I also have to confess that I'm reading Stephen King's Under the Dome, which I checked out from the Penn library. I feel guilty reading him...But like, kind of guilty and defensive at the same time. He can tell a good story. After reading the first hundred pages before turning out the lights, I had an apocalyptic dream inspired by what I had just read (it didn't directly correlate, but the same fear was there. This fear that the world was ending or that I was in imminent threat of harm or death. The thing that was stalking me in the dream was a panther.Here's what it means according the reliable web: "to notice a panther in your dream denotes hidden perils and foes out to do you harm. It may likewise symbolize elements of darkness and death in your life. On the other side, panthers may also represent authority, loveliness, gracefulness, and rebirth"). In this 1,000 + page book, a small town in Maine gets locked down by an impenetrable dome that descends, shutting the residents off from the rest of the world, possibly permanently. What's scary about it isn't that idea (which seems implausible at best), but it's more this kind of fear of things ending on a global scale due to terrorism or war or some other kind of attack that you can't control; which seems to reflect the culture now, especially with the economic collapse, wars in Iraq, fear about change, etc. Anyway, you can read a decent review of this book as it appeared in The New York Times in November 2009 here.
Okay, and finally, all youse writers out there should think about submitting to NPR's Three-Minute Fiction Round Four...There's no cost to submit your work and it's essentially a short-short (around 450 words). The trick with this particular contest is that you have to use these four words somewhere in the story: plant, button, fly, and trick. I did a little writing earlier around these ideas. I don't want to do the typical stuff; like the words trick and fly seem too easily linked to something to do with magic. What's interesting about these four words (aside from the fact that they don't obviously link up) is that they can all be used as nouns or verbs. Deadline is April 11, so read the rules now.