First edition cover
|Cover artist||Cliff Nielsen|
|March 20, 2001|
|Media type||Print (hardcover)|
Dreamcatcher (2001) is a novel written by Stephen King, featuring elements of body horror, suspense and alien invasion. It was adapted into a 2003 film of the same name. The book, written in cursive, helped the author recuperate from a 1999 car accident, and was completed in half a year. According to the author in his afterword, the working title was Cancer. His wife, Tabitha King, persuaded him to change the title.
Set near the fictional town of Derry, Maine, Dreamcatcher is the story of four lifelong friends: Gary “Jonesy” Jones, Pete Moore, Joe “Beaver” Clarendon and Henry Devlin. As young teenagers, the four saved Douglas "Duddits" Cavell, a younger boy with Down syndrome, from a group of sadistic bullies. From their new friendship with Duddits, Jonesy, Beaver, Henry and Pete began to share the boy’s unusual powers, including telepathy, shared dreaming, and seeing “the line,” a psychic trace left by the movement of human beings. As middle-aged adults, the four friends have remained close, but have fallen out of touch with Duddits, who unbeknownst to them, is dying of leukemia.
Jonesy, Beaver, Henry and Pete reunite for their annual hunting trip at the Hole-in-the-Wall, an isolated lodge in the Jefferson Tract. There, they become caught between an alien invasion and an insane US Army Colonel, Abraham Kurtz. Jonesy and Beaver, who remain at the cabin while Henry and Pete go out for supplies, encounter a disoriented and delirious stranger wandering near the lodge during a blizzard talking about lights in the sky. The victim of an alien abduction, the man grows sicker and dies while sitting on the toilet. An extraterrestrial parasite eats its way out of his body and attacks the two men, killing Beaver. Jonesy inhales the spores of the strange reddish fungus that the stranger and his parasite have spread around the cabin, and an alien entity (“Mr. Gray”) takes over his mind.
On the return trip from their supply run, Henry and Pete encounter a woman from the same hunting party as the strange man at the cabin. She is also delirious and infected with a parasite. After crashing their snowmobile, Henry leaves Pete with the woman and attempts to regain the cabin by foot. From there, his telepathic senses let him know that Pete is in trouble, Beaver is dead, and Jonesy is no longer Jonesy. Mr. Gray, manipulating Jonesy’s body, is attempting to leave the area. The aliens have attempted to infect Earth multiple times, beginning with the Roswell crash in the 1940s, but environmental factors (plus humans’ tendency to die from the intestinal parasites, rather than incubate them properly) have always stopped them, and the US government has covered up the failed invasion attempts every time. With the infection of Jonesy, who can contain the alien within his mind and also spread the infection, Mr. Gray has become the perfect Typhoid Mary—and he knows it.
It becomes up to Henry—by now a quarantined prisoner of the Army—to convince the powers that be to go after Jonesy/Mr. Gray before it’s too late. Jonesy himself, now a prisoner in his own mind, tries to help. Both of them are convinced that their old friend Duddits may be key to saving the world—but can they make it to him in time?
- Matt Thorne on Stephen King: Dreamcatcher, The Guardian
- "Page 4 of Stephen King: The Rolling Stone Interview - Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone.