I just finished the most horribly-written Stephen King short story I’ve ever seen. It was called UR, and judging by that link, it was to be released exclusively on the Kindle. Then someone decided to make an audiobook out of it…and that’s how I found it. I have put off writing this, in the hopes that I can manage to describe this attrocity without spluttering and filling the post with random jibberish. I say that because every time Steve asked me what I thought of it, I could not finish my thoughts without saying something absolutely incomprehensible. He had to wait for the jibber fits to pass, and then I would finish a thought, and then he would be left jibbering too.
You know it’s bad when even the basic premise of a story is so weak that it can’t possibly hold up the rest. It’s kinda like building a house on quicksand. You know sooner or later, she’s goin’ down. That’s the case with this pathetic excuse for a novella. This is the premise. Dude, named Wesley Smith, is an avid reader. Dude will sit and read the same book just because he likes it. Dude’s girlfriend comes home when he’s reading, livid about her day and tries to talk to him, and can tell she does not have his attention. She eventually heaves his book and says “Why can’t you read off the computer just like the rest of us?”
Who to the what now?
That is seriously what she said. Honestly, seriously, that is what she said. In what fucking universe would that play out? Sure, she might heave his book, but that would not be what she would choose to say. Never, ever, ever! Look at the house. It’s already starting to sink…just a little on one side.
So, he then called her an illiterate bitch, and scream scream scream led to slam the door, buh-bye now, she left the dude. Ooo, I see a little more oozing and sinking going on.
I guess, because we started off stupid, we had to continue down the long and winding road to Thisisretardedberg as Steve put it. Our main character decides to buy a Kindle to spite her.
Again, I say who to the what now? In what universe would that be considered spiteful? Any sane person would see that as a pathetic attempt to beg for her to come back. “I can change, look at my Kindle, boop boop boop.” Hmmm…now the middle of the house is starting to sink. I wouldn’t go in the basement if I were you.
So ok, he gets his Kindle. But it’s pink. Hmmm…pink? And it has experimental features in it that allow you to access other URs. We never learn what a UR is, but it seems to be something to do with alternate realities. A sort of choose your own adventure, but you get to see what happens down all the paths. There were URs where Hemingway died at different times, and wrote different books, other ones where he died sooner. So…somehow, we are to believe that his Kindle can look into other dimensions and show you other things you would have never dreamed of existing because you only know your own reality. Ok, maybe this has potential…maybe.
But then the quicksand takes hold again. Because he’s seeing all these books from other dimensions, he starts to lose his shit, and a student notices and asks him what’s up. He shows the boy his pink Kindle, and they both start exploring it. Somehow, they figured out that when he tried to order his Kindle, he entered his credit card wrong, and a note about that came back on his statement. But there’s some other reality where there’s a Wesley Smith running around with the credit card that this one punched in, and he’s paid for this Wesley Smith’s Kindle.
In what fucking universe would you get notified that your credit card was wrong? Does King not own a credit card? If you enter your credit card wrong, all you get is a “card declined” message, and then you either try again or you get no damn Kindle. Life goes on. You never get a message saying you entered your credit card wrong. Hmmm…was the house supposed to have a sunken living room? It does now.
So anyway, he sees that you can also see news and local info in all these alternat universes, and freaks out at the fact that everybody died after the Cuban Missile crisis in one UR, and some other crap that really shouldn’t freak anybody out. I mean, it’s completely on another dimension. But these people go all nuts.
You can also look into the future, where he sees something that suggests his girlfriend is going to die in a horrible bus crash. But the thing is, I thought this thing was from another UR! So what if this happens in that UR, but not this one. But they are bound, bent and determined to prevent the bus crash by slashing the tires of the drunk driver who was supposedly going to hit the bus. Wow, the whole first floor has sunk so that the windows are barely visible. I don’t think this house is structurally sound anymore…
When he gets back home, he sees the red Catillac straight out of Hearts in Atlantis. Bor…ring. Low men in yellow coats are there to tell him that he shouldn’t have fucked with that woman because now he’s altered what is supposed to be the inevitable order of things and there could be horrible consequences. You know, if the rest of the book hadn’t been completely lame, that might have been a believable statement. But now, they just look dumb. And the best explanation they can come up with for how he got the pink Kindle was “There was an error in shipping”? Really? And I thought Canada Post was bad. This is an error that causes something to come to the wrong dimension! An error in shipping. But I thought there was an order of things. Maybe he was meant to get the Kindle. What do you say to that, huh? Huh?
They leave after taking his Kindle with them and uttering some dire threats, and all lives happily ever after.
Blech! I’m sorry that I basically gave away the whole story, but really, noone should read this pile of…cow pucky as Ann called something once. It is cheap, ill-constructed and not worth the time he spent creating it. After I found out he created it for the Kindle, I believe he cobbled this together from a bunch of recycled ideas he had around and puked it up for them under crazy time constraints. I think he thought it would be more freaky that someone was reading about a rogue Kindle on a Kindle, so he really didn’t have to put any effort into it. Yuck! And the funny part is he probably got a fat check from Amazon and is living high on the hog off this hogwash.
You know what’s sad? Alternate reality stuff can be done cool. Go find A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury and see what you think. This was not even close to that level of cool.
How I wish I had one of these damn pink Kindles. I would open a door to another UR and throw this stupidity into it. Then I would wait for the low men in yellow coats to come get me, but it would be worth it. I would have saved all of our humanity from this brain cell-frying tripe.