed about the fact that the show is pretty much garbage. Or, you know, take a deep breath, realize you don't have to watch the show (or read the book), and move the fuck on.

So the author of the book is fine with the changes being made, but a bunch of self-entitled "fans" (not sure if you guys are or not) want to bitch and moan about the fact that he's okay with it...? What? If you want to be pissed about something, be pissed about the fact that the show is pretty much garbage. Or, you know, take a deep breath, realize you don't have to watch the show (or read the book), and move the fuck on.

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9:55PM on 07/01/2013

That wasn't why I was disappointed...

If you wanted "Angie" to live instead of die in the story or have the Protagonists have the characteristics and backstories that they have in this series wouldn't you have written it that way in the first place? "The book is the boss"
I get it. CBS or Dreamwork's is taking a "WALKING DEAD" approach to it's writing and that's fine (I was rushing to finish reading the novel until I saw the pilot and then was relieved to find it was no longer necessary to do so) my problem is that Dreamwork's
If you wanted "Angie" to live instead of die in the story or have the Protagonists have the characteristics and backstories that they have in this series wouldn't you have written it that way in the first place? "The book is the boss"
I get it. CBS or Dreamwork's is taking a "WALKING DEAD" approach to it's writing and that's fine (I was rushing to finish reading the novel until I saw the pilot and then was relieved to find it was no longer necessary to do so) my problem is that Dreamwork's and CBS advertised a mini series that was a television adaptation of the novel which is misleading to many fans that have watched other miniseries of Stephen King properties that are direct adaptions.
Now if they had said "inspired by" I wouldn't have felt so cheated (although this site's report that CBS sees a second season for the series should have been a clue that this was gonna be different).
In short: I'll give it a try (It might surprise me they way AMC's The Walking Dead did). Not because it's a Stephen King novel made into television like "IT" or "THE STAND" but because the storyline is still interesting and contain elements of a Stephen King story much like "THE DEAD ZONE series and HAVEN did/do.
(Then again, I only watched about four or five episodes of those before losing interest)
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3:21AM on 06/29/2013

Well said!

I completely agree with King. The first episode was excellent, changes and all. Obviously, we can't know if that will continue but I am optimistic. I also find the complaints funny as some of the better King adaptations are the ones that strayed from the book. The Shining being chief among them.

Besides, just as he said, the book is still there for anyone who wants to read it.
I completely agree with King. The first episode was excellent, changes and all. Obviously, we can't know if that will continue but I am optimistic. I also find the complaints funny as some of the better King adaptations are the ones that strayed from the book. The Shining being chief among them.

Besides, just as he said, the book is still there for anyone who wants to read it.
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4:28PM on 06/28/2013

Kiss my ass

In short, go fuck yourself Stephen. You don't give a shit that someone else murders your story because you collect the rent. You pissed and moaned when Kubrick altered your baby when you were a young man with pride, now you pimp out your stories so they can be anal raped.
In short, go fuck yourself Stephen. You don't give a shit that someone else murders your story because you collect the rent. You pissed and moaned when Kubrick altered your baby when you were a young man with pride, now you pimp out your stories so they can be anal raped.
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4:47PM on 06/28/2013
Couldn't have said it better.....I thought the very same thing, when I first started reading this story.
Couldn't have said it better.....I thought the very same thing, when I first started reading this story.
7:22PM on 06/29/2013
Heaven forbid a person change their opinions as they get older. He's seen his fair share of things be adapted, and how they stray from the source material, since The Shining. Maybe he understands the process better now? Or how there is value in the adaptation?
Heaven forbid a person change their opinions as they get older. He's seen his fair share of things be adapted, and how they stray from the source material, since The Shining. Maybe he understands the process better now? Or how there is value in the adaptation?
7:22PM on 06/29/2013
Heaven forbid a person change their opinions as they get older. He's seen his fair share of things be adapted, and how they stray from the source material, since The Shining. Maybe he understands the process better now? Or how there is value in the adaptation?
Heaven forbid a person change their opinions as they get older. He's seen his fair share of things be adapted, and how they stray from the source material, since The Shining. Maybe he understands the process better now? Or how there is value in the adaptation?
12:35AM on 06/30/2013
Dude, how many Stephen King adoptions have there been? I mean, Silver Bullet barely resembles Cycle of the Werewolf. People getting upset about this are pretty stupid.
Dude, how many Stephen King adoptions have there been? I mean, Silver Bullet barely resembles Cycle of the Werewolf. People getting upset about this are pretty stupid.
12:21PM on 06/28/2013

I'll never understand why they did what they did to Barbie....

And "the writers have completely re-imagined the source of the Dome" scares me. Yeah Uncle Stevie, some of us didn't like the source of the dome, but some of us REALLY did. I have no gripe with seeing a story translated basically word-for-word, Sin City for example, and I'm worried this will now butcher the great source material, something Walking Dead has done in heaps.
And "the writers have completely re-imagined the source of the Dome" scares me. Yeah Uncle Stevie, some of us didn't like the source of the dome, but some of us REALLY did. I have no gripe with seeing a story translated basically word-for-word, Sin City for example, and I'm worried this will now butcher the great source material, something Walking Dead has done in heaps.
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