Although I’d like to think I take the opportunity to fear all inanimate objects equally, some are far more fearsome than others. In particular, I find dark alleys terrifying. I’m not ashamed to admit that I still do the prance-run down a dark alley to get to my car, that I give a wide berth to all storm drains, or that I shriek if the leaves rustle when I take out the garbage at midnight. Why I take out the garbage at midnight is anyone’s guess.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt said there is nothing to fear but fear itself, he obviously had not read a Stephen King novel – which is inarguably* true, given the historical timeline. One can only assume King takes great pleasure in making inanimate objects truly terrifying – cell phones, cars, hedge animals, balloons, fortune cookies, sink drains, Ouija boards, and my personal favorite, the vending machine. Because nothing says fear like hypersonic soda cans launched at your groin. In UR, he takes on the Kindle.
Wesley Smith is a college professor in Kentucky. He girlfriend recently dumped him and he can’t get past her parting words: “Why can’t you just read off the computer like the rest of us?”. In a rage, she delivered her parting words while throwing Deliverance across the room. I smiled. To spite her, he buys a Kindle. The Kindle opens worlds a book lover can only dreams about. Or have nightmares about. Soon Wesley isn’t sleeping, he can’t concentrate, and maybe, just maybe, he’s losing his mind.
UR is a charming novella that sets out to poke fun at ereaders. It’s the tale of the possibly terrifying consequences of using the Kindle…that can only be read on the Kindle. I empathized with Wesley, I too have been reluctant to embrace electronic books. But I have to admit I love them and I think the author does too. While there are trademark Stephen King-isms strewn throughout the novella (Red Sox, references to other King works), UR takes a distinct turn at the end. Without giving too much away, the story ends on a very pleasant, sweet note and no one dies. Sort of.
If you want a happy King story with no gore, little violence, and a good bit of fun, give UR a try (although, to be fair, the premise is fairly horrifying). It’s fast-paced and can be read in about an hour. I’d highly recommend it. 4/5.
Do you fear certain inanimate objects? I do. Admit it, the garbage disposal is terrifying and hedge animals will never be cute.
Serve with Mortadella and Mozzarella pizza. “An hour later, when the doorbell rang, they didn’t jump but rather looked around like men from a startled dream. Wesley went downstairs and paid the delivery guy, who had arrived with a loaded pizza from Harry’s and a six-pack of Pepsi.”
*King generally believes the road to hell is paved with adverbs. I’m not afraid to admit, albeit begrudgingly, that I will be rightfully assigned to hell. I expect to see Herman Melville and J. K. Rowling there, along with Dan Brown.