I recently finished “Under the Dome,” the latest from Stephen King, and a few small details struck me as being unusual. In the course of its 1100 odd pages, I couldn’t help but think things were not all as they seemed, there was a secret to the story that was buried within. A few casual comments by different characters made me realize that the book, which I initially took to be set in contemporary times, actually takes place in the near future. Under the Dome takes place in 2017 to be exact. Why would I date the novel in that year? It’s the only one that makes sense.
Please be aware that there are minor spoilers in the next sections, so if you wish to be completely unspoiled, read no further!
There are few outward indications that the novel takes place seven years from now. The technology is mostly the same. People use cell phones and iPods, they use laptops, both film and digital cameras, desktop computers, all of the things that most of us use in our day-to-day lives. There is no advanced technology on display, no hoverboards, or high tech implants. But as I continued to read, I felt that this was the only logical year for the story.
The first scene that sowed the first seed for me was when a character was recalling an incident in her past wherein she had a huge temper tantrum. In the course of this fit of rage, she ripped her favorite Oasis poster off of her wall and destroyed it. Now, this apparently took place 20 years ago. But, Oasis formed in 1991, so their 20th anniversary will not take place until next year. This was odd, I thought, but I paid it little mind. Mistakes happen, even to Stephen King.
Later, another character compares a piece of alien technology to an Apple TV box, that they purchased four years ago, although, in the book, Apple TV was released “some years” before that. So, in the continuity of Under the Dome, Apple TV has been out for at least 6 years (giving a conservative number of “some years”.) Apple TV has only been out a couple of years as of this writing.
Finally, a specific date is given in the book. Friday, October 27th is a very special day for the townspeople trapped under the dome. The next Friday October the 27th in our world will be in 2017, as 2012 will skip over to Saturday due to a leap year.
So, as far as I can reckon, the book takes place in 2017. Now, I only have 2 questions: Why is there no mention of this anywhere in the marketing, and why is Obama still president? Even his second term would finish in 2016.
Oh well, it was a fun little puzzle to figure out, and perhaps that is the best reward in itself.
Have you even noticed little incongruous things like this while reading? Let me know in the comments.