I’ve just finished reading Cell by Stephen King. It’s been awhile since I’ve read a Stephen King novel – a few years really. I’ve never been a big fan of “popular” writing and the last few years I’ve been focussing on the classics. The last thing I’d read by him previously was his surprisingly good On Writing, which was, for a want of better words, a sort of manual outlining how he became a writer and guidelines for becoming a novelist oneself. It quickly became on of my favourite books – I’ve read it at least three times now.
Anyway, back to Cell. The novel is essentially based on the supposition that someone intentionally created a virus that can be transferred via cellular communication, which is somehow able to addle the human brain a bit and cause aggressive behaviour. It is supposed that it’s the work of some terrorist group but the reader – and the characters in the novel – never get a chance to find out for certain because the virus, or Pulse as it's called, is too strong and manages to wipe clean people’s brains, causing them to revert to their core natures. Which, apparently, is violence.
The people who received the calls – essentially everyone with a cell phone – start killing and attacking both each other and those who have not been affected. It’s chaos, with the majority of the population rendered inhuman by a single phone call, because, think about it, who doesn’t have a mobile? So this has me thinking. If that book were to come true, chances are very good that I would have been one of those who would have been wiped clean. I very rarely go anywhere without my cell. It’s a disturbing thought. And I’ve also been thinking that if other technology was to start “attacking”, what else would I most likely be affected by? I’m not heavily dependent on technology but certain things would get me. My mp3 player, yes. My mobile, definitely. The trains. Oh yes. The washing machine... errrr… not so much.
So tell me, if you were a character in Cell, would you have been one of those chewing on your best friend’s throat after you’d answered the phone? And if technology suddenly attacked, what devices would most likely affect/attack you?
Photo courtesy http://www.worth1000.com/
And no, that is not the virus. I thought it was a cool pic though.