One thing that will always happen with a book is turned into a TV series is that major changes will normally follow. Ask anyone who reads the Southern Vampire Series about True Blood and they will have no idea who these new people are on the HBO series. Now, Under the Dome changes has some readers concerned, but Stephen King says you shouldn’t worry about it.
For the fans who were mad about the changes the Under the Dome television series made to King’s novel, the author himself penned a response. Here are some of the best parts of his response to the complaints about the Under the Dome changes.
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 as The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double 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 didn’t change them a bit, son,” he said. “They’re all right up there. Every word is the same as when I wrote them.”
I feel the same way about “Under the Dome”. If you loved the book when you first read it, it’s still there for your perusal. But that doesn’t mean the TV series is bad, because it’s not. In fact, it’s very good. And, if you look closely, you’ll see that most of my characters are still there, although some have been combined and others have changed jobs. That’s also true of the big stuff, like the supermarket riot, the reason for all that propane storage, and the book’s 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 Chester’s 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 the source of the Dome.
There’s only one element of my novel that absolutely had to be the same in the novel and the show, and that’s the Dome itself. It’s best to think of that novel and what you’re seeing week-to-week on CBS as a case of fraternal twins. Both started in the same creative womb, but you will be able to tell them apart. Or, if you’re of a sci-fi bent, think of them as alternate versions of the same reality.
As for me, I’m enjoying the chance to watch that alternate reality play out; I still think there’s no place like Dome.
As for you, Constant Reader, feel free to take the original down from your bookshelf anytime you want. Nothing between the covers has changed a bit.
When you really think about it, Stanley Kubrick changed the entire theme and meaning of The Shining, but that was still one of the best horror movies of all time – and the book remains the same. One of the best things about The Walking Dead television show is the character of Daryl, and he wasn’t even in the comics. People should judge the show by its quality and not the little Under the Dome changes that they notice along the way. If you don’t like the story, that is fine, but don’t throw it under a bus because it is different from the book.
That book is still there for you to enjoy.