Cell is dedicated to, and echoes the works of, filmmaker George A. Romero and writer Richard Matheson, but it is also very much a “typical” King book – more so, some might argue, than his most recent other publications. Cellphones bring about an apocalypse perhaps more reminiscent of King’s short story “The End of the Whole Mess” than “The Stand”. What seems at first to be mere bloodthirsty madness in the afflicted turns out to be of a more “ambitious” nature. Illustrator Clay tries to find his son in a world gone mad and finds new friends along the way – enabling King to expound on themes like communication and the parallels between the human brain and a computer.
This is an extraordinarily bleak tale, swinging between stubborn hopelessness and a more alarming sort of terror, but not entirely without it’s brighter moments. They pale, however, beside all the carnage that – presented with King’s usual, inflinching eye – becomes just as tragic as it is gory.
As for similarities between “Cell” and his or others’ tales: as long as King makes all his characters alive and real, the story will always be a new one. Simple as that.